Saturday 21 February 2015

Don't let your dreams die

Can you use up bravery?
Does a person only have a limited amount, and once it's used up, it's gone?

Sometimes it seems that way.
Sometimes I feel like I was brave only once, and now I am too scared to take the leap again.
Even though I know how great the reward can be.

I also know how great the risk is.
How much work it is. 
How much doubt there is. 
How impossible it seems.

Is all my bravery gone? 

I'm stuck.
I catch myself talking about the things I want to achieve, but I'm not doing them.
It's easier to just talk about them.
You don't have to do the actual work; you can do the fun part, the dreaming and imagining, without having to face the cold, hard reality: It's damn hard. It's boring. It's tedious. It's not glamorous - it's frustrating, makes you want to pull your hair out, and seems like such a huge task that you will never master it.

So I'm talking about it. I talk about it every day.
Words are cheap.
Actions speak the truth. And there isn't much action going on towards my dream.
It's so tempting to tell yourself to be content with what you already have in life; so many people would kill to have what you do! And I do tell myself that, and I am grateful.
And I go to work, do my job, enjoy it, go home. I hang out with my husband, laugh with him, talk to him, love him. I watch TV, go for walks, do some yoga, read books.
But it's always there, at the back of my mind.

I think about it constantly.
And I know I'm not the only one.

Taylor described similar feelings in her moving post about dreams:
"I was pretty blue in January. I blamed it on winter and Chicago and just a bunch of other poor-me stuff. But then I realized I was sad because I'd let go of the joy of dreaming, of working toward something so crazy unattainable that most people think I'm unrealistic for even attempting. And I am, but whatever. That's what keeps me going."

Then Helene talked about the 5 books that changed her life. Any post with that claim catches my interest, and I wasn't disappointed - I learned about Paulo Coelho.
Now, I had heard of him before (I'm not completely ignorant), but didn't know any details.
Here's what Wikipedia taught me:

Paulo decided as teenager that he wanted to become a writer. Believing that a writer was meant to be misunderstood, he behaved in a way that made his parents so worried that they had him admitted to a mental institution. After escaping three times and finally being released at the age of 20, he enrolled into law school, but dropped out after a year. After travelling for a while, he started a successful career as songwriter.
After walking the 500-plus miles of the Santiago de Compostela in Spain at 39 years of age, he decided that despite his life being good, it was still missing something: "I was very happy in the things I was doing. I was doing something that gave me food and water - to use the metaphor in The Alchemist, I was working, I had a person whom I loved, I had money, but I was not fulfilling my dream. My dream was, and still is, to be a writer."

Paulo left his lucrative career in songwriting to pursue writing full-time.  
The rest, as they say, is history: He has published 30 books, been translated into 80 languages, and has sold more than 150 million books in over 150 countries, the bestselling one being The Alchemist (which I started to read immediately, and - well, let's just say, it deserves its impeccable reputation. I'm enthralled!).

Summing it up like this is, of course, almost criminal, because it makes it look so easy. And I'm sure it wasn't.
He had been dreaming of being a writer for over 20 years before he started to actively pursue his dream. 20 years!
All those voices are powerful:
The ones telling you that you have so much to be grateful for.
The ones imploring you to be grateful for what you have.
The ones insisting that you should be "realistic".
I have no idea if Paulo had similar voices in his head, but I suspect he did. They are omnipresent.

So here is the choice I have to make: I can keep thinking about it, but not do anything towards making my dream become a reality. It's the easier option for sure, because it doesn't involve any hard work.
Or should I stop dilly-dallying, stop with the lame excuses, buckle down and get to work?

This post already answers the question, doesn't it.

I don't know what makes me want to be a writer so much.
Maybe the desire has always been in me, deeply buried. There is something about writing that makes me understand life - and myself - better. It seems that I need to type the words out, see them take shape in front of my eyes, before they make sense to me.

The actual act of writing thousand and thousands of words, to weave them together into a story that is worth reading, is so incredibly hard. The blank screen is mocking me constantly - the thoughts in my head are struggling to get out. I keep changing my mind what I want my story to be about, I keep changing titles, I keep starting over and over.
This has to stop. It feels like self-sabotage to me, and of course, it is - it's the fear that I may find out just how inadequate I am as a writer.

So here is what I'm going to do: I will set out to write a shitty first draft. That's what all the books are telling me, and it seems completely doable. Wish me luck!


Thanks for listening.



  1. Good luck! :) you're a good writer, and you can totally do it!

  2. Thanks for the vote of confidence Amanda! You will be my editor!!

  3. Yes, yes, yes! WriterGirl Miriam - absolutely! I think you're an incredible writer and if no one else, I'll always read your stuff! ;)
    I've been facing a lot of this "dreams vs. reality" business lately. I've got one more semester next fall and then DONE - and then what? I dream of travel. I dream of experiencing and interacting with other cultures. I dream of designing, writing, creating, learning. I don't want to get stuck in a dead-end job that simply "pays the rent". I want to be happy doing something I LOVE because if I'm not doing that, then it's not worth doing. Never stop dreaming!
    ~ Samantha

  4. You can do it!
    And Ernest is so wise.

  5. He is.
    Here is to writing shit!
    Thanks Amy!!

  6. Never stop dreaming, hellz yes!! (Or no? You know what I mean.) The real world is great and all, but it has a tendency of taking our dreams away. Don't let it!
    Let's dream crazy-big dreams, work as hard as we can towards making them become a reality, try, fail, succeed, but never give up!!
    We both can do it :-)

  7. You know I can relate to this so much! "it's the fear that I may find out just how inadequate I am as a writer." <---nailed it.

  8. good luck! i'm sure you can do it!

  9. Thanks D! It's harder not doing it, so I'll just keep plucking away.

  10. Of course you can do it! Can't wait to see where it goes! Just write, pen to paper or maybe finger to keyboard, you got it!

  11. Thanks for all your encouragement, it means so much!
    How are you doing??

  12. Things are fine, just trying to get back into a routine :) I'm so jealous of your beach time!!


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