The path that brought me to this moment started exactly 25 years ago today, when in my diary I wrote, “Before I turn 25, I want to write a book.”
25 years later, I’ve written 33 novels (plus one I did anonymously as work for hire), am working on a couple more, and intend to keep writing novels as long as I live.
I’ve also written 100,000+ words on writing on my website (a very fat nonfiction book), five Writing Clinics (“Scenes” is also a clinic) with a sixth, “World” in progress, one massive course on writing/creativity/career creation, and I’m working on the second massive course, “How To Revise Your Novel.” I’ve done some smaller writing projects, too, both fiction and nonfiction.
I built and ran the free writing community Forward Motion for years. Have a much smaller writing community growing now inside the ThinkSideways/HTRYN course umbrella.
So that writing thing turned out pretty well.
But in ten months I’ll be 50. And I have a resolution.
Before I turn fifty, I want to show people how to FIND their dreams, how to dream BETTER dreams, and how to turn those dreams into reality.
This is a resolution that, like “write a book”, entails much more than anyone can hope to accomplish in ten months, and I know that. I’ve been writing with intent to sell since I was about 23, and I still love the work. “Write a book” became a lifetime calling for me.
It’s also a resolution that, in many ways, I’ve been working toward my whole life. Some of the ways I hope to accomplish this are already in place—the writing courses and the writing community and my website help writers who already have their dream in place figure out how to make their dreams real.
But my daughter wants to create handcrafted jewelry. My father-in-law is a public-school science teacher looking for a different way to teach science. I have one son who wants to make movies, and another who currently wants to build robots.
I have friends who want to leave jobs they hate, but aren’t sure what they could do instead. I know hundreds of writers who are looking for a new way to break into publishing and get paid for their work.
And I know people who have no better dream than just to get through the day. And so do you.
Over the past three years, I’ve been quietly investing in training and education, learning how to create businesses, how to create products, how to reach the people who want those products. Most of my life, I’ve been learning to teach. I’m studying professional publishing.
And I have projects that have been pending while I work on other things, or on hold because they’re in software development. I offered an e-mail course for a while called Money To Write. I’ll be bringing that back with some serious bells and whistles—it will focus on letting writers create businesses that will free them from day jobs so they can write.
Margaret is making good progress writing the software we call “the seller piece,” the engine that will allow me to PAY writers for the Rebel Tales serialzine, and PAY product creators with the Money to Write program. When that’s done, we’ll get Rebel Tales and Money To Write going.
But it all starts with DREAMS
Our reality, both good and bad, begins as someone’s dream, someone’s vision, someone’s abstract idea that “this could be different.”
Some dreams are magnificent, some are terrible.
Grocery stores and skyscrapers, cars and computers, paintings and literature, music and movies, roads and silverware and dishwashers and clothes and shoes and agriculture and every other form of creation and production all started as someone’s dream.
Nursing and medicine, education and food service, telephones and the Internet all began as someone’s dream.
So did the genocides of Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Adolf Hitler, and other monsters. So does every murder, every molestation, every enslavement. Drug cartels, prostitution rings, and street gangs all arise from someone’s dream, too.
We live in the reality created by the people who act on their dreams, whether good or bad.
There is no way to force people to dream better dreams, to want better things. “Some men just want to watch the world burn.” (Alfred in “The Dark Knight).
There is no way to dream for others—anyone whose dream is to “make your life better” is imposing a his dream on you. And what is better for him will not be better for you.
You can only dream for yourself, you can only change yourself.
But you can provide the example of your own life, the tools and the teaching, the means, and the direction, to others who also want to dream better dreams, make them real, and in the process, live better lives.
This, then, is my dream. My resolution. To be the person who does that. To create ways to help you, if you choose to use them, live the life you dream.
Happy New Year.
May 2010 be your best year yet.