Today it’s my privilege to host Jenny Hansen as my Life List Club guest blogger.
Dreams are a funny thing.
Most nightly dreams fade away in the morning rush. The nightmares that sometimes come scorch a familiar path through our REM sleep, as if they were a ribbon unwinding from a psychic spool. Waking dreams stay tucked inside our hearts as we go about our daily journey.
It’s the waking dreams I want to talk about. Those amorphous goals we chase every day we put our fingers to our keyboard or our pens to paper. Waking dreams are constant, so real we can see them. So fragile we worry about breaking them.
I was watching Tangled the other day with Baby Girl. She loves the music and the movement and will sit with me for more than hour, completely mesmerized by each character. Especially Maximus…that child adores Maximus. (He’s a most heroic horse, for all of you that haven’t added Tangled to your movie collection.)
There are Disney movies that I try not to let her watch because of the message (yes, really, and have you noticed how many mothers die in these movies??) but Tangled is about dreams. If you read my post about focusing on your story’s DNA, you’d know “dreams” are the silken thread of theme that weaves through Tangled.
There’s a scene in the movie – just before the end of Act 2, for all you writing types – that perfectly describes the funny, capricious nature of dreams:
Reaching for your dreams is scary.
It takes some serious nerve to lay your heart open and shout to the world, “THIS is what I want more than anything.” To throw your all into the fray and reach for a dream takes guts and, something I struggle with, patience.
Here’s the scene:
[In the boat, Rapunzel sighs, suddenly feeling afraid]
Flynn Rider: [noticing the look on Rapunzel’s face] You OK?
Rapunzel: [whispers] I’m terrified.
Flynn Rider: [softly] Why?
Rapunzel: I’ve been looking out a window for eighteen years, dreaming about what it might feel like when those lights rise in the sky. What if it’s not everything that I dreamed it would be?
Flynn Rider: It will be.
Rapunzel: And what if it is? What do I do then?
Flynn Rider: Well that’s the good part, I guess. You get to go find a new dream.
What a great scene, huh? Most people struggle with dreams on a daily basis. I believe, for a writer, chasing dreams is the hardest struggle of all.
We creative types worry about the damnedest things…I think I’ve got the most common fears summed up below:
· What if I write the book and nobody buys it?
· What if I write the book and everybody buys it…can I be that brilliant again?
· Who would want to read what I have to say?
· When I say what I have to say, they’ll know who I am.
Every time an artist creates they’re shouting to the world, “this is who I am.” That’s a scary, heady, mind-blowing thing. The downside? If the work is found wanting, it feels like WE are being rejected too. How do you deal with that?
For me, I just strap on my Big Girl Titanium Panties and do the next thing. If I stop and think about the fear, I’ll hyperventilate.
No, seriously…how does a writer go on when things are in the crapper? When rejections roll in and plots stall and blog posts bomb?
Wine. Family. Tequila. These are helpful things when the going is ROUGH.
· A supportive critique group is amazing.
· A writing network is priceless. This could be your local writing chapter, or online groups like #ROW80 or The Life List Club.
How do you deal with the Fear Factor of dreams? What do you do when it’s time to make a new dream?
Jenny fills her nights with humor: writing memoir, women’s fiction, chick lit, short stories (and chasing after the newly walking Baby Girl). By day, she provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. After 15 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s digging this sit down and write thing.
Jenny is an avid seeker of “more”…More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! Finding those qualities that are unique in every person and every piece of fiction gets her all fired up. Whether it’s words or skills, hobbies or jobs, Jenny wants to hear more about your “COWBELL.”