I love this letter.
Fine, I love all the letters, but that’s because I know the intention of them. I know the notes that come in from readers who feel as if someone has walked around in their head or let them in just a little, I had no idea. I know that women around the country are working on their letters, hoping their voices, struggles and triumphs may help another. I also know there’s a teacher out there that has turned this into a project for her students.
Everyone asks, “What do I write?”
Write from your heart.
I can’t wait to share Love Letters from Readers. From moms, from daughters, from little girls to their moms and grandmas, from grandmas to the littles they see opening their eyes in a much different world. Boys are welcome to join us as well, who do you celebrate and why? What do you want us to know? There is so much wisdom and good intention in the world. Let’s dig into it.
If there are any teachers out there that would like to include letters from their students, please share!
Please email your questions, comments and love letters to email@example.com.
I find I’ve had a reason for loving each letter and the reason I love Tracy’s is because I was with her at the first writer’s conference she mentions in her letter. I was there at the hotel cafe the day she walked in and acted as if the meeting of the agents was only a step in the achievement of her dream, This lady is determined. We stood outside the New York Public Library and announced our books would be on those shelves one day. She bet she’d get there first. She was right.
I had no idea that in the realization of her dream she would be subject to something we all struggle with and I thank her for sharing.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Tracy Brogan –
Dear Daydream Believers – and Those Who Aren’t,
It’s an honor to share this space with you and I hope what I have to say is helpful. My advice is from the heart, and if it touches yours then I’ll feel that I have done my job.
Today I am wearing a silver bracelet with three words engraved on it. Imagine. Believe, Achieve. If I ever actually get a tattoo, that’s what it will say – in some sort of artsy, elegant, and hopefully painless, font.
Imagine. Believe. Achieve.
Individually, the words and their meaning are beautiful. Strung together, they form a philosophy that has impacted my life immeasurably.
From the age of fourteen onward I started telling people I was going to write a book someday. I told high school friends, college friends, co-workers. I told my husband on our first date. But I never really believed it when I said it. Not deep down – down inside the secret place where we keep our true, vulnerable selves. Because I wasn’t an author. Not like a real author.
Sure, I had endless story ideas swirling, twirling in my brain like cotton candy, but just as spun sugar is apt to be, the ideas were thin, translucent, only slightly sticky. There was never enough substance. Nothing I could grab onto or sink my writerly teeth into, and after a while the ideas would melt away and I’d be on to something else.
But always I had the hope of becoming an author. Someday.
Some might say hope without action is just a dream. A hollow wish.
But it’s still a good place to start, right? Because if you can’t even imagine something, how can you ever create it? How can you move toward a dream if you don’t know what it looks like?
So a few years ago (okay, several years ago) when I saw that engraved bracelet at a craft show bearing the words imagine, believe, achieve I decided to buy it.
And then I did something foolishly, naively miraculous. I decided to live it.
This was a mind-bendingly provocative action on my part. As a recovering Irish-Catholic-Capricorn-Midwesterner, I’m not prone to indulging in flights of fancy. Whims are not my thing. But I decided, for once, to gift myself permission to imagine all the possibilities. The plausible. The far-fetched. All the impossible possibilities that were certainly far beyond my grasp.
“What if” became my question for everything. What if I really put the time into writing a book? What if I committed to finishing a manuscript? What if I actually sent it out into the world? My pragmatic brain was quick to point out all the reasons why these things were pointless, but I’d look at my bracelet and remind myself to imagine it all working out. The line between fantasy and goal-setting became blurred.
After some practice, the imagining became second nature. I indulged it, nurtured it, enjoyed it. But the next part was infinitely harder. To believe. I had to give myself permission to believe in possibility, too.
I have a friend who says, “Self-delusion is so much more productive than self-doubt.” She was kidding, mostly, but the phrase stuck with me – because it’s true. Self-doubt means you’ve failed before you’ve even begun and that’s where so many of us get stuck. So I fought against that insecurity and forged ahead in my blissful ignorance. And yes, I was very probably delusional when I sat down in 2010 and finally decided yes, I could write a book. I was definitely wearing Santa-sized crazy-pants when I signed up for my first writer’s conference in New York city a few months later. And I was certainly quite, quite insane when I submitted my first completed manuscript to literary agents.
But guess what? All the crazysauce paid off.
In 2012, my first book was published, followed by five more. And I have a contract for another five books to come out over the next few years.
So I should be wicked proud of myself, right? I should feel gloriously accomplished. Because technically, I am accomplished. I imagined it, and I achieved it. I worked hard, and learned innumerable lessons along the way because back when I started this journey I didn’t even know what I didn’t even know. Now I do. I know what it takes to write a book, I know how hard it is, and I know I can do it.
But here’s the most fascinating thing. A slightly diabolical and sad thing, too. It’s virtually impossible for me to embrace the accomplishment. To own it. To believe in me. You see, it turns out that even after achieving a dream, the believing part doesn’t always come naturally. In spite of my efforts, in spite of what I’ve learned, and in spite of my success, the only one who still struggles to believe in me is me. Deep down I feel as if I’ve just gotten lucky. Although I’m grateful for my success, I don’t feel deserving of it. And that fear of being discovered as a fraud, a person only posing as a bestselling author, is paralyzing.
In her book, THE GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION, author and researcher Brene Brown talks about how so many of us “hustle for our worthiness.” We shift from feeling unworthy to asking ourselves who do you think you are? Sounds as if we are screwed either way, but don’t worry. There is a solution. Brown goes on to say that in order to halt that emotional pendulum from swinging between self-doubt and fear of arrogance, we need to trust deep down in our soul that we are worthy. Whether we succeed or fail, we are worthy of love, attention, recognition, and belonging. Living in an age of air-brushed perfection and endless Facebook posts about other people’s good fortune, it can be difficult to believe we are equally entitled, equally beautiful, equally valuable. But we are. So if there is any message I would want to send out to other women, it’s this:
You can fake it ‘til you make it, but until you believe you are worthy of all your big dreams, they’ll still feel shallow even when you achieve them.
The good news is, you are worthy. No matter what it is that you want, you ARE worthy of it. Of course you are! You are beautiful and unique and never in the history of ever has there been another person just like you. And never again in the future of forever will there be another soul just like yours. The world needs you. It really, really does. So make the most of that.
Yes, life can be a glorious, sometimes unattractive mess, and sometimes it’s easy to feel that that everyone else is smarter/funnier/skinnier but so what? Stop comparing yourself to them. They’re not YOU. Their journey is their journey. Your journey is YOURS. Focus on yours. Focus on your dreams. Your big, Big, BIG dreams, and your little, tiny, sweet dreams, too. Imagine it all and believe that whatever you crave is within your grasp. Believe it’s possible. But most of all, believe you deserve it. Because you do.
Big love to you,
Amazon and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Tracy Brogan writes fun, funny stories about ordinary people finding extraordinary love. She’s a two-time Romance Writers of America® RITA award nominee for Best First Book in 2013, and Best Contemporary Romance in 2015, a Booksellers Best winner, and a three-time Golden Quill winner in both contemporary and historical romance. Her books have been translated into several languages including German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Hebrew, and Japanese, and have placed in the Amazon Top 100 bestsellers list in both 2013 and 2014. She’s honored to have received the Amazon Publishing Diamond Award for sales exceeding one million copies. Her most recent release, a Christmas novella titled JINGLE BELL HARBOR, is now available exclusively on Kindle. Brogan lives in Michigan with her bemused husband, her well-above-average children, and their mindlessly hedonistic dogs.
You can find Tracy Brogan at www.tracybrogan.com.