If You Can Visualize It, It Can Be Yours—Or Maybe Not

I held a story in my chest and this story breathed when I breathed, and it flowed through my veins and pulsed with my heartbeat. I couldn’t shut it off. Everything else I tried to write was colored by it. My story needed to be told, so I put it down on pages and it became a book, and then I didn’t have to carry it any longer.

As I wrote Girlish, I pictured a young woman on the opposite side of the country opening my book and seeing something that resembled her life for the first time ever and feeling less alone. (The other side of the country is less scary than the neighbor living next door.)

That was all I wanted, and if no one wanted to publish my book, I planned on self-publishing it, because I wanted my story to come into the world so damn badly.

Oh, and also it would be cool to be on The Ellen Show and the NY Times Bestseller list.

That’s where it all goes awry.

Dreams expand to fill the space allotted to them, and there are plenty of memes extolling the idea that if you dream it, it will come to you.

Um, sorry, nope. I visualized the ever-loving heck out of appearing on The Ellen Show. Still didn’t happen. 






Don’t get me wrong, I believe in focusing on positivity and saying yes to the universe á la Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass:How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. A positive mindset can be life altering. When I was querying, every day I actively invited positivity into my life. My mantra was, “yes, please.” And it worked—anxiety and excitement live in the same space in your body, and I chose excitement. I opened my heart to success and stopped sabotaging myself, though of course I didn’t get everything I dreamed of.



 You have to be happy with the stars if you miss the moon. That’s the rub.

No, I never got on Ellen and the NY Times chose not to review Girlish. While people ask me how my sales are going, I honestly have no idea—I can’t see that data and won’t get a royalty report for a very long time. I know Girlish did well enough that Skyhorse exercised their option for my second book, Mama, Mama, Only Mama. Really, that’s all I need to know, because what I want more than anything is to write another book, and then one after that, and then one after that. I love writing and reading and the smell of bookstores.

The rest of the dreams—the Ellen Show, the NY Times review, the mound of rumpled dollar bills larger than my house, an Oscar nominated movie based on my book—they’re nice dreams, but they’re unlikely to come true no matter how many books I write.

And that’s okay. When I read reviews like this, I know I have more success than I ever dreamed, and that feels even better than I imagined.








Author: Lara Lillibridge

Lara Lillibridge sings off-beat and dances off-key. She writes a lot, and sometimes even likes how it turns out. Her memoir, Girlish, available for preorder on Amazon, is slated for release in February 2018 with Skyhorse Publishing. Lara Lillibridge is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College’s MFA program in Creative Nonfiction. In 2016 she won Slippery Elm Literary Journal’s Prose Contest, and The American Literary Review's Contest in Nonfiction. She has had essays published in Pure Slush Vol. 11, Vandalia, and Polychrome Ink; on the web at Hippocampus, Crab Fat Magazine, Luna Luna, Huffington Post, The Feminist Wire, and Airplane Reading, among others. Read her work at www.LaraLillibridge.com