Sunday, 28 April 2013

Dare to Dream

I've been writing a lot of my novel lately and it feels good knowing that I'm on a bit of a roll. Knowing that I have over 10,000 words written (woo mini cheer!) is a big source of motivation to keep going and get the next 10,000 written and then the next 10,000 written until - well, you get the picture.

So the writing is going well and I'm feeling creatively charged but, as always in life, there's a downside. The more I write, the more confident I feel and the more positive I am that I'm going to get this book finished - I can do it. But (and it's a horrible depressing "but") the pessimistic, negative (natural) side of me is thinking "What if I finish my book and it never gets published?" "What if no one reads it?" "What if it sits in a drawer or on the hard drive of my computer for decades until it's a distant memory to me?"

I know that these thoughts are normal thoughts to the vast majority of unpublished writers (the ones that aren't deluded anyway). And I know that I shouldn't be writing only to get published, I should be writing because I love it. I do love it, I just find it hard to commit chunks of my life to writing 120,000 words without achieving any success or recognition.

I've mentioned a lot in my previous posts that I daydream a lot. Habitually really. Daydreaming is such a big part of my life that I often don't even realise I'm doing it. It's usually fairly effortless which frankly helps with my writing, particularly dramatic scenarios. Sometimes I wonder if I'm bordering on Maladaptive Daydreaming (google it if you haven't heard of it - but not till you're finished with this blog!) such is the extent of my daydreams. Thankfully, I don't think I do because I still have a life, relationships and goals and I function fairly well on a day to day basis (at the moment anyway).

I've previously mentioned that I often daydream about getting my book published and writing fulltime, about leading a life a smidgen more glamorous that the one I currently lead and really making it as a writer.

I want it all: the book launch, the movie premiere, the six figure contract, the spot on the New York Times Bestseller List, the verified twitter account. I want to break away from hum-drum and achieve the stuff that the vast majority of us can only dream of.

That's what I want: I want to be a respected and revered writer and I want to be rewarded for the tears, frustration, early mornings and sacrifices that I'm currently pouring into this book. And you know what else? There's a teeny, tiny part of me hidden well beneath the surface (beneath the platitudes and my polite responses of "Ah sure anyone could write a book," "My books not that good" and "I don't know why I bother, no one will ever read it") that really believes I will be that successful writer.

Now who's deluded?

The weight that I carry with me when I'm writing is the fear that I won't be successful. That none of that will happen for me. That my life won't change. That the life I'm leading now (that of a social worker in Ireland with a mortgage and a car loan) is the one that I'm destined for and nothing else - nothing better nothing worse.

I know that there's a good chance that I sound either (a) really depressed or (b) really ungrateful, but I'm neither. I'm happy with my life, I know how lucky I am and there's a lot of things in my life (mainly people and some animals) that I wouldn't change for the world. I'm lucky with the opportunities I've been given and the situation that I was born into, it's enabled me to study in a prestigious university and obtain employment in a wonderful (albeit challenging) profession. And I'm not going to start naming all the people in my life that I love because there are so many and I hope they know it.

If my life never changes and my book goes nowhere, I won't be depressed. I'm sure I won't be on my deathbed in years to come looking back at my life with regret (I hope not anyway). But my passion is writing and I think that a part of me will always want to live my life knowing that I'm doing something I love, I adore, something that makes me happy and that fulfills me. Isn't that the dream?

Let me ask you an honest question: do you ever look at your life and say to yourself "Is this it?" It doesn't mean that you're unhappy or that your life is terrible. It just means asking yourself "Is there more that I could have (or still could) achieve?" If you can honestly say that you never ask yourself this question, then fair play to you. But if, like me, you wonder if you could have made something more of your life (maybe been a musician/sports star/comedian/actor like you'd always secretly dreamed) you might be able to empathise somewhat with me.

To reiterate, I love my life. I love my family, friends, fiance. I love my home, my job and I love my writing. But I want to achieve as much as I possibly can, because let's face it, we've only got one chance. And I really, genuinely hope that I succeed with my writing. I hope it's worth it in the end.


  1. Ok, I'll bite...

    As opposed to maladaptive dreaming, might I suggest visualisation as a means to achieving your goal? Much more positive and a more accurate (in my humble opinion!!) description of your dreams of book launches and movie premieres.

    You wonder if anyone will read your book - but aren't we reading your blog, your facebook page and all the other forms of publishing that you're using at the moment? I know my group loved listening to you and were engaged with your book topic and your main character. You can obviously tell a story and now you've written 10,000 words of that story.
    You go, girl!

    1. Thanks for the comment Mary!

      Thanks for the advice about the visualisation as opposed to daydreaming - it sounds a lot healthier! :)

  2. To quote the great philosopher Balboa (as in Rocky,) "What's so crazy with standing toe to toe with someone and saying 'I am?' Write for the challenge! How many people do you know that have actually started and finished writing a novel? Finish writing a book and find yourself in a very select company, published or not. Great post!

    1. You're right, I know I'll be ultra-proud of myself if I finish the book!I hope I can do it!
      Thanks for the comment :)