Thursday, January 25, 2018

Dreams Only Stay Dreams If You Let Them

Lots of people dream of being writers. They imagine how great it would be to have a big audience, a fat check, a big following, and a shelf full of awards. Sometimes they see authors being interviewed on TV, or as guests of honor at a big convention, and they sigh, and say to themselves, "One day, that's going to be me."

And it could be. It very well could be. If, that is, you understand the difference between just having a dream, and the ritual it takes to turn that dream into a reality.

Sweat, Blood, Tears, and a Little Luck

We just had ourselves a new year not too long ago, and I would be willing to bet there was a massive slew of people who made a resolution that this year was going to be different. They were going to go to the gym every day, pump that iron, do their reps, and stop eating cookies for breakfast. They were going to get ripped, get strong, and have the body they always fantasized about. Now, some of the folks who made that resolution may have kept it. They're still on their regular gym schedule, and they're going hard. They're seeing results, and though they may have had a slip-up or two, they stuck with it.

A majority of people, though, have not stuck with the resolution. They bought themselves a new set of workout clothes, they got their gym membership, and they worked up an entire diet plan and exercise routine. And they followed it... for a bit. Maybe it was a few days, maybe a few weeks, or maybe even most of a month, but old habits are hard to break. When it comes down to it, they weren't able to change their old behaviors in order to get new results.

You need to keep at it, if you expect serious results.
Being a successful writer is a lot like that. Because it isn't enough to have good ideas, or to just want to have your books written, or your stories published. You have to actually put in the work to do it. That means every day, you sit down at the keyboard, and bleed. Some days you might bleed more than others, and some days it might be easier, but you do it no matter what. The same way that guy with the six-pack who runs marathons does it; every day, rain or shine, whether you have a cold, you're hung over, you're tired, or you just don't want to.

And when you have a story done, you send it out, and start another. And another, and another. Just like going to the gym, you're not done just because you got the results you want. Now you have to keep working in order to maintain them. Publish or perish, as the saying goes. Because if you stop writing, stop working, and stop publishing, it's the same as if you stop lifting, stop eating healthy, and stop running... you go back to who you were before.

If you want it badly enough, you can make that dream into a reality. Whether you want to write books, draw comics, make videos, or run a podcast, you can do it. The same way you can burn off that belly fat, eat healthier, and feel good... if you're willing to do the work. Day in, day out, until you get the results you want. Because it isn't easy, there are days when it isn't fun, and it can be hard to see all the progress you've made sometimes. But if you're not climbing the slope, then you're sliding back down toward the bottom.

That's all for this week's Business of Writing. Just remember, you might not be the best today, but you're probably better than who you were yesterday if you put in your time on the keyboard. To stay on top of all my latest releases, follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Or, if you'd like to help support me and my blog, head over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to become a patron. Or, if you prefer, you could just Buy Me A Coffee. Every little bit helps, and if you pledge at least $1 a month, I'll send you a free book as a thank you!

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