So last year I made this Pinterest board called “If I was brave…” to put things that seemed impossible, or at least highly unlikely that I’d ever do on. The funny thing is that I ended up doing two of them before the year ended. First I took a solo trip to Chicago to visit a friend and minister with her, and then I published my first book. So I thought it would be fun to make a list of things I’d do this year if I was brave enough to go after them.
1. Query an Agent and a Publishing House
Originally my intent was to publish my first four books myself and build up my writing experience, readership, and get some sales under my belt before I sought a publisher. Now I realize having an agent and publisher will allow me to have a professional editor, cover designer, and marketing plan, all things as a single income household I just can’t afford to invest in to get myself off the ground floor. So first I’d love to find an agent to work with and then I’d like to browse the different publishing houses and figure out if I should go Indie or with one of the bigger houses. Technically this one is two steps, but once I secure an agent finding a publisher will be the next domino to fall.
2. Join a Local Writing Group
I have been blessed to be a part of an awesome online writing group called 10 Minute Novelists. I couldn’t ask for better writing friends and know I can always get an answer to my questions, but the one drawback is I can still hide behind my computer screen. Joining a local group means I have to share my work publicly in a non-one-on-one situation. It’s one thing to mention I’m writing this book to a person at the local grocery store but it’s another to hand over a work-in-progress and ask for feedback.
3. Publish My Worship Songs
Yep I also write song lyrics. This one was actually on last year’s list, but it seems doable. I have songs I’ve written stuck in my head and prayed I’ll remember the tunes for the next decade because I don’t play any instruments. So I’m hoping to find someone willing to sit down and play by ear the tunes in my head and help me get them down on paper. And if I’m really brave maybe add one to the worship set at church.
4. Go to a Writer’s Conference
I’m actually planning to go to the ACFW Conference in September. I’m going to pay my registration the moment our tax refund is in hand so I can’t back out, but I’m still really scared I won’t make the most of it because I have huge social anxiety when there is a crowd (and this is a very popular event). The key to success will be actually learning my contemporaries names and familiarizing myself with their work, deciding which seminars/classes I want to do, deciding if I want to pitch for an agent or publishing house (if I don’t already have #1 done). Having all the decisions made will make the whole process much more doable.
5. Open a Democratic School
Since I first read about The Sudbury School in Massachusetts, I’ve been an admirer of the free democratic school model. My girls currently attend a democratic style homeschool co-op, but we’d love to take it full time. This is one I cannot do on my own, but I’d love to be a part of creating. A fellow homeschooling mom is already actively seeking to see this happen this year in our area, so if we are brave and willing to work hard, we might be able to open a school by September.
6. Learn to Cook
I know what you are thinking, this doesn’t take much bravery, just time and energy, but for me it is a big deal. I can burn water. I hate wasting money and food on our small budget so taking the time to learn to cook is not only skill learning, but involves lots of surrender on my part to throwing out whole dishes of food that didn’t come out well. Not to mention that I have food issues and don’t like to taste food while I’m cooking. I need to learn to cook for my health and for my girls so they don’t end up like me. So it’s going on the list.
7. Serve the Community on a Weekly Basis
I’m a stay at home mom and writer with plenty of responsibilities and health issues to keep me inside my doors, but I made a promise last year to my friend Bridget who goes out weekly to serve the homeless on the streets that I’d join her. Last year got away from me with publishing my first book, then my health started declining so I never made it a priority. This year my kids are finally old enough to not need me around to do everything and one is old enough to do more for the community, so I hope we can reach out together.
8. Tackle Home Improvement Projects
I’m a plumber’s daughter. I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty, but with everything on my plate I’ve kind of just chucked aside the home improvement projects for my husband’s to do list. Then I see my little old retired neighbors mowing their yards and trimming the hedges and I think, why don’t I do that? I have several like the pile of branches that haven’t gotten sawed down and bundled to get rid of, or the chain link fence that needs to be taken down. I am going to try and tackle one a month and learn some new skills in the process.
9. Go on an Overnight Date with My Husband
My husband and I are both homebodies. We’ve never actually gone away for a vacation just the two of us (not even a honeymoon, but we were already living in Hawaii so where do you go?). So this year while the kids are in Florida with the grandparents we are just going to have to do it. The two of us away from home doing something together.
10. Have a Head-to-Toe Makeover
Well if I’m going to pitch myself to agents and go on fancy dates with my husband I should be willing to look the part. My idea of dressy is a plain dress, sensible shoes, and combed hair. I’ve never had a manicure or pedicure. I don’t style or highlight my hair or wear makeup or jewelry. I certainly don’t go out and buy nice shoes and clothes. So why not be brave and let someone make me over.