Don’t Give Up Your Dream

As we all settle into this new year, many of us are thinking about our resolutions, our goals, our dreams. What will we do this year that brings us closer to what we desire? This year, many of us will move ahead with concrete milestones that show we’re reaching our goals. Many of us will also experience setbacks, obstacles, failures.

So what I want to say today is that no matter what happens, don’t give up.

My 9-year-old daughter is in competitive gymnastics. Next month she’ll start her second season of competition. This sweet fourth-grader desperately wants to excel and win medals. She works hard to train and lives for performing her routines in front of the judges. She is so innocent that sometimes my heart breaks at the reality of her situation: She may or may not win any blue ribbons. And if she continues in gymnastics for years, the chances of competition-ending injury continually increase.

That’s the tough news. The wonderful news is that she’s found something she loves, something she is passionate about, and she’s willing to work for it. She is also blessed with a body type that works in her favor, and a certain degree of natural talent. I totally believe in her ability to succeed, and I only speak words of encouragement to her. But I don’t know God’s plan.

What does this have to do with writing and publishing? Just like gymnastics is a difficult sport in which to excel, it helps to recognize that being an author published by a major publishing house is also challenging. Our passion and hard work will make a big difference, and our God-given talent will play a role in our success.

It’s difficult to acknowledge that some of the things we want could be beyond our grasp! It is especially tough to accept the fact that God has given us a certain level of natural gifting that will play a part in this writing journey. And that His plan for us may, or may not, be exactly what we’d like it to be.

Most of us can accept that a dream of something spectacular, like competing in the Olympics or winning an Academy Award, might not come true. We can see that the odds are stacked against it, and acknowledge that God simply may not have gifted us in that area. But it’s excruciating to accept that the dream of being a bestselling author is also a long shot. There are aspects of it that are out of our control.

What to do? I look at my daughter for inspiration. She continues trying, working as hard as she can, even amidst setbacks. She puts in extra practice time when she needs it. If there comes a time when she needs to give it up, I can imagine us talking about how many things she’s learned from her years in competitive gymnastics, and how God has used that to shape her. Someday we may have to talk about how difficult it is to give up a cherished dream. Perhaps we’ll pray for God to reveal to her a new dream. I hope we’ll be able to put it in perspective, knowing God’s plan is better than anything we could ever conceive.

I’m NOT saying I want you to give up on your dream. On the contrary, I want you to persevere in the face of the odds, like my daughter is doing. I want you to give it all you’ve got. I want you to keep trying even when it seems like the “trying” isn’t getting you anywhere. My wish for you is that someday your dream is made a reality. And if that is not to be, my wish for you is that someday, you’ll discover an even better dream, and set out to make that one come true.

Rachelle Gardner is a Christian literary agent with WordServe Literary Group in Colorado. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter, too.

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


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  2. pat jeanne on January 17, 2009 at 6:22 PM

    >Rachelle, thank you so much for your words of wisdom and your concern for writers by having this blog, too. I read it often. All the best in ’09.

  3. Kristi Holl on January 12, 2009 at 2:02 PM

    >What a charming daughter you have, Rachelle. Good for her! She is blessed to have a mom with your attitude about dreams.
    Kristi Holl
    Writer’s First Aid blog

  4. Africakid on January 8, 2009 at 12:23 AM

    >I really needed to hear this.

  5. Jill Corcoran on January 6, 2009 at 11:56 PM

    >Thank you for your inspirational post, Rachelle.

  6. Kim Kasch on January 6, 2009 at 10:42 PM

    >”I’ll Never Let Go” of my dream(s)

  7. Dineen A. Miller on January 6, 2009 at 4:46 PM

    >A beautiful and timely post, Rachelle. Thank you. 🙂

  8. Janna Qualman on January 6, 2009 at 3:58 PM

    >Thank you for such an encouraging post. 🙂

  9. Avily Jerome on January 6, 2009 at 1:04 PM

    >Thanks for the encouragement, Rachelle!

    That’s great that your daughter is doing so well at it! My little brother and sister are very competetive gymnasts. My sis is 11, so she might not be at the same level as your 9-year-old, but it’s possible that you have or that you will run into each other if you do regional meets. They’re in New Mexico, so I think that’s the same region.

  10. Anne L.B. on January 6, 2009 at 10:46 AM

    >Rachelle, you’ve been instrumental to help me recognize something I already knew about life but had to apply to my writing career: The road is more about how we make the journey than the destination.

    I still travel with an eye on the hope that God will open the door for publication. But you’ve been a great inspiration as I’ve come to appreciate what God is doing in my life through my writing in the meantime. If it turns out that He never does open the door to be published, I will still see myself as a success if I’ve been faithful to hold His hand on the walk (a reminder from Singer-Scribe’s blog today).

    Thank you, Rachelle.

  11. Dara on January 6, 2009 at 10:02 AM

    >What an inspriring post 🙂 Thanks for that–it’s just what I needed to hear today.

  12. Rachel on January 6, 2009 at 9:54 AM


  13. Marla Taviano on January 6, 2009 at 9:43 AM

    >Oooh, very, very inspiring.

  14. lynnrush on January 6, 2009 at 8:35 AM

    >Nicely said.

  15. Eric Dabbs on January 6, 2009 at 8:06 AM

    >Maybe we need to ask ourself, what are we writing for? To be published or because we love to do it?
    If we love to do it, then it will be hard to give up.
    Although, it can be difficult to put your heart and soul into something that never flourishes.
    In the end, you give it your best for as long as you possibly can and if it doesn’t work out, you can know you really tried.
    Besides, if you really love writing, it probably wouldn’t be that hard to become an addictive reader again.
    Thanks for the encouragement.

  16. Gordon Carroll on January 6, 2009 at 7:57 AM

    >Very inspirational, thanks Rachelle. It’s good to reflect every once in awhile and put things in perspective. God and family should always come first (luckily that still leaves a bronze for writing!!!).

  17. Karen on January 6, 2009 at 7:53 AM

    >Keep that great attitude! You are so right. Our son’s dream was to become a Marine Biologist. He worked hard at it–even got a PhD! But God had other plans. He now manages a Christian radio station in Florida and is happy doing what he feels God truly called him to do. We lovingly nicknamed him Dr. DJ.

  18. Pheebles on January 6, 2009 at 5:12 AM

    >Amen! (I don’t say that very often, these days).

  19. Ann Victor on January 6, 2009 at 5:11 AM

    >Well said!