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Are You Chasing the Right Dream?

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Whenever I find a quote that stops me in my tracks and makes me think, I post it on a sticky note by my computer. Every few months, I take a few down and put up some new ones.

I found one recently that I’ve been alternately reading and ignoring. Frankly, I’m not quite sure what to do with it. Here’s what it says:

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~Rev. Howard Thurman (1900-1981)

Part of me loves the quote. And part of me doesn’t like it.

Here’s why: I’m a writer and I believe writing is one of the gifts the Great Creator entrusted to me. I love hanging out with writers, I love coming up with story ideas, I love encouraging others through my words. I love the flexibility of working anywhere and the wonder of making up stories out of snippets and fragments and unrelated conversations.

But I don’t love to write. It took me a while to be able to admit that. I love “having written.”

My two favorite parts of any writing project are 1) when I come up with the idea, and 2) that wonderful moment when I write “the end.”

The actual writing process is hard work, pure and simple. It’s messy and disorganized and I wish there was a way to get from idea to finished book without actually having to write it.

Yet I keep putting one word after another because, well, I’m a writer. And somehow, the joy outweighs the frustration and I can’t imagine not doing what I do.

So I think I’m chasing the right dream after all. If even roses have their thorns, why would I think my dream should be all sweetness and light?

What do you think? Does whatever dream you’re chasing make you come alive? If it doesn’t, how do you handle that?

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    The Conversation

  1. Lisa Grace says:

    Your site looks great.

    For me, the hardest part is the first third, making sure every scene is exciting and draws you in taking you one step closer to where everything seems impossible to resolve. Once I’m about a third of the way through, my writing momentum is hard to stop.

    I’m chasing a dream of hearing God one day say, “Well done, my faithful servant.” I do realize being human, and having “age issues” that I do need to listen to my body and rest more than I would like. I’ve always had every minute of everyday scheduled out, but I’ve found I have to cut back on commitments or I will wear myself out. Rest, proper eating, and exercise, are all part of the plan now, rather than in the past where it was all go, go, go and the first three were negotiable.

    • Connie Mann says:

      Hi Lisa, you are SO not alone in having to rethink your schedule and energy levels. I often miss the days when I could go, go, go and rest…whenever! I’m glad you’ve figured out how to make momentum work in your writing. Thanks so much for sharing what works for you!

  2. Connie, I found your site through our correspondence with Jamie about her book title. And I was immediately drawn to this article. I fill my time with writing, rarely the kind I love most, but the kind that “pays the bills”. But I always ask myself if I’m doing all God requires of me, especially in regard to my writing. I guess by asking that over and over I’m also telling myself that I’m not. I allow myself to be caught up in this spin cycle of doing the needful. Sharing my essays through blogging does bring me joy, but I still feel God saying, That’s great, sweetie, what else ya got for me? I started freelancing in earnest last year (business writing and editing) and have enjoyed success with that. Success, if not exactly joy. Thanks for sharing the quote; it is lovely and true. I’m looking forward to reading more of your work. Blessings…

    • Connie Mann says:

      Hi Amanda,
      So nice to “meet” you!I think every creative person I know struggles with that same “spin cycle.” (great phrase!) How do we balance the two?? I don’t have it all figured out, by any means, but look forward to walking the journey together with you! I think we start, as you have, by asking the question and listening for God’s leading and watching for His direction. Hope you’ll stay in touch!

  3. Jamaal says:

    I think we all would like to just start and finish anything because I love basketball and I want to play in Europe, so of course I do not want to always go work on the things I need to work on because I would rather just get on a plane and go play. But, at the same time is that the way of God telling you to keep going? On a devilish person would laugh at your dream so I believe that if you don’t want to, but you end up doing something anyway that’s true love and commitment and you should use that to the best of your ability. Great post, makes me feel normal that I’m not the only one who thinks like this!