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Thursday, 24 September 2009

Aiming for the top

I have always been told to follow my dreams, aim for the top and reach for the stars. But it occurred to me that perhaps that isn't always the best way to go through life. Of course dreams and hopes are important - they are what keep us going, make us live day to day, and what makes us human. But if everyone spent all their time and effort into making it to the very top, the world would become chaos. No one would have any regard for anyone else's feelings and certainly not for their dreams. We would be treading on each other left, right and centre. But it's apparant that not everyone is like that (I'm not going to say no one is like that as we all know that that would be a flat out lie). Then again, surely it depends on what your dreams are, as we don't all share the same ones.

My dream is to be published, but to be honest I want more than that - I want to be a bestseller, I want everyone to have heard of my book and of me, I want money and fame. Well for starters I don't have anything to be published - yet (I'm working on it). Not because I don't have the ideas, or the talent or the time. But because I'm not using even half my potential. I find I have better things to do - like dream and imagine about when I get to the top. But that's not of any use to me. I can't write a bestseller just by dreaming of it happening.

The main problem I have though is that I want to aim for the very top - I want my book to be a bestseller and to reach millions. And this thought alone scares me. How am I supposed to live up to what everyone else is writing? I'm worried I won't find a publisher let alone have my book at the top of the reviewers list. And so I don't even start. The fear of failing is holding me back. The little voice in the back of my mind which perhaps isn't so little, is telling me that it's reach the top or fail. Basically - if my dream is achieved to its fullness I will have failed. Even though my common sense knows better, that voice is still there; stopping me from starting.

Now that I've realised this, I am going to stop worrying and start writing. Afterall, I can't let my fears stop me from trying. Because in reality, just finishing a first draft of a novel, or having a short story published will be a big success for me - simply because it will be proof that I've done something. If I never write anything then I can't call myself a writer and I'll never know if my dream is achievable as, to use a wellworn phrase, the race can't be won if it's not raced.

1 comment:

Kess said...

Some very good points there! Your first paragraph reminded me of something I read a few years ago in a wonderful book called 'Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. I'd like to say I know the book inside-out and upside-down, but I can't find the quote right now. Basically, the protagonist's mother tells her that in order to achieve something, she needs to picture achieving it, so if she was running a race, she should imagine winning it. But the protagonist wonders how that would work if all the participants in the race pictured winning.

I can totally relate to what you said further on about the voice in your head that tells you that it's all futile and you can't make it. I am very well acquainted with that voice! It often comes back to haunt me if progress with my novel is slow, as it is currently, or going badly. I become impatient and want success right now, and when I see that it still lies a long way off, I become frustrated, and wonder if I'll even get there in the end. That's the point at which the voice takes over and I just have to ignore it. I find reading over my better work helps, because it reminds me that I can write well.

Keep writing, fellow writer, and keep dreaming, because one day I am sure our dreams will come true. I am very excited about reading your novel!