I don’t make enough money writing words to support a family. I’ve always wanted to, and then buy a piece of land out in the country, put a little log cabin on it with a fireplace with a little placard that reads “The house that syntax built”. But it’s not likely.
Not likely at all honestly, and most definitely out of the question in the next five years.
But you can’t give up hope and you should never let go of your dreams. If not for yourself, then for your kids. Think of the kids, dammit!
The truth is, juggling an actual career with my hobby that I wish was my career is really hard. I recently took a different job and now I have to stay up late and learn the intricacies of that business instead of pouring over paragraphs of a new short story, but I needed the money and I needed the title much more than I needed more syntax. Now I have it, but I’ll be damned if the writing didn’t slip because of it.
Then comes the guilt. Endless waves of it making me nauseous at every lap that disintegrates the shore, taking something away, and leaving something else. I’m not exactly sure if crushing guilt is some mandatory thing for writers, but I’ll tell you that it doesn’t go away. There’s hardly a moment where it’s not weighing me down just a little, even right at this very moment as I peck away at this article.
But, I’m not ready to give up on my dreams. Not just yet anyway.
It isn’t enough to just tell your kids that they should be able to dream big. To sit in your easy chair and explain to them they could be an “astronaut if they want to be” is admirable, but talking isn’t doing. If you have a dream that you’ve always been chasing, there isn’t a better way for a child to learn than to watch you chase it. No matter how silly it might seem, or even how far-fetched it may become.
Children learn by watching. That means they could potentially watch you fail, too and you’ll have to be ready with the right reaction. Failing isn’t always failing, but an opportunity to start fresh.
At least that’s what I tell myself when the next wave of rejections comes through. My son is only five years old and so doesn’t even understand that I have hopes and dreams of doing something other than playing cars and trucks with him. Which believe me, gets me out of bed most days faster than my job, writing, or pretty much anything else I can think of.
I want him to see me try. I want him to see me practice. I need him to realize that if you want to be great at something then you can never give up and that effort is what will pay off in the long run.
Some people combine luck and talent at just the right time and they’re able to capitalize on it and do what they love at an early age. Others have to take a long winding road that has lots of bumps, detours, construction and break downs along the way. Neither path is right, they’re just different and they’re both awesome.
So I don’t know who needs to hear this out there but don’t give up. My guess is that most of you reading this had a dream at one point in your life. Anything at all, something had to have gotten you excited as a kid.
Find what that is again and shoot for it. Don’t let yourself get crushed by the weight of sinking guilt. But rise above all that and challenge yourself. Challenge yourself to be the best teacher you can possibly be.
Don’t give up, yet. You’ve only just begun.