Friday, October 12, 2012

Aspiring Advice: When Goals and Promises Collide

The winner of my birthday giveaway is Andrew Leon! I was born at 1:32 PM - Andrew's guess was closest at 1:00 PM. Congratulations, sir! Please email me here with the email address you'd like me to send your prize to. Thank you everyone for your participation and warm birthday wishes! I now have the courage to face another 30 years. :)

And do I really come off as a morning person? Interesting ...

You guys are probably tired of me talking about birthdays (there's just so many of them in October, it's leafy!), so I hope you don't mind me mentioning it once more. You see, I made a promise five years ago - an important promise. Unless I land a deal or an agent by the time I'm 30, I'll put writing aside and get a real job (following in the footsteps of similar promises made by Dean Koontz and James Dasher, my writing heroes). I've encountered many who have done this after a few years of giving it their all, so I figured, hey, I can do this! I'll write that post that every author wants to write in no time!

Well ... this is the post that I never wanted to write ...

30 is here. My family is growing. My paycheck isn't. It's time to follow through with that promise. Now before I go on, please note that I'm not complaining. All I'm saying is not every dream or goal is going to happen, no matter how much you sing that Disney Cinderella song. That's the truth, and it doesn't do anyone any good to raise a stink when things don't go as planned or go the way we want them to.

Isn't that exactly what you're doing?

Yes. No. Maybe so ...

This doesn't mean my writing pursuits are going to stop. It means I won't be able to dedicate the time I would like, and if plan B goes into fruition, I might move close to the east coast (that's where the jobs are if I pass a certain certification process). Like Mr. Darling of Peter Pan, a few dreams will be filed away in the tight spaces of my desk drawers. I made a promise. What would I be if I didn't keep them?

But you know what? That's okay. I don't need to follow in the footsteps of or be the next Dean Koontz or James Dashner - I want to be the next David Powers King! This journey is my own. Not every path is the same. Some are rockier than others. And when you've come this close, it's amazing the support that springs from the woodwork. As my wife said last night, I am so close that I would be an idiot for giving up now (that's not how she said it exactly, but I may have heard it that way). Since I have to study for a year for this test anyway, she told me to give this writing dream another year.

That was her birthday present to me.

Best. Birthday. Present. Ever!

I take it back - this is the post I've always wanted to write.

This is not the rule, just my thoughts on the matter. It's important to make goals and promises, but we have to be ready for promises that collide with our goals. The point is being flexible. The world is not going to end if the goal can't be reached the way we want them to. It just needs to be changed. It's the only constant thing in this world.

Ever have promises collide with your goals? Will you ever give up writing or stick to it? What are your current long-term goals?

I'm David, and Dad is great! Give us the chocolate cake!


  1. I was so close! Good guess, Andrew.
    You may have put a time limit on it, but ultimately, there is no time limit.
    And the east coast is cool! Well, not really - we do have our humidity.

  2. Support from our family is the best present ever, you're right. David, I'm 48, and relaunching a dream of writing I picked at in my early 30s. It meant big lifestyle changes for my family and, like you, I may have to reconsider in a couple of years. But I sure am thankful for the time now to give this a go. Birthday cheers--hoping this next year gives birth do your dreams.

  3. I love your wife!! And speaking from the wife of someone who has had their dream on the back burner because he has to support his family I know that there is always room for your dreams. Even if it doesn't always fit in your life they way you originally planned it would.

    We're reading The Lost Hero too.

  4. So important to be practical as well as follow your dreams. Many writers need to work full-time and write. And they do it. That's how I'm following my dream because I know it's important to my family that I stay the primary wage earner. My company will close in 2014 and I will be laid off. I'm planning a career change with a pay cut that I can afford because I've continued to work. And I'll still continue the writing on the side. So if your career changes, don't give up on the writing. You can do both. Maybe slower, but you can do it.

  5. Hey, the east coast isn't so bad.

    I think you'd be crazy to give up but I do believe that family comes first and that sometimes means taking the writing slow. It's taken me three years to get my current MS ready for querying. It may not happen the way you had originally thought but it will happen. Hang in there. And make sure your wife knows how grateful you are. :)

  6. You can do it. Hang in there. Making time for other things doesn't have to kill your dream. It's just about shuffling some stuff around. Keep at it!

  7. David, you can do both. Lots of us juggle. You'll just have some priorities (the family), but I know you can make a plan adjustment.

  8. I hope you get the job that you are looking for on the East Coast. I also want to point out that traditional publishing (with agents and stuff) moves at a glacial pace. It can take six months just to hear back from some of them, so that could have prematurely eaten up your timeline that you gave yourself. Did you submit your manuscript to the open call at Harper Voyager? It's still open until the 14th. I sent mine in on day two (I have one that no one has ever seen-epic fantasy around 90K words and with a PG rating). I think you should at least send one of your stories into that. It's Big Six and they aren't requiring an agent.

