Following Your Dreams

An email newsletter I got a few days ago was discussing how many writers–and other artists, of course–sacrifice their whole outside lives for their dream. The person who wrote the article believes that we shouldn’t sacrifice our lives for our dreams.

I agree with him. To an extent.

Sometimes sacrifices have to be made so we can follow our dreams. Of course it’s important to be conscious of those sacrifices, to choose them rather than make them idly. We just have to have our priorities straight. If you’ve always dreamed of being a writer, then you have to be willing to make sacrifices for that dream. Rather than trying to pursue writing more seriously without changing anything in your life, sit down and figure out what you are willing to sacrifice for your dream.

Odds are, you can sacrifice some T.V. time or some internet surfing rather than sacrificing your relationship. You can sacrifice the occasional social event without sacrificing them all.

If you’re anything like me, writing is a fundamental part of who you are. That’s never going to change. People grow and change and learn and love, but something like that, something fundamental to your very essence, is never going to go away. It’s important to surround yourself with people who understand that passion. They don’t have to be writers or artists themselves: they just have to respect you for who you are and understand that sometimes you’re going to miss a gathering so you can stay home and work on what you love.

A lot of people won’t believe in you. Some of them will probably be your friends, even your family. But there are over 7 billion people in this world, and for every person who will think you can’t do it or that your dream is ridiculous, there’s another person who will believe in you and always cheer you on. You might not want to let go of old friends completely, but no man is an island. You need to find at least one person who will be your champion and who will support you in your every endeavour–and that’s the kind of person you want in a partner.

There has to be a balance between life and your dreams. You can start by writing for just fifteen minutes of time you would have devoted to something or someone else. You can devote one evening–or even a whole day–each week completely to your partner in exchange for an hour or two on the computer every other night of the week. You can give up TV in exchange for more computer time. Some people even wake up half an hour earlier to write, but I’m not a morning person and that would never work for me.

The trick is to find a balance that works for you and your loved ones. I know people who work all day and late into the night on weekdays but devote weekends entirely to their families. I usually claim three hours on the computer after school and ask my boyfriend to come over later–or sometimes not at all if I’m working too hard. He might not be a writer and he might never fully understand what I do or why I work so hard, but he knows not to take offence and I try to make up for it when he does come over.

And if you really can’t compromise with your partner or your friends, maybe it’s time to go out and get new ones.

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