It’s no secret that “making it” in the writing world is rather difficult. Thousands before me, and thousands after, have or will have attempted the tumultuous journey of not only getting works published, but to become self-sufficient as an author.
Writers are an insanely committed group of individuals jumping head first into the abyss of ridicule, self-doubt, and loathing with minuscule hope of ever being able to quit our day jobs and fully support ourselves with our writing. Our minds are flurries of ideas that wake us in the middle of the night to scrawl down tidbits from a dream or have us pulling our cars over in rush hour traffic to record the latest and greatest plot lines or character dynamics.
Yep, we’re dreamers, but dreams are the basis for success. Without dreams, what are we? Without goals, aren’t we on the proverbial hamster wheel, waiting for what? To live someone else’s dream?
Don’t get me wrong! Life is hard, and we need these day jobs to pay the bills. There’re dance classes, swim lessons, tutors to pay, for those with children, not to mention the water bill, rent, food in our bellies, and the list goes on. Our day jobs are necessary, but they don’t have to claim us for life. That’s what I love the most about writers because they’re willing to risk public humiliation to reach for their dreams. Oh, I’d rather be a dreamer than one drifting through life without a sense of direction.
My life, up to this point, has been filled with trials and tribulations, and I too held on with clinched fingers to the “day job,” but I’ve recently taken the plunge into the depths of writing, and I do it with eyes open. Most writers can’t give up their day jobs. True, but maybe, just maybe, with enough perseverance, lightning will strike, and it is to this hope that I now cling.
My secret? Well, it’s simple, really. Everyone is born with an innate ability to dream and be honest, hopeful, sincere, empathetic and genuine. It is this world that jades us or compels us into thinking that our abilities are somehow less than, but I refuse to believe it anymore. The brushes with death and other dealings of my life have broken the chains and allowed me to see the world around me with a renewed purpose.
Let me explain. Last night I had the privilege of witnessing my child reach for a dream wrought with anxiety and fear. You see, after the Olympics, there’s an Olympic fever. Many parents flood the gyms with enthusiastic kids ready to become the next Simone Biles, Michael Phelps, or Alyson Felix. Their starry-eyed giddiness fill the air with hope and determination, and their parents, frazzled and unsure, willingly enroll them either to get them out of their hair for an hour or believing they will be the next greatest athlete of the world. Regardless, the gyms are filled to the brim, and I bask in the glory of it because these children exude the essence of putting a dream into reality.
Sure, lots of them will never realize the Olympic dream, but that’s okay. They blindly follow their dreams, and it is with this wonderful enthusiasm of childhood that I watched with my heart in my throat as my young child reached up to grip the gymnastics rings over six feet up in the air.
Yep, my heart skipped a beat because this was his first lesson. Ever. And I know how dangerous gymnastics can be. I naively thought they’d start him off on rings closer to the ground, but boy was I wrong. So, while the blood drained from my face and my skin grew clammy, I looked on as my timid little boy was lifted towards the heavens and gripped those monstrous sized rings into his tiny little hands and hung from them. I bit my lip as I watched the instructor ask him to pull his legs into a pike position in front of him several times, and I watched in disbelief as my child let go from those rings and fell through the air over six feet to land safely on the mats beneath him.
Yep, my timid little child, the one who said he was scared and clung to my hand before class, flew through the air and landed onto his feet and fell onto his backside. My once timid little boy ,who then leapt up to high five his instructor, turned to display an exultant grin on his little face and pumped his fist in the air felt the chains of fear break away. Proud, you ask? You betcha!
The vision of him letting go stays with me and reminds me that life is meant to be lived. It is meant to take calculated risks because without them we stay put, treading water, and for some that’s okay. No harm in that! For me, though, it’s a reminder for me to remember to let go. That’s the secret! Stop the negativity, the self-doubts because there will ALWAYS be naysayers. There will always be a reason NOT to write or achieve a dream, but remember, we only live once.
So, if that didn’t convince you, then how about this. I have another child who showed me this past weekend and over her life how to live freely and absolutely. Greeted with her own lot in life, she’s developed a love for ballet, and to say that she’s good would be an understatement. True, I’m her parent, but this sentiment comes from several of her teachers, and I believe they wouldn’t lead me astray in her capabilities. Recently, she decided she would try out for a professional ballet company production, and she piled in with all the other hopeful students of dance to pin a number on her leotard and dance in front of well respected ballet instructors to achieve a lifelong dream.
Again, fear and anxiety reared their ugly heads, but my daughter, fueled with courage of other female athletes she’s witnessed over the last several months, walked straight through the doors and danced her heart out for an hour. Even though we are to wait over a month for the results of her audition, we already know she won no matter what the outcome. She faced her fears and overcame them. Something she’s had to do over and over again in her life, and regardless of the result, she’s a winner in my book because she let go and danced.
Still in need of encouragement to grab life by the horns? Then you’re in luck because I have another son who is the epitome of strength, character and determination. Starting late in life for swimming, he’s endured lots of naysayers, but he’s soldiered on. He works diligently watching videos of the best swimmers, his favorite being Michael Phelps, and wishes to make the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. You know, he’s got an uphill battle, but I believe he can do it! He’ll do it because he lets go of bad days, the days he goes two strokes backwards instead of forwards. He strives on in the hopes of swimming for his country someday, and I’ll do my best to support him in his dreams as he’s supported me in mine.
These three kids have shown me how to live life to the fullest, and there’s really no secret to that;-) We writers, athletes, physicians, pharmacists, teachers, ballet instructors, and every other person out there, we all need to let go and believe. Go ahead, dream away. Reach for those dreams and don’t look back. All it takes is for you to believe.
I’d love to hear your stories! What instances in life have gotten you to move forward in reaching your dreams?
Happy reading and happy dreaming,