I went for a photo shoot yesterday. It was a present from my sister for my birthday last year. I got made over, had big, wild hair and spent about an hour posing in various outfits with a photographer snapping away. I don’t find myself particularly photogenic, so I was very pleased with the results.
During the experience I felt myself wondering if one of these pictures might eventually end up on the jacket of my first ever published novel. Wouldn’t it be great, I thought, to have a picture of myself that I am actually pleased with on the back cover of the one thing I’d dreamed about since I was a kid? Of course, that led to more day dreaming about how I’d eventually have half a dozen published novels, each with a different photograph of me to go with them. It quickened my blood flow to think that one day it might be real, that I could make it all true just by working hard and persevering when so many others might give up.
But, I neglected to focus on the most significant part of my dream; the hard work. Sitting down to write my allotted word count for my NaNoWriMo 2013 novel today I struggled. I was so caught up in the fruits of the imaginary labours I’d dreamt up, it was disappointing to discover that I’ve still a very long way to go before I can start thinking about which photograph to put on that book jacket!
Sometimes, dreaming big can be a great way to get motivated. Occasionally it can also cause disillusion and doubt. It can make you appear so far away from the final goal that you struggle to understand how you might succeed; all you can see are the pitfalls and challenges up ahead and then, slowly, the big dream fades away.
So, it’s important to focus on the smaller achievements on the way to the top. Three years ago I didn’t have anything close to a novel, or even a short story, written down. Now, I’m working on the first draft of my third manuscript and have been short-listed for a Writing Magazine competition. I’m on my way. I’ve overcome some of the hurdles that I first envisaged were preventing me from making my dream into a reality and I’m still going…
It’s great to get lost in a world of fantasy now and again to imagine what you might really want out of your dream – what your end goal might be. Yet, it is just as important to dial that down and dream the small stuff too, because lots of these will eventually add up to create the whole package. The dream of glory and pride will help keep you on the path of resistance, but it’s the acknowledgement of what you can achieve right here, right now that will help build up the confidence that the dream is really possible.