You know, I was thinking that – as 2013 comes to a close – it would be a good idea for me, you, us to look forward to what we want to achieve in the next 12 months. To think about our dream and go get it in 2014 (and not just because that rhymes).
Don’t worry, I’m not going to come across all finger-down-your-throat self-help here, I promise. Because who wants that? Not me. I’m more about the straight-talking, let’s-get-it-done attitude. How about you? Are you with me?
Okay then, first of all don’t sit there and tell me you don’t have any dreams you want to fulfil. Everyone does. Even if they don’t quite know it.
That’s why, before you do anything else, it’s very important to acknowledge what it is that’s special to you…
Whether that’s fixing up your car’s engine on weekends, watching a movie double-bill at the cinema, tending to the plants in your garden, looking up at the night sky through your telescope, baking cakes for your boyfriend/girlfriend, visiting your family, socialising with the girls, helping out at the local homeless shelter, creating your own jewellery range, spending quality time with your loved one, playing in an orchestra, reading comics, drawing dragons, painting, writing, singing, walking, running, trampolining or building lego reindeers…
Whatever it is, you should consider how that thing relates to your dream. It might have a real left-of-field connection, but think about it.
Okay so your dream – the one that you’ll be achieving in 2014 – might not have anything to do with what you enjoy doing in your spare time. But it’s more than likely it will.
Especially if it relates to some kind of support you will get from a loved one to achieve it. And you will need that. Generally speaking, no one achieves their dreams without the help of others. Why would you? That’d be pretty boring, having no one to share it with. Besides, you can help others achieve their dream in return. You good Samaritan, you.
So sit back and think for a moment: what is it you love to do and have always dreamed of achieving (but haven’t quite done it yet)? Hmm? Come on, what is it?
If you’re young (like me…ahem!) and, indeed, still young at heart, then your dreams might involve meeting the right person to love, choosing the right “career” (whatever one of those is), going to university, eating as many jelly babies as you can in one sitting, dancing on the beach at midnight, travelling the world, balancing a pint of beer on your chin, being in a band and making your parents proud of you (or, alternatively, rebelling against them).
Later on in life those dreams might change to considering where you want to live, who you want to start a family with and discovering who you truly are.
Whatever you do dream of doing, then why not do it in 2014? I mean, there’s no time to lose, is there? Why not turn that niggling thing in your head/heart that, every now and then rises up and yells “WHY HAVEN’T YOU DONE THIS YET?”, into full-blown reality?
Oh yes, I see, there’s lots of other things you have to do in your life as well as that thing you really want to do. Of course, I understand. You’re busy. Someone always wants to see you, there’s washing up and laundry to be done, there’s “real” work to do and bills to pay, there’s dinner to be cooked…there’s always something that gets in the way! Dammit!
Except, of course, it’s you that gets in the way of achieving your dreams the most.
What? You don’t believe me?
Alright then, try this: cancel all your days and nights out with friends, leave the laundry until tomorrow (just wear something smelly today, it’s okay I do it all the time), call in sick at work (yes, I mean it…even if you’re not) and then sit the hell down and stop.
Now you have yourself to yourself. You have time to contemplate what you want to achieve and time to actually do it. Okay, so it might only be a tiny window of opportunity for two or three days, but you’ve got it. So use it.
You might struggle to get going at first because you’ve got into the habit of procrastinating and not doing what you dream of achieving. It’s an easy habit to get into. It just takes a little more effort to get out of. Okay.
How do I know this? Well, because I’ve done it.
Since I was aged 5-years-old I’ve wanted to be an author, a storyteller, a writer. For Christmas at that age my parents gave me a red and white plastic Fisher Price toy typewriter. Ever since then I’ve been fascinated with writing words to create amazing, magic worlds that people can read about and imagine for themselves.
Growing up I went through all kinds of different writing styles, beginning with my author hero Stephen King. I wrote animal stories, poems, adventures of a boy who fell through his school’s floor to a fantasy land, stories about Vikings, killers, superheroes, evil parents, wormholes in space, gigantic rampaging machines and quirky detectives.
All of these stories felt real to me. And they felt good too. They weren’t, of course. Most of them were a pile of s%*t, but the important thing is they were definitely great practice for finding my writerly voice. See how my mum helped with that in an earlier blog post.
Yes, they were great practice in fulfilling my dream of being an actual, real writer. And that’s practice that has been going on since I was 5. I’m now – dare I admit it – 38 (aaargh!) and in 2014, I’m going to fulfil my dream of becoming a fully-fledged chidren’s book author and scriptwriter. Okay, so I’ve written commissioned work before (more great practice), but what I mean here is to have my own books published and my own shows made. And I’m going to do both of these things at the same time. Because, as I said, there’s no time like the present.
It’s important to acknowledge here that, me and you, we’ve been on many positive and negative life-tangents in the past. For me, the positive ones provided me with life enrichment, travel, love, laughter and adventure. The negative ones (which were useful experiences too, of course) stressed me out with the wrong kind of work that curtailed my creativity. They were bad tangents that saw me spend time with toxic people, led me to be bullied and beaten up and almost lose my dream altogether. But not forever, even if now [today] I still procrastinate, self-punish, sometimes lose my confidence and spend more time staring out the window than I should.
But not next year.
And so now back to you: what dream are you going to achieve in 2014? Hmm? Eh?
Well, whatever it is you choose to do, write it down, pin it up somewhere you can see it and crack on with it.
All you need is confidence. Open your heart, network with the right people, learn from others, say “yes”a lot, have fun, keep on trying, don’t let anyone say you can’t and just step through as many open doors as you possibly can.
I hope you do it.
Have a bloody amazing 2014.
Love, Anthony x