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Friday, November 13, 2009

Just Believe. Or Not. Whatever Works.

So, this industry. It's all about dreams, right? Dreams to be published, dreams to write a great book, dreams to get an agent, dreams to get *insert writing dream here*. They're our dreams. Ours. No one else nurtures these dreams and strives towards them. No one else takes care of them when they wake up at 2AM with a really, really great plot idea. Yes, there are people who encourage the snot out of us. But they didn't MAKE these dreams, and they won't be the ones to decide whether or not these dreams come true. We are. It is, ultimately, up to us. Right?


Wait -- what? Sara, you're wrong. It is up to me! It's MY dream! If I can dream it, I can do it!
Well, you're both right and wrong there. Because while it is GREAT to have a dream you are chug-chug-chugging towards, what happens when that dream gets a bit -- dull? What happens when you're up at 2AM, again, taking care of your dream, again, and start wondering why you're doing it? And what if, instead of a resounding chorus of "Because it's the greatest thing EVER!!", you get this odd, depressing cricket silence in response? What if you still WANT that dream, but when you look down at it in the wee hours of the night, you find you don't have that same spark you did when you first thought of it? Does that mean your dream won't come true, now that you find yourself less passionate about it?

While the whole Believe In Yourself motion can be amazingly inspirational and is the fuel for many a dream, it has one downfall: we have been somewhat conditioned to believe that we HAVE to believe in something in order for it to happen. For instance, we HAVE to believe that our book will get published. If we stop believing that, who else will? The book publishing forces will sense our lack of belief and refuse our request. We have to WANT it all the time. 24/7. We can never stop believing in ourselves.

But it's exhausting. And sometimes, quite honestly, I don't believe in myself. Sometimes I look at published authors and wonder how I ever thought I could be in their ranks. Sometimes I look at my dreams and think I should start over. But does that brief moment of disbelief mean things WON'T happen for me? If I went through months of disbelief, does that mean my dreams would fizzle out and kind of fade to nothing?


See, we don't HAVE to believe in things for them to happen. Some things just -- happen. Yes, it's a great motivation for us to believe in ourselves. But those moments of disbelief don't set us back. And even in the midst of our lowest moments of doubt, our dreams don't just decide not to come true. Because our dreams don't really need us to believe in them. They're magical enough on their own.


Mariah Irvin said...

I agree. I'm often exhausted by always saying "Believe in yourself, Mariah!", especially when others meet dreams I haven't yet accomplished.

I like this letting it happen idea. Good post.

Jade said...

Great post Sara. I'm 'not believing' in Charms at the moment. I want to abandon ship but I'm forcing myself to perservere.

I'm also learning to take things as they come. My dreams will stil be there in a year, five years, 10 years. They don't have to come true this minute.

Shannon Messenger said...

Wow, I needed this post--thank you so much. I've reached that point in revisions where I know I still need work but OMG if I have to read these words again I'm going to throw my laptop out the window. I guess the real point is to keep going, even if you've lost a little of the belief. Determination and luck. Maybe that's what I need. Thanks again, I really love your blog!

Kasie West said...

So true. I think the first year of writing for me was that obsessive, I must believe in myself and my dreams and I WANT them so badly. Now, this is just part of who I am. I almost feel like it's mundane. Before I used to finish a chapter and need to call all my friends and inform them of this momentous event. Because it was so exciting for me--this huge dream I was dreaming. Now, it's more every day life. It's a little more dull this way (like you suggested) but it's good as well. It doesn't take as much energy and doesn't exhaust me as much. Now I call my friends when I do something out of the ordinary that I'm proud of--like clean a toilet or do some laundry. :) I think, like you said, that once we set our dreams in motion, they can drag us along.

Great post. And a short disclaimer: if my comment didn't make sense it's because it's 1 o'clock in the morning.

Renee Collins said...

Ah, yes. Definitely true. In some ways, I mourn the loss of that bubbling-over excitement from the "early times." When just walking into Barnes and Noble filled me with butterflies.

But the truth is, that kind of enthusiasm is unsustainable. It may come back in spurts, here and there, but as a general rule I think a calm, underlying determination is all we need.

Mary E Campbell said...

good post - I needed it.

Hayley Lovell said...

Amazing post Sara, as always spot on. I do find myself having to push through when I start to have second thoughts about my dream. But I always make it through. Just a great post Sara.

Roz Morris aka @Roz_Morris . Blog: Nail Your Novel said...

Those 2am doubts never go away! Writing takes so much self-belief it can be exhausting. That's when we really need writing buddies who understand - and great blogs to remind us that everyone feels like this! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this :) I never really looked at it that way, but it really is true. It can sometimes be hard to see it, especially during those doubting moments.

Natalie said...

This was an excellent post! I definitely doubt myself sometimes and that's okay. My manuscript is on submission right now, which means I have absolutely no control over what happens to it. My work is done (unless we decide to revise again or something). I can think positive thoughts all I want but my positive thoughts aren't going to matter much to editors :)