Tag Archives: dream chasing

Knowledge Procrastination

books

Do you have a passion? Do you know everything there is to know about that thing? Here’s why that might be a big mistake.

Knowing EVERYTHING there is to know about writing, building a platform, and the publishing industry does not make you a writer. Writing makes you a writer.

Don’t let getting help stop you from doing the work. Continuing education should be extra, only done after your work is done for the day. As Ramit Sethi says, “Don’t keep paying other people as a way of delegating decisions.”

Knowledge Procrastination

Knowledge procrastination feels productive because you are learning skills that may eventually help you in your craft. The problem is that often we never get around to actually practicing the craft itself. If your goal was to make a million dollars, but you just read personal finance books and never actually sold or bought anything, you will never reach that goal. But, if after reading a book you implement just one idea, you will have learned something much more valuable about how to get closer to that million dollar goal.

The same thing is true with writing or any art form. You can get that MFA. You can take another course. You can hire another coach. But unless you sit down, face your fear, and do the work, you are just paying for someone to help you procrastinate.

Shadow Careers

That’s right. Getting an MFA might be a valuable experience. But it also might be a three-year-put-off-the-terror project. If you should be writing, but you use your MFA to get a teaching job so you can teach other people how to write instead, you are indulging in a shadow career. Shadow careers, as defined by Steven Pressfield, are careers that are close to what you want, but not IT.

Sometimes, when we’re terrified of embracing our true calling, we’ll pursue a shadow calling instead. The shadow career is a metaphor for our real career. Its shape is similar, its contours feel tantalizingly the same. But a shadow career entails no real risk. If we fail at a shadow career, the consequences are meaningless to us.

Are you pursuing a shadow career?

Are you getting your Ph.D. in Elizabethan Studies because you’re afraid to write the tragedies and comedies you know you have inside you? Are you living the drugs-and-booze half of the musician’s life, without actually writing the music? Are you working in a support capacity for an innovator because you’re afraid to risk being an innovator yourself?

An actor who just does set design. An artist who does advertising. A writer who does marketing. A poet who teaches poetry, but never gets around to writing her own.

Don’t let GETTING CLOSE TO THE THING stop you from doing the thing.

Similarly, don’t let paying for knowledge about the thing make you believe that you are actually doing the thing.

Just do the thing.

Three Ways to Make Space

make-space

A busy and cluttered mind will never have a chance to become creative. Being overly busy, overly burdened, and completely frazzled had been a near-constant state for me. I found, however, that when I had too much going on, my writing and creativity suffered. I made less money because I was too busy to plan ahead. My family suffered because I was not present with them. My heart suffered because it didn’t have enough room to breathe. I had to make a change.

Here are three ways I found to create space. Continue reading Three Ways to Make Space

What Will People Say?

standing apart from the crowd

Let’s talk about what happens when you create a thing and put your art out there into the world.

When you put something out into the world, people will react.

They will ignore.

They will criticize or praise.

They will act jealously or generously.

They will be inspired to create something of their own or mindlessly click (and click away).

None of this has anything to do with you.

It is not your concern how people react. Their reaction is their own, not yours.

Your only job is to create.

Let people bring to it what they want. Your work is done.

You become your art’s lawyer, or its babysitter, or maybe its secret service agent. THAT is what’s making you tired. – Glennon Doyle Melton

Do the work. Don’t worry about the rest.

This is a Calling

 

blog-follow-dreams-realist-part-8

Welcome to the Follow Your Dreams Like a Realist Series!

You have heard people say this, or maybe said something like this yourself recently:

“I should really write that story.”

“I love the guitar. I wish I played more often.”

“I used to draw, but then life happened.”

Is there something in your life that keeps showing up? Maybe there is something you’ve always wanted to try. Perhaps you love something you long ago put away. Maybe there is something that repeatedly pops into your mind when you least expect it.

That still, small voice calling you to create something, to be a creator? That is a calling. Your art is not just a neglected hobby or a forgotten diversion. It is a calling upon your life, put there by a divine creator.

Pursuing your art is not a waste of time. It is not selfish. It is answering a divine call to use your gifts for the benefit of the world.

What happens when you ignore your calling?

At first, nothing.

Nothing happens.

Nothing feels pretty safe.  There’s no struggle. No sacrifice of time. No battling fear or rejection. Life goes on as planned. Nice, safe, nothing.

What else happens when you ignore your calling?

Like Hughes’s raisin in the sun, your gift dries up. It vanishes. Without light and air, it withers and dies. Not using the gifts and creativity you’ve been given causes your soul to shrink. Your ability dissipates. A calling, ignored, turns to a dull ache that makes everything feel dull. Off. Like your whole life is a step to the left.

I’ve been in this place. In the years I spent Not-Writing, I thought about writing. I read about writing. Instead of actually writing, however, I watched a lot of TV and ate a lot of food so I didn’t have to think about the fact that I wasn’t writing. My phone was easier to face than my life. I was killing myself through distraction. My heart hurt. My body hurt. My mind didn’t hurt, but it was too numb to notice that anything was wrong.

Your gift, unpracticed, becomes another heavy thing to carry through this life.

But there is a better way.

The way to grow in your skills is to practice them and freely share them with the world. Holding on to, saving up, or hoarding your gifts is the fastest way to kill them.

Creating is more than just using your gift. It is answering your divine calling. Using your gifts opens you to light. It provides room to breathe. It is a step to the right path, a place in which everything makes sense again.

Practice your art. Share what you know. Offer your gifts freely to the world.

 

Photo by Eddy Klaus

3 Quick Ways to Reduce Stess

blog follow dreams realist part 7

Welcome back to the Follow Your Dreams Like a Realist Series!

I am not a naturally organized person. I am a type B. I’m “forgetty.” I couldn’t tell you how old my kids are. I can’t even tell you how old I am. Because my brain tends more toward “creative,” than “organized,” I had to find some coping techniques for keeping my time and stress under control. Here are three life-changing time management and stress coping techniques.
Continue reading 3 Quick Ways to Reduce Stess

Podcast University

Welcome back to the Follow Your Dreams Like a Realist series!

One of my favorite speakers, Zig Ziglar, always talked about “Automobile University.” He used his time in the car to learn from tapes. Whether he was learning a new language, or listening to motivational speakers in order to be a better at sales,  Zig never wasted time in the car.

car

Continue reading Podcast University

Building A Bridge, Not Burning It Down

Have you ever seen a movie about the girl who’s having a terrible, awful, no-good day and then decides, at the drop of a hat, to jump on a plane and start a new life? Or maybe you’ve heard a great country song about telling your boss EXACTLY where he can put this job.

While slamming the door on your way out of a job makes for a fun story, it is simply not a great thing to do in real life.

Let’s talk about how to be your own boss, the smart way. Continue reading Building A Bridge, Not Burning It Down

How to Actually Make Money Online

Welcome back to the Follow Your Dreams Like a Realist Series. If you missed it, here is Part One. In Part Two, we looked at how to know if you’re ready to quit your job. This week, we are looking at how to *actually* make money online.

Money is the thing no one wants to talk about. It is simmering under the surface, but we are JUST TOO POLITE to bring it up. Let’s change that. Knowing how much people made from their online businesses is what gave me the courage to quit my job. It really IS possible to make a living online. Let’s see how.

blog follow dreams realist part 3

Continue reading How to Actually Make Money Online