Sunday, November 13, 2011
Chasing Your Dreams...
I was chatting with my friend Ruth at Specklefarm last week, and we wandered onto a subject that we often talk about: career dreams. Unfulfilled dreams, as many of us know, are difficult things to deal with. They're particularly difficult during our thirties and forties because it's then we realise that the years are running out. We look at our life to-do lists and wonder if we'll ever find the time? Or the confidence? Or even the drive?
Ruth told me that one of her unfulfilled dreams was to write a book. When I heard this I encouraged her whole-heartedly. And then told her what to do. Because if there's one thing I've learned in my career it's that it's important to inspire people – just as others have inspired you. (I think it's called Creative Karma.)
It took me years – years – to get a publishing deal for my first book. When I finally found a publisher who would listen to my pitch, she told me I had fifteen minutes to persuade her before she went on a month-long holiday. I got on a plane that same day, flew to Sydney, told her what I wanted to do – and why it was commercially viable - and walked out with a two-book deal ten minutes later! A year later I tried to pitch another book – a memoir – to another publishing company without success. Eventually Murdoch Books picked it up and it went on to sell 13,000 copies in a year. It was testament to my tenacity – and writer's dream – that it even reached the marketplace.
I once interviewed Herbert Ypma for Vogue Living. I asked the author of the bestselling Hip Hotels series, about his career, and how he conceptualised this iconic series. He said it took him ten years – TEN – to persuade Thames & Hudson to do it. They eventually agreed to trial it. The books have since sold more than four million copies, according to various reports. Thames & Hudson are clearly very happy.
I also once met a gentleman who had known Walt Disney. He told me that he and Walt often went camping together, and while they were on their horses (this was the 1930s!) Walt would tell him of his dreams, and how he wanted to start a "fun park" but didn't have the money. This gentleman (who was 95 when I met him) said Walt scraped together every cent he had to open his now-legendary Disneyland. His determination was greater than the problems he faced.
I'm writing all of this because I've just been interviewed by MAP magazine on this very subject, and why it's so important to chase down your dreams. Never, ever, ever give up on them. Find a way to make them happen, even if it means sacrificing other things in the process. If they mean that much to you, you'll find the means! As George Eliot famously said: "It is never too late to become what you might have been".