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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Beginning My Quest!

Have you ever undertaken a quest? I have not. I’m not a huge goal-making kind of person. I like seeing what opportunities arise in life and just going with it. Nate once asked where I saw my career in 5 years and I felt like hyperventilating! Making plans and goals is not my thing.

setting goals and review/giveaway for "the happiness of pursuit" - from @janemanard

That said, I’ve decided to fight my natural instincts and undertake a quest. Set a goal. Accomplish a monumental task that I have actually planned on accomplishing ahead of time. And, to be honest, it’s a little scary. And telling you about it is making it even scarier.

I have a literary agent. She is fabulous. To not work with her on a book would be a crime, so I’m totally going for it. Except, I’ve been going for it for 4 years. She is very patiently waiting for my book proposal to hit her Inbox while I’m off having babies (done!), moving a few times (done!) and going through about 20 different ideas for a book, none of which I liked. But the stars are finally aligning. My agent and I have settled on a theme for the book that we are both really excited about. I am in a place in life where I can carve out time for writing a book. I’ve done a lot of the groundwork with my blog that I need to do before an agent goes out to sell my book. Basically, it’s time. I’m starting my quest.

My quest is simple…well, simple to describe, at least! I am going to finish writing my book proposal. It needs to happen. I need to know I gave it my all and then see where it takes me, see what my agent can do with it. Whether or not I end up as a bestselling author is beside the point. I want to know I tried, that I took advantage of this opportunity placed before me.

Today’s post is sponsored by Random House in support of the new book The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau. Chris had a quest – to visit every country in the world by the time he was 35 years old. Chris’s book talks about his quest as well as the quests of many other people he met on his journey, people he calls strivers. As I’ve read through the book and seen what makes these strivers tick, it’s been great food for thought. Bonus: his thoughts and suggestions are making me feel less scared of the journey!

Do you have a quest you’ve been putting on the backburner? Have you completed one? Are you still finding your quest? Please share your thoughts with me. I need moral support!

One lucky commenter will win a copy of The Happiness of PursuitComments must be posted by Wednesday, 9/24 at Midnight PT, one entry per person, and the winner’s book must ship to a U.S. address. Good luck! Can’t wait to hear about your quests!

Comment #6 Ellen Patton was the randomly-selected winner of this giveaway. Congrats, Ellen!


  1. 1

    Ugh STILL searching for one…feel so unfulfilled lately, but I think I just need some kind if crafty outlet- I’m getting lost in the MOMness of life at the moment. I’m considering reopening my etsy store, if only to have a reason to churn out baby beanies and blankets ;). Good luck!

    • I think the etsy store would be a great thing for you to do again! I think that having work to focus on in addition to being home with my kids has really helped me over the years. do it!! 🙂

  2. 2
    Stephanie P.

    Congrats Jane! You’ve got my support, and if food is involved, I’m more than happy to test recipes for you. 😉

    I’ve read your blog many years, I enjoy your writing style, keep true to who you are and you’ll instantly create a bond with your new readers. I’ve got plenty of professional writer friends (my alma mater, Ohio U. has a fantastic journalism college), I know projects will always take longer than anticipated, there will be depressing times, and frazzled days, but, in the end, one of the most fulfilling “quests” you’ll ever take on.

    My best advice after that would be to ask for help when you need it. Whether that pertains to your husband feeding and taking care of the kids, testing recipes, even keeping up with your blog.

    And, uh, maybe, get a dog, so when you feel no one else loves you, it will! Lol!

    Thanks for the book recommendation, I was incredibly blessed to do a lot of traveling until my health kept me home, I am so thankful my parents encouraged us to explore the world and I always suggest the same to any college-aged person. You never know what can happen in life, enjoy being young, and healthy, and learn what a great big world we live in!

