What's up with me is that I had an amazing time last night talking about "Following Your Dream" and publishing with the North Houston Gamma Phi Beta alum chapter. That's me in the pic saying something to A&M chapter alums Jaz and Kristin. Kristin, it turns out, shares my love of Vampire Diaries (Damon, oh Damon) and Jaz is a Joss Whedon fan. Plus everyone else was awesomely nice and there was chocolate cake.
I've documented my publishing journey story here on the blog many times, so I won't repeat that speech. But I came up with a follow your dreams metaphor while I was talking and that I will tell you. It is no secret that I'm sort of a late bloomer when it comes to writing professionally. Took my sweet time transitioning from teacher to writer and now I can't imagine why. But I'm not unique in that. Lots of us do lots of things that aren't our passion for long periods of time for various reasons. Last night I compared it to eating carrots when what you really wanted was a piece of chocolate cake. You eat like a bucket of carrots, right? And eventually you eat the cake (at least I do) because that's what you really wanted but by then you're too full of the 'good stuff' to really enjoy it the way you might have if you just dug in.
When I first met my wonder agent Jen Rofe, she told me, "Always order dessert." I think she knew I was a girl who agonized about ordering dessert. Looked longingly at the dessert. Shared bites of other people's desserts. As a metaphor for following your dreams, this too is apt. Eat the damn dessert. You might even enjoy yourself.
I can list some of the other stuff I talked about: Work smart; network; say thank you a lot; find mentors; be willing to risk; have faith.
But I think it come down to this: eat the cake first, the carrots second.