From a very young age, I developed a love for books and writing. Around the age of seven, I was given my first diary. I still have that diary somewhere but can’t seem to bring myself to read it. Just too scared of what could be in there.
It was a transitional period in my life. My parents had just divorced and both were living with or married to another person. To say I was confused and perhaps a little angry is an understatement. Writing felt like an escape. In that diary, I was heard. I was listened to. My voice was valued. The diary became another world, one where I could feel how I wanted and say so.
Over the years as my heart began to heal, I wrote about friends, current events—but mostly, wrote down all of my aspirations. I distinctly remember feeling special when I wrote in my diary. Something felt right and almost as if I was doing something that was bigger than me. As years passed, that feeling faded and the possibility of becoming a published author felt further and further away. I started listening to the voices that told me it would never happen and I should focus on another career path.
I found myself chasing money. Starting anything that seemed it would make me a quick buck, or switching jobs for whichever company paid more. I would get excited about whatever endeavor I was currently pursuing and completely forget about my passion for writing. Inevitably, after a couple of months when I lost steam and figured out my current job wasn’t anything I really wanted to do, I would quit—or worse, complain. It was only when I reached this point that I decided to return to writing…UNTIL the next quick buck came knocking at the door and the cycle continued.
Those Who Can’t Do, Teach… Wrong!
A couple of years ago, I started a job that I love. I work for a nonprofit coaching the unemployed on how to gain employment. As part of the curriculum, I teach clients to go after their dream job. Even though I love doing this kind of work, I still felt like a hypocrite. My first love is writing, and there I am telling people to go after their dream job when I can’t even do it myself.
After a year of feeling like a fraud, I decided to quit chasing money and start chasing my dreams. I’d never looked at writing as a way to make money. If that were the case, I would have done it a long time ago. I understand it isn’t easy to be a writer, and I don’t have any plans of leaving my employment counseling position. Encouraging clients to pursue their dreams will serve as a constant reminder to stay focused.
Believing In My Dreams
First things is first. That early belief that I had something special to say is coming back in full force. I’m no longer listening to the naysayers. The only guide I’m listening to is my deep-seated passion.
You want to know the funny thing? Since I made this decision, I can’t stop writing. It’s almost as if it was ready to boil over.
There is a fear that all of this will pass when there aren’t immediate results, but I’ve decided to implement a couple of strategies should I need to address this issue. I’ll ask myself the following questions:
- Will this endeavor get me any closer to my dream?
- Can I see myself in this position five years down the road?
- Can I use this experience for future writings?
If the answer is yes to all three of these questions, then I’ll pursue it further. However, if the answer is no to just one of these questions, I’ll have to reevaluate and refocus.
The Road Ahead
For years, I’ve also suffered from the “extensive research” stage. As a natural planner, I like to have all of the knowledge possible before jumping into something.
Unfortunately, I’m not any different when it comes to writing. I spend more time reading and researching than actually writing. For the purpose of actually being productive, I’m only allowing myself to use 20% of my free time towards researching, 60% towards writing, and 20% towards edits. I’m sure at some point this equation will have to change, especially when I’m ready for the publishing aspect.
Until then? I’m following my dreams, money or not.
Nikki Rae Chairez is an employment coach by day and a writer in her spare time. She enjoys sharing her dreams and helping others achieve theirs on her blog, Nikki Rae Ink. When she isn’t chasing her kids around the house (husband included), she’s indulging in a good book, reality TV, or soaking up the Southern California sun.
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