Writing 101 - Reading a Dream

I dreamed last night.

It wasn't just that I had a dream, but it was one of those dreams full of symbols. Normally, I abhor symbolism, especially in books. When teachers tell you that this and that is what the author meant when he wrote it. How do they know? Usually the author is dead and can't give input. Why couldn't the author simply be writing a wonderful story? Sometimes the symbolism is there and means something to you and sometimes I think these teachers are trying to hard.

But this dream of mine, allowed me to see everything in a clear light.


Especially when I'm not one of those people who put a lot of stock in dream reading or whatever it's called.

So here it is:

I was in a town--a very Grimm-type of town--not freaky-deaky scary, but odd. The first evening the town walks to this steep hill, more like a cliff, to watch some other people attempt to climb it. It was straight up with two sets of stairs, one 'normal' set and one rickety set of stairs. Most of the people who tried to climb up didn't make it. I go back to my room and tell my mom about this cliff.

She looks at the clock and says that I have an hour before sunset, so why not give it a try?

I go back to the cliff. Most of the crowd had disappeared, but when they see that I intend to climb the cliff, it grows again. Do I choose the easy set of stairs, no. I choose the challenging set of narrow stairs, because I'm stupid in that way, always choosing the hard way. After nearly falling off a couple of times, and having someone try to pull me off,  I reached the pinnacle. The crowd goes wild.

I had made it.

But then I had to follow the path that was set out. I don't remember much of this path, except that it wandered here and there over low low hills. In fact, you could see the path from the top of the cliff. I knew it wouldn't be an easy route, but the tough work was finished, right?

Then the path moved into a forest. The trees started crowding me on either side of the path. A cold fog had moved in, blocking the sun. Darkness gathered and the path was getting difficult to see.

I had a decision to make, go forward or go home.

I had the tools to make it through the dark woods, but did I have the courage?

I turned back.

Only a few feet later, I met a family of four hurrying into the deep, dark, foggy woods. I asked them where they were going. The mother replies, "But we have to get to school. This is the only path." Soon they disappeared into the eerieness.

Undecided, I make my way back to the safety and comfort of the familiar, but while in the forest I run into three men. Two seemed to be of suspicious character, while the third one seemed a little naive--in a Jack Black sort of way. I decide to tag along for some company. 

We stopped at one point and lit a campfire. Jack Black offers to pay the men to guide us on the path. He opens his coin purse and removes one coin, but letting all of us see how much was in there. I'm thinking to myself, "Don't do it, you idiot! Now they know how much money you have and will take it all away!"  

My dream gets a little blurry right about then. I don't know what happens to the thieves or Jack Black, but I remember what my mom said when I got home.

Mom:"That was quick. You've only been gone for a few minutes."

Me: "But there was a heavy fog and the forest was dark and there were thieves."

Mom: "So what? I never said it would be easy. It takes courage to forge your way. I guess you didn't have what it takes."

Ouch! Moms can be brutally honest like that.

And I woke up.

This dream was so obviously about my writing journey. I've always said that it's a path we follow, but no one's path is the same. Some paths are straight and easy, while other paths go every which way . . . some even go into the dark recesses of our minds to test our courage.

I failed.

I chickened out because the path became difficult. I had the tools to move forward--a flashlight on my Android phone, but I didn't have the courage to take chances, to see if the sun would still be up on the other side of the woods.

One thing I do know is that I'm going to take the challenge again. Why? Because I'd been there before. I'd already climbed that cliff of learning the craft of writing, of writing those million words of crap, of digging deep, but this time I'm going to walk into those dark, dank trees of uncertainty, insecurity and fear.

I don't know what I'm going to find, maybe nothing, but at least I made the effort. I attempted to make the writing journey.

This time, I won't turn around.

What about you? Will you quit when the going gets tough? Or will you dig deep and find the courage to move on?

Later, Peeps!


Cynthia D'Alba said...

WOW. What a great dream...and message. What has this dream challenged you to try?

Marilyn said...

Interesting, Mags. I'm one of those whose path was pretty straight and easy. I'd never given much thought to how hard the other paths could be. Thanks for the insight.

M. A. Golla said...

Cyndi--you don't know how close I am to simply finishing TROLL and then quitting writing. PERIOD. As much as I act like a Pollyanna, I have had some serious downer days/weeks/months these last two years.

What's the point of continuing? No one reads my stuff. No one is really interested, with the exception of maybe ten people.

And though I know Jody will ream me for this--I would still like a little positive reinforcement from an industry professional--an editor/agent. I have NEVER--with the exception of Deb Dixon--gotten past the "Thanks, but no thanks" generic rejection letter IF I even get a rejection, usually it's just silence.

Silence is deadly and it sucks.

And I don't see it getting any better.

This dream showed me that even though it's a dark and scary place, I should follow the path because I don't know what is on the other side of the forest.

It could be more of the same, or it could be something better.

