Tuesday, January 3, 2012

On Dreaming Small

I've always thought of myself as realistic. I had some "impossible" dreams when growing up, but I only ever halfheartedly attempted to accomplish them, because I knew they were impossible. Just my imagination running wild.

I ideally wanted to earn money from home, writing my own fiction—or from editing others' books, preferably fiction. I had some age goals that I missed, but I didn't try to hit them, either. I worked on my ability, only halfheartedly submitting my work anywhere. I assumed I was too young to be any good at it.

So I dreamed of making money writing and proofreading/copyediting from home, and thereby blundered into the joys of freelancing through happenstance I can only thank God for.

And I tumbled into that dream before I'd even left my teens. Then discovered from a local company that I was better at proofreading than folks who were older and had more credentials, the year I was old enough to legally drink alcohol.

So I developed another dream. I saw the possibilities in self-publishing (particularly e-books) years ago, and I kept an eye on POD and e-publishing. I dreamt of a day when self-publishing would be affordable.

That dream's now here, too.

And I'm currently editing fiction regularly as part of my day job—something I'd once never thought would happen, since I couldn't afford to take an internship at some press.

So here I am, coming up on my 25th year, and I've accomplished all my dreams but making a living from fiction writing.

And I wasn't even trying all that hard.

How much could I have gotten done if I'd tried? Even this past year, I spent entire weeks sick and unable to work, but I got so much done.

I don't want to look back on the latter half of my twenties and wonder what on earth I did, those years.

Lord willing, I have years ahead of me. I keep working at it, and I'll eventually earn money—even an income!—from writing fiction.

It's time to dream bigger.

But my habit of dreaming small is hindering me. A 6-figure income by age 30, or 3 concurrent titles on the NYT bestseller list, are dreams I develop, then wave away. They're too insane. (What would I do with all that money, anyway?)

I can't help but feel that it'll do me good to keep them in mind, though.

Even if the only dream I can bring myself to reach for is a dream of earning enough passive income from fiction by age 26 to comfortably pay my bills. ("Passive income" meaning "royalties".)

At least I'm reaching.

What are your dream accomplishments? (Remember, "dreams" are things you can't control.)


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