Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Friendships Born of Shared Dreams

Blogging isn’t an activity I ever imagined for myself, but there are many things about my life I never imagined. Not all of them have been pleasant, but each has provided the opportunity to become the person I am. In the past couple years of writing, I’ve come to terms with myself, accepted the things I’ve done, the mistakes that guided me, and quit (for the most part) beating up on myself for opportunities missed and for not achieving the summit of every mountain I yearned to climb.

When I look at the past year (and I have no idea other than a recent birthday why I am wandering through history), the growth (radical in some ways) that I have experienced has led me to redefine my own personal mission statement. This change has been fueled by new friendships with strangers I met online, from blogs. I talked to one of my writer/blogger friends yesterday, and in our very goofy conversation, I was struck by the power of these friendships born of shared dreams. My friend and I even talked about that, how even our nearest and dearest friends of old can’t quite grasp our writing journeys in the way that fellow writers can. My friend now has more long-distance friendships, just as I do (now, as I’ve mentioned before, I live far from old friends and family, so thank goodness for unlimited long-distance plans).

Writers share something... or maybe, better yet, dreamers share something. I remember hearing once a disparaging thing about dreamers... that all they are is dreamers, not doers (or something like that). But my rebuttal against this nameless foe is that “doers” can’t even get up without something to dream. And writers or anyone who seeks a goal must at their heart be a dreamer, a believer, and ultimately a doer in order to get things done.

I’ve been working this month to ease back, bring the joy back into my writing, and what that really means is allowing the dreamer back in. So much of querying and rejections sends the dreamer into a hollowed out cave inside our hearts. And I think the further we get on the path, the harder it is for that dreamer to endure. Think of that feeling, finishing that first story or novel with your dreamer still completely intact, knowing with certainty that anyone would be a fool to pass up your work. And then the rejection comes, baffling the dreamer.

My dreamer has become a bit of a wizened hunchback, cowering and preparing for the next blow. I reached the point where I didn’t allow myself to imagine what success looked like, becoming the dreamer-free doer. Sure, I kept right on writing because I’ve got the doer part locked down, but without the dreamer, the one who could see clearly what success looks like, who can imagine my titles in pretty covers sitting on my shelf, the fun and the joy evaporated. Not terribly surprising when you think about it.

So, August became this chance to reconnect with the dreamer, to allow the storyteller within to get free rein again. My progress report: August is the best month ever. I’m writing with zest again, racing to see what happens next, allowing my characters to completely have their ways with me, and delighting in the process again. It didn’t take much to reconnect and yet the source of my renewed connection is profound. In a word: it is Acceptance. Acceptance of myself and my life. Acceptance of the stories that are mine to tell. Acceptance that my path doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s and that this journey, the one I am lucky enough to be on, is mine alone. And yet, I am not alone. I am blessed to have two wonderful writer friends. One who makes me laugh, who shares the ups and downs, and critiques my writing with a zany fervor. And the other, who hones query letters like a phenom, has challenged all the walls I built around myself, challenged all the dark beliefs that kept me from happiness, and is the very reason I have a blog in the first place.

Thank you both for sharing your lives with me. And thank you to those who read my blog who may end up being new friends in waiting.

Quote for the Day from Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh," he whispered.

"Yes, Piglet?"

"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw, "I just wanted to be sure of you."”

9 comments:

Laura Marcella said...

"Acceptance that my path doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s and that this journey, the one I am lucky enough to be on, is mine alone."

Love this! It's good to remind ourselves that our journey isn't supposed to be like anyone else's because we're unlike anyone else.

That's one of my favorite Pooh quotes! Have a great day, Julie!

Indigo said...

First of all, I absolutely adored the Pooh quote at the end. I think August has been one of those, reflective months for me as well. This week I'm taking a break from my WIP (which I just typed the words - The End) to give myself breathing room, and then the revisions start in earnest.

This latest book...I believe in this story more than any of the others. Dreams give way to hope, hope is the essence of reality. (Hugs)Indigo

Kasie West said...

Awesome post, Julie. Embrace the dreamer. :) I'm glad we've become friends. You inspire me. It's so weird to have met some of my closest friends online. What an odd, beautiful world we live in.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

What lovelier picture of friendship is there than Pooh and Piglet??

Debra L. Schubert said...

You amaze and inspire me with these brilliant, thought-provoking posts. I'm in awe of your talent and grateful to be part of your beautiful journey. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to retweet! ;-)

Lola Sharp said...

I have a card with that pooh convo on it...and I've saved it for years. I love that quote.

And, I too love my writer friends, many of whom I've met from the blogging community.

Dream big!

Jemi Fraser said...

You have a gift Julie - such a lovely way with words and dreams :)

'Writers share something... or maybe, better yet, dreamers share something' - This is my favourite line. It says it all :)

Julie said...

Laura,

Thanks so much for the comment and who doesn't love Pooh and Piglet. And I hope your day has been as nice as mine. :)

Indigo,

Hope really is everything. We certainly don't make it to those wonderful words "The End" without it. Congrats and I wish you and your new book the best.

Kasie,

You are wonderful and I have big dreams of us being great friends until we are oldies but goodies. And I kinda like this world, too.

Caroline,

I just finished The Tao of Pooh, and it made me want to go read all the Pooh books. I've got the first one waiting for me, but Mockingjay is going to be cutting in line very soon. :)

Julie said...

Debbie,

You amaze me, too. And I'm so glad to be in your world. I've gotta thank the blog that brought us together. :)

Lola,

Thanks for stopping by the blog, and in a box somewhere I think I might have the same card. I love that saying. So much is said with so few words and yet the feeling overwhelms with the constancy of friendship.

Jemi,

Thanks as always for sharing your thoughts on the blog. And for the lovely compliment. I never thought I'd love writing blog posts, but anything with words simply delights me. And thanks for thinking I wasn't a monster as a kid... I think you shouldn't meet my mom. :)