If You Don’t Have a Dream, How You Gonna Have a Dream Come True?

Do we need to have a dream? It seems to be the consensus that yes, we do. As Harper’s Bizarre once sang, “You gotta have a dream. If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?”

A friend is close to achieving her dream of living by the sea and writing the livelong day. She just needs to wait a bit to make sure her sales will remain steady before she quits her day job. She attributes her dream coming true to talking about it, planning it, visualizing it. This is the way many people make their dreams come true, and it seems to work, but what if, like me, you only have vague longings rather than a concrete dream?

I would like to have a dream, to work toward something I am passionate about, but so far such passions elude me. I’d like to make a living off my books, of course. Do you notice I said “off my books” rather than “from writing”? Almost anyone can make a living by writing nowadays if they write sexy romances or mystery series and churn out two to four books a year, but I am a slow writer with few ideas. I average one book every two years, and to increase my output, I’d have to write all day every day and far into the night. Even if I could dredge up all the necessary words, I’d have to contend with the physical hardship of sitting in one place for hours on end. Besides, I don’t like romances or series of any kind. And, unlike my friend, I have no interest in spending all my time writing. There is still real-world living I have to do before I can totally immerse myself in fictional worlds.

Outside of wanting to make a living off my books, I have no real dreams. Never have had. I want, of course, but I want something greater than my imaginings. Something so wonderful or awesome that my life becomes transformed.

As a child, I loved the mystique of presents. There was the possibility of getting the gift I always wanted but didn’t know I wanted. Oddly, the most disappointing gifts were when I received what I asked for. As an adult, I don’t want to limit my dreams to what I know to ask for. I want the perfect dream — the life I always wanted but didn’t know I wanted. The problem is, if I don’t know what that dream is, if I can’t imagine it, how can I make it come true?

All I know is that I need to find a way to open myself up to the possibility of surprises. So far, I’m doing this by exploring my inner and outer worlds — searching for ways to connect more deeply to life, being present here in the now, being me. Perhaps one day, as I continue to grow and develop, I will find the surprises and unknown wonders that I have to believe are waiting for me.


Pat Bertram is the author of the conspiracy novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+

13 Responses to “If You Don’t Have a Dream, How You Gonna Have a Dream Come True?”

  1. leesis Says:

    I don’t think we need a specific dream Pat. Indeed I think sometimes specific dreams can get in the way due to folk becomming too fixated on the one thing thus missing other opportunities and often when folks dreams come true they find it’s not quite what they wanted after all. Personally my dreams have all come true and I have nothing specific in mind for the future. Yet I still look forward to what may come. You’re right about simply staying open and exploring. I think that’s the key. For me my future is kind of like peeking through a door that’s dark right now but with excitement about what I might find.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      It’s good to hear you say that, Leesis. That’s what I was wondering — if I did find a dream and became fixated on it, that perhaps the serendipitous dreams would be blocked. Take writing, for example. People say that you not only have to visualize the dream but also visualize how you want it to happen. I’d like to think that if I ever did start selling masses of books that it would come about in an unexpected and surprising way, maybe as an adjunct to those future wonders I hope for.

  2. shadowoperator Says:

    Here’s to happy surprises, Pat! Best of luck.

  3. ROD MARSDEN Says:

    Living by the sea and writing the livelong day sounds good to me. I would like that too. I would also like to travel.

  4. Holly Bonville Says:

    Sadly, no dream, just a goal, and no bucket list either. Just taking it as it comes.

  5. rami ungar the writer Says:

    For me, getting my novels published, writing full-time and getting a following is my dream, and I’m seeing it coming to fruition right before me. It’s a great dream, and I’m happy it’s coming true. However, you don’t need a dream to be happy in life or find something to motivate you. Or if you do feel you need a dream, let it be one that motivates you to help others, like becoming a lawyer to help those in the system with no voice, or to become an oncologist who will find the cure for cancer.
    Even then, having a dream isn’t necessary. I mean come on Pat; you’ve written books, used your life of experiences to help you write them, and you even managed to turn your grief into a book that I’m sure will help plenty of people learn to live with the loss of their loved ones. I’m sure someone will look at you and your accomplishments and say, “That’s my dream; to be a great woman like Pat Bertram.”

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