Monday, April 22, 2013

THE DREAM KILLERS

We all know them, those people who think it’s their purpose on earth to direct the lives of others—to suck the life out of our “impractical” dreams with logic and statistics. They have the best intentions. But they can’t seem to stop themselves from painting the worst case scenario. And if we aren’t careful, their doomsday predictions will cause us to veer off the path we know in our hearts we are meant to take.  

To understand my Dream Killer experience, let’s take a quick peek into the past…

Story telling is in my blood. Even as a little girl, the dramas I created for Barbie and Ken would take days to act out—and usually involve the evil Donny and Marie twins, a mischievous Holly Hobby and a gaggle of Smurf secondary characters.

But it wasn’t until I discovered reading fiction that my obsessive affair with words began. I would spend hours upon hours in my room with Roald Dahl, Judy Blume, L. Frank Baum, Laura Ingalls Wilder and more. I still remember the intense excitement of discovering a new book at the local library and running all the way home so I could devour it like a pint of triple chocolate ice cream.

So it was no surprise to anyone that, like my hero Lois Lane, I chose journalism as my major in college. It wasn’t fiction, but at that time writing my own novels hadn’t even entered my mind. I imagined myself as an investigative reporter, chasing the facts that would make a good story, great!

At the beginning of my junior year, I was well on my way to my dream job, when a “well-intentioned” professor sat me down and gave me the talk. You know the one: “You’ll never make any money writing for a newspaper. It’s pure grunt work, writing stories about old women who take in stray cats. It’s a waste of your talent.” “The hours are horrible – don’t you want to have a family some day?” And then the clincher: “What you really need to do is broadcast journalism. With your looks, you could get a job at a big network!”

Ah hello, introvert here. Just reading aloud in front of the class made me hyperventilate. Sure, I wanted adventure, but behind the scenes. Not in front of a camera where hundreds of thousands of people could scrutinize my every move! But I also didn’t want to write uninteresting stories for no money and work crazy hours. So, I went to my guidance counselor and changed my major to the uber-practical Sociology with an emphasis in Human Resources.

Since I’ve been pursuing writing as a career, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “That’s nice that you write books, but the chances of anything you write being in a bookstore is astronomically low.” Or something similar. Wrong, sir WRONG!



If you have a dream, no matter how impractical or unrealistic, you do everything within your power to pursue it. You work towards that goal every single day until you accomplish it. I’m not saying it will be easy or there won’t be times you want to give up, (or throw your computer through a window. Just sayin’) but don’t you dare listen to the Dream Killers out there who want you to fit their mold of success!

And yes, my debut novel, DOON, will be hitting *bookstore shelves everywhere* August 20th of this year. :-D

Take that, you Dream Killers

How about you Honest Reader? Tell me about your Dream Killer experiences...

Lorie

Lorie Langdon is the author of DOONBrigadoon reimagined, co-written w/Carey Corp. Book 1 coming 8/20/13 from the new YA imprint BLINK (a division of Zondervan/HarperCollins)

 P.S. Stop back this Thursday for the official DOON cover reveal and giveaway! 


13 comments:

CareyCorp said...

Lorie - this is my most favorite post you've ever written!!! Wonderful.

Jennifer McGowan said...

I love this post! And yes. I always knew I'd make a living with my writing, but now I have the chance to make a life.

What a tremendously wonderful amazing reminder of the power of our dreams!!

Melissa Landers said...

Great post, Lorie! I didn't start writing for the money, much like I didn't teach for the money. I did it for the enjoyment it brought to my life (well, most days, anyway).

However, I must admit that your post reminds me I interviewed for a job as a newspaper report when I was fresh out of college with an English degree and couldn't find work. The salary was $7/hour and the staff had to be available around the clock. I remember thinking, "To hell with this. I can make more money waiting tables." lol!

Lorie Langdon said...

@Carey - Thanks, my friend! It was cathartic to write. =)

@Jenn - I love that you are making "a life" with your writing! Yay!!

@Melissa - I know what that prof said about being a reporter was probably true, but I can't help but wonder if I would've gotten around to writing my own novels much earlier in life if I'd stuck with getting an English degree. :)

Kimberly said...

Lorie,
This is my all-time favorite post as well! I've been accosted by those dream dementors--love that picture, by the way!
First it was acting. I was talked out of pursuing that as a career because I would be starving and eventually turning tricks to get by. LOL. Since I had only kissed boys at the time, the idea of turning tricks scared the bejesus out of me. My grandmother begged me to major in something that would provide a decent living. Although I didn't major in drama like I wanted to at the beginning, I did up with a bunch of English/Writing majors under my belt. They didn't provide me with much of a career path either. LOL.
Dream Killers abound in the publishing business. I think the majority of the writers fear rejection the most. I've been so scared to be rejected again that I haven't queried anyone in more than two years.
I submitted a partial yesterday for the first time to an agent, and I felt physically sick the second after I hit "SEND." So, I'm not sure those dementor/dream killers ever go away.
Sometimes I think I'm my own worst dream killer.
Thanks so much, Lorie!
Your post was so inspirational! And I can't wait for DOON!!!!! I'm so excited for you and Carey. I know it's been a long road, but it's only been long because you needed to find the perfect one. :-)

Lorie Langdon said...

Aww, Kim, you are so awesome! I'm so happy you found this inspiring. =)
You are a two-time Golden Heart finalist, woman! I've read your blog posts and know you're an amazing writer with a unique voice. I'm SO proud of you that you sent a partial to an agent...you need to not be afraid to do more of that! :) What's the worst that could happen? ;-D

P.S. Carey said working on your query is a top priority this week.

Loree Huebner said...

Over the years of my writing journey, I've learned not to listen to the dream killers - and only listen to my heart.

Great post.

Lorie Langdon said...

Well said, Loree! Thanks for stopping by today. :D

Pintip said...

Lorie,
Wonderful, wonderful post. Everything you say is so true. I have had _so many_ dream killers. I remember so distinctly being a sophomore in college and sitting in the office of the head of the English Department. I was an economics major and was contemplating switching to my true passion -- English Literature. I was talking excitedly about submitting an application for a creative writing class (you had to apply to get in), and the woman raised her eyebrows and said, "If you haven't been scribbling away in your notebook all these years, it is HIGHLY unlikely that you will ever be admitted." Well, I hadn't been "scribbling away", as she put it, because of other dream killers. But I had just worked up the courage to try. At the moment, my dream died once again. I didn't even bother submitting an application. It was another four years before I was brave enough to write my first word of fiction.

Lorie Langdon said...

Thanks, Pintip! I feel your pain on the creative writing class...I'm so glad you didn't let the Dream Killers win! =)

Diane J. Reed said...

Love this post! And it was so timely for me. I just dealt with a dreamkiller recently who I think was actually jealous of my courage (and I bet that professor was secretly jealous of you, too!). A lot of people have taken the "safe" route & (no big surprise) need constant validation because something inside them "knows" they are somehow missing out on life. Thanks for this article & the much-needed boost!

Lorie Langdon said...

Thanks Diane. I think you're right - there are some people out there who want to break out of the box but since they don't know how, they try to tear down people who do. I guess we just have to lead by example. :-)

Liz Penney said...

Great post! I wrote about this a while ago, too:
http://penmad.blogspot.com/2009/05/begins-with-j-ends-with-s.html

I did have one teacher who encouraged me. I had to take a couple of English classes while getting my accounting degree (having been told my dreams were impractical). This teacher told me I should be a writer. It was about 8 years later when I first started writing.