  9. I didn't start writing seriously till I was way past 30. My life was too packed with raising the kids, supporting my husbands business, setting up and running a holiday cottage business and just well being a wife and mum! I am still running around like a fool but when I find time to write I feel blessed. I hope my dreams of publication come true and I hope your dreams, whatever they may be, do too, David. It sounds like you have a wonderful family to support you :)

    PS Your guess the time of birth comp was brill btw! Congrats to winner.

  10. Great picture, David! I'll never give up writing, now that I've been doing it for a while. I can't see myself not doing it. I'm not published, but I will be.

    Glad you will be keeping up the dream.

  11. Hell, I was only off by 10 hours.

  12. Your wife rocks! I'm glad you're giving yourself another year. :) Happy (belated) Birthday!

  13. As Tolkien (sort of) said, maybe you just don't have enough rotting vegetation built up yet. Even if you have to do other things, there's no reason to stop working on it.
    Email incoming.

  14. Aww...your wife is awesome! Wonderful family pic, too. So happy to hear you're giving yourself another year. Yay! Happy Belated Birthday!!!

    I agree. Every path is unique and we'll reach our goals in our own way. Thanks for the inspiring post!

  15. I love that your lovely is so supportive. It does take sacrifice... And I hate to be cheesy, but you'll do it, DPK. I have no doubt. Listen to your gut--and put everything you can into making it happen. You'll be guided!

  16. David,

    I missed your birthday, how, have I been in a vacuum? Sorry once I finished up with the query torture I was looking for fresh air, and spent most of yesterday outside. The cool air of fall so invigorating.

    Sorry, and happy belated birthday. You're doing the right thing. You'll reach all your goals especially with such beautiful support!

    Have a wonderful second day at being 30!

  17. Yay, David's wife! I'm glad to hear you're not dropping it altogether. I have a good feeling about you, young man!

  18. Congrats to the winner. I'm sorry I didn't get to participate. I have not excuse. So Happy belated Birthday bloggy buddy o'mine.

    And your wife is the Best. Thing. Ever! Another year to write and study. Study and write. Network and participate in Miss Snark's First Victim's Baker's dozen or Brenda Drake's live pitch madness or I think there is something happening at YAtopia's blog. But more time.

    Go for it. You are the DAD!

    I'm going back now because my goals are in action with this whole self-publishing thing. Not sure if you'll ever choose this route. But if you do, I'm glad to share my lessons-learned with you. I'm still learning some too.

  19. Happy birthday! It's possible to have a day job and moonlight as a writer. That's so wonderful that you have such a supportive wife.

  20. It's wonderful that your wife is so supportive of your writing! And here's to reaching your goals. :)

  21. I'm cheering for you and happy for you. You have a wonderful wife, had a great birthday and I hope the next year is all you want it to be.

  22. So so so so happy that you have such an amazing wife who supports your goals and dreams. My husband is the same way and I know for a fact that none of the progress I've made to this point would have happened if he wasn't.

    Just keep hugging her :)

  23. Happy Birthday, David. I'm so happy to hear you're not pushing aside your writing. You're one of those people who hungers for success AND deserves it. It will be that much sweeter when you get it. I believe in that Cinderella song: "A dream that you wish will come true!" :)

  24. Hey Pal,


    But seriously, nice assist by Mrs. DPK and I think she and my missus would get along like a house on fire.

    Dave, you live that dream the way your gut (and your God) is leading you.

    It's your life. It's your dream. There are no limits, time or other that apply - only desire.

    (I need to read this post back to me later... :)

    You're one of my mentors here in the Blogisfear, so don't you dare quit, man :)

    You have the skills.

    You have the support.

    Do what you need to do.

    Be all that you can be.


    Love ya like a brudda from anudda Mudda.


  25. that was an fabulous present! And Happy Birthday to a fellow Libra; we're pretty awesome aren't we?

  26. Yay, David's wife! I understand the need to support a family, but don't EVER give up on writing. Even if you can only find a few hours a weekend, you can still write a book.

  27. Ok, have the most INCREDIBLE and AMAZING wife EVER. That's gotta be the best birthday present EVER. Yeah, never give up. You can do it, it's just the matter of when it will happen. Time can only tell... Happy belated birthday!

  28. Don't quit, just adapt. I think the mistake I made when I first started writing was to be very black and white about it. Much like you I thought if I didn't get published in a certain amount of time, then I wasn't any good and the dream wasn't going to happen. This summer I kind of had a transforming thought. There's a ton of authors out there who are really good who don't get publishing contracts or agents. Writing is a fickle business and there is lots of competition. Putting a time limit on the journey only stressed me out. It didn't mean anything else than the timing wasn't right yet. (Well, I could be a crappy writer, but I've gotten feedback from people who would know that I'm not, so I think I'm safe there.)

    Writing doesn't have to be all or nothing. The huge best-selling authors have been given a gift of getting super-rich off of writing, but there are plenty of other writers who make money, if not a modest income, off writing. Your statement about this being your journey is so right. There's a million and one ways to get to the prize of publication, but if we give up because the journey isn't going the way we thought it would, we NEVER will be published. So! I'm glad your wife told you to keep going - she's smart, and I'm glad you listened to her!

