Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pursuing Dreams

First, I have a favor to ask a few of you. I've had trouble tracking down some of your blogs lately. I do try to read everyone's blog who follows or comments here (at least every week or two). If I haven't visited your blog (or if I haven't been by for a long time), would you please leave your blog address in the comments so I can check it out? Thank you so much.

I spent last Friday with my extended family celebrating the life of my cousin who died just after Thanksgiving in a hiking accident. I came away from the funeral feeling inspired. While she was alive, she lived. Though her family was sad that she is gone, they found comfort in knowing she'd had a full, happy life, and peace in their faith that they would someday be reunited with her.

She did a lot during her too-short life. She was very respected in her field. She was a loved mother, wife, grandmother and daughter and friend. And she accomplished her goals and lived her dreams.

Everyone has goals in life. Mine are pretty simple: I want to be a great mom, I want my husband to always know how much I love him, and I want to be a writer.

Most of you share this desire. Do you ever consider quitting, or are you committed for the long haul? Will you measure your success by completion, publication, awards, reviews, money or something else?

49 comments:

Tamika: said...

Natalie, it so good to hear the family is doing so well under the circumstances. We are still praying for you all.

Quitting has never entered my mind. Writing feels so much like a part of my breathing that I think about it even when I don't plan to. Some days I think I stink and should quit, but I can't. I won't.

http://www.thewriteworship.blogspot.com

Corey Schwartz said...

Natalie, I'm so sorry to hear about your cousin.

I don't think I am one of those people who can't live without writing.

Don't get me wrong... it's a thrill to write a story and feel like I really nailed it.

But moving to the Caribbean and going scuba diving every day sounds pretty good to me too :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Natalie - I'm glad your family was able to celebrate your cousin's life. It's such a hard time, but such a healing thing to do. Sounds like she gave a lot and loved a lot. That's a good life.

I love writing, and can't imagine myself ever not writing. I've always been a writer. It's only a year or so ago that I thought about the possibility of becoming published, but I've written much longer than that. So, no, I can't see me giving it up :)

Success is in the joy for me, not the results. That may change over time, but for now I'm content to write, revise, edit, learn and start sending out some queries.

Jemi http://jemifraser.blogspot.com/

Valerie Geary said...

I'm a long hauler. There's nothing that excites me more than writer's who are still writing in their 80's. What a life I have to look forward too!!!!! :)

L.T. Elliot said...

I'm sorry for the loss of your cousin and I celebrate with you in her having lived a life that was full and vivacious. Not everyone can say that. What an excellent, excellent tribute to life itself.

Am I in it for the long haul? Let's just say that I'm planning WIP's for the life after.

Diane said...

Not sure yet if I'm in it for the long haul. We'll see where I am led. :O)

www.dianeestrella.com

Janna Qualman said...

It sounds like your cousin taught much to many. May we all leave such a message behind!

I desire much as you do. And no, I can't see myself giving up. It would be too sad. Plus, I think about the message that would send my girls. I want them to learn, firsthand from me, to follow their dreams.

TerryLynnJohnson said...

I like how you've celebrated the life of... such a nice way to think of it. I only hope that when it's my time, I'm also out hiking.
Love your post, as usual.

Jody Hedlund said...

I'm glad the funeral was such a positive experience. It's good when we can reflect on our own lives and know that our days are numbered too. My goals are very similar to yours--I want to squeeze as much out of life as possible before my time is up!

Mary said...

I'm so glad you found peace at the funeral. When my brother died I was so upset because I he was so much older than me and I didn't know him well. I thought his life was a waste because he never married and didn't have a family. As his friends shared stories about his life, I too felt peace. He did live and his life wasn't a waste.

I measure success by sticking with my loves and dreams for the long haul.

Rhiannon Hart said...

I'm a new follower so you may not have been to my blog yet. The address is rhiannon-hart.blogspot.com

I'm a newly agented author and out on submission right now, and therefore at the start of my career. I'm not sure how I'll measure my success, but I'm definitely in it for the long haul.

storyqueen said...

So sorry about your cousin.

I suppose I am in it for the long haul. I have always been a writer, since I first had my pencil grip corrected by a teacher (which is still incorrect...).

Shelley

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I'm in it for as long as the ideas keep coming. If they run out though, I'm not sure I could force stories out of me. Only time will tell. Still sending you and your family lots of healing thoughts.

Tracy said...

Well, I'm definitely in for the long haul with the whole mothering/wife thing since I can't seem to get rid of any of 'em no matter how hard I try :) I really just started the whole writer thing, so I'll see how I feel after about ten years or so and go from there.

Paul Greci said...

Natalie, I'm glad you were able to celebrate the life of the person you lost.

