Today it’s my privilege to host Jenny Hansen as my Life List Club guest blogger.
Find Jenny on Twitter at jhansenwrites or over at More Cowbell. She’s also a founding member of the Writers In The Storm blog.
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.
· Writing communities like #myWANA on Twitter or SheWrites can help too.
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.”
Loved this post and loved the titanium panties. I wonder if they would qualify as “Christian panties”. Oh well, I am sure they would since there’s no way anyone’s gettin’ past them! LOL!
Thanks for spreading the wealth of your knowledge and experience. You make this writing thing seem way less scary!
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Excellent subject. Great blog.
Fun, inspirational, and perfect Jenny. David, thank you so much for hosting my dear friend. PS – I want to see Tangled. If Baby Girl was mesmerized, I should be too. 🙂
You would LOVE Tangled. Watch it the first time for the fun, then watch it again for the great use of theme. It’s all dreams, dreams, dreams. And Zachary Levi is HOT, even in animation land. 🙂
You’re welcome, Tiffany. It was my honor to host Jenny.
You’re a sweetie pie, David!
This post was so much fun, Jenny! Tangled is a really cute movie and you shared a great lesson for us all from it. Reminds me of what Kristen Lamb talked about where the fear of success is scarier than the fear of failure. But then again, you’ve got titanium panties to see you through the tough times. That sure beats depends! LOL
Thanks, Jess! I’m sure depends are cozier, but those Titaniums are sassy, huh?
Beautifully written post Jenny. I’m going to a Donald Maass weeklong intensive class and now that’s it’s drawing closer I think, “oh no what did I sign up for? I should have gone to N.Y.C. with my friends.” But no. I know he’s a great teacher (he’s looking at my first 50 pages and synopsis eeekkkk and I get feedback eeeeeekkk) and I’m scared spitless that I’ve set the bar to high. Your post and Jess’s over at Marcia’s Life List blog are just the kick I need to be brave.
Who knew you’d give me a pair of titanium panties???? LOL! I’ll think of those when I’m at the workshop Thanks Jenny and congrats David for joining the club. Looking forward to your goals as well.
My titanium panties are you titanium panties. (God that sounds creepy, but you get what I mean. 🙂 )
You’re gonna rock your time with Donald Maass and his feedback is usually golden. Be sure to find me and let me know how it goes, OK?
I’ll find you and let you know. Thanks Jenny.
Amber, don’t you LOVE that scene in the tower where he whips out “his smolder?” Then when his chair topples, he whines: “You broke my smolder!”
Thanks for stopping in!
Thanks for stopping by, Amber. I’m sure Jenny will add a reply.
Fabulous post! You hit the nail on the head. I know I’ve been terrified of both getting my dream and not getting it. Seems ridiculous when you think about it logically but there it is. Thanks for reminding me to go for it anyway.
Thanks for stopping by, Sonia. I know Jenny appreciates your comments.
Sonia, I find it strange too…I originally called this post, “The Funny Thing About Dreams.”
I wouldn’t have believed it, but I’ve seen it in myself.
We’re going to do a “throw down” on it over at WITS the last week of Sept…More Afraid To Succeed vs. More Afraid NOT to Succeed. 🙂
I enjoyed Jenny’s post … and can relate to it well. I love the big girl titanium panties image!!
Barb, aren’t those AWESOME?? Laura Drake, one of my pals at Writers In The Storm found those on Google with a search for “beer can underwear.” Who would have thought of it, right?
What do I do when I have to change dreams? Wallow in self-pity. No, really, it’s awful. I mope, I whine, I’m testy. For two days to a week.
Then I shake myself off, apologize to those who still love me (those who don’t anymore can kiss my…) and get started on the NEXT thing. I plow ahead onto the next goal (being Ukranian is good for some things…strong peasant stock,)
Great post, Jenny.
Thanks for stopping by, Laura. Jenny’s stuff is always worth a read.
Yep, you whine, and ride your bike, and drag around for a few days BUT, then you whip out the I-mean-business panties and get back in the game. A little mopage is NO match for titanium undies and nerves of steel. Muah-ha-ha….
P.s. Thanks to David for that nice compliment!
I think you’ve captured quite well what we all feel from time to time. What a great plan to get through it, too! Excellent post, Jenny!
Hope you’re enjoying your first LLC Friday, David! Happy you’re with us!
Thanks, Marcia. I’ve been wanting a guest post from Jenny, and you made it happen.
Thanks, Marcia! David has been a wonderful host. 🙂
I love tangled!! And your so right that scene is a gem 🙂 Thinking about it, I don’t deal with the fear factor very well, but I tell myself that it doesn’t matter. that I’m going to do it anyway and whatever happens, happens. All I know is that I feel like I was meant to write and everything that comes of that comes. Life is a grab bag of good and bad and we all have go through it!
Thanks for your comment, Jennie, and for supporting Jenny.
Hear-hear, Jennie! We are all blessed with the freedom to pursue our dreams and do what we feel we were born to do. There’s beauty in that.
Wonderful post Jenny – I need to dig out my “Big Girl Titanium Panties” as I’ve been having one of those life-is-too-stressful-for-writing kind of stretches. Wonderful advice as always and I love the sense of humor with which you approach chasing your dreams! David, welcome again to the LLC : )!
Thanks for the comment and the welcome, Pam.
OK, Pam, you know what to do…hitch ’em on up and get those hands on the keyboard FOR ANYTHING.
Look at the first LLC post on ytour site…what an honor, David. Thanks for hosting me!
Now for the rest of you…let’s talk Fear Factor. 🙂
Glad to have you, Jenny. I read yours regularly, so I count having you as a guest as an important event.
You’re a sweetie pie! I’m back among the living so I’m gonna see what all these nice tweeps have to say. 🙂
Thanks for having me!