Do you have any regrets? Pursuing your passion project


passion project is something you work on (often outside of your chosen career path) that gives you satisfaction, happiness and puts you into a state of flow. It's what you do to escape it all. 

Do you have any regrets?


I was asked this at a conference two years ago and I cockily answered, "No." Anything I've wanted I've gone out and gotten... or at least tried. And the setbacks I wouldn't change either as it made me who I am today. So, with a smug smile, I sat there for a few blissful minutes telling myself that I had no regrets.

But then....an inner voice inside me, kind of bitchy in tone, shouted "Liar! What about your book?" *pop* and just like that, my peaceful bubble burst.

Now let me confess my regret. I had started an untitled romance story back in high school. I would pick it up off and on over the years, but then I dropped it. I told myself it wasn't any good and that it was just too hard. I would often say if only I could wake up and everything inside my head could all be written out for me. Yup, lazy! I still wanted to write but figured short form like blogging was probably better for me and that's why I went into journalism.

After the conference got my wheels turning, I went home and did a search on my blog. Even back in 2004 when I started this blog I had completing my book as one of many New Year's resolutions. Yet, at the end of that year in my follow-up post, I had accomplished or put to rest most of my humorous goals except that one. Below is an excerpt from my list, so you can see what I'm talking about (for a blast from the past, check out that full post and the terrible Tripod platform that I used to publish on before technology 2.0, lol).
  • Will let my office crush know how I feel -- Nope, didn't do that, but the point is moot now and there were several other crushes along the way ;) 
  • Stop answering you know who's calls and being his bitch. --Done, see ya!
  • Go to Magnolia less frequently and to Thai restaurants more often. --I think I did that, well at least the Thai part.
  • See more Broadway plays/musicals. Yes, I saw eight shows!
  • Write an ending to the book I've been writing for 5 years so I can move on to the hundreds of other stories that are in my head. Nope, too chicken and no time. Hopefully, now that I'm done with my extra studies I can.  
Chicken!? Ugh there's that catty bitch talking smack again. I guess she's always been with me jeering me on.

14 years later I'm hoping to finally check that resolution off my list and shut down that inner negativity. No regrets baby!

Pursuing My Passion Project


So, I put on my big girl pants and got to work. I spent three straight weeks into the wee hours of the night writing a new story, Jesse's Girl. Followed by two years of editing it. I've learned that writing is the easy part, crafting it and ripping it apart is the hard part.

Yes, my inner taunter has been well fed the last few years of self-doubt and brutal feedback. I've attended conferences, taken classes and joined a local writer's group all in pursuit of passion. My passion project, which at times feels more like a masochistic project.

During the annual Romance Writers of America conference last year, I pitched Jesse's Girl to Simon and Schuster's digital arm Crimson Romance and my full manuscript was requested. However, the division just closed down :( I'm shopping it around, but my published friends are encouraging me to self-publish since I'm digitally savvy and will know how to market it. We will see. Either way, I'm hoping to have that out later this year.

I also wrote a short story, It Might Be You, which was accepted into an anthology of Florida Romance Writers - From Florida With Love: Moonlight & Steamy Nights. My 7,000-word tale is about 25 pages and although it was easy to come up with the plot it took months of rewrites and several edits still.

In order to be considered, my submission had to include the Everglades, the glitz of downtown Naples, FL and a moonlight scene. From there I pulled upon actual real-life experiences and daydreams. Published by Satin Romance, an imprint of Melange Books, LLC, the e-book is available now and releases in paperback at Amazon and B&N on May 1, 2018.

Good for you, but what about the story from high school??? 
Good point. Well, it wasn't any good. LOL! I since revamped it and it did come in 2nd place in the 2017 Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest. I have it entered in a bunch more that I'm waiting for the results of. I also just got feedback from a developmental editor and have to work on the ending. I finally got a title for it though, Mine to Five, an office romance. I wanted it out for the holidays since it has a Christmas sub-plot, but honestly, this is looking more like 2019.

But you have a blog, kids, and several jobs - aren't those your passion projects? Like you needed more?
Oh how you crack me up and yes, you're so right. I definitely didn't have the free time to take on such a time-consuming hobby, but it has made me happier and fulfilled. We'll see how the eventual reviews make me feel, but will cross that bridge when we get to it.

Feel better now?
Phew! Yes, I feel like I've kept this secret from all of you the last couple of years and it feels good to put it all out there. To finally be doing something about my regret. I know a few readers and friends have seen my Tara September social channels pop-up on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, but I've been in stealth mode till now. I'm coming out!

I can't wait to keep you all posted on the aforementioned books too. Stay tuned!

Oh, and why September and not Settembre? 
Well, it's a direct translation of my Italian last name and I figured it would be easier for people to spell, remember and overall less confusing. Also, if you search my real name this blog would come up and I want my future books to come up easier. Do you like it?


Words of Wisdom:


If you're thinking about pursuing your passion project, here's what I figured out along the way and found helpful:

Your dreams won't work unless you do! This was hard for me to accept, but once I did, I was able to at least complete my goal. I don't expect to be the next Nora Roberts, but at least now I can honestly say that I don't have any regrets!

While I was getting my master's back when-you-don't-need-to-know-how-many years ago, I had written on the inside cover of my notebook: "Think back to those dreams you had and applaud yourself for coming so far so quickly." Along with a taped up fortune cookie slip that read, "Even when you can't see them, the stars appear every night, all is well." I'd repeat these two things every day back then and now I'm finding comfort in them again :)

And speaking of Nora... "If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it." - Nora Roberts

10 Reasons To Find Your Passion Project


Tips for Pursuing Your Passion Project and Words of Wisdom

4 comments

  1. Thank you for posting. This was a really interesting read. Do you truly feel that there is a situation in which you wouldn't feel any sort of regret, especially given the lack of assurance in your direction?

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    1. Hi Jake! Better than the regrets I had for not at least trying :) Feels good that I'm finally throwing my hat in the ring instead of just staying on the sidelines.

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  2. Tara, thank you for writing this post - you got me - I definitely have a Passion Project that I need to revive :)

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    Replies
    1. Yay, that's so great to hear! Good luck to you! ... and keep me posted and let me know how I can help :)

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