A few weeks ago, while I was at the huge, annual SCBWI (Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) Conference in Los Angeles, my sweet husband went to the Park City Arts Festival. One night while I was in L.A., he emailed me a picture of these windchime sort of things for sale at the festival and said he thought I'd like them. I saw one that said DREAM, and strongly hinted that I would sure love one of those! What better thing to hang in my office, I thought.
When I got home, he had not taken my hint (as husbands are sometimes prone to do), and had gotten me one that said BELIEVE. I will admit to you, I was a bit disappointed. After all, I was a writer, a creative person, a dreamer! "BELIEVE?"
But I will tell you, that one word has been more important to me every day, hanging there in the window at my desk where I work, than Dream ever could have been. Why? Believing is a concrete act that, in this profession, this act of faith, is often in short supply.
I can dream plenty. I can dream of all the many, many books I want to write. I can dream of my editor saying what I've written is a heartbreaking work of staggering genius that needs nary a revision. I can dream of many starred reviews, awards, and interviews on NPR and The Today Show. Dreams are never in short supply.
But very often, believing is. There are days when I look at that word and I try to believe I can actually be disciplined enough to get my butt in the chair, open my laptop (and not my email, and FaceBook, and Twitter) and do the work. There are many days it's all I can do to believe I have any talent at all, anything worthy of anyone's time to read. To BELIEVE I have a story to tell and I'm the one to tell it, to BELIEVE I have not only the skill to tell it but the grit and the heart and determination--that's what is often the hardest thing to do. On those all-too-often days when self-doubt whispers in my ear "who are you kidding?" I look up at that word, BELIEVE, illuminated by the light beyond the window, take a deep breath, try for that moment to believe, and write.