author, creative writing, writing

Writers – The Things that Stop You Dreaming

Good morning, story tellers!

Before I get too far into this blog I have a confession to make; I stole today’s blog title. Let me explain…

…the title has been taken from a song by Passenger called Things That Stop You Dreaming. It’s a gorgeous song and I highly recommend you give it a listen, if you haven’t already. There’s a line in particular that always makes me think of us writers;

Well I’ve got no one’s word and nobody’s promise,
not a lot to show but this book full of sonnets…

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Basically, this has been a bit of a funny week for me. It started off pretty well, I was hitting high word counts every day and the end of my first draft was very much in sight. Indeed, I finished one character’s view point and had a little celebration! However, that same evening I realised that my other POV character was not quite right down on paper, not as she is in my mind. I’ve barely developed her story at all and her scenes are frankly boring. I felt like my heart was tearing. But then I stopped feeling sorry for myself. So, I need to do more planning, more plotting and more writing. So what? Novel writing is a long process…

…and it got me thinking of another lyric in this song by Passenger, the chorus in fact. I think it’s a beautifully written chorus that’s both sad but motivating in equal measures. Have a look;

Well if you can’t get what you love, you learn to love the things you’ve got
If you can’t be what you want, you learn to be the things you’re not
If you can’t get what you need, you learn to need the things that stop you dreaming

It made me think of the things that can stop a writer from dreaming, can stop us from doing what we love. Here’s a few;

1. Self Doubt
This week I began to doubt if my story was any good. Was it too boring? Too predictable? I felt so disheartened after what had been a successful week for writing. When you doubt yourself it’s easy to want to give up, start something new or just stop all together. But it’s so, so important to push past the doubt. The world does need your story, and hey even if it doesn’t; you need your story! Keep writing!
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2. “No-one’s Word and No Body’s Promise”
I’m using that lyric again! All writers know the importance of writing for yourself. You don’t write for fame, or for success, or for money; you write because you have to. You write because it pains you not to, you write because you love it. That doesn’t mean, however, that part of your writing dream isn’t to be published. It doesn’t mean that wanting to write for a living is a bad thing. When you’re an unpublished writer you write with no guarantee that anyone will ever own a copy of your carefully crafted works. You must write anyway. No-one’s going to publish a blank page, after all.

3. Putting Yourself Under too much Pressure
Be firm with yourself, set yourself deadlines. I fully support this. However, you do also need to be kind to yourself. When you start to beat yourself up for missing your word count or taking a break, then writing becomes a chore and is no longer enjoyable. Remember, this is your passion. Treat it with respect, but treat yourself with respect too.

I’d love to know what sort of dilemmas stop you from dreaming, and the ways in which you manage to push past these doubts and fuel yourself again.

You all inspire me so much, and your opinions are always insightful and fascinating.

Speak soon, and until then
Keep Writing,
M x

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15 thoughts on “Writers – The Things that Stop You Dreaming”

  1. The world does need your story, and hey even if it doesn’t; you need your story! Keep writing! – I don’t know why, but I love this sentence! This whole post is gorgeous!
    Thank you for this bit of Sunday motivation! Now I’m off to listen to this song!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with you. Self-doubt can be so powerful and force you to quit. I think the most important thing is to build a habit of writing every day(it doesn’t matter if it’s 300 or 2k words) whether you are sad or happy with the results. Try to take breaks often but set a goal for the day and don’t sleep until it’s done. That works for me at least!
    I’m currently in the first draft of a book, one I have thoroughly outlined, but a lot of times I feel the characters are boring or some events are rushed. I write anyway. There will be future drafts and those mistakes can be corrected then.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love that you’ve advised taking a break. It’s often forgotten but very needed. As much as self-doubt contributes to making you want to quit, being sick of writing and your story can be just as big a factor. There’s no coming back to writing once you hate it, so respecting writing and yourself is great advice to live by. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I continuously put myself under too much pressure.
    Being part of several writing communities, online and local, has been challenging and times. Especially when adding in my read time and preparing blog posts.
    I love being active in these communities but sometimes the pressure to stay on top of everything, juggle the beta reads as well as carving out time to work on my own WIP can be daunting.
    I celebrate the little victories and keep the next immediate goal in sight.
    Thanks for sharing, loved the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think doubt is the real challenge for every writer.
    I recently watched a TED talk where they discussed the process of learning something new, and one of the main topics was how “no one wants to feel weak, or stupid, or ineffective,” and that secret fear, that we’re wasting our time, that nothing good will ever come of our efforts, is what really threatens to stop us from accomplishing our goals.

    Another thing I watched (might have been another TED talk), was on how we are hard wired to compare things, to look for relationships, but often that leads us to compare ourselves to others, when the truth is there are too many variables in any person’s life to accurately compare two people in any meaningful way.
    Everyone has unique advantages and difficulties, and, if I remember correctly, comparing ourselves to other people often sets the stage for defeat.
    We come to believe that because we did not succeed as quickly as “others”, that we will not succeed, and because we expect that story, we subconsciously make choices that cause it to come true.

    Very interesting stuff.
    I find it remarkable how often the same “truths” keep re-emerging, expressed in different words, but the same underlying meaning.

    I definitely struggle with doubt, and comparison.
    There are days where, in spite of what I’ve done, what I can do, I question whether I am a writer.
    I want to be a writer, and therefore I “try to prove” that I am one through my efforts that day, and the results I manage to achieve.
    Part of it, I think, is how many stories show us the scene of that one moment where a character digs deep and surpasses their prior limits, growing into someone “better”.
    It’s a powerful story, but the truth is most of the time I think we just have to keep swinging our hammer at the stone, trusting that “even if nothing happens this time”, those swings are building up, and eventually “something” is going to happen, but only if we keep swinging our hammer, and keeping the faith.

    But yeah…

    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I love your comments on my posts as they are always so meaningful and articulate; a pleasure to read! Those thoughts from the TED talk really got to me, and are so true. We can be so hard on ourselves and fear of failure or not being good enough is crippling. The main thing is look at us! Here we are, pushing forward on our writing journeys. Best of luck 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Indeed. There’s a way in which all we have to do is try, and keep choosing to try, regardless of the outcome.
        Thank you, and good luck to you as well.

        Liked by 1 person

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