However, wanting to be something is not the same thing as actually being it. It's a bit like me wishing to be 120lbs. I can wish it, but the reality is I'm *ahem* not. Of course, it doesn't mean you can't be, but it does mean it's going to take work. And lots of it. It's going to require perseverance, effort, and discipline.
It's also a bit like learning to swim. You can dream about it, imagine it, and even "dry-ground" practice it. But until you step into the water deep enough and submerge yourself, you won't hone those skills. You might even be a "natural," but even a skill that comes naturally requires diligent attention and continuing education.
I believe I'm learning to swim. Admittedly, there have been moments of panic, to be sure, and times of flailing about. But here's the secret I've learned. Fear is simply a shadow. It has no substance, and it cannot live with faith. Faith suffocates fear. It drowns it.
By faith, I jumped off the board and fell smack into the deep end. I came up gasping for air, but quickly realized that, while the surroundings were unfamiliar, I was in a big, beautiful blue sea. One stroke at a time is how it's done.
It's hard to believe, but I'm swimming. It started with first sharing my work with others, asking complete strangers to read it and give me honest feedback. The next stroke was finding and attending a writer's conference. Then, joining a critique group followed. After that, a few strokes sent me to deeper water where I found SCBWI and subsequently joined the scbwi Blueboard (message board). Carried along by a wave, I had great fun participating in #PitMad via Twitter this week, too.