What keeps a writer going?
That’s an interesting question. On the surface, it’s easy to rattle off a long list. Love of the story, dedication to their craft, or—as we talked about last week—determination.
But I’m inclined to think that at the base of it all, whether we admit it or not, the driving force behind our creativity is expectation. The expectation of a book in our hands, of our reader’s surprise and enjoyment of our book, of typing those exceptionally satisfying words, The End. Without expectation, the frustration and discouragement of writing can become too much.
Expectation is so, so important for your writing journey. Goals, dreams, a solid idea of why you’re working as hard as you are is so important. If you don’t have that, you will peter out long before you reach the finish line. Whether you need a mantra, a dream journal, or a poster with your goals written out for you to see and read every morning, cultivating expectation is one of the most important things you can do.
Expectation is the trust that at the end of the journey, after all the bumps and snarls, there will be a finished product.
Everyone has dreams they’re running after, everyone has hopes . . . but sometimes we forget to define and hold onto those dreams and use them to drive their journey forward.
How To Make It Happen
Expectation should drive you forward—not hold you back with disappointment and frustration. It should be what keeps you together, keeps your writing, keeps you hoping on the days that are hard. Writing has ups and downs, and some seasons of the writing journey have more downs than ups. Without using expectation to keep myself moving, I would have given up a long time ago.
I do it with two truths, three tricks, and one solid dream.
Without expectation—or hope—the hard days will drag you down and eventually end your dream. We all have bad days. Whether you like it or not, there will be days when you want to give up. There will be days when it feels too hard and too impossible to continue.
Without expectation—without hope—your manuscripts have a good chance of ending up in the trash.
Expectation needs intentionality to thrive. An undefined dream won’t get you anywhere. Do you know where you want to be? Do you have a goal, a plan, something to shoot for and hold onto when things are tough?
Expectation needs intentionality. Intentionality comes from a person who cares enough about their dreams to define them.
- Know your dreams. Have a journal. Have a vision board. Know what you want and what you’re aiming for. Take some time to sit down and really define what you’re aiming at in your journey. Do you want to finish your book? Write a series? Be published? Hit a bestseller list? You need to know that and know that you know it.
- Plan big, and allow yourself to dream beyond your own limits. Instead of saying, I wish, say, I will. Big dreams are scary because they feel out of reach and impossible. But the first step to achieving a big dream is admitting that you have one—and turning it into a goal.
- Have step-by-step goals. A dream with step-by-step goals becomes a plan and becomes achievable. You want to be a bestseller? Write a killer book. Start working on your pitch, on marketing, on social media platforms. Work on what is in your reach now, and have steps to help you climb your mountain. You’ll get there.
One Solid Dream
Everyone needs a dream, an end goal that they can turn back to when things are hard and they are starting to question why they do the things they do. Struggling forward in pursuit of someone else’s dream will drain you—struggling forward in pursuit of your own dream will build you.
Writer, know your dream. Whether you want to be a published author or a teacher or a journalist or a blogger, know your dream. Set goals. Have a dream board, a place to go to when you are tired and discouraged and ready to give up.
Know your dream. Plan for your dream. And move forward in expectation.
Good luck, dearest writer! May your tea be hot and your dreams wild.
What are your dreams for your future and your stories? Tell me about them in the comments!
This is the last installment in the Writer’s Life series. I so enjoyed this journey with you, and I hope you will tune in next week as we tackle nine truths in a writer’s journey.
Until next time!