Addressing the chronic dreamers

Do you know what separates the dreamers from the doers? – Action.

Dreamers live in the ethereal. They are often visionaries and they’re motivational and inspiring and their ideals are beautiful. We need dreamers! We need people who can see what is and dream about what could be.

But we need more dreamers to become doers.

Doers write down their dreams and then they try it. They go. They work. And doers fail a lot and cry a lot and doubt a lot. And doers WIN a lot. Just by showing up and trying. Doers have tasted the bitter bile of disappointment. They have swallowed it and they have tried again.

I have always been a dreamer. I love to wonder and think big and describe great truths and marvel at how great God is.

But I am often too scared to be a doer. Because I’ve “failed” a lot with dreams. My plan A’s are so often turned into Plan “WTF”’s. At least that’s how I’ve seen my efforts since the beginning of this year. I haven’t written 15 minutes every day, I certainly haven’t blogged consistently and my efforts to train for a half-marathon have been completely reset by 2 weeks out with an injury and nasty head cold.

I’m paralyzed by how imperfect my dream-doing is. I’m so tired of making promises I haven’t been able to keep to myself – there’s only so much self-inflicted shame one person can handle. So instead of trying I’m tempted to just stop everything. Give up. I cannot disappoint myself or anyone else if I stop making promises altogether, right?

But here’s what I’ve been missing about the dream equation – a setback is not a broken promise. It’s not a reason to give up on a dream or beat myself up. A setback is just that. It sets me a little farther back. It causes me to re-trace my steps.

New Kicks! Taking it one step at a time.

New Kicks! Taking it one step at a time.

Failure is not found in the working out of a dream – it’s found in the premature abandonment of it. If you want to dream – dream! If you want to change your life – DO. Go for it. Get back up again, reevaluate, tweak, and push forward.

The process of a dream is such a mess isn’t it? I know people who are aspiring authors, nurses, marathoners, and musicians and if you peek into the middle of their “doing” it looks nothing like the end result. The first nursing shift began after countless hours of burning through highlighters and flashcards and studying. The finish line started at 5am, day after day after day, months before race day. It was achieved through uncomfortable, tiring, focused, effort.

We need less “A dream is a wish your heart makes” and more “A dream comes at a cost, and you’re heart may break a thousand times in the process.” No Disney princess jumped on that rendition. I mean, what rhymes with “process”? And no way that can fit on a pillowcase. Let’s be real.

This is all part of me trying to process what I learned from a women’s conference at

2016-02-05 22.13.56my church last weekend. Nobody explicitly talked about dreaming and doing but there were enough exhortations to make my head spin by the end of it, “Drop your water jar! (you had to be there) Take up your cross! Love your next-door neighbor! Reach the world! Free the captives! Sponsor a child! Give! Go! Be!” So I’m working on untangling all the truth I heard by pulling on one strand at a time.

Today I pulled the thread that examines my inactivity towards my dreams. My tendency to be paralyzed when I’m faced with missed expectations. I know now that I have permission to dream but a responsibility to DO. What does that look like in my life right now? Well on Sunday, I laced up my running shoes again and got back out there. Nevermind the herds of women in matching outfits and free-flying ponytails who breezed by me while they chatted. UGH. People who “chat” while running past me. Ugh. I just. You are hard for me to love. But nevermind all that!

My doing looks like running and writing. What’s yours? Could I encourage you to get

2016-02-06 18.24.03back at it? If you are a chronic dreamer like me, let this act as a swift kick in the rear to get at it. To stop circling the dream over and over in your mind, analyzing all of the potential heartache that comes from going for it and just deciding once and for all that it’s too important to let it sit dormant in your mind and it must make waves in your actual life.

I got 96 drafts but a post ain’t one.

Confession time, folks.

This is how I feel when I write most of the time.

This is how I feel when I write most of the time.

96. That’s how many “drafts” are moseying around in the land of the unpublished regions of this blog. Honestly? Some of them I could probably publish but I won’t because I have severe blogger issues where I tie myself to this ridiculous standard that must be achieved in every post and when it isn’t it never gets to see the light of the public eye. The point of this post is to convince you myself that I am no longer going to operate in such strict and impossible expectations.

When I started this blog I didn’t have any intention of actually making something out of it beyond a random storehouse of random Rachel thoughts. As I’ve continued in this endeavor however, I have felt increased nudging, occasional elbowing, and sometimes downright shoving towards taking this writing gig more seriously than I had anticipated.

I, like most bloggers, suffer from the “I only write what I feel and when I experience the feeling that comes when I have

This is how I want you to think I feel when I write most of the time.

This is how I want you to think I feel when I write most of the time.

a good idea/insight/story worth sharing” syndrome. Or, IOWWIFAWIETFTCWIHAGI/I/SWS for you acronym lovers out there.

I have scoffed the idea of scheduling posts in the name of “spontaneous inspiration.” In the beginning of this journey I had, completely on accident, painted myself into a very tight, oppressive and frustrating corner. I was only going to write when I “felt” like. While there is nothing inherently wrong with writing from emotion and experience there is also great value in writing from a place of discipline and diligence.

I remember when a former boss called me a “wordsmith” and my heart leapt as my shoulders straightened and my chin jutted in pride. Ah YES! I am crafty with words. They are my minions who do my bidding and I tell them where to go and how to go there and it is wonderful. Until it isn’t. Because they don’t. Not always. 

When I have to throw words together like some awkward high school reunion of adverbs and nouns for the sake of a deadline or in the name of (insert groan here) consistency it’s mortifying. I AGONIZE over putting things together Which is why, in the past, when I didn’t feel motivated or inspired to write, I didn’t do it! Simple as that.

I don’t want to publish these haphazard, half-thoughts because I don’t want you to read my not-best. This is foolish because not every single thing I will write will be my best. How absurd to think that’s even possible! And yet, that’s what I’ve been doing. I have depended solely on that emotional BAZING! moment to determine whether or not something gets published.

Somewhere along the way I had convinced myself that the only good writing is the kind that is born from the passion of emotion and never from the stubbornness of determination. But emotions can only take you so far. At some point you are going to have to work outside of your emotions, maybe even against them. Which leads me to believe that being a writer is a lot like being in love. 

I didn’t realize that I was courting words until I realized how much I couldn’t stop thinking about them, how quickly irritated I get with them, and how downright head-over-heels smitten I am with them. To craft a sentence or an idea in such a way that reaches into the reader’s mind and plucks an “Ah HA!” chord is the most delightful achievements. It makes me want to hug the words and tell them how fabulous they are! “Oh! You expressed that perfectly! Way to go you little adverb, you. That was JUST the noun I was looking for. Oh stop it. No, YOU’RE the greatest. Ok we’re BOTH the greatest.” It’s sickening, really.

My relationship with this blog has been volatile and unpredictable and I am determined (read: PRAYING) to establish a more normalized, day-in day-out, Tuesday-morning-kind-of-love with it. The kind of steady and sweet relationship that wakes up to your morning breath and still decides to give you a hug in all of your stinky mess.

The passionate and unpredictable love affair with words must come to an end if I hope to make any kind of lasting impression in the blogosphere or with my writing in any capacity. So I wrote these 2,287 words just to say this: I am a writer even when I don’t feel like one. And I am going to hit the “publish” button more often because I can’t expect to improve if I’m not willing to show up.

God bless you for getting through this post, reader. The whole point of this is to tell you that I’ve got a game plan to post more frequently and less… hormonally? This is an adventure that we’re in together and I thank you times a million for going on it with me.