Dreams vs. Reality

I have an active imagination.  This fact is pretty much a no-brainer since I write loads of weird fantastical things on a daily basis. But I don’t just have an active imagination about things I would place into a book.  I have an active imagination about reality too. Sometimes, this means that the creak of a floorboard in the middle of the night has me plotting how I will avoid the crazed killer that has clearly snuck into my house (doesn’t everybody do this?).  But most times, this involves dreaming up where I will go in my career, what I will do with the crazy amounts of money I make, how I will support my family.  There are real versions of my future, and then there’s the ideal version, the person I could be if the absolute best case scenario happens to me.  They do not remotely resemble each other.

In my ideal world, the hubby and I meet unprecedented success as writers.  All three of the novels that are currently still mere works in progress are published by major publishing companies and my urban fantasy is picked up as a series.  All three are optioned as movies.  We make a ridiculous amount of money, as they become immensely popular.  I gain J.K. Rowling style fame. The lead character in the urban fantasy, Jacklyn Madison, becomes a household name.  Other people write fanfiction about my stuff.  I get enough money to become a full-time writer.  I buy a house somewhere with wide open spaces and beautiful views.  I get all kinds of fancy stuff for my family.  My kids go to prestigious schools.  I stay home and write all day and when I’m not writing, I’m doing interviews, working as a consultant on the movie set, or teaching writing.  I eat, sleep and breathe my dream job and my family and there is nothing to get in the way of that.  No distractions from real life that take me away from writing for weeks at a time.  I can travel to new locations to research for future books.  I have room for a writing office in my house, which has state of the art computer software and is covered wall to wall in anything that inspires me.  My husband has one of his own.  We live a busy but happy life that is thoroughly driven by family and writing.

Reality will probably look alot different. It is alarmingly likely that I will never be a traditionally published author.  I may end up publishing independently or not at all.  I may end up publishing my novels in serial format on this very blog.  Who knows?  You guys may be my only readers!  I will likely never be paid all that much for my books. A normal publishing contract doesn’t look anything like J.K. Rowling’s next contract will look.  I will probably never be a household name.  There is a very good chance that I will continue to live in the apartment I live in, with the car I’ve got, and my children will go to the nearest public school.  We’ll do our best to gather a college fund for them.  Anything else, will likely be done in student loans that we will co-sign…assuming our credit gets better.  I will work a 9-5 (or in my case, a 9:30-5:30) for the rest of time, and I will write when I can scramble time together.  My computer will probably always be a four year old or older model.  My writing office will probably always consist of my laptop on my lap, while I sit on my couch.  And we will almost always be fueling our writing with the scraps of money we have left over from our tightly budgeted lives.

The truth of it is, while writing is my dream job, I am realistic about it.  I know where my writing career is, where it has been, and where it is likely to go.  As in every relationship or situation I find myself in, I’ve asked myself a couple of questions – Am I willing to live with this if it never changes?  Is doing this ‘for the sake of doing it’ enough?  And I think it is.  I love to tell stories.  It would be great if there were people out there to hear them.  But barring that, the simple process of putting words to a page, of weaving a tale, is something that brings me great joy.  I’m nothing if not a practical person, so I will probably always have my day job, squeezing out minutes to write whenever I can.

Do I really believe I will be the next J.K. Rowling?  Probably not,. but it sure wouldn’t suck. Can I live without that?  If I knew I would never make a single dime from this thing I would keep doing it, because I love doing it, and that’s more than enough to keep me fueled.

 

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4 thoughts on “Dreams vs. Reality

  1. Hey, it would be nice if I got noticed for my writing, got a contract and could quit my day job, but, as you said, that’s not reality. I write because I enjoy it and if someone happens to notice my writing, that’s great. While I would love to get paid for the amount of time and effort, the real reward is when I get an email or a facebook message saying that someone really enjoyed my review, story, poem, etc. Just think of all those writers out there who wish they had never gotten famous. Or the journalists who have become so jaded that they no longer love their chosen profession. At least we still love what we do. So, dream vs reality – be careful what you wish for…reality can be just as satisfying and perhaps more so than that fantasy.

    1. I agree. It is definitely not all about money. There is so much personally to be gained from just comments on your work. Fanfiction certainly taught me that! And it still is. There is nothing sweeter than being told somebody appreciates something you put hard work into.

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