M. A. Golla said...

Thanks, Marilyn!

Your support has helped me through a lot of downs.

Ashlynn Pearce ~ Romance Author said...

Oh no never give up! No matter how hard! Take a break if you need too, but don't give up.

Because as your dream clearly shows, you never know whats around the bend. :)

Cynthia D'Alba said...

I think this dream relates to the Med-Rom contest we have been discussing. I don't think it's Troll at all

Jody Werner said...

The key to getting anywhere with anything is to believe you are going to accomplish it. Not HOPE, BELIEVE. You have to adopt the mindset that you've already done it and are just waiting to catch up with that reality.

We get back what we put out there - period. The universe has no choice but to give us back what we expect for ourselves. If we expect failure, we get it. If we put out confusion, we get it back. If we put out success, we get that back. The Universe isn't discerning - it HAS to act on what WE put out there, it has no choice. So the real way to reach your goal is to change your mindset first! Until you do this, no amount of hard work will get you there.

I find it fascinating to hear about people's dreams. Do you really not realize you are dreaming when you are dreaming? That would be really scary! I've always known I when I was dreaming, and am able to direct what goes on in my dreams, so I have a whole 'nother perspective.

Jody Werner said...

(PS - naw, I won't ream you. You just have to take your own good time to come 'round to realizing that another person can't give you success. Only you can do that. It's like the end of "The Wizard of Oz", when Glinda tells Dorothy that she has always had the power to go home. YOU have always had the power to be successful. You just haven't invoked it yet. So click your freakin' heels together three times and get to it!)

Jody Werner said...

(Oh and WANTING reinforcement is okay. NEEDING it as a basis to believe in yourself is another story. But I know that ultimately you know the only person who can make you believe in yourself is YOU. I already believe in you, so I'm doing my part to help YOU believe in you!)

M. A. Golla said...

Thanks, Ash. I think I need a break, but then again I wonder if I'll permenantly stop writing if I take a break.

M. A. Golla said...

Sorry, Cyndi, but it isn't the Med Rom. There are too many other factors involved.

M. A. Golla said...

I knew you would whip some sense into me, Jods. You've traveled the hard road, too.

Every now and then I'd like to be gifted with an apple of appreciation instead of roadapples. ;-P

Ashlynn Pearce ~ Romance Author said...

Naw, you won't. Marilyn told me once, "once a writer, always a writer". I firmly believe it.

Especially now. After 2 years off, I started writing again. And I'm finding I can actually do it now. Not like I did. But its there. :) And yeah, mine was due to illness, but during that time I really thought I'd never write again.

You might take a break, but there is no way you could ever stay away from it for long. :)

I beleive in you.

Twisted Sister said...

Look at your dream again. If you stop permanently, then you failed. No one ever promises commercial success. Do you not feel personal success? I do in you. I love your voice. I love your stories. Don't be like me.
You have a gift.
I belive in you.

Marilyn said...

Wow, Jody, you KNOW when you're dreaming? I don't, unless something scary happens and I scream. That wakes me up enough to know that I screamed, but if I go right back to sleep, the dream continues as if it was just a commercial break.

Ash, congratulations on writing again!!!!! I was sure it would come!!!

Mags, I won't say don't give up. I've known some people who quit writing and were very happy with the choice. I think you're too talented to quit permanently, and I think writing is too important to you.

I went through a period a while back, when I was working with the Editor from Hell, when I seriously made plans to quit writing and find work elsewhere. Fortunately, the next story idea that came along just flowed, my other editor loved it, and it helped me remember that writing could be pure joy (at least when Editors from Hell were removed from the picture).

Reggie Jackson struck out nearly 2600 times. "The Cat in the Hat" was rejected by every major children's publisher, some of them twice. It's persistence, perseverence and dedication that allows people to become hugely successful. Take a break, if you need it. We'll give you a set amount of time, then we'll all come to your house and chain you to your computer until the magic begins again.

M. A. Golla said...

Hmmm . . . does anyone else find it interesting that Ash's "
I beleive in you." and Meg's "I belive in you." that believe is spelled wrong??

Ash--I've taken a break before and it lasted over ten years. I don't want that to happen again as the thought really scares me.

Meg--I think you're right. I don't want to stop writing, I just want to write something NEW. With TROLL, I was happiest writing the dust bunny chapter, or the troll battle, because they were fresh and new. I really hate editing something that is two years old!

Marilyn--I think it's the editing that is getting to me. In the last two years, that all it seems that I'm doing. Oh, I started writing on numerous other stories, but I've had this huge editing cloud hanging over my head. When I decided to self-pub, I knew it would be tough, but I didn't realize how tough it would be. I might not be back quite yet, but I'm sure I will be soon.

Ashlynn Pearce ~ Romance Author said...

I could blame my typos on my stroke...but I probably would have done it anyway. HAHA! They need spell check on the comment section. :P

M. A. Golla said...