When I first started writing seriously, I allowed myself big dreams. Dreams that glowed inside me as I drifted off to sleep at night. Dreams that tingled over my skin as I brushed the spines of books in the YA section. They made my heart beat fast when I read of other people's success online. These were the thoughts that made me get into this whole business in the start. The reason I write, if you will.
Unfortunately, with time (and rejections,) those dreams started to no longer feel safe. Little by little, almost without realizing what I was doing, I built up a wall around them, closing them off inside me. I'd tell myself it was good. It meant I'd grown. I was smarter now. More realistic. In stronger moments, I'd sneer at my earlier self for being so "clueless." In weaker moments, I'd mourn the loss of those dreams.
I've thought a lot about it in the past few weeks, and I've realized a very important thing. I haven't outgrown those dreams, or become to wise to have them. I've just been afraid of them. Plain and simple. I've been afraid to even look at or acknowledge them anymore.
So today, I'm going to force myself to break through that wall. I'm not only going to accept that my dreams are still there, I'm going to share them with you. Believe me, I'm terrified. I've edited and deleted and rewritten this entire post. I've waffled over whether or not to even do it, because I'm honestly really scared to share these things. I'm afraid of looking stupid or vain or naive. I'm afraid of people reading this post a year from now and thinking, "haha, I guess her dreams didn't come true."
But I need a breakthrough, guys. I need to do this. I'm not going to run away from my dreams anymore. They are still inside me, and they deserve to be acknowledged. So here goes.
1. I dream of holding my own book in my hands. Printed books are special to me, always have been. To me, they are beautiful, powerful things, both figuratively and literally. I dream of the day when I can feel my story beneath my fingertips, smell the new pages, and gaze at the cover.
2. I want to write an epic love story, one that makes people FEEL something when they read it. Longing or sadness or joy. I want to create characters that seem alive. I want to give those characters scenes that are beautiful.
And last, the hardest one to actually write out. (Trust me, I've deleted it about ten times.)
3. I dream of readers. I dream of a fan base. People that love my books and think about my books, and can't wait for the next one. To know that someone out there who doesn't know me personally is moved by my stories would be the most amazing feeling in the world.
What are your dreams? What is the reason you keep going? If you are like me, if you feel afraid of those dreams that once burned inside you, please, PLEASE share them now. I'd love to hear them.