As I take the steps to make my dreams of finishing and publishing my novel a reality, I have learned some very interesting lessons about the connection between having a dream, having a vision, and working that with reality.

Dreams are for sleeping

When you share your dreams with others, you will learn one thing pretty quickly–everyone has them. The difference between a dream and a vision is that a dream is something you only think about but a vision is something you are working towards. You can dream about becoming a millionaire, seeing your name in lights, or headlining on Broadway, but unless you are making strides to make that dream a reality–it probably won’t happen. That’s like dreaming of winning the lottery but never buying a ticket.

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Vision is a dream in motion

A vision for your life, or for a specific accomplishment, is something else entirely. My vision is to become a published author with several well-known books. I want my kids to walk into Barnes and Noble and see their mom’s name on the shelf. I want to have to pull my daughter out of school for a week so I can take her on a book signing tour. I want some of those punks from my high school to think, “wow… she really did it.” But I do much more than dream about these things and fantasize about what it would be like. I make strides to make this vision a reality. I set aside daily writing time. I take classes. I seek out criticism and follow solid advice. I listen to seminars, read books, and learn all that I can. I am actively in pursuit of what I see as my future reality.

Reality is where you are now

My reality is that I have three young kids and a full-time working managerial husband who travels. I love my situation, but it does lead to some occasional roadblocks. With kids, for example, there are random sick days, school drama, discipline issues, chores, homework, cooking, cleaning, extracurricular activities, and much-needed individual time. With a managerial husband comes late nights at the office followed by evenings of some emergency emails and phone calls. His travel means that I play the single mom role sometimes too.

So I can take this reality and say, “okay, I will just put my vision on hold,” or I can incorporate my vision into this reality and carve out writing time, reading time, learning time, and platform building time. I can sit back on my hands and pout that childless women have it made, or I can use my crazy family as my muses and take my frustrations of life out on a keyboard. I choose the latter.

What about you?

What are your dreams? What are you doing to make them visions? How is your reality working for or against you?