Not My Dream

How does that line from Pretty Woman go? “What’s your dream? This is Hollywood. Everybody’s got a dream in Hollywood.”

I don’t. I don’t live in Hollywood, either, but I don’t have a dream. I don’t have anything I’m passionate about (not even Farmville anymore; the Users burned me too badly a few months ago). I don’t wake up each morning with a burr under my saddle to do any particular thing. Except possibly eat, but even that comes and goes.

Mike Duran posted a while ago about publication being the natural result of writing a book. If I remember correctly, his question was “why write if you don’t publish (I didn’t  remember correctly, but I’m linking to the post, so I hope he’ll forgive me)?” To me, that’s like asking “why breathe if you don’t run a marathon?” I don’t see the connection between the two. I write because I have time and the inclination to do so. I have no other motivation. Honest. Except maybe it slows down how many chips I eat while seated.

My dream was to finish a book. I did that. I felt good about it. I showed it to a few people.

That was my first mistake. If I’d just shut up and kept writing, I’d be three or four books finished by now and my nieces could publish my stuff posthumously.

But, no. I listened to The Others who said “you should publish.” Second mistake.

Third mistake: I read a few books about publishing. Orson Scott Card told me you can’t write a second book without publishing the first one because you’ll always want to go back and “revise” the first one to death. He’s a famous guy. I believed him. And I stopped writing. Cold. Because I didn’t want to publish, but now I knew “the rule.”

So there I was, a turtle without a dream and suddenly without a hobby. I hated it. I didn’t want to find a new hobby. I didn’t want to get published, either, but that seemed easier than learning rock climbing. Besides, there was this half-finished book sitting in my computer and I really wanted to know what happened and Orson Scott Card told me I would never know if I didn’t publish.

He was half-right. As soon as I started hanging with writers and taking steps toward publication, the writing got easier. Not as easy as the first time, but I was back at the keyboard and two princesses started resolving their issues. Now that a publication date looms large on the horizon, I can’t get Book Three to shut up, especially when I’m working on Book One.

I guess Mike was right; the two things are related.


About Robynn Tolbert

Born in Kansas and born again at age six, Robynn has published two novels and started her third. Robynn, aka Ranunculus Turtle, lives in Kansas with a clowder of cats, a patient dog and a garden.

10 comments on “Not My Dream

  1. Interesting post, Robynn. Thanks for the laugh. I never heard someone say they write in order to slow their chip consumption, or because rock climbing is hard. I guess I’m glad that you’ve found a way to maintain your writing hobby. So what’s your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite? If I had to guess, I’d say your favorite is the rough draft stage, and least favorite, the editing?

    • It depends. I prefer revising to fresh writing, but sometimes it’s nice to dust the nacho cheese off my hands and let ‘er rip into a “cheesy” emotional scene I’ll tone down later.

  2. All I can say is this post reminds me of your comments about destiny from when you were editing I Am Ocilla. 😀

  3. Time to log into Zazzle or Cafe Press and make another T-shirt: “Writing: the Secret to Eating Just One Lays”. I never had dreams to “be” a writer as much as I had dreams for a particular story. Those dreams aren’t realized, but I did my part. Sometimes dreams require others and those others don’t always do what we want. Drat.

  4. Lays Ruffles…*dreamy sigh* Garden Tomato and Basil Lays…must. change. train. of. thought! 😉 Yeah, I’ll stop writing for cheesy chips cause they’re messy but I can write when eating Ruffles. That makes them the chip of the chips. 😀 I started writing for the story. My dream was to get it into the hands of as many people as possible to enjoy for as cheap as possible. I was kind of wanting to selfpublish before even knowing it existed. 😛 I don’t write cause I have time, I write cause I have a story that wants telling and a universe of characters who want to infect people’s minds. I’m just the contagios person, they’re the virus. I don’t write for money, I write to get them out of my system, and because I enjoy it. So I don’t write constantly. I also thought it would be better to have the trilogy done before trying to publish it. Then I realized that would take way too long. 😛 So I gave in and started yet another revision of the first book. I think the longer you hold on to it, the more you perfect it.

  5. […] post “Not My Dream” yesterday really made me think about my approach to writing as no longer one of a hobbyist. I am a […]

  6. My Dearest Turtle,

    Is that you I see peeking out from under the covers? Don’t be afraid of the dark. God made the night and the day. He put those beautiful stars and moon into the sky to light the night. Your fear is post publiction jitters and from what I’ve heard about your book, you have nothing to be afraid of.

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