Laura Howard: Living the Dream


Living the Dream

"I have this great idea, someday I'm going to write a book!"

How many people do you know that want to write a book? In an article for the New York Times, Joseph Epstein said 81% of people say they want to write a book, though very few actually complete one. I'm sure there are many reasons for that, being  2/3 done writing my own novel. 

Many days I sit at the keyboard and stare at the screen wondering what possessed me to think I could do this. Two years have gone by since the original idea began in my head. The original outline is unrecognizable, several lead character's names have changed, but still I have this drive to complete the story. Have you been there?

Assuming that a person actually slogs their way through an entire manuscript, even just a first draft, then what? Is it vain to think that your work, your story, is good enough to be published beside some of the greats? A storyteller doesn't want to share their story because of vanity, no- it's deeper than that. A storyteller needs their story to be told, it's almost painful to have that story living inside them.

So, what to do when the inner critic steps in? The fears and doubts start piling on- this dream of yours is too big, why can't you just be happy with a normal job like everyone else? It's a form of self-preservation, I think. If you never try, you'll never get rejected. It's really no wonder so many of that 81% don't follow through. But, again with the pain of having your story remain untold. How can you put that inner critic in the backseat?

You create a new truth. This expression is thrown around a lot, but stop and think about what it really means.What you've been telling yourself (or what I've told myself) is negative self-talk, and it's working! How about if you tell yourself that your work is definitely good enough! Could that work too? 

Take a (big) piece of paper and pin it over your work space-wherever you write, and have it say something like this:                 

I am going to finish this book. People are going to read my story, and they will love it.

It can be the truth if you let it be. Challenge the voice in your head, and plan the day you complete your manuscript! I'm pretty sure that's what the 3% who actually publish their books do. Never stop believing you'll be published, this is your time!


  1. Well said, Laura. I have been working with my first novel for two and a half years now. I am just about finished my third draft and it is completely unrecognizable to the first draft (I didn't even do an outline because that's now clueless I was).

    Those self depreciating thoughts are hard to ignore and the inner editor is insatiable but your right, the stories just have to be told. I wrote a similar post to this on my blog called "That Damned First Draft" It's the story of how I actually got to write the words THE END. You're not alone! Keep going!

  2. Thanks Allie, it's great to have comrades, isn't it?

  3. You are talented and extremely creative. I have complete faith that you will create an amazing book that I can not wait to read!

  4. I know exactly what you mean... the thing is, you have to believe in your story first... before you get others to buy into it!
    Ah, the infamous Inner Critic... such a pest!
    Your newest follower!

  5. "You create a new truth."

    I like the way you put this. It takes a lot to keep going, no doubt.

  6. I've been working on my novel for several years. I'm finally in the rewriting phase and even though I get constant reinforcement from people I trust, I still have to quiet my monkey brained critic on a monthly basis to keep going. For now, just write. Tomorrow will take care of itself.

  7. Thank you Laura. I'm two years in as well, and comforted by the story you share. Did you know it took Kathryn Stockett 5 years to write The Help? That keeps me going. It also took several years for her to find an agent. We've got to be persistent, especially us moms with four kids - finding time for writing can be hard!! Keep going, and I will too! :) I'll be back!

  8. Very motivating, Laura!
    -Jane Ann McLachlan


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