The Inspiration – I was inspired to write this when I stumbled upon a comic strip calling people out on how they never seem to go for their dreams.
Unfortunately I am unable to post a photo of it, and I don’t know who wrote it, but this is a summary of what was said.
A girl looks down at a man who is slumped over in a corner and asks, “why aren’t you following your dreams?” Her eyebrows furrow and she continues, “you keep telling yourself: I’ll do it when I get better, I’m not good enough yet.”
The man looks up at her, his chin resting on his knees and replies, “I don’t have time, what if I fail?”
The girl looks down at the man and shakes her head, “But you will still be saying those things 5 years from now. You gotta get started _NOW_!
If you have ever gone to any day long self improvement seminar you will know that the artist was able to encompass the message of the seminar into three small bars on a comic strip. Even if you fail, at least you tried, which is better than not trying at all, right? You could find yourself looking back years later, wondering, what if? Don’t be a person who wonders what if. Be the person that failed. Be the person that succeeded. Your life will continue to move forward regardless of your failure or success.
Enough back story, here is the piece I wrote after seeing the comic.
I know my grammar and punctuation could be better, bear with me. It has been 10 years since I took a writing class, and let’s be honest people, high school English will only get you so far. That’s assuming you paid attention. I didn’t.
I am 27 years old and just recently realized a dream I didn’t know I had. For the first time in my life, I have actually embraced it.
It all started at my friend’s wedding. My husband and I were sitting at the dinner table across from the brides cousin who was 14. She was an absolute blast to talk too. She was passionate, decisive and clear. She already knew what and who she was going to be when she graduated high school. I couldn’t help but to smile at her as she continued to tell me about her future. I remembered being her age. I remember thinking if I could bottle and sell the innocence and energy of the youth I would be a billionaire wearing comfortable “Jimmy Choo’s” instead of the cheap knock offs I was wearing that somehow managed to pinch my big and pinky toes together. Painful? Yup, my poor feet started throbbing not 10 seconds after I put them on.
She was going to be an author. In fact, she had already finished her first novel. Now, how many people out there do you know that is 14 and wrote a novel… and finished it? How many people do you know are older than 14, started a novel, and finished it? Not many.
Oblivious to the extreme pain that was involved in writing a novel an idea hit me. If a 14 year old can do it, why can’t I?
I had no idea what I was signing up for. Earnest Hemingway described writing perfectly. He said, “There is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit at a typewriter and bleed.”
As soon as we got home I dug out my decrepit laptop who had strong objections to being forced to work and started to write.
Trying to write a novel has been one of the most awful, horrific, wonderful, amazing and rewarding things I have ever done. I eventually told my husband what I was doing after several days of questioningly looks he shot my way as I secretively, or so I thought, wrote my “book.” His reaction was… not negative… but not enthusiastic either. I am sure he was wishing I would devote my extra energy to baking the cookies he is always asking for than to add another item to my ever expanding to do list. Pushing his illusive cookies even further back on the back burner. There are a lot of people who write books, get published, and never turn into Diana Gabaldon or George R.R. Martin. There are even more people who have written books and are incapable of climbing out of the slush pile sitting at every publishers feet and then there are those that I mentioned earlier that start a novel and _never_ finish it.
Still, I forged on.
My mother and several friends started to notice that I had dropped off of the face of the earth and forced a confession out of me. Confessing that you have decided to write a book to people you love is like standing up on stage during the presidential inauguration naked while sharing your most inner secrets on international television. My friends gave me the reaction a new born writer _needs_ to have full of positive thoughts and excitement. While my mother had a reaction like my husband’s. Similar to when a parent placates their child by patting them on their head, and hanging up their drawing that is supposed to be the family dog but looks like a decapitated triceratops on the refrigerator.
Don’t get me wrong, my parents have always loved me and supported me, but I do think this caused them to question my sanity.
Still, I forged on.
Here is the lesson I learned.
There are going to be people throughout the span of my life and my writing, that are going to both love and hate my work. What I need to remember is that I am not only writing for myself, but for those who love my work, and have been rooting for me the entire time. Maybe that only means two people are happy, maybe that only means I am happy.
Regardless as to whether my book is good or terrible, the point is that it will be finished.
Sometimes we just don’t get the reaction we think we are going to get. Maybe in our mind, it’s not the reaction we think we deserve, or maybe it is what we deserve even if we think we don’t deserve it. Either way, letting other people’s thoughts and opinions influence you in stopping or giving up a dream that brings you great joy is criminal. Maybe they are preventing you from getting started. Don’t let them have that power over you.
I decided I wasn’t going to live in “Office Space” anymore. I decided I was going to get out of my _own_ way, and live my life the way I see fit.
There are 7 billion people in this world and we are all shuffling around trying to make our own mark somewhere, somehow. We conform to the societal rules and frown at those who choose to color outside of the lines rather than in.
If you have a dream, get out of your own way, and don’t let anyone else get in your way.
Just do it.