To the Fools who Dream

I finally watched La La Land the other day and I loved it but particularly because I empathised so much with the two main characters who are in LA to make their dreams come true – one wants to be an actress and the other wants to own his own jazz club. Like most people with big dreams, they are struggling and are ready to give up when they meet.

When I was watching the film I actually asked my mum “do you think it’s better to have a dream but struggle to make it come true or not to have a dream to begin with?” The question hung over me all night. I don’t think there is a right answer. Like most things in life the grass probably seems greener on whichever side you’re not on.

I admire everyone who tries to make their dreams come true particularly in the creative world I find myself dreaming in because the struggle is actually real. It’s far easier to give up, to move on and try something else but then you’d have to live with the frustrating “what if?”  question – what if I had kept trying? 

The film deals with this question and the sacrifices you might have to make on your journey. I cried at the end of it. Sometimes a film feels like it speaks just to you. I was having a writer wobble when I watched it. It reminded me that for better or worse I am a fool with a dream. I will never know if I would be happier without my dream but I do know that giving up on it would make me unhappy. 

Once you have a dream it’s hard to shake off. We will struggle and we will fail and we will have those wobbles and wonder if we’re crazy to want to keep living this life. And yes I think we probably are! But we dust ourselves off and we keep on trying and keep on believing because we know that making our dreams come true is the journey we are supposed to make. 

Once you start dreaming it’s almost impossible to stop. There are always new obstacles to overcome, new ideas to inspire you, and the determination to stay where you want to be when you do make your dream come true. Once a dreamer, always a dreamer perhaps. I quite like this idea because then it is about the journey we go on and not just all about the destination. Maybe it doesn’t matter if you make all your dreams come true, it’s enough to have them and keep on working towards them.

I always come back to my favourite quote said by Walt Disney that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It” and I hope it’s true. That those of us who have a dream have it because we can make it happen. Even if it does drive us a little bit crazy.

Do you think it’s better to have a dream but struggle to make it come true or not to have a dream to begin with?




The bookshop dream

I recently read that Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney is opening up his own bookshop in the town where he lives. He isn’t the first author to do this – Nora Roberts, for example, also owns a bookshop which her husband runs in their hometown.  There seems to have always been a bookshop fantasy for writers – not just for our books to be stocked on the shelves, but also a fantasy of owning our own one.

I think it’s a great idea that successful authors are taking on bookshops. It’s not an easy climate to run any kind of independent shop but especially bookshops which have seen decline and even large chains have struggled to keep up with online retailers and the rise of ebooks. A big name may well draw in customers, fans of the author will no doubt pop in for a signed book or the chance to see their favourite author behind a till, but also authors in general (I hope anyway!) love books. They make ideal bookshops owners because of their passion for books and their desire to encourage everyone to read more.


I have a feeling my fantasy of owning a bookshop started by watching the film You’ve Got Mail, even though that store closes during the film. I remember being scared about going to university and telling my mum I wished I could just buy a bookshop in the country instead! I am also certain that my love of books is the reason why it always seemed so appealing, to be surrounded by my favourite things every day and helping people discover wonderful books always seemed like a dream, and very rewarding, job.

Like any fantasy, you tune out how difficult it would be to start up your own bookshop – you’d need money obviously, a good location where you’d be able to draw in regular customers, and a strong business plan to make sure you didn’t fold in the first year. That’s why it’s great that authors like Jeff Kinney are taking on the task, he obviously has the money to pour into the business and the passion to really make it work. I am looking forward to seeing how it all works out and whether it will encourage more authors to take the plunge.

I also hope a British author can do the same thing one day as their shops would be easier for me to visit!

Do you have the bookshop fantasy?




Balancing writing and work

Dreams are funny things. As a writer, you have to dream. You have to let your imagination out. It’s perfectly acceptable to lose yourself in a world of make believe and listen to voices in your head. You’re not crazy, you’re a writer. What’s tough for us writers is when you have to leave that dream world. Because, unfortunately, we also have to live in the real world.

I’ve had a few comments and emails from readers recently asking for my advice about pursuing writing whilst having to work and earn money. Although no expert, I want to help because I want you to write and be able to make your dreams come true. However, reality does bite and you need to balance pursuing your passions with being sensible. Yes, I know. Sensible is boring. It’s much more fun to daydream but life is tough and you’ve got to learn how to survive it.

