Saturday, January 7, 2012

Living the Dream

By Keith N Fisher

Every time he comes into my work, I ask my customer how he is. “Just living the dream,” he often says. Of course, he’s being sarcastic, but it got me thinking the other day.

When we were kids, we all dreamed of things that would happen in our lives. Some even chose a career path based on those dreams. Some followed that path, others took forks in the road. Most of us have yet to realize those dreams. Some of us never will.

I suppose fear plays a big role in that, but circumstances often get in the way, too. What are your dreams? Have you mapped your course? Many of the writers who read this, have the same dream: I want to be a best selling author. I want to be able to quit my other job and write full time.

I sat in a workshop once, listening to James Dashner talk about his dream and how he realized it. He said that he decided he wanted to write full time. He didn’t talk about goals or how to attain them, he didn’t really talk about focus. He mentioned how blessed he had been, which is an important key, but knowing James, I think for him it was focus. He wanted something bad enough to act, and keep after it, until it happened for him. Google him, it might give you hope.

I often talk about my desire to write full time, but responsibility often gets in the way. If I were to be honest with myself, however, I think it’s been a lack of focus. I’m a prolific writer. I have a full, project file. I’ve been focussing on the craft, not on the promotion.

I have another friend who found writing success by focussing on blogging and other promotion, so entirely, she now teaches others about it. She is published nationally, partly because publishers know how much work she is willing to do for success. Yes, her name is Elana Johnson.

It’s true. If we want something bad enough, we must focus and exclude other concerns. So with a little hard work, and perseverance, we can be living the dream. Whatever it might be.

There is, however, a possible dark side. Someone once said, “Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.” I knew a man, who hated his job. He felt abused by his superiors and told himself that he could put up with abuse, if only his wages were higher. One thing led to another. He got the salary he wanted, but the abuse increased. This time, his boss was an ex Marine and he used the whipping boy method of management. My friend was the whipping boy. The salary almost compensated, but the abuse messed him up in the end.

We’ve all heard stories about people who get their wishes and find out they were happier before. We often appease our self by saying, if only. Or things will be better when . . . then, after achieving those dreams we discover unforeseen circumstances.

As for being able to write full time, promotion in the national market involves a lot of travel. Writing is often done in hotel rooms before leaving for some book-selling event. If your dream involved locking yourself away, writing your next best seller at home, you might be disappointed.

Good luck with your writing dreams---see you next week.

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