What dreams do you have for your writing life? To publish a book? Become a best-selling author (with your dream book)? To change the world?

Writers are dreamers. Whether we write fiction or not, we live in a world of imagination. We imagine our readers and how our words will entertain them, move, them, inspire them. We hope they’ll walk away from reading our work changed in some way. We dream of impacting the world, one published work at a time.

However, it’s a risky proposition to put ourselves out there on the page. Ernest Hemingway is often quoted as saying, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit at a typewriter and bleed.” In our best and truest writing, this is what we do, isn’t it? But in order to accomplish that, we have to come to our writing ready to be vulnerable. We have to pray often, as Brené Brown suggests in her book Daring Greatly, “Give me the courage to show up and let myself be seen.”

If, as a writer, you’re struggling with finding the courage to show up and let yourself be seen in your writing, or in front of editors/agents/other publishing gatekeepers try this: sit down and write out a list of what you hope to accomplish over your lifetime as a writer. Call it your “writing bucket list.” Want to sign with an agent? Put it down. Do you want to simply see your byline in print for the first time? Write that down. Whatever your dreams for your writing, include it on your list.

By writing those dreams down, you’ve begun the process of being vulnerable. You’ve taken a crucial step toward making those dreams happen. Now you need one more element that will propel you forward more than any other. You need a partner or a community to share those dreams with.

I wrote an e-book about creating bucket lists in the context of family because I believe wholeheartedly in the power of the supportive environment that family can provide for nurturing dreams. If you can, you should start there, with your own family, in communicating your writing dreams.

But you’ll go even further if you find another writer or several with whom you can share those dreams. There is little to match the mutuality of being vulnerable together as writers. And with the accountability for not only getting the writing done, but going after those dreams, comes a compassion – an empathy for all the risk and fear that comes with sharing your words with the world.

Dig deep to remember why it is you wanted to write and what you dream of doing and being as a writer. And do it in community. Because those dreams and your fellow dream-makers will give you the courage to show up fully and bleed your utmost onto the page. And that’s where your writing dreams begin to become reality.

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