Above All Else . . .

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Dreams are important. We all have them. (you can learn about mine here) But simply acknowledging they exist isn’t enough. We need to do something about them.

Our dreams help us to set goals for our lives—what we want to do, who we want to be, where we want to go.

But it takes more than a dream and hard work to reach your goals. The path we travel on our journey is riddled with tests and challenges to make sure we are worthy of the reward that awaits us. It takes courage—an inner strength to believe in ourselves—to reach our destination. And it takes determination—the drive to forge ahead, no matter what.

Above all else, we must never give up.

As a new writer, there’s always so much to learn and do. One of the most important things is to build an author’s platform. The first time I heard that phrase, I had no clue what it meant…some days I still wonder if I really do.

For the most part, it just means establishing a base of followers on different social media outlets. By blogging, we hope to build a loyal following of fans who enjoy our writing and will eagerly await the release of our books . . . and tell all their friends about them.

I realized the importance of creating a blog, but I couldn’t imagine having anything to say that someone would actually want to read about. (Still waiting for the masses to prove me wrong . . . ) The idea of opening up and writing real thoughts, personal stuff, instead of fiction was somewhat intimidating. There were a lot of things to consider, beyond deciding what image I wanted to portray and what audience I hoped to connect with.

Since you’re reading this, I’m sure you already know I decided to blog about my writer’s journey. So far, I have to admit, it’s been pretty much fun . . . even on the weeks where my journey itself hasn’t been.

Sharing the low points and personal struggles of my life as an author is difficult, but it helps to get them out of my head where they could fester and do a lot of damage to my creative process. I just imagine I’m writing a personal journal that no one else will read and let my thoughts fall to the page.

As a friend pointed out, people really seem to connect with that, which surprised me. Unfortunately, it seems my lowest moments have been the most popular. So either misery really does love company, or those posts are the equivalent of an accident on the highway that everyone slows down to stare at—I haven’t been able to decide which.

The past few weeks were difficult for me. I allowed other people’s actions to affect the way I saw myself. I questioned my value as a writer. I lost my connection to my story.

How could I write about my character’s life when I didn’t care what happened to her? How could I push myself to meet daily word goals when I didn’t care how long it took me to finish my book?

I couldn’t. Instead, I spent a lot of time staring at my screen, or I’d simply pack up and call it an early night.

But I never gave up on my story—it means too much to me, and I’m not a quitter. I just didn’t care about it at the time, and that’s almost as bad as giving up. Almost.

To make matters worse, my muse abandoned me, taking my self confidence with him. Overcoming this has been my biggest challenge. I’ve felt lost and alone, but I’m learning to adjust.

In last week’s post I realized it was time for me to ignore everything around me, focus, and give my story the TLC it deserves. For the most part, I’ve done a pretty good job of that this week.

Today the elusive chapter 25 that I’ve been stuck on forever is going up for review in my critique group, and I’m really excited about the way it turned out. It’s a small victory. One I fought hard for. One that took a lot of courage, and sheer determination to never give up on my dream.

The power to succeed lies within every one of us. I’m back on my path, pursuing my dream, and ready to take on the next challenge that tries to stand in my way. Above all else, I will never give up. —CJ

3 responses

  1. I think – I KNOW – that people connect with honesty. They know if when they see it, and they appreciate it. So maybe the difficult posts were the most read because they ere the most honest but honest in the way of talking about difficulty and NOT being assured of the outcome. Your life is not a book were the ending is already written and they know that, so they understand and connect.

    That’s my thinking. The roller coaster has highs and lows because if there were no lows then by default there can’t be an highs. Most people are too afraid to put the truth out there, but not you, and that’s impressive.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Dan!

      I love roller coasters. Wouldn’t it be nice if my metaphorical one would get stuck at the TOP of one of those peaks? I’ll gladly deal with my fear of heights… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry I missed this CJ, you are definitely not alone in your struggles. Those low moments are popular because people want to support you, not pitifully, but because whether we admit it or not, we all struggle sometimes.

    I think it’s great that you are so open because it enables you to receive the support you need and deserve. I’m the type that mostly struggles in silence, too proud to raise my hand and ask for help, but I admit, I have some seriously low days. I guess I am one of those people that Dan mentions in his comment here. I am gradually connecting with people who would understand my inner struggles, but have yet to find myself a place in a critique group. I guess I am still at a stage where I am too scared to ask for critique, not because I don’t want it, but because I feel like people might be too busy and either say no, or feel obliged.

    Keep following your dreams, and keep sharing your feelings about the journey. It’s a breath of fresh air in a world full of inflated egos, behind which, I think some people hide their true feelings.

    Like

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