I spent a lot of time this summer hiking in Colorado, including one painfully memorable afternoon when I mostly crawled up the most difficult cliff in Boulder. Equally memorable but less painful were the moments I spent learning everything I could about the book publishing industry as a student at the Denver Publishing Institute.
In her October 23rd post in The Buzz, Andie Bernard discussed the benefits of programs like DPI but acknowledged that the programs aren’t always feasible. She’s absolutely right. I loved every minute I spent at DPI and left with more knowledge than I could have hoped to gain in four weeks, but the program isn’t a practical option for everyone. It’s hard to leave your city, your job, and your friends for something that comes with few guarantees. It involves a lot of faith in yourself and in your dreams.
I went to Denver knowing that my dream was NYC. I left Denver knowing that my dream was still NYC, but I left with a better understanding that I don’t need to be in NYC to be part of a community of people who love books as much as I do. Maybe you came to that conclusion years ago and can’t understand why it took me so long to get there. Believe me; I’ve spent many hours exploring the same question. My conclusion is this: overly ambitious people are frighteningly focused creatures who unintentionally block anything that isn’t a checkpoint on the path to achieving their goals. My advice to my fellow overachievers is to remember that removing your blinders doesn’t mean abandoning your dreams. I still have every intention of moving to NYC, but as I’ve been working toward making that dream a reality, I’ve been having the best time exploring the literary communities in my home state. Volunteer at the library. Work at your local bookstore. Attend book fairs and author signings. Open your eyes and see what’s around you. I promise you’re going to love it.