National Gallery of Australia

Achieving The Dream

Have you ever come to your latest project and no matter how hard you try to get started, you can't?

Many authors and aspiring authors have signed up for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which is into day six as I write this blog. For those of you not familiar with NaNoWriMo, the challenge is to join an online community of writers all striving for the goal of writing the number of words they want to write in November. Most writers strive for 50,000 words, which means 1,667 words per day to be written for the full thirty days. This sounds easy until you have to find the time to sit in front of your computer; ensure your creativity is going to kick in when you want it; and giving time to your spouse and family. When taking all these factors into consideration, you suddenly discover writing a novel of 50,000 words in a month is a major project. A project of this size tests your creative ability; your discipline to sit at the computer each night, especially if you have a day job that takes all your energy; and your patience with your family who love you to be with them after dark. However, NaNoWriMo is great way of getting started on a project and creating the habit to get the work done.

What if you're someone who has a dream to learn to play a musical instrument, to invent a device that will make human life simpler and easier in the future, or paint a masterpiece that's going to hang in the National Gallery of Australia, or any other project that's imprinted on your heart you want to achieve. There's no such thing as NaNoWriMo to keep you focused. So what are you going to do?

Firstly, let me talk about an attitude that can destroy any dreams you have as quick as thinking of them if you let it sneak into you psyche: perfection. Perfectionism will cramp your style and strangle any hopes or ideas you might have in achieving a dream.

I speak from experience: when I first started writing I thought every word I typed into my computer or wrote on a piece of paper had to be perfect. This ridiculous attitude delayed the publication of my first book for years. I thought every word I wrote was rubbish and wouldn't mean a thing to a reader. My work sounded so different to all the other published writers' work. I tried to emulate the great authors, but still my work wasn't getting published. It wasn't until I realised every author had their own distinct voice and that they wrote from their hearts that I understood where I was going wrong.

Achieving my dream wasn't about perfectionism, it was about understanding who I am as a writer and writing about issues that are important to me so that my writing style and voice began to develop.

Walk the path and see where it will lead you.

Walk the path and see where it will lead you.

So, it is for anyone achieving the dreams they have in their heart. Be yourself and take hold of the dream and never let go of it. Forget that the word 'perfect' has ever existed. This is your time in history, take hold of the life given to you and step forward to achieve your dreams.

Toss this word out of your vocabulary now, practise the skills that will enable you to fulfill your dreams and in little steps reach out and take all that's meant for your life.

Have you let perfectionism cripple your life and your dreams? Let me know how you overcame this attitude that has the power to destroy the person who we were meant to be.