Do you have a "dream"?
Do you even know what that is or what it means?
Is it a dream or a fantasy?
Yeah, I want to make a difference between those things.
I've been doing this a while, now, the whole author thing and, with it, the blog thing. I've changed the way I blog since way back in the beginning when I used a lot of my time to go and search out other blogs and be very interactive in the whole blogging process. It's time consuming, and I got to a point where I had to ask the question about what my dream was: Was it to write or was it to blog? But that's beside the point, though worth noting. The short of that was that I changed the way I blog, and I no longer go out searching for new blogs by other authors to get involved with.
The point of me telling you that is that I want to note how few blogs show up in my blog feed each day, now. Back when I was being heavily involved in blogging, there would be dozens of blog posts in my feed each day. It was seriously difficult to keep up with. When I changed the way I blogged, I didn't stop following people (even if I did stop visiting all of them), so all of those posts still showed up in my feed each day. Now, though, today, there were only two new posts in my feed. Monday, the heaviest day of the week, there were only eight, and there were none from Saturday and Sunday. [All of these numbers are as I write this on Tuesday, August 16.] Days without posts used to never happen. Never.
Sure, some of the missing people moved onto other platforms (InstaTwitter or whatever), but many of them just gave up on writing. Probably most of them. Okay, actually very certainly most of them. If I go down my list of people who no longer blog, most of them no longer do anything. They just quit.
And that is because of the difference between a dream and a fantasy.
For our purposes, we're going to call a "dream" something you yourself can accomplish.
We're going to call a "fantasy" something that happens to you.
So you can have a dream of buying lottery tickets, but any thoughts of winning the lottery are fantasies. Winning the lottery is not something you can achieve; it can only happen to you. Likewise, you can have a dream of being a writer (because you can sit down and do that), but you can only have a fantasy about being a rich and famous writer. You can be the best writer in the world and never become rich and famous because, as with the lottery, that is mostly luck. Maybe completely.
The problem is that it's easy to subvert your dream with the fantasy. Those things can be easy to confuse. When you believe your dream is the fantasy, you can become disillusioned. I know of several writers who quit, just gave up on it, because, after publishing a couple of things, they didn't become household names. It was crushing to them, and they just quit writing. They had a fantasy of becoming rich and famous and allowed it to take the place of their dream. That's a dangerous thing, allowing your fantasy to squash your dreams.
How do you deal with that kind of thing?
Well, the first way is to identify your dream and recognize the fantasy for what it is.
However, it is perfectly reasonable to have a dream of being "rich," but you need to identify that as your dream. Your actual dream. If that is your dream, you need to choose a path that enables you to work toward that as a dream and, let me just say, writing is a poor path to riches. Pun totally intended. You could even choose fame as a dream, I suppose, although fame is a very elusive thing, and you need to find avenues that lead to that more readily than writing. I would suggest giving Will Smith a call. Evidently, he followed a very specific plan to get to where he was in the 90s.
Now, I want to take all of this back a step farther: What is your real dream? I mean, writing is my dream, but there is a deeper dream, Let's call the dream the "deep magic," but there is a "deeper magic," the thing that supports the dream. That dream for me is the dream of leaving something behind. Something lasting. Something for my kids but also something that goes beyond just them and, in one way or another, everything I have done in my life has worked toward that.
Let me put it another way:
My grandfather was a great man. I'm going to go into why that is because 1. it would take too long and 2. it's unnecessary to what I'm going to say. He was a great man but, once I and the rest of his grandchildren are dead, there will be nothing left of him. Nothing beyond a notation in a genealogy file somewhere. And a birth certificate. Nothing that anyone will ever take note of in the future. Even the farm he poured his sweat into and the house he helped build are all gone now, burned to nothing in the wild fires that swept through East Texas a few years ago.
I don't know what kinds of dreams my grandfather had; he was more than a little laconic. But it makes me sad that he will be forgotten one day. I want to leave something behind, and my writing serves that dream.
It's not that I have a dream of being the Shakespeare of the age. Or, even, the Tolkien. Or, even, the Lewis. But I would be more than happy with being a MacDonald. See, you people don't even know who that is, do you? Here, I'll help: George MacDonald. See, it doesn't matter how unheard of he is for the most part, because his books are still out there and he still influences people. Probably in more ways than we can even imagine.
So, yeah, I choose the dream of writing to fulfill the dream of leaving something behind that lasts. And, well, if fame and riches follow, well, that's a nice fantasy, but it has nothing to do with my dream.
So what is your dream? Is it small or is it big? And can you separate it from fantasy?
"'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains.