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Dreams vs. Goals: Do You Dream of Being a Writer?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Participate in an online version of me teaching the Dreams vs. Goals class on SkillShare.

We all have dreams. Things we want. Things we hope for.

But will the dream of “being a writer” actually get you there? Is it something that’s as nebulous, as insubstantial, as the stories that run through our heads when we’re asleep? Or is the dream attainable?

Well, it just so happens that I have a workshop that I teach on this very subject, and, as it’s been a few years since I’ve had the opportunity to teach it at a conference or writers’ group meeting, I thought we’d delve into it here. So let’s get started.

“A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes…”

Dreams vs. Goals: Do You Dream of Being a Writer? |

Beyond the sometimes-bizarre movies that play out in our heads when we’re sleeping, beyond the fleeting fantasies that flitter through our minds when they’re wandering, what are dreams?

Well, as the slide above says, they’re more than just thoughts or night visions. Dreams are those “cherished hopes; ambitions; aspirations” that can both enrich and enrage us—enrich us by giving us hope that there’s something beyond what we currently have/are, and enrage us by being (seemingly) out of reach.

But what about dreams when it comes to writing?

Dreams vs. Goals: Do You Dream of Being a Writer? |

Do you dream of being a writer, or do you actually write?

One of the most common things heard by professional writers (and those working to become professional writers) is, “I have this story I’ve always dreamed of writing…” This is usually quickly followed by “but” and an excuse for never doing it, or “so why don’t you write it for me.”

You can dream all you want to about writing. You can stare at a wall and make up all the stories you desire. You can picture yourself standing up in front of a room of hundreds of writers and publishing professionals accepting the Nobel prize for literature or the Pulitzer or the Christy or the Bram Stoker or the Nebula . . . or whatever award it is. Don’t stop dreaming, even if those dreams seem impossible! (You’re welcome for the earworm.)

Dreams vs. Goals: Do You Dream of Being a Writer? |

But, see, here’s the thing—if you never actually write anything, you’ll always just be a dreamer and not a writer. Writers are people who put words down on paper. (Lots of words…MILLIONS of words!)

If you want to be a writer and not just a dreamer, then it’s time to stop being the noun (“a writer”) and start doing it (“writing”).

Dreams vs. Goals: Do You Dream of Being a Writer? |

Tomorrow: Giving Your Dreams Marching Orders

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