We all have dreams. But we are often fearful about voicing them, fearful even about thinking about them. If we dare to dream, it is all the more hurtful if what we wish for does not come to pass, and we don’t want to be hurt. And perhaps, deep down, we may think we are too ordinary, too old, too burdened down with responsibility for the dream to come true for us. We question our worthiness. Who are we anyway to dream such glorious dreams? But let’s not think that way. The universe wants wonderful things for us. Let’s allow ourselves to dream.
What are your writing dreams? Do you want to write a mystery novel? A mainstream best-seller? Maybe you want to write a series of short stories or publish a travel guide. Dreaming, yearning, desiring is part of what it means to be human. “To be what can be is purpose in life,” Cynthia Ozick said. Margaret Deland went on to say that “One must desire something to be alive.” And to be truly, exquisitely alive, we must want something so badly we can taste it. We must also keep true to our wishes and hopes in life and work towards realizing them.
As writers, I believe that our dreams are especially wonderful ones, but they do not easily come to pass. “Nothing worthwhile comes easy,” the old saying goes. That is certainly true in the writing life. And since it can be a long hard road working and waiting for what we yearn for to be realized, I love the idea of working towards lots of dreams—big dreams and little dreams, middle-sized ones too. Maybe we call these goals or objectives, but these are really dreams. So along with our big dreams of writing an award winning mystery or publishing a textbook, we might also work on other goals at the same time. Submit an article to a magazine, write a letter to the editor, try your hand at poetry. If you find that fulfilling, write a series of poems, and submit them for publication. Why not? Are you a science fiction writer who also delights in the joys of home winemaking? Consider writing an article—or even a book–about that. Don’t count anything out. Let your mind open to the possibilities around you and see what happens.
I believe in dreams come true, but I also believe they can come true in ways we do not imagine. My husband, Tom, loved bluegrass music, and wanted to learn to play the banjo. But while waiting for repairs on the broken-down banjo he inherited, he started taking guitar lessons. Then he moved on to the banjo, and because that is a difficult instrument, (and it sounded fun) he cross-trained on the mandolin. So it can be in the writing life, too. We may start out writing poetry and then develop an interest in fiction or non-fiction. Our growing expertise in one area leads to advancement in another.
Again, let’s ask the question—what are your writing dreams and goals? Why not widen them, expand them, let the universe work its magic with the seeds of hope within. Dream big. But dream pint-sized and medium-sized too. Those little goals have a way of growing and developing in ways that can enrich your life.
Exercise for Writing and Living Creatively:
- Brainstorm, writing as quickly as possible your first thoughts to complete the following sentences. Include big ideas and little ones, making a list of as many dreams as possible.
- I have always wanted to _____________________
- I would like to try my hand at _________________
Now, select one or two of the items from the list, and take the first step towards making it happen. Remember, dreams do come true; the first step is to dream them.