Five years ago, I started writing a romance novel. I wrote the first 30,000 words before life got busy and the novel was forgotten.
But every year, usually around New Year’s Day, I made promises to myself that I would finally complete the novel.
It didn’t happen.
Then, in February 2013, a friend of mine invited me to attend a writer’s conference where she was speaking. “One of the agents at the conference would be perfect to represent your novel,” she told me.
Her words were just the kick in the pants I needed. The conference was in July so that gave me five months to complete the novel.
Two months later, I’d only written another 5,000 words. At that rate, there was no way I would complete it in time for the conference.
Then one day, I read a story that really inspired me. In 1985, Jim Carrey was a struggling comedian. Despite the odds, he believed in himself so strongly that he wrote himself a check for 10 million dollars, and post-dated the check by 10 years. He carried that check in his wallet until it literally fell apart. And, in 1995, Carrey was paid 10 million dollars for his role in Dumb and Dumber.
I loved this story and the way Jim Carrey visualized his own success. I decided to adapt his strategy to motivate myself. Instead of writing myself a check, I created a copy of my book cover on a three-by-five note card. I wrote my book’s title, as well as my name, and then I cut out pictures from a magazine that resembled my book’s main characters, and pasted them onto the note card.
My book cover was no work of art but I carried it with me every day for the next few months. Every time I saw it, I was reminded that finishing this book was an important goal and that my time to do so was limited. Seeing my name on my homemade book cover reminded me that, if I was ever going to see my name on an actual book, I’d better get busy. That little note card helped me visualize my success.
I worked on my novel faithfully for the next three months and I completed the first draft before the writer’s conference. I pitched it to the agent my friend recommended and she liked the idea. Since the conference, I’ve been editing the book based on her suggestions and I plan to send her a more polished draft shortly.
I still don’t know if my book will be published traditionally but I finally met my goal of completing a novel.
And, while I won’t earn a paycheck the size of Jim Carrey’s, it still feels like a million bucks.
Diane Stark is a former teacher turned stay-at-home mom and freelance writer. Her work has been published in 25 Chicken Soup for the Soul books, as well as many national and regional magazines. She writes about the important things in life: her family and her faith. Diane can be reached at DianeStark19 – at – yahoo.com.