ambition

C’mon, It’s Just Writing.

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It’s Monday night here, Labor Day, and I’m watching this show on The Discovery Channel about Mark Inglis, the first double amputee to summit Mount Everest.

They just showed him coming down from the summit, where he passed the bodies of 200 other climbers who died on the mountain. Now he’s being helped down to base camp by his teammates; he can no longer use his prosthetic legs because his stumps are too frostbitten and raw from the summit climb. One member of the team is actually carrying Mark down the mountain on his back.

Holy crap.

I’m watching this and I’m thinking two things:

  1. I’m perfectly happy never climbing Mount Everest.
  2. Why the hell should I ever be afraid of writing?

Because truth is, sometimes I get really afraid of writing. What am I afraid of exactly? Meh. I don’t know. Lots of things. Failure. Rejection. Success. You know. That stuff.

But come on. It’s just writing. It’s not climbing Mount Everest.

Some of you will say, “Yeah, but writing a novel sure feels like climbing a big, scary mountain.”

OK, fine. But you can still feel your feet, right? And my guess is you aren’t suffering altitude blindness either.

Watching this show gave my perspective a good swift kick in the pants.

It’s just writing.

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Do you have a dream?

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Yesterday I met a young woman from France. She’s returning to her country soon, having spent the last year in the U.S. working as an au pair. I asked her what her plans are for when she gets back home. She shrugged and said she’ll get a part-time job at a restaurant while she tries to find a better full-time job.

“What’s your dream job?” I asked her.

She gave me a confused look. “I don’t know.”

She went on to explain to me that when she was little she’d dreamed of being a dancer. Her parents let her take dance lessons while she was young, but when she got older they told her it was time to stop.

I asked her what her dream is now. She said it’s different in France than in America. They don’t have big goals and life dreams.

What?!

We discussed this at length. I wanted to make sure we weren’t misunderstanding each other due to the language barrier. She explained again and again that in France people do not have life dreams. That this is an American thing.

Is this true or just one person’s experience? The idea leaves me befuddled. The U.S. can’t be the only country where people have big dreams for their lives.

I’ve always had dreams and goals for my life. I can’t imagine not having them. They’re part of what makes me who I am.

So I’m asking you out there, wherever you are: Do you have dreams and life goals? Where do you live and what has been your experience growing up with your dreams (or lack thereof)? Were you ever discouraged from following your dream? Are you working toward your dream?