If you can’t turn your dream into a passion, you’ll never succeed.
This weekend I published my 14th book.
After finishing writing the book earlier in the week, I spent part of the weekend editing, formatting and publishing it on Amazon and then setting up advertising and social media for the new release.
I also updated and published an update on a previous book, wrote five Medium articles that I submitted to publications, taught two group yoga classes on zoom, cleaned the bathroom, walked the dog and voted.
It was a busy weekend.
“You’re so prolific with your writing,” several people commented to me. “How do you find the time?”
The answer is simple: I make the time.
Granted, I don’t have kids so that makes my time more flexible than many people. But I do have a lot of responsibilities and distractions. I have a full-time and high-stress job. I have high maintenance and active dog. I have an older house. I live with chronic pain. I teach three yoga classes a week.
But I make the time to write because writing is my passion.
For years I talked about how I wanted to be a writer. I had big ideas percolating through my head all the time. But I never made the time. The writing was just a dream.
One day I realized that if I wanted to be a writer, I needed to actually write. I needed to prioritize writing. I realize now that Old Me had a dream. Current Me has a passion, and passion requires sacrifice. Passion requires commitment.
There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.
Douglas H. Everett
What about you?
Maybe you dream of writing too. Maybe you want to do a triathlon. Maybe you want to learn to play an instrument. Maybe you want to buy a van and wander around the country exploring.
If you want your dream to become a reality, you need to find the passion and energy. The commitment to make it happen.
When I decided to become a writer, I looked for ways to set myself up for success. Here are some tips that I found particularly helpful:
- Look at your schedule. Once you take out the time you are at work and sleeping, how many hours are left? Do you know how you fill that time up? I bet you waste a lot of time watching TV or doom scrolling on Facebook or watching cat videos on YouTube. Track your time for a few days, I bet you’ll be surprised how much time you waste. Direct that time towards your passion project and see what happens.
- Find an accountability partner. I used to be a runner and having a partner I met every Saturday for a training run kept me on track. Whatever your passion is, there’s a group for that or at least one other person who shares your interest. Search Facebook for groups that are focused on your same passion. Put out a call to your friends for accountability partners.
- Make use of dead space between other activities. If you have fifteen minutes between other things on your schedule, you have time. Practice a song on the piano three times. Outline an article or write a few paragraphs. Take a ten-minute run. Be efficient.
- Use tools and experts. Ask for help if you need it. If you’re not sure how to get started, there is likely a lot of information available for whatever your passion area is. Read a book, watch a YouTube, take training, download an app. There is help somewhere, just find it.
- Accept imperfection. You won’t be perfect when you start your passion project. Your grammar might suck. Maybe you don’t know a B-flat from a B-sharp. Maybe you are the slowest runner. Who cares? Honestly, you are never going to be the best or most famous (insert your dream title here), but you can be the one who keeps on learning and has fun. And the more you work at it, the better you will be.
- Set achievable goals. You’re not going to write a book in one day or go from a total couch potato to triathlete in one week. Figure out what’s do-able for you right now, set some mini-goals and start chunking away at your dream. Use lists or online tools like Trello to keep you on track. As you see the progress you will get more excited about your dream — until it’s a passion.
What’s your passion project? And what are you going to do about it?