When I was in fourth grade, each person in my class had to tell what he or she wanted to be when we grew up. Our teachers brought in someone from the community who did each job to talk to our class and answer questions. I changed my answer three times that week, finally deciding I wanted to be a comedian. The comedian they found in our small town in Oklahoma wasn’t that funny, at least in my opinion as a ten year old, which made me reconsider my career choice. (In case you are wondering, my first answer was writer and my second answer was psychologist. When I changed from psychologist to comedian, I told my teacher it was because “comedian” was easier to spell than “psychologist.” See? I knew funny!)
I wonder how many of my forth grade classmates are now doing what they wanted to do when we were ten.
Dan Miller writes, “[A]s we grow, there is a subtle yet significant transition from ‘what do I want to be?’ to ‘what am I going to do?'”
It’s true, isn’t it? Somewhere between ten and thirty, we get distracted. Maybe you got distracted by money, thinking, “I’ll never make enough money as a writer.” Maybe you were distracted by your own insecurities, thinking, “I’ll never be good enough, so I’m not even going to try.” Your distractions may have even been good things, like school, marriage, or children. And now, when you try to remember what you wanted to be, the dream is so dusty you aren’t sure you recognize it anymore. Did you really want to be a writer (or photographer or dancer or artist or teacher or comedian)? Does the dream still whisper, or have you been distracted so long, even the whisper has been silenced?
“Consider the possibility that your dreams and desires are the voice of your soul, God’s voice within you, longing for expression through your faith and action. And as you move toward your values, dreams, and passions, you will move toward being more spiritual and more fully what God created you to be.” Dan Miller
If you have been distracted, how do you get back to your dream? Take this one step—write (or, take pictures, dance, paint . . .). Start today. Start where you are, with what you have, to make your dream happen.
If God truly placed the dream in your heart, you already have the tools you need to make it happen. Instead of seeing your distractions as pushing you away from your dream, incorporate them into ways to make your dreams come true. If you want to be a writer, use all the sights, sounds, feelings, experiences, and people you have encountered since the first day you decided to be a writer to make you a writer.
It’s amazing really—all that time you thought you “wasted” by doing what you had to do instead of being what you wanted to be can be redeemed. It can be the kindling that starts the renewed fire of your passion. Don’t waste a moment of it.
More enemies of good writing: