The hardest part about pursuing something that isn’t a “traditional” job is that often, the people closest to you are the ones squashing your dreams, even if they don’t quite realize they’re doing it.
They mean well, they really do. They truly don’t believe that what you want is sustainable, or that you’ll get anywhere, because this is a very difficult field to make money in. Because that’s still how our society measures success—by how much money you make. Your loved ones want the best for you and don’t want to see you get hurt, or fail.
But that’s part of the problem. No one ever achieved anything without taking a risk of some kind, and failure is the best teacher. Risk is part and parcel of anything worthwhile in life. It’s difficult to remember that when everyone is encouraging you to abandon your calling.
It’s easy to get sidetracked from your goals when the ones closest to you aren’t supporting you to achieve them. But we need to keep plugging at our goals, we need to do the work anyway, and we need to believe in ourselves.
When everyone’s a naysayer, there’s a great temptation for us to become naysayers too. But we can’t let outside voices become our own. We know we can do it, and we should always remind ourselves of that.
Here are three ways to stay motivated to reach your goals, even without the support of those closest to you.
1. Make a list of all your accomplishments to date (even if they’re not writing-related).
Reminding yourself of all that you have accomplished so far is a great way to give yourself a pep-talk and remember that you can (and have already) accomplished many things.
Write a list of a minimum of 5 accomplishments (but more is better) in any area of your life. Think outside the box about times when you were proud of yourself for something. Don’t include these accomplishments because others were proud of you; rather, think of a time when you yourself were happy that you accomplished something.
Place this list in a prominent place, preferably next to where you do your writing. If you do your writing mostly on a laptop/portable device, tape the list to the device, so you’ll have it anywhere you go to write.
2. Do the work anyway.
You truly enjoy writing, right? Then keep doing it. What others believe that you can accomplish doesn’t change the fact that you love to write.
So keep writing. Keep making submissions. Don’t get discouraged if your submissions aren’t picked up or are rejected – rejection is name of the game in writing; but the more you submit, the more chances you’ll have of your article(s) being accepted.
Commit to submitting a number of articles or writing a certain number of words each day, and stick with it. No matter what the naysayers say.
3. Surround yourself with other forms of support.
I’ll confess; I’m not someone who can keep focused on goals when everyone and their mom is telling me that my goals are unrealistic. It’s really hard to keep pushing through without some encouragement.
If you can’t find that encouragement from the ones closest to you, then you’ll need to look for it somewhere else. Look for a writing group in your area; many cities (even small ones) have writing groups that meet weekly to edit and critique each others’ work, as well as to share resources and give writing advice. These groups are an invaluable addition to your writing schedule.
No group in your area, or no group that meets at a convenient time? Look for other people who have been supportive of your ideas in the past, or who are supportive of them now. Did you get an article published recently? Who was the most supportive person once it went live? Let that person know you need a little extra encouragement, and be specific in what you need. They might just surprise you with their willingness to help.
You an also join a supportive community online; many options are available, from Facebook groups to Habitica guilds and beyond.
If the ones closest to you aren’t supportive of your dreams and goals, it’s not a reason to give up (neither on the goal, nor the relationship). If you really want you dream, you can achieve it.
Concentrate on your abilities, do the work anyway, and find a support group or person. Hopefully, by doing these things, you’ll become successful (by your own definition). Once those who don’t share in your goals see your initial success, they might become more supportive. It’s unfortunate if they aren’t supportive now, but you can’t let that stop you from working towards your goals. This is, after all, your dream. Only you can make it happen.