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Dear Dare to Dream: How Can I Become a Writer and Find True Love

Posted on 18/10/2016

I love coaching and advising others on achieving their dreams so I’m VERY happy to launch the Dear Dare to Dream advice column on this site today.
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If you would like some advice on achieving your dreams and would like to be featured (anonymously) in this column please email me at:
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daretodreamletters{AT]gmail{DOT]com
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Now, over to the very first letter…
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Dear Siobhan,
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I discovered by chance your book at the library. I’m so happy that I’ve found it and it took me just a few days to finish reading the book. Then, I’ve discovered your website and I wanted to share this story with you and you could maybe help me?
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My dream is to become a writer. I already had this wish when I was eight years old. At the same time, I want to become a teacher as well. I want to be an English teacher in Luxembourg. At the moment, I’m studying English Literature at the University of Aberdeen. I enjoyed it, but it was sometimes stressful because I had to cope with my mental health issues as well. I fell seriously ill when I was seventeen and I was about to graduate the following year. Due to my health, it has taken some time to get into university. I’m not sure if I should become a teacher, even though I had a wonderful experience by teaching two years ago two different groups of teenagers who had to pass an exam in English. But I had a relapse again. I know that there is one thing I want to do in my life and that’s writing. I’m currently writing for a newspaper, but I’ve got difficulties to find time to write my stories because I’m loaded with work. There are so many things I would like to do in my life such as learning Japanese, traveling and meeting new people.
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Then, I want to find my soulmate, in order to be clearer: I’m looking for ‘true love’. I have never been in a relationship, even though I ‘ve fallen in love with someone several times. It makes me anxious that I haven’t found someone and I also have the tendency to compare myself with other people, especially my generation. That’s why I don’t check my updates on Facebook regularly because I always feel bad afterwards. Now I’m feeling much better because I try to focus on my life and also to enjoy the little things which make my life special.
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However,  I’m afraid that I’m not going to be a successful writer, I really want to reach readers all over the world with my stories. I’m afraid that I can’t earn enough money with my writing and that I just teach to compensate this fear.
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It would be great if you could give me an advice on how to overcome my fears and insecurities.
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Looking forward to your answer.
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With warm regards…
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Dear Dreamer,
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Thank you so much for your heartfelt letter and for sharing your story so honestly.
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Before I get to answering the questions you raise, I’d like to acknowledge you for your achievements in spite of your health struggles. What you have done – getting to university, teaching, writing for a newspaper – are all incredible achievements in their own right. But you have achieved them all whilst also dealing with the burden of a serious health issue.
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You have been climbing the dream mountain with a boulder on your back.
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You should feel infinitely proud.
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This line in your letter made my dreamer’s heart sing with joy:
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I know that there is one thing I want to do in my life and that is writing.’
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This clarity and focus is a gift – so many people don’t know what they’d like to do with their life and so they drift aimlessly, from crappy job to unfulfilling relationship, to false highs.
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Use your writing dream as a beacon to guide you always – whether it be through the maze of indecision or the fog of mental health issues.
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You know you want to write. So make writing the focal point of your life. Even if there are days / weeks / months when all you’re able to write are jotted ideas or journal entries. Keep writing however and whenever you can.
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Start every day asking yourself, what one simple step could I take today towards keeping my writing dream alive?
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Even if it’s just looking up something writing-related online, keep the momentum, step by step, day by day.
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And reframe how you see the other jobs you have to do in the mean time to pay the bills.
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I’ve had to do this big time in my own writing career.
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Shortly after landing my first book deal my marriage broke up, leaving me a single mum to my young son.
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I had many dark nights of the soul back then, wondering how I was going to make ends meet and keep a roof over our heads.
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I ended up approaching my local council in London, asking if they had any use for a published author. They asked me if I’d like to run a weekly writing group.
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Full disclosure: at this point the thought of teaching other people writing terrified me! I also felt resentful that I couldn’t afford to just spend my time writing. But I took the job because I needed the money.
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It was the best decision I could have made.
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I ended up running two weekly writing workshops for six years and it transformed my life.
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Not only did it help to keep me afloat financially, but I ended up making a huge network of writing friend AND I learned loads through teaching that I could apply to my own writing. And I discovered a passion for teaching that I didn’t know I had.
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Instead of seeing your teaching and other work as something that keeps you from writing see it as something that is FUNDING your writing.
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Allowing you to work on your writing in your spare time and slowly build that side of your career.
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It’s amazing how freeing that change in perspective can be.
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And don’t write for the money – write for the love.  The love of writing.
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The day I made this shift in perspective and wrote a book purely for the love of it and to give away for free, I wrote one of the best books of my life, which went on to win a national book award. (You can find out more about that here.)
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I could also really relate to you when you say that there’s so much you want to do with your life. I share in that sentiment entirely, bursting at the seams with dreams, but I also share in the sense of overwhelm that can bring.
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Why not make a list of all the dreams you currently have, then rate them in importance ie; how badly and how soon do you want to achieve it?
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Then choose the one you want to achieve the most as your focus. And, as with your writing, ask yourself, what small step could I take towards achieving it today?
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And finally, your search for true love.
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Firstly, I think you’ve done exactly the right thing avoiding the deadly Facebook comparison trap. So often what we see on social media are carefully edited highlight reels. Most people don’t share their insecurities and resentments when it comes to love. They don’t update about all the rows they’re having or the ways in which their partner disappoints them. And so we’re left with a really warped view.
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Now, I’m not a relationships expert by any stretch of the imagination but here’s what I know to be true from my own romantic experiences:
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1. True love often comes when you least expect it

2. True love often comes when you’re living your life to the fullest

3. True love often comes when you’re so happy chasing after your other dreams that you’ve forgotten to look for a potential partner

4. True love comes when you truly love yourself

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So, if I were you, I would focus on loving yourself and honouring your dreams and the rest will all fall into place when the time is right.
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And it will, I have no doubt. Just reading your letter and seeing all of the hope and dreams and love for life that your words exude makes me absolutely certain that you will attract the love of a like-minded partner one day.
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And – if it’s anything like my experience – it will happen when you least expect it, when you’re immersed in the pursuit of your other dreams.
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Thank you so much for taking the time to write. May you grow in strength and hope and love every day.
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Keep on daring to dream!
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Siobhan x
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If you would like to be featured on the Dear Dare to Dream column please drop me an email at:
daretodreamletters{AT]gmail[DOT]com