Saturday, October 29, 2005

Living Your Dreams

Ever notice how most magazines have a cover feature titled, "How to Get the ____________ of Your Dreams?" It seems that even in America, the land of opportunity, where the streets are paved with gold, we are still searching for that one thing to rocket us into that fourth dimension of existence and make all of our worries disappear.

Whether it be the perfect man, job, car, or career, one cannot achieve their dreams unless they first know what they are. Do you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up? As for me, I wanted to be a rock star, a computer database administrator, a model, an actress, and, of course, a writer.

When I was a teenager, and later a young adult, my interests would lead me down other paths, but writing was what was in my heart, my passion. I never stopped writing, never stopped trying to get published, and never stopped reading about writing. In addition to the countless magazine articles and library books I have read, I have a pretty impressive collection of books on writing, and a few classic pieces of literature.

So a couple of months ago, here I was, a graphic designer, who wanted to write. While I loved my job and the people I worked with, I was tired of feeling like I was missing out on something.

The wheels in my head started turning and I found a way to go out on a limb and chase my dream. Not only would I be able to pursue my own thing, I would also have the time to complete the education I desparately needed to give me some credibility as a freelance writer.

So here I am, less than a month after quitting my full-time job, working on building my success story. I was able to finance my living expenses by selling my home. I got a part-time sales job to give me spending money. All of my friends think I am absolutely insane. In less than 3 weeks, I have already landed a 60-hour editorial internship. I also received an email today from an editor who is interested in me to write for a blog for college students. I am taking two classes online from my local community college, and plan on attending full-time in January.

What did I do? I had a dream and wasn't afraid to chase it. After years of hoping and wishing and waiting, I turned a personal tragedy (see A Year of My Own, Parts 1 and 2) into an opportunity to live the life I believe I was born for. I had a dream, knew what it was, and set out to make it come true.

Someone once told me to do what I truly love, and the money will come later. My placing the outcome in God's hands, I am able to focus on getting things done instead of worrying about the future. A few tips for chasing your own dreams....

1. Have a dream. Have you always enjoyed fixing things? Playing with computers or video games? The first step in realizing your dream is to actually have one. Take a little time and think back to what you wanted to be when you grew up. For me, the first one was the right one.

2. Plan your course of action. In order to know how to get there, you have to figure out the steps to take. Make friends with someone living your dream, and find out what it takes. Education, experience, all that.

3. Don't stray from the path. While I did spend years in jobs that were not exactly what I wanted to do, I never got out of the publishing field. I started as an Editorial Assistant, and then ended up doing graphic design for a few commercial printing companies. This experience gave me an understanding of the complete publishing process, and also an in to my editorial internship. I stressed to them that I am willing to use my knowledge of design to help, but that my primary goal was to break into the editorial side, and they complied with my wishes. Don't take a job as a waiter if you want to fly planes.

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