Well, it’s because you are.
But that doesn’t mean your dream doesn’t matter.
When it comes to writing, every aspiring creative desperately wants to believe several things: one, that they’re good enough at storytelling to catch someone’s attention; two, that if they work hard enough and connect with the right people, they can get all the opportunities they think they deserve; and three, that they’re somehow just a little bit more important, just slightly better, just a little luckier than everyone else.
We all do our best to treat these desires as truths. There are no exceptions. Deep down, we all want the exact same thing: to have our dream validated in some big way.
Clinging to these dreams, most of us also know the truth — that a large percentage of those who want to write for a living never will, and even those who do may never reach the level of success they hope to achieve.
Now, just because we have to face reality doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still try do meet the goals we set for ourselves. What too many people don’t realize is that goals can change, you can adapt them to fit into the ever-shifting course of your life. Just because someone once wanted to publish a novel before earning a college degree doesn’t mean they can’t still work toward publishing a novel after they’ve graduated.
Also … just because your name isn’t one of the most recognizable ones on a list of top authors in your genre doesn’t mean your work is pointless or that you’re not good at what you do.
There are so many people out of the billions on Earth who want to do what you want to do that your odds of becoming “the next J.K. Rowling” (cringe) are basically zero.
But do you know what? Sometimes, it’s fun to have dreams. Sometimes, it’s fun to say, “I want to create a book series that’s as well-known as Harry Potter” even if you’re well aware you probably never will. Everyone needs to be motivated by something.
Because writing — the active, consistent pursuit of a goal to “become a writer” — is one of many things that separates the creative dreamers from the artistic achievers.
Who cares if your totally unrealistic dream is the only thing that gets you to keep your butt in a chair long enough to write a book? It doesn’t matter what convinces you to get it done, as long as you get it done. The exception being, of course, criminal activity. Don’t do bad things.
Yes, you are likely just one of thousands, maybe millions, who want to publish things and tell stories and not have to feel like you’re wasting your time at a day job you hate.
That doesn’t mean you can’t achieve your goal on a very small scale. Or start small, and slowly, over decades, work your way up.
Those who expect instant gratification and large-scale success and the best-case scenarios don’t always make it. Because while there’s nothing wrong with dreaming, if you toss those dreams aside the second you don’t get what you want, you might have trouble picking them back up again when hope returns.
You have to keep going. You have to be realistic while also allowing yourself to dream big.
It may take years. Millions of words. Many damaged hopes and one too many servings of disappointment.
If you want to accomplish something as a writer, you have all the power in the world to do that.
It may not turn out to be everything you imagined. But as creatives, we take what we can get. We learn to celebrate micro-victories. And we keep dreaming, as we write, because that’s what keeps our creativity alive.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.