  29. Awww, you have an awesome wife, David! I'm glad you have another year. I have an awesome husband, too. We are dead broke, but he's told me to just concentrate on writing. Of course, our kids are grown so we only have to worry about ourselves, so we can make that decision.

  30. Kudos to your wife, David! I, too, have had to shuffle some things around after my hub and I purchased a new business this summer and it severely cut into my writing time. It stinks at time, but I still make sure to find time for everything, including my writing.

    You can do it!

  31. You're like the most positive guy ever!! In the face of all of these big decisions, you don't complain and you seem to have a healthy perspective on everything. I'm confident your time will come...and at the last minute, according to that strange law of the universe. The problem is we always think the "last minute" is much sooner than it really is! Hooray for your extra year and happy birthday!

  32. Happy Birthday! You are definitely blessed to have a family and wife who is very supportive. :)

    You're right that dreams don't always go the way we plan -- most often, they never go as we planned, but then, they usually end up being better than planned. I definitely agree that you shouldn't give up on your dream, because it is probably right around the corner from becoming something amazing. Take Stephen King, who missed the call from the publisher wanting to publish his first book because his phone bill wasn't paid -- and then look at him now. I bet he never expected it to happen that way, and he was about to call it quits, too (they had to come to his home, apparently). It's good to promise yourself things, but with something like this, it's a hard promise to keep, because unless you publish yourself, you really have no control over if and when things happen for publishing. But, I'm glad you're still giving it time; you're a great writer, from what I've read of your snidbits, and I'd had to see your work go unread.

    As far as me...I've had plenty of time where my goals and promises conflicted, but I'm personally not willing to give up on what I love to keep a promise, not when I can do something to change things. My long term goals are to be a bestseller, and to direct my screenplays one day. I haven't seen those things happen yet, but I believe that they will. :)

    Again, happy birthday! Hope it's a great one.


  33. What a fantastic gift. Life is full of curve balls, and all we can do is go along.

    And yeah, I have the promise colliding with goal thing all the time. I'm trying to get my act together in writing land at the same time as finishing my dissertation. ERG. Nothing like wanting to write about elves but heading back to the thermodynamic equilibrium of 4 billion year old rocks.

  34. Keep on ticking no matter the age!! Great inspiration!

  35. I absolutely love that you called your "real" job the Plan B. That's an attitude I need to maintain. Here I am about to quit my job to write full-time with no leads, and you lead by example by managing to do it all. You have my respect, sir. Take care!

  36. I set myself that target as well... and then I scraped it, because so when it happens it happens. It's not going to matter WHAT age you are. Great advice! :)

  37. Your wife is amazing. And whatever letter plan you're on, I know you'll rock that plan! So glad you're gonna keep writing in whatever way you can. You'll get there, David. I just know it!

  38. That truly is an awesome b-day gift. I think the goals and dreams stay mostly the's just the route and the timetable that seem to change daily. ;)

    Sending you lots of good wishes for catching that dream!

  39. You're lucky to have a wife that supports your dream. I think that's what our dreams need. People who will rally behind us and help us keep going. Happy Birthday!

  40. You never know how following through with that promise may actually aide you in your dreams. Look at Brandon Mull, he took a year off to be a full time writer and it didn't work out. Now he's huge. We all have different paths we must forge and sometimes God has another plan for us that we weren't expecting. Good luck with your test and querying!

  41. You found a keeper there! That is a wonderful present. I'm doing the same. Self-pubbing my novel but moving writing to a more limited role for job purposes. It's life. Good luck David!

  42. I didn't know you had a stop-at-30 plan. SO glad you guys decided that you'll stick with this for another year!! (And hopefully many more after that. :)) Happy birthday again!

  43. Well, I'm glad you wife has some sense. Another year is not going to be life threatening.

    Glad your keeping up with it.

    I had a three year promise and it has expired because it's just over that and I am about as close as you are. I have already cut down my writing time to concentrate back on design, HOWEVER. I will NEVER give up and neither should you. It's in our blood, pumping through all the veins throughout our body. It brings us LIFE.

    Of course you have a family to consider. But the decision should be made by you and YOUR WIFE... which it has been.

    The east coast isn't going anywhere, BUT YOU MAY BE within the next month, three, five, or the last day before your moving truck leaves the driveway.

    If you do leave, YOU'LL BE BACK>>>> LOL. Everyone ALWAYS comes back.

  44. Dreams ought to have no deadline--but life can get in the way. You go to bed at the beginning of summer and see months of opportunity, and then wake up and school's already started. But that doesn't mean it's the end of the world... don't ever quit, because that would be crazy. Just take it easy, and enjoy the spare time you can get.

    BTW, it totally helps to have someone so supportive of you. :D Your wife gets +30 awesomeness points.