How To Make A Dream Come True by Aisha Saeed
I’ve always loved writing. I was the kid who got in trouble for not paying attention to double-digit division because I was busy outlining a story idea in the margins of my math book. I loved the characters that spoke to me and I loved putting down what they had to say. As with most any writer, I grew up dreaming of a day I would see my book in print.
Through middle school and high school I continued writing stories. I filled up notebook after notebook with them and then one day in college, I decided to look into just how exactly one gets published. I browsed the ‘how to get published’ section of my local bookstore. I sat down with a stack of books. And I read that trying to get published is about as easy as wrangling 15 koala bears into 15 car seats.
It’s hard. It’s really hard.
So I put my notebooks away. I stopped writing.
Years passed, I graduated college and became a teacher, and then a lawyer, but like a magnetic pull, the urge to write remained. I blogged about wanting to write a novel. I talked about wanting to write a novel. But I was still too scared to actually, you know, do it, knowing how many obstacles to the ultimate dream lay in the way.
And then one day, I spoke with a friend. We had the age-old conversation of what it is we dreamed of for our lives. I told him I wanted to hike the Napali coast, eat pizza in Italy, and then mumbled almost under my breath that I wanted to write novels. When he asked why I didn’t pursue this, I shrugged. I explained to him the market. I explained how as the years continued to pass how much harder it seemed to be to achieve this dream.
He told me: Imagine yourself near the end of your life, rocking out on your front porch and reflecting back. Are you going to be glad your book is not published because the market is hard so you didn’t try? Or are you going to be glad that you wrote a book you’re proud of and that even if it didn’t get published, at least you know you tried everything you could to put your stories out there in the world?
Perhaps it was the right place at the right time that those words were spoken, but that is what it took to get me back to writing again. I started to write what would become my debut novel, Written in the Stars. And in writing my novel I learned how much of writing is about the love of writing. The pure joy of seeing words take the shape of countries and cities and people and love. And it wasn’t always easy- sometimes it was boring- sometimes it felt impossible, but I wrote through it all. I wrote my heart out.
And long story short? Today, despite all the self-doubt, and worries along the way, today is the debut of my novel, Written in the Stars, the story of my heart,
So what does my story mean to you?
It means low odds are still odds. It means that if you want to do something with all your heart and soul, the chances it won’t work out, are not a reason to not try. In trying you are not guaranteed to succeed but you are guaranteed to not succeed if you don’t try at all.
In the spirit of my friend who gave me the advice that spurred my writing so many years ago, I ask you this: At the end of your life, what is you will regret not having done? Not having tried? What is your dream? Deep sea diving? Writing a screenplay? Running a marathon?
What is the thing you want most?
Know that the ultimate destination may not happen. But know that it might. And know that the journey is ultimately the point, and a journey in pursuit of what you love is a journey never wasted.
And then? Go do it.
Aisha Saeed is a YA author, attorney, and educator and one of the founding members of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign. She is the author of Written in the Stars [Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin]. Aisha lives in Atlanta with her husband and two sons. Visit her online at www.aishasaeed.com or follow her on Twitter and tumblr: @aishacs.