Image courtesy of University of California, Riverside
Image courtesy of University of California, Riverside

It’s one of those times when I kinda got nothin’.  You know, one of those days when, due to whatever circumstances currently stalking you, your creative muse has run into a cave. Not only do you not know where the cave is, but even if you did, the magic word needed to enter would elude you.

I could make a lot of excuses. I am, in fact, overworked. Trying to write a second novel while marketing the first, jump start an editing business and work a full time teaching career while maintaining some semblance of a personal life will do that to you. Of course, I’m well aware that my life is no busier than anyone else’s who has dreams and an ambition to make them come true. Overbooking has become a way of life. Some do it in order to pay for the Lexus and the penthouse suite. Others do it just to put bread on the table and patch that hole in the roof. Then there are the ones who multi-task because they want something other than what they have right now, and it’s going to take an exhaustive amount of work to accomplish it without going under financially. That’s me.

I read the other day that it’s not a matter of loving your dreams; everyone does that. It’s a matter of loving the struggle, in whatever form it takes, that will be required to make the dreams come true. Or so said the article.

I don’t know that I agree. Maybe that works for things like hitting the gym because, seriously, who would do that to themselves if they truly hated sweat? But every job has its down side and I think you have to love the work enough to accept the struggle. If you want to be a freelance editor for a living, you have to love copy editing as much as you do analyzing a plot structure. If you want to be a writer, you need to love constructing a story arc as much as you do writing dialogue. The same is true for other occupations: Lawyers better love to argue, doctors better love researching new treatments, teachers better love writing lesson plans, grading papers and dealing with childhood angst, because if they don’t, they are in the wrong business.

What they don’t have to love is writing briefs, delivering life-shattering diagnoses, and making bad-news calls to parents. Similarly, writers don’t have to love the marketing end of writing any more than editors have to enjoy telling a client that their plot has unfixable holes. We don’t have to love the hard parts of our work. We just have to love the rest enough to do the unlovely parts cheerfully so that we can get back to the good stuff. And we need to feel that the majority of the work is “good stuff.”

What are the favorite and least favorite parts of your dreams? How much of the latter are you willing to do in order to accomplish the former? Because that is what truly determines our success – our willingness to work through the struggle to get to the good stuff.

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