Saturday, February 12, 2011

Deferring Your Own Dreams: Overcoming Self-Inflicted Obstacles to Success

To be certain, there is no shortage of aspiring writers. Each day I meet at least one person who is in some stage of becoming the writer of their dreams. What continues to amaze me is the number of men and women who are their own saboteurs; having laid the obstacles to their success at their own feet; they have deferred their own dream.

The reasons for these good people not seeing their dream to fruition are as creative as their written work. This is not to minimize the circumstances in life that lead to unintentional delays in a plan of action. Life happens. But at some point, if you in fact have been called into the life of a writer, a decision must be made and you must push past your fears, your naysayers and your perceived safety net in order to answer your calling.

My words are backed by personal experience. I remember my own journey toward becoming a full-time writer; each step taking me further away from what others thought was best for me; counting the cost and comprehending the value of the required sacrifice, until one day, out of the weariness of running from myself, I gave in. I simply walked away from every roadblock, both mental and physical, and began the adventure that is now my writing career. I have no regrets.

This life as a writer is a romantic one, in the Ayn Rand sense of the expression. This life is not for the timid or the easily offended. As a writer, you are a part of community of artists that speaks its own magical and mysterious language. You are subject to and the subject of great conversations. Although words are your constant companion, you are at times alone and lonely. You will be loved or hated or both. You will never retire. Your mind is always “on”, and it will be your guide, mentor and therapist when the weight of the craft ushers you to and from the dark places of the writing universe.  

I can’t think of a better way to live. And if this is really your calling, then neither should you.