Back when I first discovered how much I enjoyed mystery writing, I worked a full time job and had to fit my blossoming manuscript into weekend mornings and transatlantic flights. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to write, and I became increasingly aware of the fact that my lifestyle required me to pursue the job, not the dream. I don’t even know if I saw writing as a dream at that point. I only remember how alive I felt when I was sitting at a desk making up stories, vs. the rest of my life.
Writing was an escape for me. It pulled me out of a time in my life when I wasn’t happy. It distracted me from the time I spent flying here and there for work. It gave me a sense of confidence that I hadn’t discovered even though I’d experienced a small amount of professional success.
There were those who saw it as a hobby. Those who saw it as a waste of time. Those who criticized me. But there were also those who asked to read what I’d written. Who encouraged me to keep going. Who allowed me to believe that it was okay to spend my time doing something that felt so right. And because of these people, I allowed myself to fantasize about being a writer.
That right there is the key. It’s about letting a part of yourself imagine what it would be like to be the name on the books in the bookstore. To see a stranger reading our book in a coffee shop. To be acknowledged for the characters we create. The dream isn’t about seeing ourselves at a keyboard sometimes staring at a blank screen. It’s about the moments beyond that, when we’ve broken through those daily struggles to get words on the page. The dream is a bigger picture. Like a coffee shop hostess who imagines herself accepting the Academy Award. The dream is usually light years from where we are, but it’s necessary to have that fantasy in order to move in that direction.
Is it worth indulging in the fantasy of wild success? Absolutely. Because without our active imaginations, we’re not really equipped to do the one thing we want to do. So even if you keep it to yourself, go ahead and let yourself dream. You deserve it.
Diane Vallere | @dianevallere