Monday, March 12, 2012

Dream On-Part Two

So I have spilled my big secret. (Read Dream On-Part One to catch up.) Though I suppose it was a shotty attempt at truth since you all already know my secret, you just didn’t know it was just that. A secret.

Perhaps I should explain. Let’s go back to the beginning. In the beginning there was a songbird. A tiny little blonde songbird belting out Sleeping Beauty’s “Once Upon A Dream” from her car seat. Growing up singing in church, on stage, in the theater, and eventually in a band in a recording studio, it was my dream to make it in music. To reach and effect my generation with the songs God gave me.

It turns out, this very public dream of mine had some definite flaws. Mainly, a lifestyle I had no desire to live. And as much as I wanted to sing for a living, I wanted to have a family more. Marriage. A home-life. And more than anything, I wanted to stay at home and raise my kids. What I learned when I walked away from the relentless pursuit of my dream was that maybe God lets some dreams die so that others can find roots and flourish.

Those dreams are a distant memory now. I honestly don’t think about it. There are no scars left behind to torture me. But the thing is…very few people I know have forgotten about it.

To everyone who knows me, and even those who really don’t, I am a singer. I probably always will be that girl trying to make it big. Every time I run into someone from the past, the probing questions about my career seem to dominate the airwaves.

I have no regrets, but there was always this mountain of pressure that came with such a public expression of my lifelong dream. Everyone had an opinion. A way in. Why don’t you try out for American Idol? Or if you just send that demo to so and so, or play some gigs here, or give this guy money to make a new album, or sing a different style, or change your image, ect, ibsofacto, and so on and so forth. These people had always meant well, but somehow they stole my joy. Dug up all my doubts and fears. Failures and insecurities.

Now, I am blessed with a new dream. Something that brings me more satisfaction that I could have imagined, and gives me such a personal sense of accomplishment everyday I labor lovingly at my laptop. I never dreamed I would repurpose the message of my heart from songs to novels. But God made a way. And birthed a beautiful new dream.

Beauty for Ashes.

At first, when I started writing, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to finish a whole book. So why tell anyone? And then the first book took form. And the second. And it was so freeing to have something so pure. Untouched by expectations and probing questions that I held it close to my heart a while longer.

But then something happened. My dream grew. God opened doors. And dreams of publication danced in my head. The dream of sharing the stories that have changed my life became so great that I even, despite my long standing rebellion, broke down and joined Facebook. Gasp! I know! I must be from the Stone Age or something.

My problem now is that this whole dream comes as a package deal that I am just getting my sea legs for. Social media. No I am not an imbecile, just a busy mom that’s not big into gossip. And for a long time, that’s all I saw social networking to be. Let’s just say, I, uh, had a negative experience early on in the game, and pretty diligently avoided the pitfalls of superficial friendships online.

But now I am forced to ask myself some tough questions about this secret I have treasured. And I am hoping for some Godly counsel from those of you trusted few who have shared in my excitement of building a new dream. In a day where social platform is key, am I going about this all wrong?

Am I really protecting my dream . . . or sabotaging it?

Also…How do you hold up under the pressure of expectations? And when did you know when the time was right to unleash your dream into the wild unknown?


  1. For me, there's nothing worse than putting a dream out there,and having people hold me up to those expectations. "What's the word on your book?" is a frustrating, if well meaning, question, and it inevitably comes when you tell people you've written one. Mostly because the average person is hopelessly ignorant about the difficulty of getting traditionally published.
    Then again, if no one KNOWS you've written anything, it'll take a long time to build up a readership when you're finally published. And sitting on a published book isn't something any of us wants to do.
    So, I'd say suck it up and go for it. Endure those all-too-common inquiries into your glamorous life as an author and keep people interested with blog posts, short-stories, and promises of future stardom. Plus, it's cool that you can sing. That way, when your first best-seller goes to the big screen, you can sing the ending credits song.

    1. I am with you. Well, except I wasn't planning on waiting until my book hit the shelves to unload. More like, when I get an agent. Well, that was my plan originally. Though, that approach in and of itself might prevent me from getting one so it's a sort of Catch-22 for me. But thanks for the encouragement. I think you are right and I needed to hear it. I should probably just suck it up and let the chips fall. I can handle the questions, though like you I loathe them.

      Loving the thought of the ending credits. You're thinkin' big! I can get on board with that. :)

  2. Well, Amy, ask for advice and you'll get contradictory answers. :) I'd recommend investing your time in writing, writing and rewriting your novels, learning the craft and connecting with other writers who will help nurture your dream. There is at least a year between contract and publication during which you can dive in with both feet to all the other stuff. (although I would secure a website addy in your name) That said...since I was hesitant to jump into FB before having a contract, then only did so as an author page, not a personal profile,I haven't accumulated the "friends" on my page that aspiring writers do when they meet at conferences and then friend each other on FB. But even maintaining a blog isn't mandatory. You can guest blog on everyone else's!

    1. Well, I am definitely more comfortable with your advice. Social media does feed on my productivity. I wrote my first book (pre-facebook and blogging) in 6 weeks. Book two... well, that's a different story. Too many distractions! I'd much rather focus on the writing but times are changing, and I fear coming out might soon become unavoidable. Thanks for siding with me :)

  3. Hi Amy,

    Well here's my two cents. I think you should put yourself out there. I believe in you, and your dream. What I love about your books is the evidence of God's grace, and His unfailing love for us. I really believe that people (especially unbelievers) will be touched by them. You write the characters really well. They are flawed, but extremely likable. The whitty banter makes me laugh out loud, and the suspense keeps me up at night. Ok-now to address the fears. You know that God loves you perfectly, and that perfect love casts out fear! Also, that God said in His word " I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you , and not to harm you-plans to give you hope and a future." I say stand up to that fear. Don't worry about well meaning people asking questions! Rest in God's faithfulnes. walk in faith, and stand firm in His promises! God has the right agent and publishing house. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there! (I do think Sandra's advice about an author page is a good idea.)

    1. As usual, thanks for the pep-talk. You are so good at those. I know that exposing my dream is scary but I am not completely sure that I am silenced by fear. At least not fear alone. Sandra was right to say to focus on the writing, regardless of what I do with my secret. With so many balls in the air now it's hard to be as productive. Adding the exposure right now could be overwhelming. With that torturous winter trailing in the rear view mirror maybe I'll be able to get back on it. Once I get the swing of this mommy/homemaker/writer/blogger/social media robot...Maybe then, coming out will be more manageable. I am trusting God to show me the right timing, the right agent, the right publisher. He hasn't brought me this far to abandon me. That I know for certain. :) Thanks always for all the support!

  4. Amy,
    First off congrats on taking a huge leap of faith in letting others now about your new found career/ love! I myself has always struggled with insecurities, and the fear of failing. I let Satan tell me that if I didn't speak of my dreams to anyone when I wouldn't be failing... But shocker.. I would still failed, and even worse I would left to handled the disappointment on my own. I truly believe that God didn't create us to be "alone" and without a network of like-minded people. Sure you can always think of those people who are just wishing you to fail, but I have learned that letting people in is ok. God is our provider and protector so ultimately our success and failures he allows. I know that you are very talented and I want to encourage you to really study his word and meditate on his truth to fight Satin's attacks. I really believe God will use you to impact many. Romans 8:31 "What, when shall we say in response to this? If God is FOR us, who can be against us"