I’ve worked for 7 years full time with a three hour commute. And I’ve saved. I have no debts. This means I can only now take some time out to focus on writing. And I’ll still have to get some part time work. So don’t make any rash decisions and regret them later. Until you actually make money from writing, you’ve got to keep your dreams in check and do something else on the side.

So here are my tips to consider when balancing writing and work. I really hope they help!

1. Set yourself goals – what do you want to achieve from writing and when do you want to achieve it by? What time do you need to set aside to make this happen?

2. Look at our outgoings and any debt you have. What do you realistically need to earn each month?

3. Other than writing, what else do you like? Try to use this to help you on the job front. However, I must be honest – you may have to just suck it up and do something you don’t enjoy because it gives you the freedom to write. Again, set yourself a deadline so you don’t get stuck forever. For example, if you like people and reading, why not work in a book shop?

4. Save as much money as you can. This will help you take the full time writing leap as soon as possible.

5. Keep track of your goals and dreams. Keep a journal or a blog! Tell people what you’re doing so you don’t lose track. How about setting a weekly word amount you want to write? Ask for support, you’ll be amazed by the response.

6. Above all else, don’t stop writing or dreaming!

Writing is hard work especially when you balance it with work. You need to be determined and disciplined. You need to set goals and deadlines. But you can do it! Just block in time write. I had to do it on the weekends. But I love to write so it wasn’t really a sacrifice. Just make sure you give yourself a break to relax and have fun.

There’s no short cut. You may have to do something you don’t enjoy for a while but if you keep on track with your waiting, it will all be worth it the end.

Good luck!




The Social Network

I finally watched The Social Network at the weekend. Regardless of how much the film actually depicts real life events, I couldn’t help but marvel how one person can literally change the world.

Facebook started in a university dorm room. The guys that created it are my age. They are now billionaires. It’s an amazing story.Whatwever we think about Facebook we can’t deny how it has altered our society, the way we interact we friends, how it’s suddenly acceptable to stalk ex-boyfriends and our language – “Facebook me”.

I’m also a teeny bit jealous that people can invent something like that at university and become the youngest billionaires in the world. It certainly didn’t happen whilst I was at Uni 🙂 But you know what, it is inspiring. These guys come across as geeks in the film (whether it’s true in real life I don’t know) – highly intelligent but socially awkward yet they managed to create a social network site that practically everyone in the world has heard of. Pretty impressive.

It got me thinking that often life gets in the way of dreams, of thinking “big”, it makes us think we shouldn’t even try, that there’s too much struggling to make the effort worth it. But amazing things can and do happen in life. If it wasn’t for people like Mark Zuckerberg the world would stay the same, there would be no innovation, no development, no dreams coming true.

Imagine if you had been trying to create Facebook and gave up only to watch the Harvard boys sweep in and make it a success (which if you believe the film did happen). So next time you’re thinking of giving up on your dream because it’s too hard or you think it’ll never get there, just log on to Facebook. Don’t give up!

Who’s seen The Social Network? Anyone want to be my friend on Facebook (drop me a link and I’ll add you)?




Dream a little dream

Reading this post over at Bonnie’s blog http://bonniemelt.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/9033/ prompted me to think about dreams. She found a great site where you can interpret your dreams for free (http://www.dream-interpretation.co.uk/)

I recently had a dream that I was pregnant. This is what it means apparently –

To dream that you are pregnant, symbolizes an aspect of yourself or some aspect of your personal life that is growing and developing. You may not be ready to talk about it or act on it.  This may also represent the birth of a new idea, direction, project or goal.

The dream was so realistic and vivid. I’ve never thought too much about my dreams, often I dream about people I know or things that happened in the day and I can pinpoint how it slipped into my subconscious. This one was different. I wasn’t talking or thinking about having babies. So why did it pop into my dream world?

Looking at the interpretation, I wonder if it was connected to my writing journey. Maybe developing my writing is my new project and goal, the baby I’m developing inside me. If so, I hope the birth comes soon. Alternatively, you could say blogging is giving me nightmares 🙂

I have a feeling this site could become a new obsession. I wonder what symbolises winning the lottery?

Any crazy dreams lately? What did they mean?