  3. Such good news! I have been mentally willing you to publish a book for five years now. 🙂

    I’ve been very blessed to advance quickly in my career – breaking a couple glass ceilings on my way. So, I’ve completed a couple levels on my quest. But, I still have a good 25 years of career to fill! I work in the automotive supply chain world. I’ve always been in Operations and am pretty decent in that world. So, my next quest will be moving out of my comfort zone and master other areas of the business (procurement, planning).

    Maybe too specific of a quest, but it feels so good to actually write it down. 🙂

    • awwww, that’s so sweet of you.

      and I love getting little glimpses into your career through your comments on the blog…

      and I don’t think a specific quest is bad – it’s probably better, actually!

  4. 4

    Good luck to you! The unknown is always scary.

    The timing of your question is perfect as I am currently contemplating my “quest” or as I like to call it “figuring out what I want to do when I grow up”. I’ve spent the last 14 years raising kids and my youngest just started first grade so although my job is not nearly done, it’s a new world for me with the kids gone all day to school. I’m very curious to check out this book. I have joined 2 book clubs so this book may come in handy in the mean time.

  5. Congratulations on the opportunity! My main quest when I was younger was graduate college, I did and was the first person in my family to do it, and then move abroad. Well now that I have done both of them I am at a bit of a stalemate, well I guess my current quest is supporting my husband as he goes through nursing school and scrape together basic Swedish but I would like to one day have a job in some sort of education setting and help people find happiness.

    • India Du Bois

      I hope one day you find a job that makes both you and others happy. I am glad to know that you have achieved both of your early life dreams. Best of luck to your husband.

    • good job, bailie! I love hearing about completed quests…and I’m certain your next one will be amazing, too. as for now, sometimes life is about supporting and getting through and then getting back to the quests…and it’s all good! good luck with the swedish! 😉

  6. I’m curious about your book (and jealous) and hope I win this book!

  7. 7
    India Du Bois

    Just finishing my 4th bout of cancer. I have decided if I pull through this I am going back to school and get my Doctorate. At 44, I have half my life to live. The book sounds like it would be a good motivational tool. And to you my friend Jane, YOU CAN ABSOLUTELY DO THIS.

    • oh, India – hang in there!!!! and I think that is a very worthy goal post-cancer, you most certainly do have a lot of life to live! and thanks for your encouraging words! mwah! xoxoxo lots of hugs! all of that!!!!!

  8. 8
    Anne P.

    My quest before was to raise my kids successfully. Check 🙂 My quest now is to find someone worthy of me to spend the rest of my life with.

  9. 9

    My quest is to help my health. I have Lupus and am partially paralyzed because of this. I broke my hip two years at 35 years old because after years on steroids my bones are frail. To help my health I ride my exercise bike daily, eat healthy, take all my mess and keep myself informed with what I can do to even healthier.

  10. 10
    April V

    I think I’m still in the process of finding my quest… would really enjoy reading this book!! Thanks for the chance!

  11. 11

    I’ve been asked many times throughout life where I see myself in five years. I can say with certainty five years ago I would have never projected my life would be where it is today. On the cusp of my 35th birthday, I was sitting in a neurologist’s office, told my MRI scans clearly showed lesions on my brain, indicating Multiple Sclerosis.
    Through the diagnosis process I’ve learned to revel in the small, unexpected life victories, whether good or bad. My biggest small victory? Overcoming the lifelong paralysing fear I had of needles! I’ve had two children via natural childbirth because the thought of an epidural needle in my spine was too much to handle. Yet, there I was getting a lumbar puncture, the aftermath of which resulted in such excruciating headaches I needed a blood patch. Yes, it is as horrific as it sounds. My own blood is “transfused” through an epidural needle to my spine–the blood blocks the puncture in my spinal cord and garners instant, amazing relief of the headache.
    While one medical professional is prepping my back for an epidural needle another is attempting to extract blood from the veins in my hand, and she is not having much success (so much poking and prodding, littered with utterances of apologies and “this never happens”). The process they told me would be about 20 minutes took nearly two hours. I was left bruised and battered but survived and realized I am strong enough to endure whatever life dishes at me.

