Like most authors, I dream of winning prestigious awards. Landing on multiple bestseller lists. Shaking hands and sharing words with Oprah and Ellen and even Obama.
Silly, I know, but true.
I try not to talk about all these lavish dreams; for one thing, quite a few of them are pretty far-fetched. Plus, who wants to hear some author whining about all of these impossible, unrealistic things?
But after recent conversations with both my agent and editor, I was reminded that my dreams are not mine alone. My agent, editor, friends, family—everyone I know—dreams, hopes, and wishes for good things for me. Maybe some of my dreams are unrealistic. Maybe some of them are far-fetched. But as lavish as these dreams are, they still fall within the realm of possibility—with a lot of hard work (and maybe a little bit of luck thrown in for good measure).
So when I think about giving up on a scene, or showing rather than telling, or using lazy adverbs, I try to remember that it’s not only my dreams I’m trying to make true. So I dig in deep, work hard, and try to write the best damn book I can.
Varian Johnson is the author of Saving Maddie (Delacorte / Random House, 2010), My Life as a Rhombus (Flux / Llewellyn, 2008) and A Red Polka Dot in a World Full of Plaid (Genesis Press, 2005). He was born and raised in Florence, South Carolina, and attended the University of Oklahoma, where he received a BS in Civil Engineering. Varian later attended the Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. You can read more about Varian and his work at his website: http://www.varianjohnson.com.