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The Trouble with Dreams


I've always been a writer. From the moment I picked up a pencil and could scrawl words on paper, I've been making up stories. I didn't get serious about it until I was about seventeen. That's when I made my very first attempt at a novel (which will NEVER see the light of day). Since then, I have written five full novels and two half-started attempts. Most of this will never be read by another living soul -- heck, I probably won't even look at some of it. I've learned a lot along the way, and, despite all the hard work and frustration, I've managed to hold on to my love of words.

Publication has always been in the back of my mind. Even if I just wrote the first novel for fun, I wrote the second (and third, and fourth...) with the idea that someday I'd be published. When you're seventeen, a little ole thing like publication doesn't seem like that big a deal. It doesn't seem so hard. But once you grow up, when you start to research the big, bad world of publishing, well...it's an icy cold wake-up call.

But we keep on writing. We keep on dreaming. We push and we strive.

We.

Don't.

Give.

Up.

Even when we have people doubting us. Even when we doubt ourselves. When the writing sucks or the words won't come and we're crying ourselves to sleep. We keep on imagining our names on shiny new covers or bestselling lists. We think about "the call." We go to school and work our day jobs and take care of our families. We seek out careers that will allow us to pursue our dreams.

We are troopers.

Don't get me wrong, I love all this about being a writer. I love knowing I'm not alone in this impossible dream. I love having an entire community full of supportive, wonderful people who understand exactly what I'm going through. I wouldn't want to be anything other than a writer for all this alone.

But I'm struggling. We all are, I know. It's the impossibility of this dream that keeps my feet on the ground, even when my head is in the clouds. I've got to keep a tight grip on reality. And this presents a problem.

I want to write. That's all I want to do. I want to type my days away. But a girl's got to eat. Bills have to be paid. And my minimum wage job is barely cutting it. And so I'm going to school to further my education and get a better job. But what kind of job is there for someone who has never wanted anything but to write for a living?

What about you? Do you feel the pressure of the real world trying to smother The Dream? How do you keep going? What do YOU do for a living?