I'm committed to writing. I love it. I resigned from a teaching job I liked in order to write full-time. I'm committed to pushing myself and continuing to improve as a writer and to trying to write novels that teens will connect with.
http://paulgreci.wordpress.com/

V. S said...

As long as the love and inspiration stick I will continue on in my dream of becoming a published writer. I'm sorry again for you and your family.

I'll say a prayer.

Stephanie Thornton said...

I'm glad to hear the funeral was a true celebration for someone who lived life to its fullest.

My goals are simple- be a good mother and wife, be published, and travel the world. I think I've got the first and third in the bag, even though it's difficult sometimes. Now I'm working on #2.

And I know an agent won't want to hear this, but I don't care if I never make a penny off writing. I just want people to read the story I've written!

You've been to my blog lately, but just in case...

http://hatshepsutnovel.blogspot.com

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I'm in the semi headed down the long highway...I can't see myself ever not writing.

Despite the sadness of your cousin's untimely death, I am truly glad there was a celebration of a life well-lived.

And I think that is how we all would like to be remembered, for the good we achieve.

Matthew Delman said...

Definitely a long-haul kind of person. The ideas keep coming and I'll keep writing.

I don't remember if you've been to FtP recently or not, but here it is anyway: http://freetheprincess.blogspot.com

Abby Annis said...

What a great list of aspirations!

Though there are days when I doubt I have anything of value to contribute, I'm definitely in it for the long haul. And I would love to be published someday, but if I'm not, I'll still write. :)

http://abbyannis.blogspot.com

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I never ever consider quitting my family, but as for writing, yes, I'll admit that I do question whether it's still God's desire for me now and again. A continuous struggle, really!

It's always good to be reminded to live our lives the best we can while we still have it!

CKHB said...

I'm sure I will always move the bar of success farther with each new level that I reach. Right now, I want an agent and publication. Then I'll want good reviews and best-seller-dom. Then... okay, I pretty much can't think past that stage yet. But I bet there'll be something.

Patti said...

I don't think I'll ever quit. I enjoy writing too much for that, but I think if I didn't have the chance to have a book published, I probably wouldn't spend as many hours on it.

www.pattinielson.blogspot.com

Marybeth Poppins said...

I'm incapable of quitting. I'm in it to win it and you'll watch me keep fighting till I've done so!!

Sorry to hear about your cousin, but I'm glad you could look at it with a positive note!

Kelly Lyman said...

Sorry to hear about your cousin, but I'm glad that you are celebrating her life.

I'm new at this whole writing thing and with 2 young kids running around, I sometimes wonder if I'm crazy for trying. But, this is what I want to do, it's one of my passions, so I can't quit. It isn't an option. I try to keep my head on straight though about what real success is. As much as I want to be published and have my book read, I'm trying to be content with the fact that I wrote a book; not just 3 chapters, but a whole novel. And for my stage of life right now, success is measured on raising my boys to be people of integrity, having compassion, and adding value to our society. With that being said, although my book is finished and I am starting the query process, it may take a decade before it ever reaches shelves- but I still won't give up.
http://kellylyman.blogspot.com

Heather Sunseri said...

Still praying for you and your family, Natalie!

Yes, I think about quitting. Sometimes I wonder if I've spread myself way too thin, or if I've lost my mind. Not because I don't love to write (I definitely love it), but because I just don't know if I can fit the writing life into my already hectic schedule.

So far, I still have a heart-aching desire to write, and I still believe that God wants me on this path, so I push onward.

Renee Collins said...

I believe writing will be a goal of mine for a long time. However, sometimes I feel the need to set it aside for a while. I've got a lot going on in my "real" life, and I've come to learn that that is where my priorities should be.

Sarah Skilton said...

A beautiful post, thanks for sharing it :)

I have loved creating worlds and characters since I was very young and wrote scripts for 'radio shows' with my sister, that we would record onto cassette tapes (and I'm not that old! I don't know why we thought radio shows were the way to go!)

Although my husband is my priority, he understands that spending my life in pursuit of writing is the only way I can imagine spending my life.

Melissa said...

How wonderful that you and your family had a celebration of your cousin's life. Sounds like she was an inspirational person:)

My dream is to keep writing until I'm published. It's something I've wanted for a long time, so I won't give up easily.

www.mehlane.blogspot.com

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Just wanted you to know I think you're lovely.

Linda Kage said...

My goals sound so much like yours. I guess great minds think alike, huh?!

Bethany Mattingly said...

I'm glad your family could find some comfort in the fact your cousin lived a full life. My thoughts are with you and your family.

My goals are similar to your own. While I appreciate and love awards/recognition I don't think I will measure my success by them.

Jennifer Shirk said...

It's so nice that you have such lovely memories of your cousin! Praying for you and your family.

