Living Your Dream by Beth Ciotta

‘Tis the season and my gift to you is this motivating question: Why not me?   

I remember when I first burned with the desire to write a novel.  Not just to write it, but to see it published and on bookshelves, readily available for anyone who wanted to read it.  The realist in me said, “But you don’t know how to write a book.”  The dreamer countered, “But I could learn. There are ‘how to’ books and classes. Other people do it.  Why not me?   

Every day I’m faced with some sort of challenge in my writing and publishing journey.  Something that seems unattainable.  Insurmountable.  The realist lists all the reason why I’m doomed. The dreamer persists–Why not me?   

Fourteen years since the dreamer first whispered that question and, including three books co-written with Cynthia Valero under the name CB Scott, I now have ten novels in print and more on the way.  I’m writing for two publishing companies.  My fifth book for Medallion Press, the historical western ROMANCING THE WEST, debuted in October.  My second book for HQN (Harlequin) the contemporary romantic comedy EVERYBODY LOVES EVIE, hits shelves February 1, 2008

of my books have won awards. I’ve been favorably reviewed on several readers’ sites (including Romance Junkies!) and print magazines such as Romantic Times BOOKreviews as well as industry publications like Book Page and Publishers Weekly.  I receive fan letters from enthusiastic readers (perhaps the biggest rush of all)!  The list of wondrous accomplishments goes on.  I never really stop to bask because it doesn’t seem real.  I just keep chugging along, writing the stories of my heart.    

But it is real.  It’s happening because I believed with hard work and perseverance that someday it could happen.  And it doesn’t just pertain to writing. That same determination saw me through more than twenty-five years as a professional performer (my first passion) and in between and after… a stint as a music teacher for a Catholic grade school, an entertainment coordinator for one Atlantic City casino and a PR coordinator for another. I’ve also worked as a secretary/assistant at two entertainment agencies and a library assistant at my local library.  All of these jobs involved skills and knowledge I didn’t have going in.  What I had was enthusiasm, a fierce desire to learn, and a few excellent mentors who saw something in me.  

Whatever your ambitions, your goals and dreams… Whenever it seems hopeless, just ask yourself, “Why not me?” 

“Some men see things as they are and ask why.  Others dream things that never were and ask why not.”  — George Bernard Shaw, Irish Playwright and Critic          

23 Responses to Living Your Dream by Beth Ciotta

  1. mammakim

    My favorite books so far are lasso the moon and All about Evie. I am addicted to them and can’t wait for the next in the series. I love your enthusiasm Beth and can’t wait for your “visits” at RJ.

  2. Beth Ciotta

    Kim, you’re a doll. Thank you so much. I’m thrilled that you enjoy my tales and look forward to your thoughts on the next in the series! Happy Holidays!

  3. Little Lamb Lost

    You have a great attitude! It is always inspiring to hear how someone went about reaching a dream.

  4. Barb

    I wish I had a 10th of your positive attitude and goal ethic. I have dreams but that’s just where they stay. In my head. I can’t stay motivated. Maybe I’m just not ready yet. However, you are very inspiring and I strive to one day be a little more like you!

  5. Beth Ciotta

    Little Lamb Lost, I, too, enjoy hearing how people achieved their dreams. One of those most motivating ‘speeches’ for me was delivered many moons ago by Heather Graham at an RWA conference. Her background is in theater. I thought, wow, we have something in common! And the more she talked the more I believed… maybe I COULD succeed in publishing. I’ll never forget that speech. And the ironic thing is, Heather is now a dear friend. Not only is she a gifted writer, but she’s extremely inspiring!

  6. Beth Ciotta

    Barb, (this is my sister, Barb, right?) Don’t be too hard on yourself. I don’t think it’s that you lack a positive attitude. I think it’s a matter of priorities and right now. You’re putting other people’s needs ahead of your own. Totally understandable and admirable. I think you’ll know when the time is tight. You’ll feel it. You won’t be able to fight it. And you WILL make your dreams come true!

  7. Billie Jo

    Beth!

    I could not agree with your words of “Why Not Me”. I have lived by those words since I was 17 and loose in the world on my own. If you want something bad enough, you should go after it and not give up until you acheive it!

