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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Fresh New Start

By Jenna Ness

Remember being a student, when every new school year was a chance to reinvent yourself – to ditch the poor choices of the past and start with a fresh slate?

As an adult, sadly, we don’t have the possibility of disappearing for three months each summer and then bursting anew onto the scene, like a butterfly emerging out of a chrysalis. Whatever happened to the possibility of the makeover, the rebirth, the grand entrance?

As romance writers, we still have the opportunity to work hard in private, then make a grand entrance.

It’s called the RWA national conference.

Did you go to the conference in Atlanta this year? If so, was it everything you dreamed it would be? (If you’re Wet Noodle Posse RITA-winners Stephanie Feagan, Diane Gaston or Dianna Love Snell, it probably was!) And if you didn’t go, do you regret it? What would you change?

In the movie Happy Gilmore, after Happy is brutally rejected from a minor league hockey team, he doesn’t give up on his dream. Instead, he stands in front of a pitching machine in a batting cage, growling and clenching his fists while he lets baseballs pummel his body. When someone questions his sanity, he explains (between grunts of pain), “Only 364 days until next year’s hockey tryouts. I’ve got to toughen up!”

It’s time to toughen up. Atlanta is over, but we have a whole year to prepare for Dallas. Close your eyes and imagine arriving at the hotel. What’s different between now and then? What has changed in you? Keep your eyes on that star. Dallas. Be tough and work hard. Dallas. Love your goals more than you love your excuses. Dallas. You can burst into next year’s national conference like a gorgeous butterfly!

What specific actions will you take to reach those goals? What are those goals, anyway?

When you applied for college, you probably had a safety school (which was guaranteed), a target school (which was not) and a "reach” school (which was a farfetched dream; think Harvard). What are your biggest, craziest goals for Dallas – and what would you settle for?

By the time Dallas comes around, I’d like to look better. My “safety/target” goals are to lose most/all of the baby weight, and maybe buy a chic new outfit. My big, crazy “reach” goal is to lose the baby weight plus another ten pounds, and to look my confident best.

For writing, my “safety” goal is to submit The Greek Billionaire’s Baby to Harlequin and enter it in the Golden Heart. My “target” is to write another book by November and enter that, too. My “reach” goal is to write yet another book right after I have the baby, so I have two brand spankin’ new manuscripts to pitch in Dallas!

So what’s your big dream? Is it to finish that book? To get an agent? To sell? To get a bigger advance? To get an award or hit a bestseller list? Whatever your crazy goal, no matter how unrealistic or impossible it is, if you work your butt off you can achieve it – or at least, get closer to achieving it.

When in doubt, just take a deep breath and remember Elle Woods’s immortal words in Legally Blonde, when her former boyfriend expressed his shock that a “dumb-blonde” sorority girl could get accepted into Harvard Law School:

Elle (screwing up her little button nose): “What, like it’s hard?”

Be stubborn. Aim high. Andif you miss the target in Dallas, there are still plenty of fresh starts left. San Francisco in 2008. Washington D.C. in 2009. Nashville in 2010. And finally, in 2011, the granddaddy of them all – New York!


At 10:29 AM, Blogger Diane Perkins said...

Jenna, This is such an inspiring blog. With a positive attitude like this, great things can - I mean, WILL - happen!

At 3:07 PM, Blogger Karen said...

Jenna, thanks for the inspiration. "Love your goals more than you love your excuses" is going up on the bathroom mirror AND the refrigerator door!

At 5:11 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

Your posts are always great. I look forward to them each month. My goals for Dallas (if I go) are to lose 20 pounds, perhaps more, and to have sold my first book by then, perhaps more than one. I want to be more fit and have these years of being unpublished behind me.

At 1:11 PM, Blogger Charity said...

What a great post and a great way of looking at things.

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Kiki, aka Esri said...

Great post, Jenna! And doesn't the hotel look B-YOotiful! Thanks for including that link.

Wonderful use of the Legally Blond quote. I'm still chuckling.

Yeah, might have to print this one out...


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