I always wanted to write a novel, ever since I was a little kid. Unfortunately, writing fiction was like pulling ink from my pen. I wrote scene upon scene and never finished them. Finally, I finished one in high school and two in college and I was so proud to finally bring an idea to fruition. In college I took a fiction writing class. My peers said I wrote such detailed description and got into the characters, a trusted friend said I was a natural with dialogue, but the blow came with my writing portfolio. The professor said I had no conflict. Nothing really drove the story. My writing would go nowhere without it and that’s exactly what happened.
Years of nothingness. Years of empty pages.
When you feel like you’re hitting a wall, when all the doors are closed, you may have to reassess.
Go back to the basics and ask the 5WH of your dream.
Maybe the Who Needs to Change
Maybe it’s who you’re writing to or for that needs to change. Maybe it’s who you’re writing about.
It was only when I wrote about something close to my heart and dug deep for answers to questions I had always pondered about someone dear to me that the words started pouring out.
For my graduate assignment I had to write a story. The fear arose in me. How could I do this? I’ve rarely finished anything.
I wrote about my uncle who was an important person in my life but passed away from a brain tumor. I wrote about the summers we went fishing before he was sick and when we talked and played chess badly the summer before he passed. I gave it as a gift to my dad and it meant the world to him to read about his brother.
For you, maybe your dream is too vast. Maybe you need to bring it a little closer to home. You want to own your own bakery but you keep hitting walls, what if you start baking for loved ones first or helping those in need for a cause close to your heart first and see where it leads?
That doesn’t mean give up on the bakery, it means maybe there are other steps that may lead you there that are more attainable right now and surprise you along the way.
Your audience for your dream doesn’t have to start as the whole world. It can start with just your friends, your neighbors, and your town. You never know where it’ll take you.
Maybe the What Needs to Change
Maybe what the end result/product looks like needs to change. For years I was pushing to write a book, a story, anything. I pushed for my dream. I had to step back and be put in situations to accept that maybe that wasn’t what I was supposed to do, thoughts I had sadly pondered before but didn’t want to give up hope. I wanted to have something valuable to offer people, something to say. Yet I felt like I had nothing and my gift was going to waste.
Or was it that I hadn’t found my niche yet? Maybe I had to let go and let God provide windows of opportunity to see where my gift of writing had value. Poetry. I had written plenty of poems to uplift people. That was easy. What else? Nonfiction. I love research and I take good notes. I also am really good at taking situations and seeing connections, or reflecting on how a situation could’ve been better. Maybe God could use these gifts in writing to help others? And so this blog was born.
For me my what had to change. I didn’t need to write a book of fiction. I could write a book of poetry. And I did. I could write a book of oatmeal recipes. And I did. I could write about things to do and ideas to encourage people. And I create two blogs, this one and a local travel site.
Don’t get stare so long at the bumps and trees and rocks in the road that block your path that you fail to see another path to the side that you can try as well that may just get you to your final destination. Be open.
Maybe the When and Where Need to Change
I wanted to write a book at some point in my life. So I definitely didn’t have an unrealistic timeframe, but maybe some of you do. Maybe you’re trying to do too much too fast and you have to step back.
This is what happened when I started expanding my blogs to include products to sell. I wanted to do it all and I had to slow down and start small so I didn’t miss out on important details that would get in the way of producing a quality product.
Maybe the where needs to change. Let’s go back to that bakery. You wanted in on Main St. or at least in your home town. Nothing. Too expensive. What if 40 minutes down the road the rent was cheaper and you could open up shop there? What if you just did an online business instead and sell at Farmer’s Markets meet potential customers and sell your product?
Sometimes where you want to end up needs to change or when you want to get there.
Maybe the How Needs to Change
How you get to your goal or dream is an adventure. You never know where it’ll take you.
I wanted to write to make a difference. I wanted to write a book.
I didn’t expect that it would be recipe books, poetry books and now I’m working on notebooks, planners, guidebooks and more. It’s fun but it’s not what I expected.
And you know what?
Maybe the Why Needs to Change
If you’re pushing toward a dream to gain status, money, or approval, maybe that needs to change. It’ll never be enough. You’ll always want more of all of these things.
Why do you want this goal or dream? What is at the root of it?
If it’s part of a passion and burning inside you gotta share with the world, know that you’ll find a way to share and express it (even if it’s not in the way you may have imagined).
It’ll be better!
You never know what other doors are open when you are staring at the closed one. Even though it’s challenging and at times heartbreaking to let go of a specific dream, sometimes letting go is the best gift you can give yourself to find a path forward. Does it mean get rid of the dream all together? No. I’m still writing, but writing a novel is no longer my goal. Now I’m open to other avenues for my writing and I’m excited to see where it leads.
May you be open to how God will use your gifts.
Questions to Ponder:
1. What brings you the most joy and brings you closer to God and others?
2. What am I good at (skills: people, relationship, creating, nurturing, homemaking, sports, literary, organizing etc)?
3. How could I or have I used these to help others? Are there opportunities that unexpectedly arose for you to use them? Could you do it more often?
4. Are there multiple obstacles that have gotten in my way that could be a sign I need to pursue a different path?
5. Am I pursuing the right path but am not ready to take the next step yet? Is there something else God is telling me I need to do first?