    My biggest dream was always to be a mother. Oh boy I should have watched what I was wishing for . Well into my later years it finally happened. Now I have set my goals on going to chef school.

    I am doing well Beth. I hope you will come back and chat with RJ on an evening chat. I sooooo loved having you the night you chatted with us.

    Can’t wait to see you at RT.

    Hugs
    Billie Jo

  8. Jennifer Elbaum

    An inspiring post Beth, thanks for sharing!

  9. Jenyfer Matthews

    That’s the sort of question that can lead you in many directions. And sums up pretty well how I myself got into writing 🙂

  10. Carol

    A good attitude and the willingness to work hard are so important. I’ve always told my children that!

    Congratulations on achieving your dreams! Your books sound really good and I’m looking forward to reading them!

  11. Fedora

    Beth, I really enjoyed this post–thanks for reminding us all to pursue our hearts’ desires. Like Billie Jo, I’m enjoying the being a mom one, and have to remember that I have other dreams I can still chase. In doing that, I can let my children see that they, too, can dream 🙂

  12. Beth Ciotta

    Billie Jo, thanks again for your kind words. I’m thrilled to be here and hope to join an RJ chat in the not-so-far future. You guys make those chats so much fun!

    As to you… Congratulations on already achieving your biggest dream! Being a mom is fabulous blessing. Now you’re ready to tackle your next dream–going to chef school! As someone who lives on take-out Chinese and nuked canned soup, I really admire your upcoming journey. Go forth and conquer!

  13. Beth Ciotta

    I see we had back-to-back Jens. 🙂

    Jennifer, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. My pleasure!

    Jenyfer, wishing you all best with your writing. Dream big!

  14. Beth Ciotta

    Hi Carol!

    What a fabulous thing to tell your children. I’m thinking my attitude is rooted in things I learned as a child as well. I was taught that if you want something, you have to work for it.

    And then there was the Cinderella influence… The Rogers and Hammerstein version that used to air every year when I was a little girl. I memorized every song. The one called ‘Impossible’ inspired me to believe that anything can happen… As the song goes: “Impossible things are happening every day.”

  15. Beth Ciotta

    Hi Fedora,

    I’m glad you found my post inspiring. That’s exactly what I’d hoped for. Pursuing your dreams, and teaching your children that it’s okay to dream and even more important to ‘act’ on that dream, is a gift to both you and them. Wishing you inspiration and determination!

  16. Lis

    Hi Beth,

    Very inspiring post. 🙂 I think I’ll put that Why Not Me? on a post-it note and tape it to the monitor!

  17. Beth Ciotta

    Hi Lis,

    You wouldn’t believe some of the quotes I have posted on my memo board, monitor, lamp shade . . . 🙂 Whatever motivates you!

    Glad you enjoyed the post!

  18. Beth Ciotta

    Hi all,

    I must abandon the Internet for awhile, but please do continue to share your thoughts. I’ll be back and I WILL respond!

    ~Beth

  19. Fedora

    Thanks, Beth! The inspiration comes in waves, and the determination is what I need to practice (and I think what’s important for the kids to see, too–good things don’t always just fall in your lap ;)) I trailed you over here from your site–you’ve had quite a busy time of it! 🙂

  20. Beth Ciotta

    Hi Fedora,

    Busy, yes. But I’m not complaining. (Well, I try not to anyway) 🙂

  21. RobynL

    ‘Why not me?’; I say that many times but actually have somewhat
    of a defeatest attitude many times. I guess what I need to do is not look back on failures but strive towards a ‘win situation’. Thanks.

  22. Beth Ciotta

    Hi Robyn,

    I have files of rejection letters and a boatload of failed auditions to my credit. I try not to dwell on the fact that I ‘failed’ but more that I tried and the more I try the better I’ll become and that I’ll eventually ‘score’.
    Also, sometimes, it’s about being in the right place (or pitching to the right person) at the right time. Hang in there!

  23. tina brunelle

    humm best gift ever…. =any gifts from my kids… they always put such thought and love into them. One year it was paper flowers. with kisses on the flowers… who wouldnt cherish that from thier kiddos.

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