On Being a Brick Wall
I’m sure most of you are familiar with Randy Pausch’s story and his book, The Last Lecture (co-written with Jeffrey Zaslow). In his lecture and his book, Randy spoke with great wisdom about achieving your childhood dreams.
One of the things he said that resonated with me was that the obstacles to our dreams are like brick walls, put there to test how badly we really want something. He wrote that those brick walls “stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.” Of course, those are the other people. (Not you or me.)
Reading his positive spin on obstacles was freeing for me as a literary agent, because I’m frequently one of the brick walls with whom writers collide in the midst of chasing their dreams.
I read so many good queries from people with good hearts, solid intentions, at least a modicum of talent… but I’m still unable to represent them for whatever reason. I feel bad, not only saying “no” but for being unable to spend more time with each “no,” giving advice, encouragement, tips. I just can’t… but Mr. Pausch’s philosophy makes me feel better about it.
Each time I become the brick wall… each time an author crashes into my “no,” they are forced to reckon with their own dreams. They have to ask themselves once again, “How badly do I want it?” That can’t be a bad thing, right?
For Christian authors, I hope the impact with the brick wall sends them back to God, again and again, ever looking for confirmation, refutation, or clarification of their author-dreams.
So maybe it’s not so bad being a brick wall after all. If I am an obstacle to you achieving your childhood dreams, please take it as motivation to prove how badly you really want it.
Rachelle Gardner is a Christian literary agent with WordServe Literary Group in Colorado.