“Cherish your visions and your dreams as they
are the children of your soul, the blueprints of
your ultimate achievements.”
Welcome back to my series of motivational quotes for writers and creatives for this year’s Blogging A-Z April Challenge. Today, I’ve decided to focus on three words which, at least in my mind, go hand in hand…Dreams, Doubt and Determination. Indeed, they’re all part of the production process which take us through to the finish…The End.
How often has a writer or creative person been described as a dreamer? Moreover, while we might view being a dreamer in a positive light, the description is usually applied in the more derogatory sense…”You’re a dreamer'”. Or to quote one of my favourite Australian movies, The Castle: “Tell ’em he’s dreamin'”
“Writers write. Dreamers talk about it.”
Jerry B. Jenkins
Yet, in many ways, creatives need to be dreamers. Not only to come up with the initial creative spark which inspires a project, but also to set aside a massive chunk of time devoting yourself to something unknown, unseen… a vision. Something where there isn’t a pay packet at the end of each week, and you’re turning your back on the well-worn road to a warm seat at a much-used desk and having what is otherwise referred to as a “real job”. In this sense, it takes us back to my first word in this series “adventure”. While “adventure” is usually portrayed as a more rugged and physically challenging form of travel often involving daring physical feats like climbing Mt Everest, writing a book out of nothing, is also “a daring adventure”. It’s a massive risk, when there are so many other tried and tested paths. It is anything, but the easy road. Yet, somehow for some of of us, it becomes the only road.
This leads me to the flip side of dreaming, self-doubt. While that initial creative spark can be rather intoxicating, the process of converting that into a finished product is challenging involving a lot of hard work, dedication and often crippling self-doubt.
Having experienced crippling self-doubt myself, I wasn’t surprised to find an abundance of quotes covering on the subject. Although he lived centuries ago, William Shakespeare could have been writing about me:
“Our doubts are traitors,
and make us lose the good we oft might win,
by fearing to attempt.”
― Measure for Measure
However, it’s not just the up and coming who are plagued by doubt. In Modernism’s Patriarch (Time Magazine, June 10, 1996)] Australian Art Historian, Robert Hughes wrote:
“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt.
Perfect confidence is granted to the less
talented as a consolation prize.”
Even the great
“I don’t believe anyone ever suspects how
completely unsure I am of my work and myself
and what tortures of self-doubting the doubt of
others has always given me.”
This self-doubt can escalate and literally gain a stranglehold either in terms of creatives taking their own lives. Indeed, this incredibly heart-breaking loss of life is something our creative communities need to address. Too many have taken their own lives to keep hiding their epitaphs under the carpet. While nothing compared to the loss of life, too many truly brilliant ideas and valiant efforts have also been dashed against the rocks due to self-doubt.
“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot
paint, then by all means paint and that voice
will be silenced.”
This brings me to determination, which often starts out with something incredibly basic…simply taking action.
“We all have dreams. But in order to make
dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot
of determination, dedication, self-discipline,
– Jesse Owens
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds
confidence and courage. If you want to
conquer fear, do not sit home and think about
it. Go out and get busy.”
– Dale Carnegie
On a personal note, the photos featured in this post were taken at Palm Beach back in 2014 while I was having chemo treatment for my auto-immune disease, dermatomyositis. At this point in time, my future was looking rather grim, but I was also very determined to beat it. My kids were ten and eight at the time, and as much as getting a book published has long been my burning, almost all-consuming desire, the prospect of leaving my kids behind was excruciatingly painful. That was five years ago and the treatment worked and I’ve been in remission ever since, with ongoing ups and downs.
So when you see me standing on top of that rock, it personifies determination and overcoming all sorts of doubt. I also needed quite a lot of help climbing up and getting down. Yet, that’s okay. You don’t need to get there alone.