The Death of Dreams by Half-inches

The latest installment in Kris Rusch’s Freelancer’s Survival Guide hit me like a roundhouse left hook out of nowhere.  The next thing I knew, I was staring up from the canvas, seeing stars. 

Kris was writing about giving up on your dreams.  Among the many great insights, one in particular delivered the most powerful blow.

“…sometimes (often!) the act of giving up on yourself is by degrees.  It’s subtle.  It’s settling for a little less than you want. It’s slowly moving off the path until one day you wake up and realize that not only have you left the path you wanted to walk, but you’re not even going in the right direction any more.  And you got there by varying your course by half-inches instead of making hard right turns.  Sometimes you didn’t even notice as you went off course.” 

Those profound words sent chills of self-realization up and down my spine.  The sad truth is that over the last few months I’ve suffered the self-inflicted death of dreams by half-inches.  I haven’t taken sharp right turns into the ditch; I’ve slowly drifted off track.

Today I get  back on track.  From here on out, I’m going to perform Kris’s daily gut check.  Am I making the right choices to reach my dreams?  If not, why not?

You may want to do the same.


  1. Brad R. Torgersen

    I agree, the path to ‘given up’ is not a sharp corner, it’s a gradual and almost imperceptible veering from the steady course. Life gets distracting, other projects take precedent, and gradually we wind up going in directions completely opposite of what we want. Happens to me every year it seems, in various ways. I sometimes feel exhausted from having to constantly wrench myself back onto the path I ultimately want to take. And I get mad that I let myself fall off. Again.

  2. admin

    The Death by Half-Inches can also vary from one individual to another. The most common way is getting sidetracked into other endeavors, some of which may be of great importance, and not putting enough time into writing. In short, an issue of priorities and work ethic.

    But the Death of Dreams can also come from playing it safe or becoming too satisfied with success in one area when the dream is in another. There are any number of second bests.

    Each writer must look at his or her own choices and her own dreams and decide if she’s still on track or has lost the way.

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