I remember when the storyline of my first novel, Of Gifts and the Goddess, was in my mind. The opening line of dialogue (one of many rules of writing that I consistently break), the battle scene, and the gifts of the heroine made me excited to write. When I shared it with my significant other, the one person we think we can trust and who will support us no matter what, he laughed. With derision, he said, “You’re going to write a book?” You can imagine that when I completed the prologue (breaking another rule!) and the first three chapters, I didn’t share it with him. I then took a creative writing class at a local community college. The instructor would often reply to my work with the comment of, “I’m not buying it.” When I finished writing what would be my first novel, I gave it to six beta readers. Interesting that each one caught different typos and thought differently about awkward sentences. And they all had varied opinions as to whether they liked it and what I should change about it. What I realized with each step is that I was asking for permission to write. Natalie Goldberg says in her book Wild Mind, Living the Writer’s Life, “Naturally, anyone can be a writer…I do not mean you have to go to someone higher up on the totem pole and inquire, Is it okay if I write? Write before you ask anyone. As a matter of fact, never ask anyone; always write…”
It’s been a dream of mine to be a well-known author; someone who’s lucky enough, or good enough, to make a living from their writing. It hasn’t happened yet. But that’s the thing about dreams. We find something we like, that brings us joy, that makes a difference for others, and we want to keep doing it, to spread it around, to have our love and our work be one in the same. Goldberg writes, “Dreams are another slice of reality, not different from where we are now—they also can open up your reality. They don’t have the constraints of conscious logic.” Logic tells me the percentage of artists who make a living doing what they love, and my chances of being among them. Logic is also where the inner critic lives. It always has countless logical reasons why a dream won’t come true and how we’re all kinds of a fool for even thinking our dream reality can become our current one. And an interesting thing about dreams, regardless of what they are? “No one cares that much if you write or not. You just have to do it.”
If we have the dream to write, and maybe we’ve asked for permission, or maybe not, then how do we go about it? Goldberg suggests, “I’m not waiting around for anyone from above to give me a signal. We just step forward with our hearts and act. That’s the best place to come from as a writer.” And that’s the best place to come from for any dream that moves us. If we take steps every day, if we study and work towards our dream, it may take months or years, but the dream will be closer. When it comes to fruition, it most likely won’t look like anything we expected, but then we won’t be the same person we were when we started the journey. “If you make an effort, beings seen and unseen will help. There are angels cheering for us when we lift up our pens, because they know we want to do it. In this torrential moment we have decided to change the energy of the world. We are going to write down what we think. Right or wrong doesn’t matter. We are standing up and saying who we are.”
Since 2005, I’ve been working towards my dream. With eight books in print, six novels and two books of poetry, I haven’t arrived, but I’m on the road! Visit my website to see where I’ve traveled: www.myjoyenterprises.com
Have you asked for permission to write? What is your creative dream?