Holly Venable

Change is not an instant's act . . . one writer's progression

Wisdom from Pei Wei

January 20th, 2011

I was in Pei Wei the other day and here was my fortune:

The limit to your abilities is where you place it.

For 6 ½ years I have played at being a writer, and in that time, I have only finished one novel. Every day I think about writing, and every day, I do nothing about it. A lot of my reluctance has to do with the fear of failure, but another part of me just wonders how it will ever be possible to become a published author. Discouragement sets in before I even start. Why am I setting my limit so low?

On a different day, I got another fortune from Pei Wei (what can I say, I love their Dan Dan Noodles):

Luck happens when hard work meets opportunity.

I think the wise fortune writers at Pei Wei (and a higher power) are trying to help nudge an uncertain writer along.

There is no such thing as luck; there is only hard work and making sure you are in the right place at the right time. I once heard a published author say that he had more dedication than talent when it came to writing (and he has published many, many books). At the time, I thought this was a shocking and slightly terrible thing to say about one’s writing, but 6 ½ years later, I start to wonder. He put in the work and created the opportunity. I have the talent, but I have not achieved any of the goals I set 6 ½ years ago. And if I don’t develop the dedication, how can I be ready when the right opportunity arises?

I only have two resolutions for 2011, and the first one is to finish the draft of my new novel by July 31, 2011. Why that date? The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is having a summer conference that starts on Aug. 5, 2011, and I want to bring a new novel. I will set no limits on my writing—I have to believe that I can achieve it.

Counting down to the SCBWI Conference, I have192 days to complete my novel draft. Sound good? I will update you weekly on my progress so that there is some accountability on my end (always needed).

Oh, and if I get any more thoughtful bits of wisdom from the good people at Pei Wei, I’ll pass those along as well.


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