Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Three ways to test whether or not to pursue a dream

We all have them brewing in our hearts: Future plans that have a blue sky feel.  Hopes we hold close and rarely share because they're a little out there and oh so important to us.  Establishing a homestead farm?  Beginning a crafting business?  Opening an orphanage in Ethiopia?  Becoming a writer? 

The question is: When are dreams in the fairytale realm and when are they to be pursued?

I have a little dream up my sleeve and I've only begun to mention it to a few people, in a "maybe, only if and perhaps" sort of way.  However, since I'm into transparency here on this blog, and since I'm learning a thing or two about dreams along the way... I'm going to share a little more.  Also, with this blog post I'm entering a contest for a free year in the Freelance Writers Den!

Test #1: The Test of Time

What happens to your dream over time?

When Isaac was one year old I returned to my full-time job as a policy analyst.  This transition was sort of my post-partum blues period.  I took it hard, and yet, this is where my writing dream began (well, my writing dreams have been around since I was wee, but this is where this writing dream began). 

I thought about changing careers and looked into options for working from home.  One day I googled "Becoming a Freelance Writer" and was delighted to find writers blogging about making a living writing.  I appreciated their positive words and success stories.  I could relate to their "About" sections and the reasons they pursued and enjoyed their careers.  I also dreamed about other career changes too.  A year and a half later, the other ideas are vague recollections in my past, but making a living writing is still just as prevalent a hope as the moment I read that first writer blog.  

Test #2: The Test of Eternal Perspective

What are the reasons for your dream? 

I want to have more time to invest in my child (and hopefully children).  I want to be around more to influence Isaac's character, support his development, and comfort him.  I was embarrassed about this reason for my interest in a home-based writing business until I spoke with a local freelance writer, Paula Roy.  This was the first thing she told me - she couldn't bear to be away from her son and that's why she started her writing business. 

I also want to write to influence, particularly in the area of impacting the lives of marginalized or vulnerable persons. 

And finally, writing helps me live fully and I would also like to help other women find this heart fulfillment if it's something they're interested in. 

All these reasons, I feel, are Godly and in line with my desire to pursue dreams that have an eternal, not just fleeting, impact.

Test #3: The Test of First Steps

What happens to your dream when you take steps towards it?

I've started pursuing my writing dream.  I started two blogs to wake up my writing muscles; I developed a writing website (it's a work in progress); I sent out a couple queries and corresponded with an editor on one...  

As I've done these things, I've found the writing career seems more and more tangible and realistic. 

Next Up:

My plan was to launch my writing business full-time after our second baby.  The second baby hasn't come along yet but I've decided to keep moving forward anyway.  I have a writing contract, on the side, over the summer and here are my goals for the year:
  • Refine my website;
  • Develop a LinkedIn profile and start networking;
  • Make business cards;
  • Set out a plan with some timelines and concrete steps;
  • And (here's the biggie), try out some writing venues, like guest blogging, querying some sustainable gardening magazines, and seeking out more opportunities with the non-profit sector.
I'm thinking that inside that Freelance Writer's Den I would find helpful tips and guidance on making this dream happen more easily than I would without such a tool.  Maybe I would also find motivation and encouragement to take these next steps.  Just meeting successful writers through this community would be an amazing way to move forward into this profession.  I could use a dose of the hope that I'm sure the Writer's Den fosters.   

In summary, dare to dream!  Step out and take risks when your dreams pass the tests of time, eternal perspective, and first steps!!! 


Anonymous said...

I am so excited about this new step! You are an inspiring and wonderful woman and I look forward to seeing which doors will fling wide as you "put your whole self in"!
xo B

Amanda said...

Mary, this is so great. I also have this secret idea of becoming a writer. We talked about our dreams tonight at life group, so this fits in perfectly.

jay said...

Congratulations Mary on deciding to pursue your dream! I'm sure it will be very exciting and rewarding and enriching!