Chip MacGregor

August 15, 2014

Dreams vs. Fears (a guest blog)


“You write a book and it’s like putting a message in a bottle and throwing it in the ocean. You don’t know if it will ever reach any shores.  And there, you see, sometimes it falls in the hands of the right person.”   ~ Isabelle Allende


The other day a woman at a party asked me how the writing was going. “I’m not sure how you writers do it but I do know that you have to deal with writers block,” she said.

I didn’t have five hours and neither did she for me to tell her how it really has been going for me.

I wish that ol’ proverbial writers block was all I had to fight.

The last two years haven’t been easy.  Currently, I’m not in a position of writing one book after the other in a niche market.  I guess I’m still trying to figure out what’s next.  With my first contracts, I thought I was sailing along.  Then the boat stopped. And the water was dark and cold.

It seems that non-writers have this notion that our lives are easy, luxurious even, as we run with one idea for a book, get it onto paper in a few days, and then create another work while we take long walks on California beaches with glasses of Napa Valley wine.  Non-writers think that we spend summers sitting on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro for inspiration.

I know I’m not alone.  You might be on this same boat.  The wind is in your face and not in a good way because it hurts your skin; it blows so harshly. Or perhaps you’re on a sailboat and there is no wind.  You’re stuck.  No, not with writers block—you know how to be disciplined—but when you’re done with your story, who wants it?  You wonder why you are where you are.  At two a.m. you send messages to your agent, things that make him think you are desperate.

This was not how you thought it would be. You get jealous of other writers.  You wonder if you are a has-been.  You eat potato chips and the grease from your fingers stains the keyboard.

You are desperate.

You hope, you pray, you doubt, and you decide you’ll become a wood worker.  But you’re afraid of power tools.  And what you really want is to be that writer you dreamed of when you were seven because you can’t think of anything that makes you feel more alive than writing.

I’m convinced that not writing is not the answer.  Because if you don’t write then you have said to Defeat, “You win.  I was never meant to be successful anyway.”  You have to believe and believe that you do have valuable things to share in a way that only you can do.

On a good day, you think, “I will win this.  I’ll show them!”

Yet in reality, the real enemy you must conquer is your mind.  You are the one who needs to prove to yourself that you have what it takes.  To be able to show that you have the ability to stay focused, improve your craft, and that you can achieve that dream.  You realize that the fight is between your dream and your fear.

Sometimes anger and frustration can be just the drive you need to get to a better story, to more authentic words.  Suffering makes you real and the world needs writers who don’t give in to writing fluff. So while you wait for the wind to pick up, look up; be ready.

Of course, I want the wind to always be in your sail, but I know it won’t always happen, so when it’s not, remember:  When it comes to choosing dreams over fear, go for the dreams.

Your book just might fall into the hands of the right person.


Alice J. Wisler is the author of six novels, four self-published cookbooks and a writing journal.  She’s represented by MacGregor Literary.  Visit her author page at

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