Small Steps on a Long Journey

“Dreams can come true, but there is a secret.  They’re realized through the magic of persistence, determination, commitment, passion, practice, focus and hard work. They happen a step at a time, manifested over years, not weeks.” By Elbert Hubbard, American writer, publisher, artist and philosopher.

Vail top of mountain view 2On a fairly difficult hike yesterday, I was reminded of how important it is to take small steps when the climb is steep.  The elevation gain was significant and I have difficulty when I’m hiking at altitudes above 10,000 feet. A wise man once told me the best way to climb a steep incline is with small steps. Okay, the wise man was my husband, but his words are true not only for the literal steep slope, but for the figurative one as well.

At the end of our hike we were rewarded with what can arguably be considered one of the most breathtaking views in Colorado.  If I had turned around, had given up, or used  one of my excuses that I keep reserved for days when I don’t feel like trying, I would have missed out on not only the view but the exhilarating feeling of accomplishment.  Sure, many hikers – and I’ll point out that they were all younger than me, I’m pretty sure – passed us along the way.  But it wasn’t about getting there first or fastest.  It was simply about getting there.

Today I spent a considerable amount of time submitting a query to a literary agency on my first novel.  I spent last weekend researching agents and making a list of those who are interested in my genre and who are interested in new authors.  Armed with my list, I sat at my computer with the idea that I would simply hammer out thirty queries, send them off, and patiently wait until that one lucky agent discovers me – task accomplished!

As it turns out I forgot to renew my subscription to Microsoft, so I had to take care of that first.  I couldn’t find my draft query letter and spent a frustrating amount of time finding it.  Thrilled when I finally found it, I realized it needed quite a bit of editing for the first agency I was going to query.  They don’t accept email queries, instead you input your information into their query tracker system which requires editing the very carefully crafted email I had written back in May.

Viewpoint traile end signA few deep breaths later, I had all my information input, my query sounded better and I was ready to submit.  Part of the requirement for this agency was to submit the first ten pages of my novel.  Easy!  Copy, paste and done!  Until I started reading what I copied and realized that a few words had been gratuitously removed in the process.  Wanting to submit an entry with no errors, I spent time re-reading the pages and ensuring that all missing words were re-added.  Whew!  Three hours after sitting down to submit thirty entries, I hit submit on the first one.

I intend to continue submitting queries, it’s just going to take longer than I had originally anticipated.  Like climbing the steep slope, I am reminded I need to take small steps.  Sometimes the steps require a detour, or a few extra steps on the path, but the goal is to move forward, even if getting there means a lot of small steps.

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