Keeping the Dream Alive

Lately all my technology has decided to bite the dust. I’ve replaced the computer, the camera, and the Kindle.

To this full-time writer, $$$ “emergencies” often mean taking on writing projects that will pay NOW. For me, that’s writing books and test material for educational publishers. I’m so thankful for the work, but it can take over your novel writing time and energy.

So how do we keep our writing dreams alive when dealing with other things that require a lot of our time?

Life Happens!

“Life is what happens when you’ve made other plans.” We’ve all heard that saying. I want to remind you that it’s during these unexpected “life happens” events that you most often lose sight of your writing dreams.

How do we keep that from happening?

According to Kelly Stone in Time to Write, “The only requirement to be a writer is a Burning Desire to Write, coupled with the dedication that that desire naturally creates. Follow that desire up with action and nothing will keep you from success.”

Life Interrupted

I agree with Ms. Stone. Adhere to that formula for success, and you can’t miss. BUT life gets in the way sometimes: personal illness, job loss in the family, sick parents or children, a teen in trouble, a marriage in trouble. It’s at these times when you need to take precautions to keep your dream alive inside you.

Other writers struggle with this too, whether it’s during calm times in life or when there’s more upheaval. “It’s easy to believe that what you do doesn’t matter, but you have to think that it does matter,” says novelist Mary Jo Putney, “that you have stories to tell, and a right to tell them.  You should take the time to yourself to explore this ability. You’ll always be sorry if you don’t do it.”

Practical Tips

There are many tried-and-true actions to take to keep your dream alive. Write out your goals and action plan, breaking it down into small, do-able steps. Set small daily goals, and write–even if it’s only for ten minutes–to stay in the habit. Visualize in great detail having pieces published, autographing your first novel, or quitting your day job to write full-time.

You don’t have time for all that?

Okay, then just do ONE thing. Steve Berry, NY Times bestselling author, said it well: “The number one thing you must do is write. You have to write, write, write, and when you can’t write anymore, write some more.”

Don’t go to bed tonight until you’ve spent at least ten or fifteen minutes writing. Nothing keeps a writer’s dream alive and flourishing like sitting down and writing. Absolutely nothing.

[If you need more help, check out my books Writer's First Aid and More Writer's First Aid.]





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4 Responses to Keeping the Dream Alive

  1. Bonnie says:

    Good advice but really pretty simple. I manage to have trouble with writing that 15 minutes when I don’t have an active project underway and/or when I’m in the thinking stage of something. I see the value of writing exercises but my brain always convinces me that I have other things I could do instead of writing exercises that have no potential monetary value. That may be procrastination rather than wise use of time. I wonder if there are successful people in the world who have never struggled with these kinds of issues at some time or other? I doubt it.

    • kwpadmin says:

      Bonnie, I don’t think there is a successful writer out there who doesn’t struggle with this. Newer writers keep thinking there will come a day when none of these issues surface.

      I don’t think you actually have to put down words during the 15 minutes either. If I’m at the thinking stage, that time might be spent doing some research or working on character sketches or something like that. And I try to make the exercises apply to my WIP, if I can. I’m studying voice now, so I try to do the exercises with one of the characters from the novel in mind. Mostly I try to fix my mind on the project for that length of time so I don’t have to remember after a few days or weeks off where I was! :-)

  2. Vijaya says:

    Such good advice … and pretty soon those 15 min turn into 30 and 60! I plan on implementing this tonight.

    • kwpadmin says:

      I’ve been using it lately too, Vijaya. Amazing how well something works when I practice what I preach! :-) :-)

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