I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Hope is a funny thing. We look for the slightest bit of it anywhere we can find it, and when we think we've found it, we cling to it—counting on it to give us that one shot of adrenaline we need to stay positive, because we know how quickly dreams fade, or worse, are crushed.

After I had been writing for a year or so, I started to dream about writing full time, but I never seriously considered it. I didn't think I had the talent and it seemed a little unrealistic. I've always been a punch-the-time-clock kind of guy who took very few chances in work or in life. Then a friend started telling me that I ought to pursue a full time writing career. I voiced my concerns to her and she said that she believed in me. That stunned me. It still does. I grasped on to that piece of hope and nurtured it until it sprang to life within me.

I decided to attend my first writer's conference shortly after that in 1998. I wanted to learn how to write a novel, so I took a continuing workshop taught by novelist Nancy Moser. She taught us how to structure novels, how to construct dialogue, how to stay in point of view during each scene, and many other tips—almost all of which I still use today.

As the final class was coming to an end, she told us that she struggled to get published for many years and then one day she received two calls from two different publishers who offered her contracts for nonfiction books. And she did eventually receive a contract for a novel. (Her 13th novel is just about to be published). She encouraged us to persevere in our writing because wannabes can—and do—get published. I clung to that hope as I left the classroom that day. I bought the audio tapes of the class and I've listened to them two or three dozen times since then.

I still don't have a novel published. I've written two and I'm slowly working on a third, but Nancy was right. Wannabes can get published if the persevere. I attended writer's conferences. I studied the craft. And I started sending out magazine articles. After I had a few published, I developed an idea for a nonfiction book (Single Servings) and it too was published. Since then, I've written two more nonfiction books (actually one was co-written) and I just signed a contract for another. I've also had close to 300 articles published since then.

None of that would have happened if two people hadn't offered me a little hope. So, I'm extremely mindful of how powerful hope can be. We're all looking for it. Some desperately want to be married but are close to giving up. Some have been dreaming about starting their own business, but see no feasible way for that to happen. Some are battling addictions and are just about to surrender. Whatever you are battling or dreaming about, hold on. Don't give up. Take the next step towards freedom and you might be surprised to find it around the next corner. But even if you don't, you might fight it around the next block, the next mile, or in the next city.  

And maybe in the process of looking for hope, we could listen a little closer to those whom we love as they gingerly tell us about their struggles or dreams. A well-timed comment, e-mail, or phone call might be all the hope they need to motivate them to take action—or to hold on to hope until they can.


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