Monday Motivation: It’s my dream, and I’m proud of it
It seems to have snowed. Snow lies in drifts along the road. Our car is parked up on the grassy verge, close behind another. Trish has fallen behind. Perhaps she’s paying for parking. Crunching through a thin crust of snow on the grass, I open the passenger door and get in out of the cold.
I’m surprised by the fact that the car’s engine is purring. Could we have left it running to avoid it seizing up in the cold? That seems unlikely. And then, to my horror, the car judders forward as though it’s put itself into gear. It nudges the car ahead of us, which sets off in a half-slither, half-slide off the verge and into the road.
Where the hell is Trish? I feel trapped on the wrong side of the car, unable to get it out of gear, unable to take control. Bloody hell. We move smoothly down the road. Thank God there’s no other traffic. We overtake the car that we’d set in motion and head for the verge and, beyond that, the ditch on the other side of the road.
I panic. And then it occurs to me that at my right hand, within easy reach, is the hand brake. I yank on it and the car slows and then comes to a stop – just as Trish, her hair flying, runs up. I can see through the window that she’s irritated no, worse, really angry with me and my negligence. She throws open the door.
“It’s okay,” I assure her. “It’s just a dream.” And then, as if to set a seal on the argument, I add: “It’s my dream.”
I have these dreams from time to time in which at a certain point I become aware of dreaming, and incorporate that knowledge into the dream. They call it lucid dreaming – where you have some control over the haphazard drift of your dreaming thoughts and fancies.
This dream, though, struck me with considerable force, because I believe it says something very important about the writing process.
When you write something – anything at all, really: a scrap of speculation, the start of a short story, a novel – you’re trawling and moulding and reshaping your own memories and the figments of your imagination to serve a story’s purpose. It might be a poor thing. It might cry out for life support: a new character, a bigger surprise, a more satisfying resolution.
But it is your own.
You’re writing it with one goal only: to satisfy that first impulse that drove you to draw your laptop close, throw open a white page on the screen, and type those first few tentative words. The only expectations you have to meet, are your own. Others might anticipate an ending that you didn’t provide, or a character that you didn’t invent. You’re not responsible for them or their expectations.
Because your story is yours and yours alone.
Does this all seem obvious?
My point is simple but profound: it’s your story. It’s your dream. It’s your duty and your honour to serve it and protect it.