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What Happens When Dreams are Lost?

If your dreams don’t come true the way you hope, should they be abandoned?

One of my coworkers stopped me while passing in the break room last week. She asked how things are going with the novel. Another coworker was present, and his ears perked up at the announcement that the book is now finished and in the hands of the beta readers. She congratulated me, asked that I keep her posted, and we all parted. But, later on, my other coworker caught me as I was leaving to ask more about the book. He then shared that he wrote a novel years ago but, by the time he finished it, he felt it bore too many similarities to a book that had just been released and had become a bestseller. He hasn’t tried again since, and that was more than twenty years ago.

The thought of not writing for longer than two decades pains me more than I – even as a writer – can accurately express. I have experienced moments of feeling defeated. I’ve even stepped away from projects – including a novel that had reached over 400 pages. I have endured lengthy creative dry spells brought on by circumstances of life, but to give up writing entirely… Just the thought fills me with so much sadness. When I don’t write, my dreams are saturated with characters and plot lines to the point of sleep disruption.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I mean – who am I to feel bad for him, right? It was his decision. He had his reasons. It’s nothing to do with me and really none of my business. But, I was watching him as he explained to me what happened and why. I saw his face and the changes in his expression. I saw the way he seemed to light up when he talked about writing and then finishing his novel. Yes, I also saw how he looked when he described his disappointment at finding another book that – to him – seemed too similar.

I didn’t ask him why he hasn’t tried again. Maybe he has – I don’t know. He could be like one of so many people – like I was just a year ago – someone who loves to write, but doesn’t bother taking it any further than maybe among a close circle of family and friends. Maybe he – also like me – has thousands of pages just sitting on a hard drive for the pure pleasure of having finished the work, but nothing more.

For me, the characters and plot threads in my dreams finally won out. I decided that having so many pages and novels in varying stages of completion taking up space on my hard drive was serving no purpose at all. I want to share my love and my creativity with others. It would be amazing if my characters would appear not only in my dreams, but also the dreams of others.

Some say that it’s easy to give up. But, the look on his face tells me very differently. Sharing that story after all this time┬áhas to mean something. Maybe I’ll continue sharing my story with him and we’ll see how things go, hmm?