I just finished watching Les Miserables. Something struck me from the lyrics to the song, “I dreamed a dream” which ended with, ” Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.”
This last week I came to the realization that it is not life itself that kills the dreams of dreamers, but people. I subscribe to various websites, blogs and Facebook pages about writing and publishing. My sister has a masters degree in creative writing. Every step of the way I took from the year 2000 to the present was to live a dream of becoming a writer. I have a vivid imagination. I day-dream of stories that entertain me and I want to share that imagination with others. Over ten years I wrote and completed the epic high fantasy trilogy, The Chosen One of Allivar. I can, I will and I did.
Article after article tells the dreamers that if you are not one of them, the highly educated perfectionist in writing and grammar, then you are vain and self absorbed. When did the simple enjoyment of telling a story become vain? Who sets the rules? Self publishing technology has opened the doors for those of us who are story tellers. We have no goals of becoming a teacher, a doctorate or member of an elite club where people congratulate each other over their own self accomplishments. Now, who are the vain again? How many books, other than academic, have many of these people actually written and shared with the world? I can, I will and I did.
Life is not always about perfection, but the pursuit of perfection. We will never obtain it. If you have a story in your mind, it will never be perfect. Why? Because their are seven billion people in this world that will have a differing viewpoint that they want to inject into your story. To compensate for their own inabilities they trash your story, your grammar and anything they can including the easy cop out of calling you a vain author. Those that do this stand before mirror of self pity and envy. It is how they compensate for their own fear of rejection because they cannot tolerate how in the world no one can see their perfection. Let me tell you, I’m not perfect, my stories have flaws, but did they entertain you? That is truly the question. Did my stories give you pause to consider humanity and uplift you in a period of history where so much conflict exists, where degrading our fellow man or woman is now considered entertainment? I want to write different stories. I can, I will and I did.
Some of you might think that I am a starving writer. I am CPA, an investment advisor, a technology consultant and now a licensed realtor. These professional designations is what feeds my family. I have climbed the ladders to the top of the various walls. On the other side are countless opportunities to experience more in life. There was nothing to prevent me from experiencing all that I have, because I had the will to do so. I can, I will and I did.
In 1998, I went independent and have been ever since. Has it been a fairy tale? Hell no. There were those I was employed by who controlled my career, who held me back, who never mentored or offered encouragement. Why? Let’s face it, businesses make money when they control those that perform most of the work. They retain enough knowledge so that you cannot outshine and replace them, or attempt to go independent. They further justify their agenda by convincing you that their management of your work is what will bring you success. Does this sound familiar? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read comments and articles by those in the publishing industry, who rant and rave about how poor the grammar is of self published authors and the justification for their services. I chose to be an independent author simply to tell a story and control my destiny. To date, I’ve made a few thousand dollars from my efforts, which some will say is not a success. I’ve not won any awards or accolades, or have been patted on the back by fellow writers, including those in my own family. Who defines my happiness and self worth of accomplishment and success? Is money the only measurement? Is a plastic award, a paper certificate, or trophy what you seek? Is it the inclusion in some monthly newsletter or trade journal that you seek? Is it the trips to writers conferences in the Bahamas you seek? Whatever it is go for it! Just do not belittle those that have a simple dream. Life is hard enough without all the human induced misery. Separate yourself from those that choose to live life dictated by others and those absorbed with the word “Can’t.” I can, I will and I did.
I dreamed a dream of one day, before my death, of writing an uplifting and inspiring story, because I can, I will and I did. My success can be summed up in the words of a 14 year old aspiring author,
“I’m a huge J.R.R. Tolkien fan, but I have to say that this was 100 times better than the Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit, and the Silmarillion combined!”
Should I die tomorrow, there is my accomplishment, there is my reward. I was loyal to myself. I used my own capital and took the risk to live my dream. So next time you stand before the mirror of self doubt because someone called you vain, remind yourself that it is you who controls your destiny and then boldly proclaim – I can, I will and I did.