Every quarter at my work place, I have to sit down with my manager and map out my working goals for the coming months. All the different tasks I think I will be working on over the next three months will be written down with measurables placed beside them as a tool to track my progress and make sure I’m actually doing my job.
Every quarter, we also discuss any personal goals to be put in this plan. Almost every quarter, I fail these goals which have been the same for quite a while. The main goal? Write more outside of work.
As my day job in communications involves me writing a heck of a lot, by the time I get home from work my brain is fried and I often feel like I can barely string a sentence together. Instead of writing, I plonk myself down in front of the television and tune out. Occasionally I’ll pick up a book and read for a while and that’s generally as far as it goes.
Lately I’m really dissatisfied with this approach to my life and for one simple reason: by the time I’m 30, I would like to write a novel.
With just over five years to go, it’s starting to feel like an overwhelming and often impossible dream. If I’m being completely honest with you and with myself, I feel stuck. I want to write a novel but I don’t have a clue of where to begin as I don’t have ‘the idea’. Through dreams or random thoughts I have sentences come to me, but it usually doesn’t go beyond a single line.
I’ve read article after article of interviews with authors where they often say the idea for their novel came to them while they were asleep or daydreaming (oh how I wish Harry Potter came to me while I was sitting on a train). Many share the advice of ‘practice makes perfect’ where they emphasise the importance of setting aside time each week, or each day where possible, to write and that the ideas flow from there.
While I actively search for advice from authors I admire, it ends up being quite fruitless for while I read their advice, I very rarely take it. My laziness in writing has me at a standstill.
There are so many things that I am scared of; one of the biggest is that my dream of becoming a published author may never happen, that I may float through life telling people that yes I would like to write a novel some day, I’m just waiting for the right idea and the idea will never come. I’m scared that this is something I will fail at; something within my control that I let slip through my fingers. I no longer care if I don’t write a novel by the time I’m 30 just as long as I write one before I die.
I could list all the excuses as to why I haven’t written a novel yet—which I have already partly done—but what’s become blatantly obvious to me of late is that I am the only reason I haven’t written a novel; not my circumstances but me.
I don’t want to write a novel in order to become a famous author (though wouldn’t that be nice!). I want to write a novel because I feel like I have a story to tell, something to share even if I can’t articulate what that story is just yet. I love the power of the written word, the way it can help to broaden your imagination and allow you to escape into different worlds and realities. I love the way a well written book can make you feel, whether that be sad, hopeful, or evoke the feeling of writer’s envy.
I love that there are some books that I can read over and over again because they feel like home when I’m craving the comfort of the familiar. I love that I become so personally involved in the lives of various characters that I speak about them as though they are real people and my friends.
I want to write a novel because I would love the opportunity to maybe, just maybe, impact a person’s life the way that various books have impacted mine.
Do you have a dream? Are you struggling to achieve it?