In Others’ Words: Did You Forget Something?

What Have You Forgotten 2016

I am living my writing dream — and for that, I am so, so thankful.

But I also know “living the dream” means “doing the work.” Fast drafts. Rewrites. Deadlines. Copyedits. And repeat, repeat, repeat until I’m holding a “real book” in my hands.

There are days I’m just treading water, trying to keep my head above the waves as I try to get it all done. And yes, sometimes I forget, truly forget, how much I’ve always loved to swim . . . I mean, write.

I know not everyone reading this post is a writer like me. You are living — or pursuing — some other kind of dream. Maybe you’re another type of creative — a painter or a singer. Maybe you’re a teacher or an accountant or someone in the military. Maybe your dream is to be a mom or dad.

No matter what the dream, living it or working toward it can become nothing more than treading water. Exhaustion beats the passion right out of our souls. We’re trying to keep our heads above the waves that keep smacking us in the face, one after the other. It’s survival, pure and simple … and disheartening.

The question becomes: How do you remember what you’ve forgotten? How do you stop treading and start swimming again — not for survival but because you remembered you love to swim?

Yes, there’s work involved in every dream, but when a dream becomes all work and no joy, it’s time to stop. To remember. To dive deep into the heart of your dream again.

In Your Words: How do you balance living the dream and doing the work? Was there a time in your life when you realized you were (figuratively) treading water and that you’d forgotten how much you loved to swim? What did you do to dive back into your dream again?

 

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Check out Howard Books’ The Best Fiction Sampler Ever 2016 and read the first chapter of my second destination wedding novel, Almost Like Being in Love, which releases in June! You can also enjoy sample chapters of some other upcoming releases.

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6 Comments

  1. February 4, 2016, 7:14 am   /  Reply

    For me, now, living the dream is still being alive.

    And that’s good enough.

    • February 4, 2016, 11:05 am   /  Reply

      I know you speak truth — encouraging, motivating truth — into other people’s lives every day, Andrew. In doing so, you help keep their dreams alive. And I know that even this season of your life has birthed new, unexpected dreams.

  2. February 4, 2016, 8:28 am   /  Reply

    I’m afraid typically I stay in the water too long and swallow too much water. I’m trying to improve my strokes and remember to come up for air. Wishing you lots of gold medals and trophies.

    • February 4, 2016, 11:07 am   /  Reply

      Dee: Excellent insights (of course!) It’s always about learning how to swim better … to improve our strokes, as you say.
      But in the process, let’s not forget that we went into the water because we wanted to … we were drawn to it … we loved the idea of swimming … or floating on our backs …

  3. February 5, 2016, 7:45 am   /  Reply

    Whoa, okay, so I’m commenting on this a day or two late, but oh man, Beth, it’s so perfect. You asked if there was a time when we were so busy treading water we’d forgotten how much we actually loved to swim. My answer: YES. So much YES. That was me in 2014 (and at times in 2015, but especially the previous year)…and it’s funny, I look back and wonder what exactly I did wrong that made that year so hectic and panicky feeling all. the. time. Did I not sleep enough? Not take care of myself? Simply say yes to too many things? Was it just deadlines taking their toll?

    And you know, it almost doesn’t matter because the point is, that year taught me so much. I feel like God let me have a little emotional and physical breakdown because I needed it…needed to realize that all the things I’d let cloud, in particular, my writing dream (sales! marketing! reviews! social media! keeping up!) were not necessities in my life. The only thing he ever asked me to do is write…to tell the stories he gives me. That’s it. It took a long time…I tend to have a pretty tight grip on things I think I need. But man, the more I let go, the more fun I’m having. The freer I feel. The more alive this dream gets. And it’s not just the writing that feels better now, but relationships, my day job (which I love more than ever), even my leisure time is different (as is the fact that I actually have leisure time–lol!).

    Anyway, now I’ve wandered into rambling, but yeah, loved this post and it was crazy relevant for me!!

    • February 5, 2016, 7:52 am   /  Reply

      Melissa: You didn’t ramble at all — every word you wrote resonated with me. It’s the whole balance between living the dream and doing the work. And it’s mighty tricksy balancing those two things. You can’t have one without the other, but the “doing the work” part can certainly deplete the dream. Thank you for joining the conversation and I’m thankful we’re walking the writing road together.

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