My goals are the same: to be a wonderful mom, wife, and writer. I've never thought about quitting ANY of them. :)

I think you've been to my blog recently. Can't remember.
www.jennifershirk.blogspot.com

Voidwalker said...

Success is often defined by the results of our actions that end positively, but I'd personally view success more as the person who tried till the end. Sometimes people don't reach the positive end of their conquests, but are so dedicated that you can't help but call them successful.

Sorry again for your loss.

Here's my blog if you have time.
http://walkthevoid.blogspot.com

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I'm so sorry about your cousin and will keep your family in my prayers.

My kids (and hubby) are the most important things in the world to me. As far as my writing goals are concerned, some days are harder than others, but I don't plan to give up. I believe in my stories and in myself. That's the biggest accomplishment, right there.

ElanaJ said...

I think I'm new to your blog. (I'll find the follow button :)).

Hope the new year holds great things for you!

Lisa and Laura said...

I love that you call it "celebrating her life." Perfect.

I guess my goal in life is to appreciate every second. Enjoy it all.

kathrynjankowski said...

Quitting is not an option, even on days when the right words seem to elude me. My goal is to write the best book I can and hope that it resonates with readers.

Chuck Dilmore said...

stop writing?
easier to quit breathing.
each breath that you notice is a reminder.

beauty
emotions
moments... so many to describe!

success starts in your own heart...
if it brings joy or a tear to the writer,
then the rest is just a bonus.

peace~

sherrinda said...

I want to live my best life...the life filled with God and family and purpose. I want to enjoy the writing life and let God do whatever He wants with that desire of mine.

Tabitha Bird said...

I'm in for the long haul. I am also trying to celebrate along the way because I am beginning to appreciate just how much of life is about the living and not the arriving... if indeed we ever arrive :)

Great post.

Catherine Denton said...

I'm so sorry about your cousin. But what a beautiful legacy she left behind.

I doubt I'll ever quit writing. Success to me is creating a story that I love first of all. Then getting published and, I'll be honest, making good money.

Erica said...

Thinking of you. Must have been hard to go through that around the holidays. So sorry.

Don't think I'll quit writing. It's just fun to do. Not sure how I'll measure the success. Will have to figure that out when/if I get published :o)

Jessica said...

Great ending question, Natalie! How do I measure success... wow, not sure I know. I think I'm committed for the long haul, I sure don't feel like I could give up right now. But as for success, I hesitate to say publication means success. I guess I feel like if I please God then I'm good to go. :-) That includes loving my family, etc.
I'm glad you came away from the family meeting inspired. Have a great holiday!

jdcoughlin said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your cousin. It is a comfort to know a loved one, or anyone, has enjoyed their life, were able to do many many things they loved. I'm glad your cousin had such a legacy for those who loved her. As for writing, my take is it isn't a big choices, only a bunch of little ones. All the times we pick writing when there are so many other things we can do with our time, only we HAVE to write, right?

devonellington said...

First of all, my condolences on your loss. It sounds as though the service was a lovely tribute to a life well-lived.

To answer your question -- I'm in it for the long haul. While I'm passionate about it as art and craft, it is also my business, not my hobby. It is how I make my living.

One of the best moments in my writing life came a year after a show I wrote was in Australia -- I received a letter from a young woman who'd come to my show, suicidally depressed. I had a line, "If you don't like your life, go out there and change it; don't come whining to me about it." She said that line saved and changed her life. A year later, she'd gone back to school for something she loved, had a great job, and found the love of her life.

If I can help someone see the world differently and feel that they can make something wonderful happen in their own lives, then I've done what I was meant to do.

Amy Tate said...

Oh my - you hit a biggie with me! Writing is such a permanent mode of performance. Whatever we leave behind is in print for all to see, so my hope is that I make my Heavenly Father proud, and leave a legacy of hope. To answer your other question, yes. There have been many times that I've questioned whether or not to continue writing. I'll pitch a hissy fit or two and then somehow begin again. This writing thing is the equivalent of an emotional blender, but it's the sort of thing in which the lows make the highs that much sweeter.

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Natalie, hands down, pleasing God is my number-one desire in whatever I do, though I fail at this daily. Often, I am brought to my knees through a major disappointment or crisis in order to be reminded how my will is not the plan that will bring me to the right place. Speaking of writing in particular, though, I've changed courses and plans for how I will live out my writing life several times, but I know that in some form or another, writing will continue be an important vehicle of expression for me for as long as I'm able to do it. I'm too far gone now to turn back completely, but regular discernment of where we're heading is good, I think. Thanks for giving me a chance to share.

Belle said...

What a lovely post, Natalie. I think I've only just really committed myself to my dream goals, especially the writing goal, and it's such a different feeling when you're really committed. It isn't easy any more to give up on things! I like being committed, and persistence comes more easily these days.