Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Beware of the Dream Killer

Get to know someone well enough, and you'll eventually hear about their dreams. I'm not talking about those bizarre images that play through your head while you're sleeping. I'm talking about those lifelong goals, those things that keep you up at night, those unfulfilled longings of your heart. Usually, though, most of us are not really pursuing our dreams. We have plenty of excuses why. It's too hard, we don't have enough money or talent or resources, or simply that we're too busy. Or maybe it's some event that happened that brought your dreams crashing down around you.

So here's the thing. It's easy to blame other things. It's easy to label them as dream killers. But the fact of the matter is, there is actually only one thing that can kill your dreams.

And it's you.

I haven't mentioned yet that I am a big fan of Jim Butcher, author of the Dresden Files and Codex Alera. Both are well worth your time and money if you are a fan of science fiction and fantasy. But today, I want to quote from Jim Butcher's Livejournal page where he talks about this particular issue of dream killers. He's specifically talking about the dream of becoming a published author, but it's applicable to just about anything:
YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE IN THE WORLD WHO CAN KILL YOUR DREAM. *NO ONE* can make you quit. *NO ONE* can take your dream away.

No one but you.

If you want it, you have to get it. You. An author can't help you. An editor can't help you. An agent can't help you. If you want to climb that hill, the only way to do it is to make yourself do it, one foot in front of another, one word after another. It will probably be the greatest challenge most of you have ever faced.

And here's the kicker: THAT IS A VERY GOOD THING.

If you stay the course and break in, you are going to acquire a ton of absolutely necessary skills. You have to learn to motivate yourself to write even when you don't feel like it: Discipline. You're going to have to learn the ropes of the business, and how to work with an editor: Professionalism. You're going to face what might be years of adversity, facing a monumentally difficult task and you're going to overcome it: Confidence. You're going to do it with very little active support, and when you look back at this time in the future, you're going to know that it was something YOU did all by yourself: Strength.

There Ain't No Free Lunch.

I don't think there is anything I can add to that.

So what dreams have you given up? What excuses are you making? And what can you do, TODAY, to start pursuing that dream again? Thanks for reading.

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