Dreams are just muddy hard work!
Let's talk a little about dreams. I say this having just finished the first draft of Best Seller, the book I'd promised to have written and released in January 2017, and here it is August and I've just finished the first draft. What happened? Life! And the business of writing ... and life, life and more life. And I'd forgotten a few lessons I'd learned from writing the last book, like somewhere in each day I needed to turn up and keep writing that story.
By the time I'd realized writing was just as important to my happiness as anything else in my life, six months had gone by. Once I reset, it only took a daily commitment of a few hours to finish the book in the following six weeks.
There was also my foolish digression in using new technology when I was in the middle of writing the book. I started using dictation software, Dragon Dictation, which meant I would speak the first draft of the story instead of writing. Then there was novel-factory, online software for writing a story, which I took for a test run and got myself hopelessly muddled. It’s a very neat program, however using it for the first time in the middle of a first draft: Not a good idea.
Then halfway through what was meant to be a short novel of around 200 pages, my husband suggested I add another character to break up the first few chapters he’d read. Well, that character took over. I could have killed her for doing this because she doubled the size of the book and complicated the story so much that near the end I wasn’t sure I could even finish. You'll have to read the book to know if I did kill her in the end. I share these thoughts because I know you are like me. You have a goal or a dream, maybe not to write a book but maybe it’s to learn a skill, travel, save for a home, something that’s important to you. When you’re standing at the beginning of the journey it’s exciting and you have all the energy in the world. Most people can start anything. That’s the easy part.
Somewhere in the middle is where things run aground, where you can’t see the end and the energy of the beginning has long been expended. Nobody is there to help you and you think maybe this is more than you can manage. You don’t have the skills. You’ve bitten off more than you can chew. You’re tired.
We all arrive there at some point. Don’t think you are unique. I always say if a bunch of things go wrong, then you’re being tested as to whether you deserve the reward ahead. If you don’t keep going you don’t get that reward. So you must keep going. This is your destiny urging you on, not standing in your way.
Whenever I became overwhelmed writing this book, I told myself, one word, one line, one paragraph, one page, one chapter. When I felt like I absolutely couldn’t go on, I told myself to just finish this chapter and then you can give up. Or take this day off and tomorrow you come back. You must come back! Whatever trick works, you do it.
Sometimes it felt as though I was shoving the story along with brute force. And then miraculously the book was done. I remembered that last time when I did this amazing thing and finished a book when writing Troubles Keeper, it was just as hard but with different challenges.
Achieving anything that takes a lengthy commitment is the mark of you. Just be ready for those moments that will come. You might see them as signposts saying “Quit” or “You’re no good.” They’re actually saying, “This is worthwhile,” and “Work those muscles. Look ahead. There’s sunshine.”
Dreams really can come true but only for those who slosh in the mud, work until they drop, cry themselves to sleep but still keep going. Dreams are just dirtyhard work dressed up in fluffy clouds. But once you’re there and you clean off that dirt and get a good night’s sleep, my gosh, they sure are worth the journey.
Until next time, remember when following a dream sometimes you'll end up in a dark tunnel, but somewhere ahead is a pinpoint of light. You just put one foot in front of the other, put your hands out and feel your way along the rough walls, and if you can borrow a torch, do that too. Whatever it takes to get there. Keep going.
Thank you wonderful reader, for being part of my dream.
NOTE: BEST SELLER is now available. Check it out at Amazon.
Susan May's latest competition