A Question When Your Dream Is Slow to Arrive

Welcome to Scarlet Thread Sunday, the day I share something I’ve learned in the labyrinth of life.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with lingering illness, an over-packed calendar, and a novel in progress that has challenged me at every turn. Honestly, some days I’m tired of juggling plates and chasing dreams. I start thinking a decent-sized, regular paycheck looks pretty good; that my kids might like to have a mom who doesn’t spend quite so much time in front of her computer; that aiming for a writing career is a stretch too far.

I suppose everyone who chases a dream feels like that at times. Let me share one of my favorite movie clips of all time. It comes from the movie The Rookie, a movie based on the true story of Jim Morris. At the age of 35, Morris made a pact with the West Texas high school team that he coached; he tried out for the minor leagues, made the team with 98-mph pitching, and eventually played in the major leagues. But the minor league schedule took its toll on him, his wife, and their three children. It would have been very tempting to walk away.

His wife asks the perfect question: “You still love it?” And draws the right conclusion: If you love what you’re doing, give it everything you’ve got.

The truth is I still love it. I love crafting a story, writing a perfect scene, searching for the right word, connecting to a reader.

I’m a little weary at times, but I can look at myself in the mirror and say, “You know what I get to do today? I get to write.” Oh yeah, I feel pretty darn blessed. (And big kisses to my husband who supports my dream the way Morris’s wife supported his.)

Meanwhile, let’s see how I fared in my first week of ROW80, the writing challenge that knows you have a life!

ROW80 Update

My goals are short and simple this time.

Finish YA contemporary novel, SHARING HUNTER, by completing three chapters each week. Two chapters done. Fell short here. I need to stay on track!

Take Short Stories 101 course from Young Adult RWA. We started last Tuesday and had three lessons this week. It’s going well, and next week we’ll begin writing a flash fiction piece that we’ll then turn into a short story.

Read 10 fiction books and 2 nonfiction books. I finished Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (the sequel to Cinder) and Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History by Florence Williams. Yes, that latter one is an odd title, but it’s an informative book about the importance of breasts and what affects their health.

So what are you excited that you get to do in life? What do you love? And how was your past week?

32 thoughts on “A Question When Your Dream Is Slow to Arrive

  1. Sorry, the last entry about the book on breasts has wiped all the other things I was going to comment on. Perhaps because mine are almost non-existent? Lol! I can’t image a whole book dedicated to them either?

    Moving on, I relate entirely with everything you said about the dream being a hard one, and appreciate your positive close on that discussion. I needed to remember why the hell I do this… I have so often thought to give up lately, but I do love writing.

    So, hugs for that Julie. 😀

    Now you get back to those …breasts Lol!

    1. The Breasts book is all so scientific about the evolution of mammary glands, lactation, the health of our breasts, and what causes breast cancer (answer: almost everything in our modern life might). I picked it up on a lark at a bookstore, and it’s been an interesting read. Not my usual fare, though!

      Thanks for the hug, Shah. Hang in there and keep writing!

  2. Julie, I know exactly how you feel. But you’ve got the right perspective, and you’ll get there! I’d like to take a short story course – I’ve been thinking of trying out short stories after I’m finished with my WIP. But I’d want something in the mystery genre, rather than YA or Romance. How did you find out about your course?

    Good luck with your goals!

    1. Hey, Kathy! I found the course when I was looking at the YA chapter of RWA online and saw their ongoing programs. Short Stories 101 was a course coming up, and I registered. I suspect the principles of this course would be the same, whether you’re writing YA or something else. Frankly, I’d love to write a YA mystery. 😉

  3. Hi Julie. Thanks for this post and your honesty. I don’t ever doubt continuing to write, but I also have the security of a day job, and the ups and downs and scheduling complications that brings. I’ve had to own up to the small slice of my life that writing gets, and be happy with that. When I don’t have anything to give to my writing one week, I forgive myself and move on. It DOES NOT negate the hard work and dedication I’ve put into my craft over the past decade when I don’t manage to write for a week. Ya know? No point in that much pressure. 🙂

    Have a great week!

    1. The day-jobbers/writers have their own struggles, I know! What a challenge to find enough time. I love your attitude! I know some people say that you must write every day, but I disagree. I know some people write whenever they can…and complete great books. Best wishes!

  4. Def. we must love it and want it – c’cos writing can be such a frustrating process even without life getting in the way! – like the sound of the breasts, my kind of book full of factaul realistic knowledge they never were designed for leaning over sports cars!:)

    1. Ha, Alberta! No, our breasts are more than eye candy for, um, “car enthusiasts.” 😉 They perform some rather amazing biological functions.

