Keeping Dreams Alive

When a friend of mine became a grandmother she loved to tell stories to her grandchildren. In fact she even she tape-recorded some of them. Her family thought she should try and have her work published. With a bit of encouragement, she wrote a few of her stories down. Another friend offered to type them up since she didn’t own a typewriter. While she admitted that she loved creating stories, and dared to dream of being a published author one day, over time she managed to convince herself that it wasn’t worth her time trying.

Let’s face it, not all of us were encouraged to express ourselves creatively when we were growing up. If we spent too much time writing or painting it took time away from something “more important.” Pursuing the arts was, considered by some, to be self-indulgent. After all it’s not something necessary for our survival and realistic people measure the world in practicalities.

Some might say:

It’s just a passing fancy,

a notion that holds no substance,

a complete and utter waste of our precious time.

Those are the ideas that often hold us back, that squash our dreams before we are able to get them off the ground.

We allow our fears to prevent us from even trying.

—I’m not good enough. I’m too old.

I know that my friend would have found rejection very difficult. And let’s face it, as writers, we’re all going have our share of rejections. But I’m convinced that it’s better to suffer the disappointment of rejection than to spend our days thinking about the “if onlys”.

We won’t always succeed at everything we do. But if we try enough things we’ll eventually succeed at something. It might take a bit of time to find out what that something is, but the yearning to try can eat away at us if we give up before we ever have the courage to get started.

Although publication was a dream my friend had for herself, she lacked both confidence and courage. Still, she rarely missed an opportunity to encourage me. I’ve always been grateful for her little notes of encouragement, in her faith in me to one day have a published book, faith that I did not always have in myself.

A few years back my friend passed away.

How I wish she’d had the courage to pursue her dream.

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10 Comments

  1. Laura, how very sweet. I always feared someone asking me “why are you doing this?” I don’t like rejection very much either, but more that that, I didn’t want to explain to my family why I needed to write.

    Reply
    • People often think we simply write to be heard. That may be a part of it but there is definitely that “need” to write or we wouldn’t put ourselves through the torture. I can remember the times, out of frustration, I would vow never to write another word, and how quickly I would turn to the page the moment something stirred me to write. Maybe it’s our curiosity, our need to see what we can make happen with words.

      Reply
  2. There’s a really good reminder in this post, Laura–time goes quickly and our best intentioned plans to do things in just a few years or when we retire, well . . . they might come too late.

    We need to encourage others (and command ourselves ;-) to do those things we want to do, need to do, wish to do _now_.

    I’m sorry you’re missing your friend. She sounds wonderful.

    Reply
    • I agree with you, Ev, it is important to encourage others. While some of us don’t seem to need as much encouragement, others do. But I think regardless of who we are and how much self-confidence we posses it always feel great to know that there’s someone in our corner.

      She was a wonderful lady. So fun to be with. I feel so fortunate to have known her all of my life.

      Reply
  3. Oh, It’s sad, Laura.
    I think I was lucky growing up. I was always supported. Oddly, I went into science because it did not come naturally to me, and I wanted a challenge. Only when my brain learned that way of thinking and it was no longer difficult did I loose interest.
    I love what you say in your comment “our need to see what we can make happen with words.”

    I find writing gives back. since I began I have noticed how much more I notice the world around me. lol. But true. Thanks for the post.

    Reply
    • You were lucky to have support growing up, Jennifer. Although I enjoyed writing as a youngster I never knew that it would be even remotely possible for me to have work published let alone a book! I don’t think I even voiced that idea out loud.

      It wasn’t until I was an adult that I could even dare to imagine writing to be a possibility for me. I managed to keep my dreams a secret for quite some time. Guess now the secret’s out! lol!

      Reply
  4. I’m sorry you’ve lost a good friend, Laura. Friendship is such a precious gem.

    Your post makes me think of a good friend of mine. She has the same dream, although she’s never said it isn’t worth her time to try. She just doesn’t take the final step. She can’t seem to finish the books that she’s always wanted to get published. She’s written lots during her life, is a wonderful mentor and critiquer, but is a perfectionist when it comes to her own work, and I wonder if perhaps the fear of producing something that isn’t “good enough” is what’s stopping her now. That, and age. Both of us are already “over the hill” and I know how hard it is to reach for a dream that seems out of reach.

    I urge her on and she seems to appreciate the encouragement but, as you mention, I wonder if the necessary confidence and courage are missing. If so, I don’t know how to counteract that. There are some steps we all have to take for ourselves.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Carol. I knew her my entire life. I feel disappointed that she didn’t follow through with her dream. Wish she’d been here when my book came out though, she’d have been so happy for me! But I believe that somehow she does know and where ever she is she’s smiling!

      Reply
  5. “We won’t always succeed at everything we do”

    Well, ya gotta try. I never want to kick the bucket regretting anything. Fear of failure has to rank up there with the saddest self inflicted handicaps.

    I DO intend to wait until I hit my early 90s to try bungee jumping, just in case I do fail at THAT.

    Sorry about your friend.

    Reply
    • Great attitude, Dave. I agree the fear of failure does hold many people back and it’s unfortunate. We all experience fear from time to time but the important thing is not to allow it to dictate what we do.

      Reply

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