I used to be in love with the idea of writing.
Much like I was in love with the idea of having a dream.
It was something I could tell people.
Hello, college acquaintance.
Oh, how am I doing?
I'm doing soooo good.
You should see how good I'm doing.
I’m a writer and I’m writing something REALLLLLLY BIG.
No big deal.
It's probably going to blow your mind.
You know what, let me rephrase that.
It's definitely going to blow your mind.
Where can you find it?
Oh, I haven't written it yet. But go to Barnes and Nobles in 6 months, actually, more like 4 months, and you'll find me in the bestseller section.
When I was twenty-four, I used to write blog posts about doing what you love, quitting your job with reckless abandonment, taking the plunge, risking it all. Just go for it! Great advice from a twentysomething with no kids or serious financial responsibilities. Oh and let me tell you about the daydreams. I'll admit, things got a lil cray cray in my head. I would dream about driving a Porsche 911 convertible and balling out of control. All it was going to take was one published book and that would be it. Boom. Done. History. All the success and fame in the world. That Steven King money. #KanyeRich
Now let me tell you about reality. Believe it or not, there's an actual process. People who wrap themselves up in the dream usually don't make it to the finish line. They get flustered after the first year and end of crying in their half written manuscript entitled Broken Dreams.
A dream is not about fantasies, disillusioned hope and Porsche convertibles. It’s about showing up everyday. If you are a writer, you sit and write. Rain or shine, holiday or no holiday. You study your craft. You ship your art, even if you’re terrified of the outcome. You battle fear and self doubt everyday. You do it because you don’t have a choice. You pick yourself up after falling on your ass. Your mood doesn’t depend on the reaction of critics and fans. This is your job. It's okay to be optimistic. But if you're more concerned with outside validation and material success than doing the actual work, then the finish line is farther than you think. If someone says you are the BEST artist in the entire freakin' world. You respond, is that so. If someone says you’re the WORST artist in the world. You respond, is that so.
Sometimes, it’s easier to daydream about success and material things. Sometimes, it’s easier to imagine the glory before it happens. But what separates the dreamer from the pro is persistence and work ethic. It’s about making the tough call. It’s writing the tough chapter, facing the blank page, getting up everyday and doing the work that matters. It’s facing the critic. It’s doing the thing most people are unwilling to do. The first part of my career was clouded by daydreams and distractions. Now it’s about waking up everyday and going to work.