Let me start with this, taking a vacation for a week and staying home- better known as the “staycation”- is a dangerous thing. All it does is make you realize how great life can be if you didn’t have to work. Sure, going on a real vacation is great- duh -, and of course you have a great time because the theory is you left your worries and real life at home to do something new and interesting or relaxing and fun. But if you can have a staycation that is awesome, then clearly your worries have nothing to do with being home and have everything to do with working. Hence, my desire to write for a living. It would never feel like work and it could be done from anywhere. I have a passion for writing fiction- true story.
So this week my goal has been to once again get back to writing like I AM getting paid for it. Bottom line is sometimes you have to fake it till you make it. Actually, that is one of my mother’s favorite sayings and I think maybe one of her wisest. I hear this from people all the time; they faked their dream until it became real. Not necessarily full on lying to get there, but definitely just fudging of the truth until the reality matched the dream. Many successful people have employed this method, so why not me?
So how does one fake being a writer without actually being a writer? Or, for your dream, how do you fake your dream until you make it? The simple answer is, you do it. Like Nike says “Just do it.” Do what you want to do, until it becomes the thing you hope for.
When I was 18 and a lost high school graduate I knew I wanted to work with animals and I had a strong feeling for dogs. When I got out of college with a degree in Biology, I wasn’t sure if I was ready for vet school as I had planned, so I went out into the world and started my own business. I became a petsitter, which in 1998 was not something people did or people used. Everyone told me it would fail, I would fail. Even my own mother asked what kind of people would pay a stranger to come to their house? It turns out lots of people would, and I made a profit in the first 4 months of business. By the end of year one, I was turning people away because I had no more time. But the funny thing is, I had NO experience running a business or taking care of people’s pets in their home. What I had was a drive to do it, and a 4 chapter book from the library that supposedly told me how. I can still remember my first client interview. I put on a show like I had been doing this for years! I said things like “Well most people do this…” or “Many of my clients want multiple visits a day…” um, I had no clients. Was it lying? Yes, was it a damaging lie? No. I was smart, I had worked with animals in a vet setting, and I owned pets, it wasn’t like I told someone I could build their home when all I’d ever built before was out of Legos or Lincoln Logs.
By the time my 6 years as a sitter were drawing to a close, so I could chase another dream, I was then calling myself a dog trainer. Was I a dog trainer? Sure, I had a dog and he was trained. Ta Da! I didn’t once tell people I had done more than I had or had certificates I didn’t, but I did say yes when people asked if I could train their dogs when I did my pet sitting. Then six years later, when I was done sitting, I was a certified trainer and had lots of education under my belt and a few apprenticeships too. I started training full time shortly thereafter and with all my experience with aggressive dogs during pet sitting, I become known as the aggressive dog worker. I didn’t really care for it, but I did capitalize on it. People figured if I could work with dangerous dogs, then clearly I could teach sit and down.
In essence, I have never outright lied, but I have misled folks or allowed them to mislead themselves. I have been honest about my abilities, though possibly exaggerated my actual history, and I have never had someone dissatisfied with my work because I only fibbed within the realm of possibility, not in the realm of fantasy. And that is the key secret to faking it until you make it.
So back to being a writer. I do get paid to write and edit boring government documents. So I suppose that counts as experience. When people ask what I do, I tell them I am a writer knowing they assume that I write books or articles for magazines or the newspaper. I don’t elaborate and say “of boring government documents” they don’t want to know that, and I don’t want to tell them. So I am bending the truth or possibly omitting the truth. However, I soothe my conscience with the very real fact that I do write fiction, almost daily. I have yet to be published, but I can feel that day coming and I know I will get there. Why? Because if I fake it long enough, people are bound to believe me and an agent will, at some point, say “Man I have to represent this woman and this book”. So far I have written three books and numerous short stories (aka books I just couldn’t stretch to full book length). I have submitted two of these books to agents. The first got nothing positive, clearly I needed more work. The second got mixed reviews from “I love your writing and voice” to “I think your idea is really cool” and the ever popular, “you clearly have talent” why thank you- *blush*.
So the first generated nothing but rejections. The second got a we want to see more because you are good, but this particular work wasn’t for us kind of responses. IMAGINE what my third book will get when I send that out to the people who liked the second one? These people believe I am a writer because I keep sending them things I have written! My writing gets better because as a writer, I keep writing and practicing my craft. I am faking this baby until I make it. Sure, it may not be the first book I wrote went number 1 with a bullet like Jennifer Meyers who wrote The Twilight Series, but if it took JK Rowling a million rejections to get Harry Potter published, I think I am still in good company.
I won’t lie, rejection is hard to take, but with each rejection I knew I could do better, if for no other reason than not liking people telling me I am wrong or I can’t do something. They have said that about me before, and somehow I still keep proving them wrong. In the spirit of intentional living I am making the boldest move I can (while still being a responsible adult with children), I am vowing to write daily and submit everything I write until I get paid to do it. That is the goal, that is the dream. And if I fake this long enough, I know I will get there. I trained dogs for almost 20 years, and it all started with a small fib, just an exaggeration really of what I had already done, and it opened one of the most amazing doors for me. It gave me the opportunity to do what I loved for years. Now I want to do something new. I am a writer, I write. Notice I didn’t say “I want to be a writer” Or “I want to write”.
What do you want to do? How do you want to live? What is your dream? And what can you do to make that dream happen? How can you fake it till you make it? Please share!
What I’m Reading: Bridget Jones- Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding. Once you have read the first two, how do you not read the third??
What Else I’m Reading: Still working on The Power of Now. It is so thought provoking I find I have to read each sentence twice to make sure I am really grasping the concepts. I like the premise, but I am not sure how I feel about the execution just yet.
What I’m Listening to: Randy Newman’s Land of Dreams Album, but specifically Falling in Love so lovely.
Now Moment of the Week: Getting artistic and painting my son a Pirate theme mural in his room. It isn’t done, but it has felt so wonderful just focusing on the project, just being in the moment of creating this vision for him. I haven’t done anything artistic in decades.
Inspirations from the Ether: Getting viral