There you are at your computer, busily making your dream of being a writer into reality. If you’re anything like me, once in a while the nagging thought creeps in:
What will I do if this writing thing doesn’t work out?
When you follow your dream, you’re taking a chance. There’s always risk involved. So, maybe you should stop and think about what you’ll do if the assignments – and money – don’t come.
Plan A is your dream. You want to write. You’re writing, aren’t you? But you also need to keep the lights on and some food on the table.
This is where you may decide to make Plan B. Plan B means being a writer is too hard or too easy, too boring or too interesting and you’re afraid you’re going to fail or maybe you’re afraid you will succeed. So if writing doesn’t work out, let’s say, you’re going to grab a job at Target. After all, that should be enough to keep bread on the table and the wireless modem working.
Plan B is working at Target.
Stop right there.
Plan A is your dream of being a writer.
Plan B is being a cashier at Target.
Which do you really want to do?
If you have a Plan B, you will end up with Plan B.
You may be days away from achieving your dream as a writer, but you get the job at Target and miss your deadline. You don’t ever talk to the editor who would think you were great, that is, if you ever sent her your work. You might meet your new mentor, that is, if you’re not too busy working weekends to go to that writer’s conference.
On the other hand…
If you decide I can make it as a writer, and I’m just going to grab a job at Target for six months while I establish myself in the freelance market. I can write before or after work, and I need to tell my manager I’m taking that weekend off for a writing conference. This is full steam ahead with Plan A, while doing what you need to do to keep a roof over your head. Your priority is still writing. You haven’t missed deadlines because you were asked to work late. You haven’t given up.
I’m guilty of chasing Plan B many times in the past few years. In the end, it puts you further from your goal with your dreams more dented and dusty than before. Instead of making a Plan B, keep Plan A front and center and just do what it takes to get you where you need to be. Don’t stop at the smallest hurdle in the road. Take the side job if you need to.
Chasing a dream is like walking through a labyrinth. You will reach some dead ends, but instead of turning your back on your dream and racing off to Plan B, you buckle down and find another route to your goal.