I needed to write the last couple of posts about finding a good editor and what it takes to be a good editor because I’ve seen and heard too many horror stories from authors who were misled by unqualified editors. I believe if an editor is going to take our money, they should be “good” at their job. Crazy idea, I know. *smile*
As I pointed out in the comments, if I’m going to pay an editor, I want them to do a better job at finding all the opportunities for improvement than a free beta reader could do. However…
Those posts also made me feel like a ranty-pants, so I needed to switch gears today. And luckily (or unluckily), I’ve had the perfect song stuck in my head (for days!) to cure me of the ranting and remind me that Everything Is Awesome!!!
(Raise your hand if you’ve had this song from The LEGO Movie stuck in your head for an obscene amount of time. And if not, here you go. You’re welcome, or I’m sorry, or something. *snicker*)
The lyrics to this song are—er, interesting. (“Rocks, clocks, and socks. They’re awesome!”)
But it’s the insanely catchy chorus that keeps playing in my head (over and over). The latter part of the chorus includes the line: Everything is awesome, when we’re living our dream.
And honestly, although the song is a subversive parody of the uber-teamwork attitude in the LEGO society, that part is true. Mostly.
(Not everything is awesome in a real-life dream. Taxes are still due, and that’s never awesome.)
My point is that if we’re living our passions, life is pretty darn good, especially compared to the alternative of a life devoid of passions. On the other hand, if we’re not living our passions, that might be because we don’t even know what they are.
Do You Know What Your Passions Are?
Most people reading this post are probably writers. For many of us, we know writing is our passion and figure we can skip this part. Or can we?
Even if we know writing is our passion, maybe we don’t know what kind of writer we want to be. Non-fiction or fiction? Short stories or long? What age category? What genre? What mood and tone? What voice?
I know many writers who struggle to find a genre that fits them. Sometimes the stories they love to read don’t fit them (like not having a Young Adult voice) and they wander adrift, wondering what they should do.
Worse, every month, I come across dead links or missing blogs for writer friends who gave up on their dream. Was it not really their passion? Did circumstances force them to move on to something else? Or did something make them fear they weren’t cut out for writing?
Kristen Lamb blogged yesterday about the danger of fear. Combined with the self-doubt that runs rampant in most writers, fear can turn our dreams into nightmares.
Reality vs. Dream: The Eternal Struggle
If writing is our passion and we’re able to write some amount, life should be good, maybe even awesome. Yet many of us struggle with self-doubt, and the day-to-day realities of our lives can quickly crush the sense of living our dream.
We might have day jobs that make it difficult to fit in writing time. We might not have supportive family or friends. We might struggle with limited funds to pursue our writing goals.
Everything in life requires sacrifice. Even if we have enough time, a supportive team, and plenty of money to spend on our writing (Ha!), we’ve probably had to give up something.
Maybe we’ve decided against watching that popular new TV show that would eat up the writing time we’ve so carefully carved out of our schedule. Or maybe we’ve decided against taking a family vacation that would steal our “publishing dream” savings.
Life is choices. And many times those choices bring us stress.
Should we do A or B? Which will make us happier? More fulfilled? Bring us closer to our goals?
I don’t know about you, but my birth certificate didn’t come with a crystal ball to see the future. So the uncertainties of which path to take add another layer of self-doubt. Sometimes we fear making the “wrong” decision so much that we do nothing.
How Can We Reclaim the Dream?
Maybe one way we can bring the dream back is to tie in more of our passions with our writing. If we discover our non-writing passions, we might be able to combine what brings us joy with writing and create a stronger, more meaningful dream.
Try answering these questions by thinking not only of your memories but also of your daydreams:
- What do we love to do in addition to writing?
Hobbies, family time, sports, travel, other dream careers, etc.
- What things do we love to create?
Arts/crafts, inventions, home and garden plans, etc.
- How do we most enjoy time with other people?
Teaching, listening, laughing, confiding, exploring, etc.
- When have we enjoyed solving problems?
Logical or human nature problems, our own problems or those of others, fixing things or filling a need, etc.
- Where do we like to spend our time?
Big events, small towns, cultural locations, deep in nature, etc.
- Why do those things appeal to us?
What is it about them that makes us happy? Is it the activity/place itself or the meaning behind the activity, etc.
Some authors write novels about knitting clubs or always include their favorite dog breed in their stories. Other authors set all their books in a special location.
When I was a child, I loved creating places and imagining the people who would live there, from my LEGO spaceships to my pencil-and-paper castle floor plans. That childhood passion fits my genre. Paranormal romance and urban fantasy allow me to write and bring in the other creative aspects of my personality.
Any answers that stand out to us might indicate that our passions lie along that path as well. Maybe the answers will help us find a genre that’s a better fit. Or if we incorporate that aspect in our writing, maybe our writing will feel more connected to our dreams.
At the very least, our answers might help us figure out our priorities. I know writers who dream of being a bestselling author simply because that’s what every other writer’s dream is. Yet talking to them reveals that they actually prioritize other passions above the sacrifices it would take to achieve that goal.
Questions like the above can help us find those mismatches between what we think we want and what we really want. And with each step we come closer to the priorities of our heart, the better the chances that we will feel like we’re living our dream—and yes, that everything is awesome. *smile*
Do you feel like you’re living out your dreams? Do you know your passions? How does writing compare to your other passions? Have you already combined those passions into writing, and if not, can you think of ways to combine them? Have you had that LEGO movie song stuck in your head like I have?Pin It