When I was a kid, I knew I was destined for great things. I was probably going to be an astronaut, but also an undersea explorer, famous actress, artist, dancer, martial artist, composer (working with John Williams, no less), and of course an author. How was this going to happen? Serendipity! Somehow, people in places to haul me up the ladder of success were going to stumble upon my work (never mind that there was no physically possible way for this to happen!) and be moved to tears by my greatness.
Now, enthusiasm and believing in yourself are undeniably important variables in the equation for success, but in the end, it mostly comes down to plenty of hard work. In the writing world, this means doing things that aren’t really fun for me: researching publishers and agents, and writing and sending out tons of query and cover letters. There are fun things, too, though, like the various internet and Twitter challenges that are becoming popular. Personally, I’m really looking forward to Query Kombat, #SFFpit, and #PitMad.
I suppose it’s possible that a freak accident might cause the brass ring to eject itself into your lap, but you have a much higher chance of getting it if you reach out and grab it. Don’t just dream, and don’t simply follow those dreams; pursue them!