    • heather, thank you for sharing your experience. those moments of realizing just how much you can handle – nothing you would ever WANT to happen to you, but on the other hand it is incredibly empowering. sometimes we just don’t choose our quest, but that doesn’t make it any less miraculous. much love to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. 12

    My daughter just turned 3 and my son just turned 1. He’s had a number of health problems and is finally seeming well and able to sleep through the night on occasion. Hallelujah! This all means I’m finally ready to move on from the sleepless zombiehood of mothering babies. My current quest revolves totally around learning how to be the best mother i can possibly be. It’s the most important quest I’ve undertaken to date, and the most all consuming. Best of luck on your quest!

  13. 13

    My quest also involves writing. I have taught preschool for over 20 years. Each year I basically re-invent the wheel because I am easily bored and find that each class is different. No two year’s lesson plans are ever alike. Because I am very arts focused, I have started a book that I am currently calling “Art Through the ABCs” that has creative, open-ended art ideas that teachers could adopt to their own practice. Like you, I have been cooking this idea for about four years. Like you, I am ready to get it out of my head and my Google Drive and out to an editor.

  14. 14

    It is so great that you are working towards this goal. I can’t wait to see your book when it is finished! I have started pondering a book proposal myself. The thought of still makes me a little queasy.

  15. 15
    Kelly J

    Yay! Can’t wait! My quest? Hmmmm… your post today has really got me thinking, what is my quest? My kids are all in school now and I’m feeling lazy, so you are right. I do need a quest! Thank you Jane.

  16. 16

    Good luck with the book proposal and book! You are an excellent and experienced writer who brings pleasure to a lot of readers, do hold on to that knowledge if ever your quest seems daunting! (And I say that from a publisher’s perspective.)
    I started on my own quest earlier this year – to have a healthy pregnancy (and baby!) while managing type 1 diabetes. I’ve been diabetic for 23 years but the thought of managing it so intensely and the potential for harming my child if I get it wrong made me question if I could ever have a family. So far my blood sugars are good, my doctors are happy and my husband has supported me through the low points when I’ve doubted my ability to cope. We have the 20-week scan tomorrow and I’m excited to see baby but petrified at the same time!

    • tamsin, thanks so much for your kind and encouraging words – I really do appreciate it!

      and GOOD LUCK and sending so much love and happy vibes your way – I can only imagine the stress you are under!!! much love! hope that 20-week scan went fabulously!

  17. I don’t have a quest but I do have the travel bug and Greece is on my bucket list. Not that I actually have a list 🙂 Good luck with the book. I’m excited to hear more about it.

  18. 18

    I am jealous you have found your quest. I think that is half the battle. I am still looking for my quest, narrowing down my possibilities.

  19. 19

    OH Jane! Just the other day I was remembering that you’d said a while ago that you had a book deal in the works. And I was wondering about how it was going! Now I know!!! So glad to hear you are progressing on it! I was also thinking about you while I was at a seminar last week about marketing for artists. You know I’m a dabbler in dozens of art forms, master of none, so the seminar mostly served to point out that I need to focus my efforts and specialize…I can barely even type that. I’m at another life juncture where I need to decide if I keep creating altruistically, just for myself and for the joy of it, or if I’m ready to put it out there for others to enjoy and/or possibly reject. Like you said, “simple to describe”, but really I wish I were there and we could take a long walk on the coast and hash out all the details together. Miss you!

    • oh, christy, your comment just made me so happy. (I miss you!)

      I think you need to PUT IT OUT THERE. i’ve always thought that. if it doesn’t work, then you can go back to being the altruistic artist! 🙂

  20. I love that you’re doing this and cannot wait to see what kind of deliciousness is in that book! My quest is to get back into art making. I really miss it, but really have to carve out the time. Hoping to get it going in 2015. Thanks for the inspiration!

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