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 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.”
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.”
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.