Go Bravely in the Direction of Your Dreams
Written by
Tess Hardwick
March 2011
Written by
Tess Hardwick
March 2011

“Have you ever looked fear in the face and said I just don’t care.”  Pink.  “Glitter in the Air”

I was eight years old the first time I knew it.  I wanted to be a novelist.  A good one, like the authors who wrote the books I devoured in the middle of the night.

My first novel, Riversong, comes out in April.  It’s about a woman who loses her dream and has to find another.  The path to publication was paved with many rocks and twists. Beyond the joy of the writing itself, which I love beyond all other work, and believe me, writing is hard, hard work, there’s been disappointment like the bitterest berry in my mouth and, at times, crippling fear.  Because for those who dare to dream, the path is laden with naysayers, skeptics and critics.  Sometimes they are the ones closest to us. Sometimes they are the so-called experts.  Sometimes it’s that awful voice inside our own heads. 

How do you go bravely toward the direction of your dreams in the midst of all this noise? Having recently realized this dream of my own, something has occurred to me that is integral to success.  You must surround yourself with the right voices and ignore the rest. And you must never give up.

There will be people as you announce your aspiration out loud that will either protest loudly or fall out of your life.  They cannot bear to see others living a fully realized life when they’re still in the muck of their own choices, their own lack of belief.  Ignore them, these naysayers that threaten to destroy the core of who you are.  Drown them out by choosing a group of “believers”.  By that, I mean believers in you.  Those who have blind confidence in the validity of your dream and in your talent. 

These are people who will recognize the gleam in your eye for what it is; a brave soldier making his or her way towards the prize.  And they will be inspired by it.  It might even make them want to look fear in the face themselves and go courageously toward whatever dream they’ve carried around in their own hearts.  Some will just be believers because they see something in you that is special, that they know is perfect for the world you want to carve out for yourself. 

I have a group of believers.  These are my people, my sustainers during terrible hand wringing times of doubt.  They consist of my husband, four girlfriends and two mentors.  I thought to write details about them in this post but then realized it sounded like the acknowledgement page for my upcoming novel.  But these are the people, quite literally, who have surrounded me with their encouragement, grace and constructive feedback in the four years it took me to write the first sentence of Riversong to the day I received the news I’d found a publisher.

So if you want something and believe way down deep in your bones or your soul that it’s the thing you’re supposed to be doing, ignore the critics, the naysayers and the judgers. Surround yourself with supporters.  When you feel like giving up, call one of your people. They’ll be there for you.  Take it from me.

And when you make it to your destination, do two things.  Make your life about honoring those who helped you get there, and encouraging those who are on their own way. 


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  • Tess Hardwick

    Oh, I'm so glad.  I was struck by your post earlier and hoped this would help you.  Please reach out to me WHENEVER, you need a pep talk.  I've been through it all and will again, I'm sure.  We have to stick together, those of who dare to dream.

  • Valerie Hegwood

    I LOVE this!  It is so what I am feeling today!!  Thanks for friending me!!  Valerie