      And yeah, life does interfere with our writing…more than we’d like. But that’s how life it is! We just have to keep going.

  5. I know exactly what you mean. I love that movie and I remember that conversation too. She got it and I love that. There’s a lot of reason to be on this writing journey and only one for me that really counts and that’s because I love to write. I love developing these characters and finding their path. That’s why I’m here. We get it. Love that. Here’s to a great round. 🙂

    1. (I’m a baseball movie junkie in general, so I could probably pull life lessons out of a baseball movie every week for the next six months; still, this clip is my favorite.)

      I love hearing that you love developing characters and “finding their path.” It’s hard to explain to non-writers how cool is to hang out with your make-believe people. LOL.

    1. I’m so sorry about the gov’t shutdown. Of course, the vast, vast majority of American people are seriously annoyed (or downright furious) with lawmakers for this hold-up. I hope that you’re back at work soon, and if I could, I’d vote that you get some slacker senator’s pay for the time you were off.

      Hang in there with the writing! I find encouragement when I hear and read about authors who made it…after years of persistence. More than often, that’s what it takes.

  6. I keep insisting that I’ll be able to earn a living with my writing, and keep working toward that goal, but still have to look for work programming computers to be able to support myself, Mary and the clowder until I can afford not to do that. I’m not looking to get rich doing either one, just to be able to pay off the house, keep putting food on the table, and pay for that health insurance that they insist I have to buy…

    1. Yes, if only those pesky things like eating and having a roof over our heads didn’t put a damper on our writing careers! 😉 I’m blessed to have a husband who willingly provides for the bulk of our needs, but I often promise him that we’ll switch places one day and he can retire while I bring home the bacon.

  7. Thank you, Julie!

    I almost bypassed your blog today because I’m late to the party. I’m so glad I chose to read, and especially view that clip from The Rookie — a movie that motivates me each time I see it.

    There are days when I experience what I initially self-diagnose as anxiety about writing. But, I can turn those inner-thoughts around when I choose. Therein lies the challenge. I have to choose to turn those thoughts around. The alternative? Chasing shiny baubles; a hide-and-seek game with my dreams.

    Today I’m not anxiety-riddled about writing. Those butterflies in my belly are excitement.

    I get to write today.

    Copy and paste my opening line.

    1. C’mon, Gloria, you know the party doesn’t truly start until YOU arrive! 😉

      I like your insight that we have to turn our thoughts around. I don’t think we’re responsible for the doubts and anxiety that pop into our brains, but we are responsible if we let them take up residence there. We have to stay positive and be captains of our own destiny! (As much as we can.)

      Enjoy the writing!

  8. I felt the mom/writer guilt thing too at times. It can feel hard and unbalanced at times, but it is the love that keeps me there. I’ve been reading the same books since the end of August. I hope to finish them today. I can only read that much when I can’t write (kids home for summer). I’m a bit jealous. Hope they are all great books. Good luck finishing SHARING HUNTER.

    1. I still think about the days of college and early adulthood when I could breeze through a couple of books in a week. It’s not so easy now. I do manage to get in more books by using the audio option sometimes, so that I’m listening to a book while cleaning toilets, doing laundry, running errands. That helps.

      Thanks for the encouragement, Gloria! Back atcha.

  9. The wife/mum vs. the writer vs. day job, yeah, it’s a hard balance. And the over-packed calendar, oh yeah, I hear you. I hope you feel better soon Julie!

    As for your ROW0 week, you did great! 2 of 3 chapters is still over half your goal and that is a win in my book. Here’s to an even better week 🙂

    1. Aaarggh, that word “balance”! LOL. Yep, it is hard. But I’m assured by parents with empty nests that we will one day even miss that overpacked calendar a bit. I don’t want to miss writing time, but I also don’t want to miss my kids’ childhoods…so we juggle and strive for that balance as best we can.

      Thanks for giving me a “win,” Raelyn!

  10. First – I hope you’re feeling better. If not, I hope you do so soon. : )
    We all hit that wall you spoke of but you have the right attitude. Thanks for sharing it with the rest of us.
    Also you get a heck of a lot done. Kuddos to you!!

  11. Your post was quite poignant for me because I’m retired. That means I ‘should’ have achieved my dream already. But for the first time after several careers, I’m doing what I love — writing! Maybe I will not achieve my dream, but I’m writing every day. Thank you for writing about the doubts we all face. Thank you also for that deceptively simple list. I say congrats on getting two chapters done this first week and write on!

  12. If you love what you do just stick with it. I write my blog as a hobby but I love writing and communicating with people. Sometimes it does get tough with work and life in the way. I don’t think I’ll become a professional writer, but is is fun. Feel better!

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