Your dreams should sound crazy
Finding the motivation to make it as a writer
Before I dive into this post, I’d like to clarify that this isn’t directed at anyone. These were the things on my mind after reading the book, “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield on how to make it as a writer. I love you all. Cheers!
Every great accomplishment first began as a dream in somebody’s mind. There was an unyielding desire burning from within that compelled that person to follow their dream and achieve it.
With dreams there is an element of fantasy, of unrealism. When you awake the next morning to tell someone about it, what do they do? They look at you like you’re crazy. In certain ways, dreams can sound crazy, especially to the outsider hearing about the dream, but to you, the insider, it’s real. To you it’s backed by a vision so compelling that an element of truth exists in it.
The same occurs with career and life-oriented dreams.
With these dreams, however, those same friends become detractors, semi-strangers capable of varying degrees of jealousy, appalled that you would even dare strive to achieve something greater than your current mode of being. Some friends will try to talk you out of it, they might try to make you feel bad, try to remind you that you don’t have the experience, the willpower, or the knowhow. They will focus on your past failures, your every typo that seems to mysteriously appear after you hit “publish”. But here’s the thing about other people’s opinions: they do not determine your destiny.
A critic cannot stop a film from being produced, they can only criticize the end product.
Sometimes your friends and family won’t celebrate your dream with you. It’s an odd feeling, an eye-opening experience. Those closest to you can simultaneously be the furthest from supporting you. Is it out of malice? Probably not. At the very least, it’s a distraction, it’s the resistance preventing you from taking the next steps you need to take. Do not falter on the tightrope of pettiness for you will fall eventually. As a matter of fact, get off the tightrope altogether because it’s making the journey that much harder.
If you’re longing for something different, you must be the arbiter of change.
You will find yourself in the darkest of places, the deepest of pits, the lowest of lows. But it’s in those moments of tailored hardship that will forge you into the person you need to become.
Setbacks become setups for something better in your life. Celebrate the small victories while you have them, but not for too long or you’ll lose sight of the next goal. There is no such thing as an overnight success. The hours, days, weeks, months, years that it takes for your story to be told will all play a role in the ending—your ending—the only one you have to power to write.
You will be tested repeatedly in order to determine if you can succeed.
The tests will likely be beyond your current abilities. If you could accomplish your dreams without being tested, were they really dreams to begin with? A dream should seem impossible. But nothing is impossible. The testing will get you where you need to be. Failure is simply part of the process of refinement, and you are being refined—your character is being formed.
If you had everything you dreamed of right now without the testing to get there, you wouldn’t have the character strong enough to handle the dream.
There’s this concept that after each mass extinction of life on planet Earth, there came massive growth and potential. Here’s a quote to illustrate what I mean:
"Mass extinction is the most powerful creative force in the history of life. It is an idea both thrilling and terrifying. Mass extinctions set the stage for grand bursts of evolutionary change—adaptive radiation—on scales that make a mockery of normal levels of species origination." - Stephen Jay Gould
This is the test of life, that even at the greatest levels of destruction comes the most extraordinary peaks of success. Until we learn to grapple with the struggles that come with success, we will never be able to claim it as ours.
“Embrace the suck,” as my military friends would say.
In order to go on an adventure, you must first pursue your dreams. Once you set off, you never know what might happen. Sometimes success comes to you once you’ve made it known that you’re seeking it.
In September of last year, I wrote an essay on serendipity. Serendipity is “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.” In the essay, I state the following:
These are moments of serendipity, more or less. These moments can’t exist if we don’t create the opportunity for them to happen. And for them to happen, we must first create something, anything.
Opportunities and special doors open when you least expect them. Once you decide on your dream, you can enable that little thing called ‘luck’.
Whatever you do in life, do it to the best of your ability. This is one of the Air Force core values, “Excellence in All We Do.”
If you’re already chasing your dreams, why chase it with only partial commitment? This doesn’t mean quit your job and subsist on ramen (although that has worked for some). It means that if you have the time during the week to write more but it gets wasted on Instagram Reels (guilty), then maybe there’s something that can be improved upon.
Maximize your capabilities in the areas that are cheapest to fix. Buying that expensive iPad may seem like it’ll get you to write more, but the device isn’t the issue. It’s a battle on the inside, in the mind. Do the best with what you have.
And write for yourself first.
You have a destiny and you will fulfill it.
Does your dream include making the world a better place? Because that’s the power you have. Your work will make a difference. Your words have value, and there is someone out there who will cherish what you have to say. Your life matters to me and to everyone else you know, even if it’s not shown on a daily basis.
Surrender yourself to your purpose. You will find that others will respond, maybe with negativity, but hopefully it’s the opposite. Although, it’s not their dream they’re responding to, it’s yours.
There’s a message from Neil Gaiman that I love to reflect upon, which goes something like this (not verbatim, linked in the video below):
“I used to consider my dream of writing novels as a mountain in the distance, and each decision would lead me closer to the mountain. If there was something that took me further from the mountain, I simply wouldn’t do it.”
The caveat here is that no one can do it completely on their own. And if they do, what’s the point if there’s no one around to share in their successes?
Thank your friends and family for the gifts that they do give you, the meaningful conversations, the relaxing times away from the constant drudgery of the struggle. Don’t shut anyone out. They likely want what’s best for you. Forgive them if they just don’t understand what you’re striving for.
But know that you’re generally made up of the people you surround yourself with. If your friends don’t share the same dream as you, it doesn’t hurt to find additional friends that do.
I consider all of you reading this my friends, and it’s been the most supportive environment I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a part of. Thank you so much for being here and for chasing your dreams. Time to make your dreams a reality!
If you need more encouragement:
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Lovely encouragement. Thanks.🙂
Absolutely beautiful, and you inspire me.