Several weeks ago we started a series on pursuing our dreams. You can read the first installment here. We are using the phrase “ATTA GIRL”—and the letters that make it up—to give us a hand in pursuing our dreams. The first “A” stood for “Acknowledge Your Dream,” the first “T” for Talk It Over with God, the second “T” for “Take the First Step, and the second “A” for “Accept Responsibility.”
So what if you’ve decided to pursue your dream? For most of us that will mean we need to “Get Training.” And that’s what the “G” stands for. Most of us aren’t child prodigies. We need to learn, to develop.
Many of the things we want to do require some sort of training. Get it. Look for seminars, classes, magazines, and online groups dedicated to that interest. Hire a personal trainer or coach if that’s what it takes to gain the skills necessary to follow your dream.
A businesswoman named Joyce A. Myers—no, not that Joyce Meyer—says,
“Life’s an open book,
and an education helps you write success stories.”
What kind of education do you need to craft your own success?
For would-be writers, it means going to writers conferences. I remember going to my first conference—I was terrified, unsure of what to bring or do. I printed out a couple of copies of my unpublished articles, packed some jeans and t-shirts and headed out.
I had asked for a roommate to cut down on expenses, but they told me there wasn’t one to give me. So I made myself comfortable— spreading all my belongings over both double beds. Then the door opened to reveal my roommate, also named Carol. Imagine my embarrassment.
She was impeccably dressed in a stylish suit—and had one for every day of the conference. She proceeded to wheel in a luggage carrier, which contained not only her suitcase but also two file boxes full of everything she had ever written (thank-you notes included, by the looks of it). I was mortified.
But, you know, I survived. I learned many important things, including quite a few from Carol, and made some great contacts. Don’t let your fears get in the way of the training you need. Yes, you may make mistakes. You may not know all the proper protocol or terms. That’s okay; everyone starts somewhere.
Most dreams require an expertise that is learned and practiced. Few people play the piano well without lessons and exercises. (Some of us not even then. I took five years of piano lessons as a tween. I even took lessons again in college because I thought maybe my mother was right when she told me as child I just didn’t practice enough. As we neared the end of the semester, my professor pulled me aside: “Carol, please don’t take piano lessons anymore. It’s a waste of your money and my time.”)
And even as we move on our way toward the dream, there’s always more to learn. Our friend Tom is a professional swim coach. One week, he attended a “stroke clinic.” Not stroke as in brain attack, but stroke as in swimming movements. Strokes sound pretty basic to me, like something he should already know. But, obviously, he knows the importance of gaining and improving his skills.
We can all use a refresher on the basics. Keep learning and growing.
What training do you need to pursue to make progress toward fulfilling your dream?
2 thoughts on “Get Training to Achieve Your Dream”
Is there a website with questions to use when talking to editors? I want to have some ready when I go to the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference next month. They have tips for getting ready; I’m looking for how to talk to them.
Sally, I don’t know of a website with questions for you to ask editors, but here are some that I think will give you insight into a particular editor or publishing house (or agent).
What are the types of books you’re most excited about representing/publishing?
What makes someone a good author for you?
What are the steps in your acquisition process? (Or for an agent, in your decision to represent an author?)
What are the marketing activities you want to see your authors pursuing/participating in before and after publication?
In what genres has your publishing house found the most success? Why do you think that is the case?
Tell me a little about your journey; how did you end up an editor for _________ publisher?
Hope those help!