How Long is Too Long?

By Douglas Clark

Do dreams have an expiration date? How do we know if and when we have devoted more than we should to a dream not yet realized? What a terrible and practical question posed against such a wondrous and uplifting things such as a dream. I guess for me a reality check every once in a while towards my dreams is necessary. That check is a gauge in assessing just how successful I've been at reaching for that goal, or more specifically, taking stock in what I've actually done to accomplish that dream.

Specifically my dream of becoming a published writer is still up in the air. Granted, my thesis is in the University Library and I have all of my blog posts. But let's face it; that is nothing compared to my novel being published by a big name publisher like Simon & Schuster. So I'm not officially published yet. And it has taken me years to get this far. So do I give up on my dreams? What I've noticed is not so much the time it's taken but the effort to get published in that time. Fact is, I could be submitting more, I could be soliciting more advice, searching for editors, submitting more, (yes I am repeating myself) but I haven’t been doing all that. 

So no, I don't give up on my dream. I re- focus, because just writing is not enough. For any writer, writing is vital and should always take an important role, obviously. But the constant effort to market and draw attention to my work as a writer must also take center-stage. To that end I’ve started investigating self-publishing to get the ball rolling. You see, I’m trying something different. And that’s very important.

My dreams are certainly different than yours. Each dream needs to be championed or it will forever remain an unrealized Spectre. The dreamer, if he or she truly wants that dream to manifest itself, owes it to themselves to do it with vigorous abandon. You might think, “no one cares about my dreams” and you're probably right. Well almost right, You care about your dreams. So you have to be the one to nurture, care for, and champion them.

That reality check I was mentioning earlier, it's not an excuse to give up on your dreams and let them die. It's not a waste of time either. New direction and invigorated effort can be the jolt a dream needs to get going and build momentum towards a joyous day when you can say, “I did it”, and mean it. It’s the effort that counts. Langston Hughes asked, what happens to a dream deferred. Well I would say don't defer it. Champion it! Demand it! Make it happen. Don't abandon your dreams. Give them wings to fly.

Thanks for reading.

Questions and comments welcome.


  1. Excellent question. However, you never actually answered the question you posited. At what point should a reasonable person move on and abandon a dream? I believe the reality is that dreams by their very nature are improbable and entirely unreasonable to the reasonable person, and given this logic there can be no reasonable point at which to abandon a goal that was unreasonable to begin with. Hope is the quintessential strength and driving force of a dream. Only when hope is extinguished can a dream really be abandoned.

    1. Then I guess from your perspective, one should never give up on that dream. I don't think dreams have to be abandoned or given up on, but sometimes they need to be adjusted. One's original vision might not come true, but refocused, something close to it might.

      Hope does fuel dreams, so as long as there is hope, then there is no reason to give up.


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