Yesterday I was sitting around with a group of friends and I asked them about their heroes. My exact question was:
Out of all famous people—living or dead, fictional or real—who do you feel most strongly drawn to and why?
One friend immediately piped up. “Ellen Degeneres,” she said. “Because she’s warm and approachable. She makes me feel like it’s okay to be myself.” Then she paused. “And Mick Jagger,” she added. “Because he’s a free spirit. He doesn’t need anyone else’s approval.”
Why is there such a large gap between setting goals and completing them? Some writers vow to write every day and then give it up before the week is out. Some writers swear that this is the year they finish their novel, and then the novel sits in the drawer for the next two years. We know that we truly want to fulfill these dreams, but still we procrastinate until things feel hopeless. Why is it so hard?
Most people live in tiny little boxes of fear. In our culture it’s hard not to get sucked into it. The news and the media tell us that things are bad, very bad. And they’re only going to get worse. When we feel the crawling little ravenous mouth of fear inside our own gut, we are more likely to pay attention to the voices of anxiety and agitation surrounding us. Fear feeds on fear. It needs more and more of it to keep going.
If you’re a writer, you have a vision. Possibly you daydream about hitting it big with fame and money like Tom Clancy or Stephen King, or you want a cult following that develops into a huge fan base like Neil Gaiman or Chuck Palahniuk.
Or maybe you see yourself sitting in a quiet room writing poetry like Emily Dickinson, your genius talent never to be discovered in this lifetime.