Today’s post was written by Barbara Brutt, writer extraordinaire. For more thoughts on writing, follow her on Twitter!
The Land of Wannabe, an intoxicating and whimsical place, is based on unrealistic expectations. Yet somehow, I got caught up there, forgetting my to-do lists and even general life necessities. I applied for citizenship, and I even designed my own castle.
But nothing ever actually happens in Writing Wannabe Land. I could never live there.
Ready to leave Wannabe Land behind, too? Here are some tips that might help you make the citizenship switch back to Reality.
1. Your castle in the sky needs a name
A typical little girl, I wanted to be a ballerina. I even studied ballet and gymnastics for thirteen years, yet I insisted, “I dance; I’m not a dancer.”
In the same way, I find myself saying, “I write; I’m not a writer,” though that is my adult passion. I have invested my own money into a writing coach, hours of time into writing, and years of college education into it.
Affirm your dream by calling yourself a writer, dancer, musician, or whatever you want to be.
2. Set attainable expectations
In the dance studio of my Wannabe Castle, a dancer could do a three-turn pirouette without wobbling, and a leaping split without stretching. Mortal me had more likelihood of face planting. Therefore, I could not be a dancer.
With writing, I stopped even before I really started. “You’re not published so you’re not a writer.” My inner demons might taunt me.
Yet it’s the action—the verb—that makes us become the noun. A dancer dances. A writer writes. A singer sings. Do your passion a little bit every day.
3. Make a plan and do it
Sky castles can become reality, but their construction requires torrents of sweat, heavy stones, and a vision for the finished design. Bridge the gap between Wannabe and Reality by practicing what you want to be now.
Every day, I try to write, lacing words together like colored glass beads on a silk thread. I burrow into borrowed writing books and use Google Alerts to scour the Internet for writing tips. Between writing and reading, I engage with other writers through critique groups. The dream of writing or dancing cannot replace fingertips on paper or smooth wood beneath bare feet. Imagine your castle and then build it into reality.
How do you make your writing or any dream manageable? Share your tricks in the comments below or tweet @barbarabrutt.