Dream a little dream

In 2019, the Universe told me it was listening.

For the past few years I have been working on a series I’ve called “The Dream Diary Project,” where I write down my dream from the night before, pinpoint a few key symbols, illustrate them and research what they mean. This project came about with the help of one of my favorite artists, Crystal Moody, and her course “A Year of Creative Habits.” In it, she helped me distill all my ideas into something manageable, and I am forever grateful for that class because it unlocked so many new doors.

As the project grew, I realized that paying attention to my nightly dreams was crucial to my creative well-being. I was never at a loss for inspiration. I could write novels based on a dream snippet, and learned so much about the world around me. This could be a book, I thought!

For two years I kept working on this project, started a Patreon page, posted regularly to Instagram, and simultaneously worked on a proposal for a publishing company as well as mapping out the self-publishing route.

During a writer’s retreat, I hastily (in retrospect…more on that later…) put together a proposal and sent it to my dream publishing company, Storey Publishing. Their mission is “We publish practical books for creative self-reliance.” Perfect!

To nobody’s surprise but my own, I never heard back from them. It had been about six weeks when I realized, yeah, they don’t want this project.

I kept working on the project, but felt a tad defeated. I also started working full time for a regional arts council, which took out a huge chunk of my personal creative momentum, and my Hashimotos (an autoimmune disease where your body thinks your thyroid gland is a foreign object and attacks it) was going INSANE and I felt like I was on an emotional and hormonal roller coaster.

The Dream Diary Project got put on hold. I’d still work on it a bit, here and there. I’d talk about it constantly. It weighed heavily on my shoulders, that I had this idea, this project that was so close to being a REAL THING, but my momentum had stalled.

Thank goodness for my writing group, The Split Nibs! My judgement-free zone, a support group beyond support group. They knew how important this project was for me, and never let me give up. One night in September 2019, we were out for drinks, and I told them, I think I’m done with The Dream Diary Project. I need to take it off my plate. This was after spending a week in June telling them how I was going to finish this project by the end of the year.

Susan, soon to be the next name in best-selling fiction, said, “Don’t give it up completely. You’ll find time for it eventually.” I agreed. I wouldn’t give up on it…COMPLETELY. But I did decide to de-prioritize it until I could realistically focus more time on it.

Here’s where the world was listening:

THE NEXT DAY I received an email from an editor at Workman Publishing, reaching out to see if I wanted to talk to her about turning The Dream Diary Project into a book.

A project I’d decided to set aside. After saying it out loud. And now an editor was emailing me, in so many words, telling me my dreams were literally about to come true. I screamed in my office, took a screen shot of the email and texted it to my writing group and my husband. “Is this real?”

Turns out, yes, yes it was. AND even crazier: Workman is the parent company of Storey, who I had submitted a proposal to years ago. When I asked if she ever saw that proposal, she said no, she had come across my work through Instagram.

Even crazier: they publish a few of the books that have been instrumental in my creative path and starting my Instagram account, including “Show Your Work!” by Austin Kleon.

I honestly thought this was all a misunderstanding. Surely the editor saw a different Instagram account and reached out to me by mistake? I mean, the world doesn’t work this way does it? Having such a serendipitous connection? That’s only in the movies!

After chatting back and forth with the editor and talking to her about what I already had, she requested an in-depth proposal that she could show her team. I looked back at the one I had initially sent and cringed. Now that I knew someone was actually going to read it, I had A LOT of work to do. I worked on it every day for weeks, had multiple people proof it, and fine-tuned my illustrations in Photoshop. I did market research, wrote sample chapters, and outlined the book page-by-page. It was the most work I’ve done on the project in ages.

I submitted it on a Friday, and my editor said she would present it the following Thursday. In my head that equated to “we’ll talk about it on Thursday and it’ll take a few weeks to determine if it’s the right fit.” But no! By 11am on Thursday, she emailed me back saying it was a go! She would start working on the contract and we’d go from there.

!!!!!!!!!!!

This was in October. Since then I have been walking on air. The contract was signed by both parties on December 20th, and a proposed publication date in spring 2021.

I have A LOT of work to do, and I’m nervous. The Universe told me it was listening, and now I think it’s going to see just how bad I want this. What obstacles will it throw in my path? So far, since September, it’s given me crushing fatigue from Hashimoto’s, my husband had a spinal injury which cut out over a month’s worth of productivity, and December (because who can get anything done in December!?).

2020 is going to be a crazy year. It’s the year I’ve dreamed of my entire life. And it’s just the beginning! I’m going to follow the path of a bear this year. I’ll be hibernating with my full brain and full belly from a productive winter, and won’t come out until Spring when the manuscript is due. I am so grateful in advance for the support my family and friends give me, to ensure I complete this project to the best of my ability.

Cheers to you, the Universe, and our dreams!

{this post may contain Amazon affiliate links, where I could earn a percentage of sales.}

2 thoughts on “Dream a little dream

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s