So, TA-DA! Trumpets, confetti and champagne for everyone, because...here's the cover of my book! It's amazing to have gotten this far. To see my name on the cover of a book that I wrote! It almost feels like I've been given permission to live my life with passion, with purpose and with joy. Following your dream should be all of that.
The difference between having a dream and living your dream can be summed up, I think, in two words: hard work. It's what you do about your dream that makes it a reality. Some people are more than happy just to have the dream. They settle for that because...well, they'll have more than one excuse. And these excuses may even sound plausible; not enough time, not enough money, no idea how to start, it'll never happen even if I do start, there are others who do it better, etc.
And then there are those who pursue their dreams no matter what. If your dream doesn't compel you to act, it's not a dream. It's a daydream. A pleasant meandering of thought without substance. If you want to be a writer, you'll write. You fill every available moment with plotting, character development, story line. You'll read every book you can get your hands on about the craft of writing and you'll do the exercises they suggest. You'll go on any and every course you can and you do the homework. You'll join writing groups. You'll put in the long hours it takes to get your story on paper - by hand if you have no computer. You'll ignore those who say you can't, that have no belief in you, or are jealous of your dream and determination. You'll get up at the crack of dawn or stay up late at night - and you'll write. Once the story is down on paper, you'll beggar yourself if necessary to find an editor to refine it with you. After that you'll chase down agent after agent, publisher after publisher until something happens. You won't stop. And then, one day it'll pay off and, with baited breath, you'll watch as your creation steps out in front of the world. And in that moment your dream becomes reality.
What is your dream, your passion? Find out, because life is too short not to be living to the utmost. I encourage you, no, I urge you to chase your dreams. Don't live a life of despair, shrouded in tattered fragments and figments of your imagination. Push through the stuff that feels like a grind, it will all pay off in the end. Push, until you're standing on top of the mountain. Nelson Mandela once said that there is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. And I agree.
Whatever your dream is, it will take work. Often damn hard work, but you'll do it because it's more than a hobby - it's your passion. It's what makes you feel alive. And believe me, it's worth it. It still feels very unreal that I'll be a published author in just over a month and a half. Even having the book's cover finalized and "out there" is amazing. The hard work has paid off. The passion has been translated into a living, breathing reality.
If you have a dream, don't just dream, DO IT!
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Stand back! I have an imagination and I'm not afraid to use it!