Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Writing Dream

Following the writing dream sounds so simple. However, there are certain things that have to happen as you are following those dreams and all of that can be very overwhelming.  Did any of you think that all you had to do was write from your heart and a writing career would unfold?  

In my very younger days, yes I believed that if I wrote from my heart there would be a publisher who would scoop up those words and make my name a household brand in the world of children’s books. Oh how wrong I was. First of all, no one liked my words without changing many of them and sometimes changing the entire idea. And so my journey began.

The thing about writing and writing dreams is that it takes work, hard work. There is the work of learning the craft, that in and of itself can take years.  Then after learning the basics of the writing craft, there is a continuing education aspect that every writer must remember so never to loose site of honing the craft. I am finding new learning experiences with every assignment.

While learning the craft and writing material that may never find a publisher, most writers work at another job to pay the bills. While a writer must continue to write because it is in their heart, most must continue to learn new skills to keep their day job and a constant paycheck. Few are wealthy enough in the beginning to never have to balance the writing life with the paying job.

Add family to the picture and now a writer is balancing writing, working full time, and having a family together with following the dream. As a writer succeeds in this writing world, then enters marketing, speaking, promoting, blogging, and paying assignments on to the plate of the writer with a dream still not quite fullfilled.

My question for myself and other successful writers is this. How do you balance all of these aspects of working towards the writing dream without feeling overwhelmed and discouraged? How many write for paying assignments that they don’t enjoy simply to pay the bills while still trying to carve out time to write from the heart?  

The answer for most is to stay focused, stay organized, make lists, don’t take on more than you know you can do, and to keep writing. Writing from the heart is my motto on my blog, and a common thread for writers everywhere. Writing from the heart is what feeds the soul of the writer. And in the end isn’t that what is important?


Karen Cioffi said...

Terri, this is probably most writers' question. How do you do it all? Your answer sums it up - stay focused, organized, and you also need to prioritize.

Don't let it all feel overwhelming - break down your tasks into doable steps and accomplish them one at a time.

Worrying about what needs to be done can sometimes become crippling.

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Great post Terri. I think the starting place is writing from the heart, but then you have to do the things you discussed. It's these other steps, where I think writers get off track and then stop writing. The other piece is to be really clear on what your writing dream looks like. Although having a blockbuster would be nice, it certainly is not everyone's dream. When we are clear on our dream, we know where to focus.

widdershins said...

I agree with all of the above and would add that a healthy dose of crazy is also a requirement!

Heidiwriter said...

Yes, indeed, reality is a bucket of cold water on your enthusiasm! But, we do have to remember that writing is a journey, and the more we write, the more we hone our craft, the better we get, and hopefully the closer to success (whatever our definition of that is). Hold on to your dream, and persevere!

Magdalena Ball said...

Terri, this strikes right at the heart of where all authors struggle I think. I think that the organisation piece is critical - planning in writing time each day and treating that plan with as much priority as other items on the to do list (and doing it early so it doesn't get bumped) seems to work for me, but not always. Trying to go easy on myself for missing self-imposed goals is also important.

Shirley Corder said...

Terri, organisation is so important. But for me the real challenge is following the plan once I've made it. And yes, I'm with Magdalena - not beating myself up when I don't reach my self-imposed goal!

Debbie A Byrne said...

I'm still trying to figure that out. Great post!

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Writing assignments simply to pay the bills is deadly. The trick is to find a new and interesting angle on the assignment that fascinates you as an author. The piece will be much better written and more marketable too.

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