Beat the Dream Smashers: A Pre-BEA Pep Talk

April 2002
by Eva Shaw

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There are people “out there” who will say, “Forget your dreams.” Maybe you’ve heard them already. There are some who chuckle at your determination and mutter or even shout, “You’ll never make it. You can’t compete against the big publishing houses.” They’ll tell you, “Dreaming gets you in trouble.” They’ll taunt you with “Get real” or “Grow up.”

These are the dream smashers. These are the people who say, “You can’t write a complete sentence, why do you think you can publish a book (or write a book, or create poetry)?” “Create a marketing plan for your company? Don’t be silly.” “Become a novelist? Who are you kidding?” “You’ve tried that stuff before and you’ve given up. You’re bound to fail. Again.” “You don’t have a degree–you’ll never make it.” “You can’t write and work.” “Do it at YOUR age? Come on!”

Dream smashers are powerful, even when they whisper behind our backs. They’re so convincing that, unless we keep our dreams alive, we buy into the lies. When that happens, we lose focus, we become weak. Our energies to create and succeed sputter and grow dim. It’s a dismal picture, isn’t it? And if you’re over 10 years old, you’ve probably met one of these people; maybe you live or work with a few of them.


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