press on

2 Aug

Dreams fulfilled come at a price. It seems that the things people long for don’t just hand themselves over. I don’t know why it’s this way; is it maybe that humans are engineered to want the things that take striving?

I know the scene pretty well by now: I take my dream, turn it into a goal, and start off in it’s direction, picturing how it will all fall into place, excited for that moment when I cross the finish line, that moment just right up there… only I soon realize that my vision was distorted. What I thought was the finish line was really just the first hurdle, and now I can’t even see my goal past all of the mountains that stand between it and me. The very next step is the hardest step in the journey. It’s the step into the reality of what this is really going to look like. I look again at the mountains, and they look impossible to climb. Then I grasp for that excitement I once held as it flees from my fingertips. Gone. I wonder, in which direction should my next step be?

Or worse! You live in reality all of the time and your dream never even makes it into a goal. It’s just a beautiful neon sign, high out of reach, teasing you where you sit in the dark, your lines barely defined by it’s light. And you go through life looking up at it from time to time, letting out that familiar sigh, wishing the sign would just fall down on you. That way, you’d either have what you’ve always wanted or you’d be put out of your misery, right?

Ah, Reality. What a downer she can be. It’s easy to dream, but reaching those dreams… it takes things you’re not sure you can give. Wanting something you’ve never had requires doing things that you’ve never done. And failure looms so closely, never letting you lose sight of it.

“I don’t think I can do this,” I say to myself. “I’ve been working on this same story for eight months now, and I’m still so far from being done! I should be further by now. The gaps I’ve left are horrible. I don’t even know how to fill all of this in… And does the storyline even work? Is it too… cliche? This is embarrassing… People are going to roll their eyes at this. And just about every sentence needs to be reworked! How could I have written all of this so poorly? Where do I even start cleaning this up? And have I even made it halfway to being able to send it out to agents? Maybe I should just… give it up. I’ve wasted so much time already…”

That’s the voice I hear. “I’m sucking at this.” “I have no talent for this.” “What made me think…”

I find other things to say too: “I just don’t have the time. I work ten hours a day doing daycare, and I have three kids of my own. If I cut out on sleep I only get sick. How can this work?!”

It’s too hard. I don’t have what it takes. There aren’t enough hours in the day.

Lies. All of them, lies.

It is hard; this is not a bad thing. I do have what it takes… just barely. There is enough time; there’s not as much as I want, but I have to be okay with what I can get.

At this point, I take a few deep breaths and roll a few quotes around in my mind:

  • Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. -Calvin Coolidge
  • Continuous, unflagging effort, persistence and determination will win. Let not the man be discouraged who has these. -James Whitcomb Riley
  • Failure is only postponed success as long as courage ‘coaches’ ambition. The habit of persistence is the habit of victory. -Herbert Kaufman
  • Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. -Theodore Roosevelt

Then I take another deep breath… and press on.

Every sentence laid down is a victory; My keyboard clicks in applause.

*******

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One Response to “press on”

  1. Tom Demma (Dad) August 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    Outstanding! The doubts you hear that tell you that you have no talent, you are kidding yourself, and all the rest are just as you said “LIES”. You possess the perfect outlook on being a author. All authors will tell you that writing is the most difficult task for them. But the true sign of an writer is that they do exacly as you said, “Then I take another deep breath…and press on”. That’s the SPIRIT of a true writer.
    Keep pressing on…Your dreams will be fullfilled.

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