Tuesday, August 25, 2015

No One But You

I've been doing a lot of writing lately in the hopes to finish my next novel in time. Which means I'm neck deep in stress. Writing a story is both exhilarating and mind-numbingly painful at the same time. My brain no longer knows how to turn itself off. To be quiet. To go to sleep. It just doesn't stop. If I'm not worried about my next writing goal, I'm worried about the scene I've just created, or the last character, or the last five chapters, and does everything work, and how can I MAKE THIS WORK! It's cool. It's fun. Really. I cry a lot. Tears of joy and wine. I mean, fine. It's fine!

Breathe. Smile. 

I've been trying to get out more, see my friends, and remind myself that there's more to me than work. It feels great to see everyone. I hug them like I haven't seen them in forever because yay me, I'm alive. And I remember that what I'm 
doing [what I'm writing] is magical. I'm doing what I love. I'm experiencing so many emotions with my work that it's ridiculous and I'm on cloud infinity.

But no amount of positivity makes the fear go away. It's still there. There's so much work left to do. 

Last night, I read an old post written by Jim Butcher (author of The Dresdon Files, and the Codex Alera series), one of my favorite authors. The post was advice to aspiring authors. Butcher says that because of how difficult becoming a full-time novelist is, that the vast majority of aspiring authors self-terminate their dream. They simply quit. 

"Think about this for a minute, because it's important," he says, "THEY KILL THEIR OWN DREAM. But here's a secret: You are the only one in the world who can kill your dream. No one can make you quit. No one can take your dream away. No one but you."

Did you get the feels reading that? I sure did. This message transcends various interests, from business, to health, fitness, art, and music. We all aspire or dream for something. This message applies to you just as it applies to me. Whether you're striving to meet a fitness goal, build a business, or launch your next career. 

At the end of the day, you are the only one who can kill your dreams. So yes, it will be hard. It might make you a little crazy. It might make you question yourself, your life, your entire being. You might lose your hair, or several nights of sleep. Even after all your hard work, you might still not find success in the next year, let alone the next decade. But either way, only you can end that dream. If you don't quit, you will eventually reach your goal. You may have to make adjustments along the way, and perhaps change your idea of success, but when that day comes, you'll look back at these times and forget just how bad the drama had been. The grueling, endless work will be but a memory. 

I tell myself that it's all worth it. Because it is. Nothing worth doing is ever easy, and nothing worth having is without some measure of pain. 

So keep working. Keep striving. Everything is going to be wine. Fine! I mean, fine!

Photo cred: Anthony Lew