5 Mar 2015
I am honored to be Katszone’s guest blogger this month. I have known Katherine for quite a while now through Facebook. (Yes, Facebook does have some advantages, despite its many frustrations!) I do believe our mutual passion for teddy bears connected us; what keeps us connected is Katherine’s delightful sense of humor and her beautiful spirit, always looking for good in life, always trying to shed a helpful light on our paths.
I’ve chosen the topic of following dreams to write about this month, for following my dreams has been a difficult, but delightful, journey over the past few years. All my life I have dreamed of being a writer. However, most of my life I allowed fear to hold me back: I was afraid of taking risks, and I feared failure. My dream of writing would insert itself into my life at times, I would set my hand to it for a while, then let it slip into the background, unfulfilled.
Five years ago my dream returned, stronger than ever. I decided this time I would give it everything I could; either the dream would be worth following and I would see results, or I would set it aside forever. I started writing poetry, then a novel. Four years later my first novel, Walking Through The Mist, was released, followed by my first poetry collection, Fragility, this past December.
What does it take to follow a dream?
First, listen to your heart. What pulls you the strongest, what makes your heart and your senses come alive? What gives you the most joy? Follow that passion. Most of you already know the dream you carry inside.
Second, plan your path. Understand what it will take to reach your goals. You may need lessons or classes of some kind. You may need to start small and build up. You will need to be practical at times; do you have the finances necessary to pursue your path? Do you have the time? I had to adjust some of my steps to fit my available finances. I work full time as a legal secretary, and have to be content with writing whenever I have free time.
Third, devote yourself to research and practice. I had a great deal to learn about formatting, structure, and publishing. I researched a great deal, and made the best choices I could at each juncture. And practice? Walking Through The Mist was revised several times over before I was confident it was ready to be released.
Fourth, draw strength and encouragement from others. This is critical. Pursuing a passion takes an emotional toll at times. You may feel discouraged and tempted to give up. Four months before my novel was released, I was ready to throw in the towel. Several very dear friends would not hear of this and pushed me to keep going. I will always be grateful they would not let me give up. Find friends or family who will stand behind you and keep you going when you feel you can’t continue.
Finally, let go of your fears. The first time I read my poetry in public I was terrified. Now, after many public readings, I have more confidence. Part of the research for my novel included a trip to Ireland. (Darn! Research can be so hard!) During this trip of a lifetime, I was challenged several times over to push myself beyond what I thought I could do, and to face my fears. The best example of this was crossing the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. I am afraid of heights; reaching this bridge and crossing it was not easy. I pushed through my fears, though, and will always remember the thrill of reaching the other side, and conquering my fear. Whenever I am fearful now, I remember that bridge and find the courage to move forward.
For all the work involved, for all the stresses and fears and times I was tempted to give up, I can say writing has been the most exhilarating activity in my life. I hope my words here will encourage you to follow your own dreams. The rewards far outweigh the risks.
Dream No Small Dreams
Comments Anyone?: www.katszone.com/comments.html