Or you want to be a neurosurgeon? A movie star? A super hero?
If you have a dream — be it to write or otherwise — that you’ve kept close to your heart, that you’ve tried to pass off as a hobby or flight of fancy, and have convinced yourself you’re better off doing something else, be it to make more money, please your family, or just because it’s else is easier, I’d like to share with you my story in hopes it helps you figure yours out.
My previous post is about explains that I want to be a writer. If you’re thinking about chasing your own dream, you might be wondering how I know that…what’s making me finally act.
As I’ve just told you, writing has been an interest of mine for as long as I can remember. But even though it’s been a passion, I never thought it could be a career. I assumed this was a pipe dream, a long shot, akin to trying to make it rich in the NFL. Whenever I felt a flash of creativity, I recalled the trope of the starving artist and the story of Harry Potter getting rejected by 12 publishers. In short, I assumed it was never going to happen. So I turned my professional efforts elsewhere.
But several things have happened to me over the past year which have seriously made me reexamine this notion. The first of which is that I don’t like my job. It isn’t that I hate it, it’s fine actually, but it’s that it does nothing for me. And it’s not like something bad will happen. I’m not going to hurl myself off a cliff, I’m not wrist-slittingly sad. It’s that nothing is going to happen. Nothing else. Nothing new. Nothing different. It’s that this could be my life every day for the next ten or twenty years. And this can’t be it. It can’t be my life.
And, in fact, it isn’t my life. My life is so much more than that. From the outside, you’d hardly tell. I get up every day, walk my dog, go to work, do my job…All of it, hardly worth noticing. So much so, that I honestly can’t blame anyone for having not noticed me all these years. I’m, of course, a little sad no one has, but I understand all the same. And that’s because, while I was sitting there, quietly and efficiently getting my work done and minding my own business, I was also dreaming up stories, creating characters, drafting scenes,
You see, this is simply what I do. I go to bed thinking about stories, I wake up thinking about stories. It’s what I do while I’m driving. It’s what I do when at lunch. It’s not only what I do, but it’s who I am.
I am a writer before I am most other things. In fact, if I had to rank it as part of my identity, it might supersede just about everything other than being a woman.
I’ve gotten to the point where I can no longer ignore this. I’ve tried to let writing be a hobby, an interest, and it just hasn’t worked. This is not some passing phase. It’s an integral part of who I am.
But now I have to figure out if I can make it work for me.
I’m not impulsive colt, so I’ve had to do some serious soul searching to see if I actually think I can be a writer. This isn’t the same as seeing if I can actually do the writing. And if you’re trying to actualize your own dreams, I’d encourage you to think about these two things very carefully. Because doing the job and living the life are two very different things.
I’m convinced I’ve got the creativity and skill writing requires, but that’s only a small part of what it takes to succeed. I also need the discipline and follow through to succeed. Since I decided I absolutely knew I wanted to be a writer back in February, I’ve been testing myself since then to see if I can actually do it. I’ve made myself write almost every day. And that’s part of the reason I’m starting this blog, to hold myself accountable for keeping up that standard. Because I have to be able to do it a lot and often if I want to make this my work. And it turns out, I can.
Another big chuck of it is having the agency and proactiveness to find work. Because it isn’t just going to fall in your lap. Writers have to go out there and make connections. They have to figure out what people want to read and who’s willing to publish it. Only then are they going to make any money. And this is no easy task. It’s time consuming, stressful, and quite frankly, annoying, but it is the way it is.
This is, admittedly, one of my weakest parts. I’m new to the table, and part of the reason I’m here is to get help figuring this out, but I’m not daunted. I’m an adult with real responsibilities, but I think I can do it.
So, dear readers, I’d encourage you think similarly if you want to fulfill your dreams. Figure out, first, why you want to be what you think you want to be. Make sure you actually want the whole package, look at the good and the bad. Don’t try to become a neurosurgeon if you just want the money or prestige. Make sure you can take the long hours. The sweat. The blood. Don’t try and become a movie star just because you want to walk down the red carpet. If that’s what attracting you, consider carefully why you want that attention, what it means to you, and what your life would really be like if you got it. If you want to be a super hero…well, I’m sorry, you can’t, because they don’t really exist, but you can still be a hero. Figure out what it is that excites you about the idea of being a hero and then what real job that corresponds to. Is it the action you life? Or the praise? Or do you just want to see lots of stuff explode?
Spending some time with yourself and seriously considering these things I hope will help your make your best choice. And if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll figure it out sooner than I did.
(Do you like what I have to say? Find any of it helpful? Or do you disagree? Have another point of view? Let me know in a comment below).