“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
― Paulo Coelho
There are two things that I dreamed of doing when I was a little girl. I dreamed of being a singer and I dreamed of being a writer. Now, neither talent has ever been developed. After hearing REAL singers sing, I know that's not on my list of achievable dreams. I'll stick to the shower and the occasional fling with karaoke. But writing? Damn if I'm not livin' the dream.
I realize I'm not a "real" writer. I'm not selling books (or even, if I need to be honest here, WRITING a book). I'm not getting paid to write, other than my marketing job where I write exciting things like "our chemists focus on optimizing routes, improving yields and process safety through the course of each project." But for YEARS I've been waiting for that perfect time to write. Maybe I'll write for magazines. Maybe I'll start a blog. Maybe I'll keep that journal. Time and time again, I've stopped myself mid-sentence because of lack of time, lack of energy, lack of tenacity and lack of true motivation. It wasn't rewarding because I wasn't sharing. I was just...writing.
The time we live in is perfect for those of us "wanna be writers." We can do THIS. We can blog and people can read our words, flung from the tips of our fingers, from wherever they are. It's affordable (just the cost of an internet connection and a viable communication device), convenient and, most of all, super fun!
People have always said to me, "You should write a book.." because of one reason or another. They enjoy the stories of my madcap adventures and they appreciate my slightly off-kilter take on a lot of things. But, whatever the reason, book-writing doesn't come easy. It's HARD to sit down and put all these thoughts together and when you have adult ADD (OK, I haven't been diagnosed but let's be frank...I am highly distracted by shiny things, dull things and things that don't even exist outside my mind) it's nigh impossible.
But one day not so long ago, I cast fear aside and I put fingers to keyboard. And here we are. I'm SO EXCITED that I have 50 people following my FB link. I can't figure out how many e-mail subscribers I have because I'm technologically deficient. The thingy says "1 follower" but I KNOW I follow myself and I am pretty sure my mom does so that's at LEAST TWO.
Are all of these blog posts funny? No. They're not all even very good writing. But I have never felt so...unconfined. The random verbal vomit that runs through my brain has a place to ooze to (lucky, lucky you) and I am so proud of myself for sticking with something for...so far...close to a MONTH. I have been to the grocery store at LEAST three times since I started this blog...THAT'S how long it's been. And I do this totally free form. I don't really think about it and I usually write all posts in under 15 minutes so I don't have time to ruin it by second-guessing and editing myself out of a thought. (Hence the rambling incoherent mutterings of a fool that are often the result.)
I'm living PROOF that dreams can come true. Even if they're not QUITE the way you imagined. Here's what you can do to get started:
- Stop saying "I can't." If you are the kind of person who makes friends snort peas out of their noses when you all get together for dinner, maybe you've been thinking of trying your hand at stand-up comedy. But you always have this reason for NOT trying it. "I can't get up in front of all those strangers." "I can't be funny on demand." "I can't deal with hecklers." I'm here to tell you this: if you try...if you go on out there and make it happen, you will understand that you are more powerful than fear. Yes, you may flop. But you didn't sit on your couch with the latest issue of People cramming your face with chocolate-covered pretzels and a bottle of cabernet either. You are successful even in your failures if you stop saying "I can't" and get on out there and DO.
- Let go of your fear for ONE MOMENT. If you can suspend your hesitation and all of your insecurities for just ONE MOMENT and live in your dream, you can make it possible. When I hit the first "PUBLISH" on my blog and then promoted it on Facebook for the very first time, my heart rate was through the roof. I was nervous. But I told all of those niggling voices inside my head to BE QUIET and I did a free fall away from the fear for just a moment so that I could experience the intoxicating freedom of success. Even if NO ONE read the blog, I had done what I set out to do in one moment without fear.
- Understand that BIG dreams can start from SMALL steps. Obviously, my end goal of writing for a living isn't going to happen today or tomorrow or probably even in the next couple of years. But I can certainly make this a wonderful learning opportunity and bask in the glow of each small success. When I write a blog post at least once a week, I feel successful. And, quite honestly, right now the words just pour out of me. That's how I know that the dream is real. And even though I'm taking itsy bitsy baby steps right now, I am living in my BIG dream in a SMALL way. It feels fantastic.
I live the dream. Right now. It feels great.
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