Blogger: Rachelle Gardner
I’m sure many of you are familiar with the late Randy Pausch’s story and his book, The Last Lecture (co-written with Jeffrey Zaslow) which came out a decade ago. In his lecture and his book, Randy spoke with great wisdom about achieving your childhood dreams.
One of his points that has stuck with me through the years 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 meet so many writers… but I can’t represent everyone. 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? And what is this brick wall trying to teach me?” I hope it leads to ever greater commitment to improving the writing, building the platform, and learning to navigate publishing. Or even finding a different goal.
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 an agent is an obstacle to you achieving your lifelong dreams, please take it as an opportunity to ask yourself how badly you want it, and what you’re going to have to do to get it.
What kinds of obstacles—agents or other roadblocks—have you encountered in your publishing journey? How do you respond to them?