On Acheiving a Dream (Guest Post)

Josh VogtI’m happy to have Josh Vogt here at my blog again, in honor of the release of his second novel, The Maids of Wrath, the follow-up to last year’s Enter the Janitor. Josh has also written a number of tie-in novels for Pathfinder, which you can find more about at his site or by following his his YouTube channel.

What do you do when you accomplish a dream you’ve had for over a decade? I can remember the specific moment when my love of reading and writing coalesced into a true vision to become an author (a career author, no less) and get a book published. I remember the specific book I was reading, my sophomore year dorm room, and time of day. I remember the thought flashing through my head of: “I could write as well as this, or better.” And then replying to myself, “Well, why not prove it?”

Things quickly became more complicated once I started researching writing craft and the publishing industry, attending conferences, conventions, and critique groups—but the initial dream remained intact. I dedicated countless hours to this new passion, trying to refine my technique, trying to complete stories and submit them, and then trying to not let near-constant rejection discourage me from continuing on this path.

Years went by. I worked for a publisher, writing sales copy. I worked as an editor for an online newspaper. I eventually transitioned into full-time freelance writing, expanding from corporate copywriting to writing for roleplaying games and other fun projects. I also got an agent, only to amicably part with him a year later after things didn’t quite work out.

Maids of Wrath - Copy - 2And then, back right at the beginning of 2014…I got an offer for not one but two books. On one side, I got a contract to write a novel in the Pathfinder Tales tie-in line, set in the world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. On the other, WordFire Press acquired Enter the Janitor, the first in my humorous urban fantasy series, The Cleaners. Both came out in May 2015, and now The Cleaner #2: The Maids of Wrath is out April 2016, with #3 well under way.

It’s a strange feeling when you’ve worked so long and hard to reach a particular goal, to achieve a specific dream…and then it happens. You make it. You’re there.

There’s a celebration, to be sure. Launch parties and signings and conventions and those wonderful first reviews (while quickly learning to ignore reviews in general, for sanity’s sake). You get to meet readers and fans and maybe even earn some royalties! Inevitably, though, within all the hubbub, the mind looks ahead and wonders, “What’s next?” What happens when you’ve seen a dream literally come true?

At first, I half-feared my passion for writing might fade. That, because I’d done what I’d set out to do, I might lose the drive to keep going.

Fortunately, that didn’t happen. In fact, I only became all the more eager to leap onto the next book, to tell my next tale, and see it get published as well! I quickly realized that initial dream I had was just a single facet of a much bigger vision of pursuing a lifetime of creativity and constant growth as an author. I’d hit a milestone, yes, but it was only the first of many.

Enter the Janitor - CoverThat thrills me. I now know the only limits on what I dream to achieve are the ones I set on myself. Sure, there will be dreams I have that I’ll never see come to fruition—but that doesn’t mean I won’t chase them. Sure, there will be failure—but I can learn from it and move on. And throughout it all, I can be confident that there will always be new challenges to overcome, new milestones to celebrate, and new dreams to reach for.

What more could I ask for?

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