What Is Your Dream Worth?   6 comments

Hi, Gang.

You know, as writers and aspiring authors, this is a question we should often ask ourselves. Some of us do, I’m sure, but all too often I have a feeling we tend to answer it with a get-the-pain-over-ASAP answer instead of giving it the attention it deserves. You know, one of those quick, “Anything! Now, let me get back to my life,” answers we tend to forget all about just as soon as the dog craps on the carpet. Or until the latest episode of our new favorite popular TV show comes on. Truth is, they’re both about the same in value.

This kind of answer, in and of itself, is a perfect clue as to how much we really think our dream is worth. For one thing it’s absurd. I would give all I can for my dream of making a living writing fiction, but certainly not everything. It’s definitely not worth my family, my good friends, and if you think I’d give up the family jewels, guess again, chuckles… It ain’t about to happen. I’m too fond of the old boys for that.

So, now that we’ve established that the standard answer is a huge pile of steaming horse nuggets, let’s give the question the consideration it deserves.

In many ways this is a question that we must, and will have to answer for ourselves. The funny part, at least to this long-haired country boy, comes when we believe we can put next to nothing in, and get tons back in return. Where this notion came from I can’t begin to say, but I know it’s yet another outright lie. The amount of fuel needed to keep your body running for a month outweighs you by quite a few pounds, and don’t get me started on the internal combustion engine.

Now I’m not saying we have to spend a fortune to make one. But the plain fact is, we are going to have to invest heavily in our dream if we really want it. And some of the areas we have a tendency to waste our resources in can only make an outsider shaker their head in wonder when we give that standard answer, “Anything.”

We all know of aspiring writers who will say that, spend $85.95 on The Super Season Sports Package, and go for a ‘free’ site to set up their author’s web page. Or the wan’na be writer who will think nothing of spending $50.00 on the latest Playstation 3 game, but can’t seem to find the extra cash for a $24.99 book on how to write fiction that sells.

I don’t know about you, guys and gals, but it looks to me like that, “Anything,” is quickly turning into an, “Anything, but.” And you have to wonder just how seriously to take that answer, or the person making it. Worse, you have to wonder how seriously the people who count, (Agents, editors, readers.) are taking him/her?

Particularly when you consider the fact that neither one of those examples helped the writer so much as a micrometer towards their dream of becoming a successful author. But the latter of those two choices could have brought them one step further towards that cherished goal.

Those, of course, are just two of a blue-million other examples I could go on about. And the truth is, all of them are leaching precious resources away from your dream. The odds are, you might not even be aware of them. Thanks to the impulse buying, keep up with the Joneses attitude that our consumer culture has ingrained in us, they’re almost a knee-jerk reaction. But, fortunately, it is one we can take control of. Or I should say, those of us who really do want to make it in this business can take control of.

At least we can if we are aware of it, and that is the point to this whole post. Now, you are aware of it. The only question is: “What are you prepared to do about it?”

Before any of you smartypants out there start leaving comments about my being hypocritical and giving out advice I don’t follow myself… this post was inspired by exactly what I’m preaching above.

The reason my blog has fallen by the wayside more often than not was dial-up. I live in the country, there is no cable, and satellite internet is expensive. At least for me it is. But, I could not get away from the fact that the writing game is fast becoming dominated by the Internet. And if you don’t have broadband on the ‘Net, you just became a push-cart trying to win a NASCAR trophy. Ain’t a gonna happen.

Given that, I scrimped, saved, and was finally able to get broadband. It wasn’t easy. I had to deny many of the luxuries I hinted at above, but you know what. I thought about that question long and hard. My answer?

My dream is worth anything I can give to it, and those needless accessories are not.

Later, Gang. 😉

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6 responses to “What Is Your Dream Worth?

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  1. Congrats on broadband! Sacrifice isn’t easy or we wouldn’t call it that, would we? You are right on point. Reading the free or nearly free books on Amazon makes me rethink my impatience and rededicate myself to editing. And editing. And editing.

    • Well done, Abuzzinid! And thank you. 🙂

      This is exactly what any writer wanting to succeed should do. The more polished the story, the better experience our readers will have.

      Let me also suggest you acquire a good critique partner, or partners, if you already haven’t. They are invaluable to our work.

      The Agent Query Connect Forum is a great place to look for one, and it’s free.

  2. Great question for all artists (or anyone with a dream, really) to ask. I really respect that you are not going to offer your morals up in trade for a higher/better/more succesful career.
    –JW

    • I’ll give that a big, “Amen,” JW. Thank you for the compliment.

      In all honesty, I believe sticking to a higher standard, and expecting more from ourselves, is paramount for a more successful career.

      As artists we should love what we are doing, and as with any love affair. Actions speak louder than words. 😉

  3. Good post, Peter. I couldn’t agree more. Budgetwise, family comes first, so that high cable bill and a few of the others are not luxuries, but necessities. But that said, my main goal outside of work, family, friends, is writing. Part of writing is keeping my mind filled with new ideas. That means entertainment that broadens my thinking. So I either pick up books on writing, writing magazines, ebooks, or DVD’s. My wife got pissed at me for NNWM 2011 because I was aiming for a novel in a month (a 150k epic fantasy…. finished within the 30 days). She didn’t see much of me that month. So sometime, at least on a temporary basis, we might even need to put writing before family. Do it rarely or you risk more than it is worth. I skipped NNWM 2012 for exactly that reason, plus I didn’t have a good idea to go with to even eek out 50k.

    • All quite true, and reasonable, Robin.

      Situations vary from writer to writer, and juggling career with family should give anyone doing so a top spot with Ringling Brothers. In situations like this, one man’s luxury is another’s necessity. And I’m grateful for your taking the time to point it out.

      As Robin has said, Gang: Do make certain that you are not sacrificing the needs of your family for your career… that is generally a good way to wind up alone and bitter. At that point, you didn’t win a damned thing, and you lost out on more than you know.

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