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Dare to Dream...and Dream Big By Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Dare to Dream~

It is said that every person has at least one good story in them! Some people are gifted to have more than one.

Do you know a future writer – someone who dreams of writing fiction, poetry, or short stories? Maybe that future writer is…you! If you dream of writing, then why not write?

Why not Dare to Dream…and Dream BIG?

There once was a young girl who dreamed of becoming a writer. Her goal was to become the next Stephen King…or 'Stephanie', at least. When she was about 16, she started writing a novel. It took her over a year to complete it and at 17, she tried to find a publisher. She submitted query letters, partial manuscripts…and her dreams, for other people to judge. She received rejection letter after rejection letter.

The first strike against her was that she had very few published works – a few town articles in a small local paper were her only credit. The second strike against her was that she was Canadian, struggling to get into a predominantly American market. 95% of the major, big-league publishing companies were American. She hit a brick wall – hard.

For the next few years, she wrote mostly poetry until she submitted a health and beauty article and landed another column in a small newspaper. And then a year or so later she ended up in a New Brunswick newspaper, as the writer of a song dedicated to the Gulf War soldiers. This was the first indication that she had power – power to influence people's emotions, to make them feel something.

Years passed as she struggled to find a way to make her dream come true, to be that writer. She continued to write, took a course in journalism/short story writing and graduated with a 98% average. She wrote two children's books, complete with illustrations and tried desperately to get them published. They became her 'babies', her creations. Her children's books were well received in schools when she did readings, but no one seemed interested in publishing them. After two years of more brick walls, she gave up trying. Her dream dissipated…died a slow death.

More years went by, until one day she was talking to a friend about a story she had always wanted to write. It was a story about a young girl who experiences a tragedy and loses part of her memory – a tale about killer whales and native legends. It was a story about wolves and dreams, love and life, death and fear…but mostly it was a story about triumph and forgiveness. Her friend told her "You need to just WRITE it! Even if it never gets published, write it for YOU!" Her friend was right!

Dream BIG~ If my friend had not encouraged me to write "Whale Song" then I would have let an awe-inspiring story slip away, lost in self-doubt! I would be at home, working a J.O.B., giving up on my Dream.

Whale Song was more than a story to me…it was my inspiration. It played itself out like a movie in my head. The story haunted me for two years until I finally began writing it. Once I sat down to write, the story flowed as if I wasn't even there. Some stories simply demand to be told, and this was one of them.

Then came the brick wall: how to get it published.

I knew of two options: find a reputable publishing company and get them to notice my novel out of the hundreds of manuscripts they receive, or self-publish.

The problem with traditional self-publishing is that those companies expect you to fork out thousands of dollars so they can run a huge print job with hundreds or thousands of copies that you have to warehouse yourself, in a basement or storage unit. And then you are left on your own to sell/market your books. Who has $20,000 to throw away?

Six weeks after I started writing Whale Song, I located a Canadian publisher via a search on the Internet. Trafford Publishing is a Canadian company with offices in 5 countries, Canada, the US, Ireland, Spain and the UK. They are on the cutting edge of a process called POD – Print on demand. Trafford offers a form of self-publishing, but the difference is that they help promote, sell and advertise your work. As with any business (and a writer is his/her business) there is an investment, but it was unbelievable SMALL compared to what I received. Trafford made it POSSIBLE to finally realize my Dream…but it hasn't stopped there!

I have been featured in local newspapers, on TV, and have used Whale Song to raise funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in Edmonton.

Whale Song has grown beyond a simple novel…it is BIGGER than my original dream. Why? Because I live my motto: Dare to Dream…and Dream BIG!

Do you have a dream? Dare to dream it! No matter what it is, whether to be a writer, an artist, the next Canadian Idol or a doctor. Then take that dream…and Dream BIG!

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Copyright 2003 Cheryl Kaye Tardif

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