On Hard Work & Dreams

This passage from Jon Acuff’s book Quitter really struck me partly because I had almost the exact same idea. When he describes how he thought about his dream job I thought he was in my head. My post I Quit was written long before I read Quitter but published after because Acuff convinced me to stop whining and start working. Hope you find this snippet encouraging in a kick-your-butt kind of way.

The Unfortunate relationship between quantity and quality

“I’ve become the kind of author I used to hate. I’m not talking about the guy with elbow patches on his corduroy jacket and a pipe in his mouth and a wry barb about the Spanish-American war. I’ve got no problem with that guy. In the right setting I find him delightful. The person I really used to dislike is the author who told me writing was hard work and took time.

“I wanted writing a book to be easy and simple and above all fast. So when I’d read books on writing and they’d say, ‘Write 500 words every day for a year,’ or ‘Write and rewrite and rewrite some more,’ I’d feel like my dream had done the old bait-and-switch on me.

“I thought chasing my dream would be easy. If you love something and feel passionate about it, shouldn’t it on some level always come naturally? When I think of the stereotype of people who follow their dream, I think of someone glistening with syrupy happiness, not sweat. They laugh the day away and have tickle fights and long conversations with good friends under shade trees.

“That was my impression of what it means to follow your dream. It might have been hard work, but it was work you loved so you didn’t notice it was difficult or frustrating at times. It didn’t ‘feel like work at all.’ It flowed out of you with very little effort.

“I was wrong.

“Chasing your dream is not like that.

“Fulfilling your dream is not like that.

“Closing the gap between a day job and a dream job is not really like that.

“So I became the author I used to hate.”

Jon Acuff in Quitter, pp. 150-151

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