The Unexpected Consequences of Dream Chasing

Photo: William Bayreuther (Unsplash)

Dream chasing is typically applied to future plans.

When I have enough money, I’m gonna…

Once my kids are older, I’ll have enough time to...

After I retire, I’ll finally…

I thought that way, too. What changed? That fourth kid–the unplanned roster addition. I was teaching middle school at the time. Long story short, I quit teaching–thinking it would be 2, maybe 3 years before I went back full-time.

I never did, though.

Why?

Well, I said I taught middle school, right? So, I was an English teacher. My main interest was writing–modeling writing for students, writing with students, running after school workshops for students to prepare for publication. I loved getting kids into the whole writing process.

All along, I said I was going to–repeat, going to–write a novel. Someday. When I had enough time.

Didn’t you have time when you were teaching?

I mean…yeah, but not really. I already had 3 of my own kids, plus the grading. I like teaching writing, but…

That means you have to assign writing, then carefully read the writing, and respond to the writing. That takes a full day. When you grade the final draft, you re-read the first draft, then the second draft, then respond, then grade. That takes a whole weekend.

(***Side note: If you’re going to be a teacher, BE A MATH TEACHER: homework’s waaaaaay easier to grade. Paul Tremblay is a math teacher, that’s how he has time to write best-sellers!)

So I wrote some short stories, poems. Tried to write a novel a few times but didn’t have enough time to really dive in and, I guess, kinda lost my momentum.

But that fourth kid came and changed everything. His name means “lucky”, which was a joke on the unplanned part–the idea that he’s lucky to be here. Now, I think it was him who brought me luck.

With teaching out of the way…

Once teaching was in the rear view, I had more time–not a lot more, but more–and I ended up finishing a novel. I let a few people read it and the response was encouraging. So I decided not to go back to teaching, but rather see where writing would take me. My dream was pretty simple: make enough money writing novels to justify not getting a “real” job again.

It’s not going that way. Not yet. Still don’t have a published novel. But it’s alright.

Allow me to explain:

I saw Tom Segura’s latest special, Ball Hog, which is hilarious. That dude is maybe my favorite active comedian. Top 3, for sure. (This is going somewhere, I promise.) Anywho, he said something in that special that made me reflect on my journey, up to this point, of chasing my dream:

“As long as you accept that your dream might not go exactly as you planned, you will still feel fulfilled by the pursuit of your dream. So always go after whatever you wanna do. Otherwise, what’s the point of living?”

Tom Segura, Ball Hog (2020)

What’s the big deal with that quote?

From an outsider’s perspective, you might look at my dream and say, “How come that book isn’t published yet? You’ve been at it for awhile…” and it would simply look like a failure.

It’s not from lack of effort. So, yes, that means there’s been lot’s of rejection. I’ve been through a few rounds of querying agents. Nothing yet.

But here’s the real thing about my dream and its unexpected consequences:

It’s led to a bunch of other opportunities!

One day I was talking to a parent at my kids’ school. His name is Jason. While we talked, he asked what I do. This was shortly after I decided that I was going to be a writer, and that I would actually tell people I’m a writer. So…I told him I’m a writer, working on a novel, and hoping that goes somewhere. Then he asked me to come on his podcast and talk about it. So I did.

That led to Jason telling me to do my own podcast. He was quite insistent, even said he’d help me get started if I wrote blogs for his podcast. So I got rolling on writing blogs and doing a podcast.

After getting neck-deep into the podcasting world, Jason started a business producing podcasts. My connection to him hooked me up with other people who needed a blog writer. And they were willing to pay!

Then there’s my podcast. I get to immerse myself in a unique blend of creative-minded people. Not just writers, but all kinds of people who are dream enablers. But especially the authors I’ve interviewed. They’ve sent me signed copies of books and offered me advice. So. Cool.

Aaaaaaaaaaand

I’ve had a few nibbles on the book recently. Nothing to get excited about, but progress from the days of the simple form rejections. So…YAY!

I’m starting to get a foot in the door. I feel like it’s really just a matter of time before I can start putting links up for my book. Then I’ll finish the one I’m working on now and do the same with that. And rinse and repeat.

And that’s all I ever wanted. All this other cool stuff? Unexpected consequences.

When I started the first sentence of my book, I didn’t know if I’d finish it. Didn’t expect it to get me on a podcast, that’s for sure. And starting my own podcast–never on my radar.

Most of what’s happened as a result of chasing this dream has been completely, 100% unplanned. My dream hasn’t looked anything like I thought, but, man. The pursuit, thus far, has been fulfilling as hell!

-CT

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Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? HIGH FIVE!

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Creative Ops (A Podcast for Creative People, by Creative People)

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