10 April 2012

Dear Dylan ~ Blog Tour ~ Day Five
In Dear Dylan, the main character, Georgie, dreams of one day becoming an actress. But, due to difficulties at home, she is finding it incredibly difficult to pursue her dream.

In real life, I really admire people who never give up on their hopes and dreams, no matter what obstacles they face. I wanted to create a character who was like this, in the hope that she would inspire readers to follow her example and keep chasing their own dreams – whatever they may be.

I often run workshops on achieving dreams and today I’d like to share with you some of the key tips and exercises from these workshops:

  • The first thing you need to do is get your inner gremlin to shut up. Your inner gremlin is that really annoying voice in your head that says things like, ‘Don’t be so stupid – you can’t write’, the minute you decide that you’d like to be a novelist. Or, ‘How could you ever be a [INSERT DREAM JOB OF CHOICE]? You’re not nearly good / pretty / clever enough.’ The important thing to remember is that this ‘gremlin’ is only the voice of your fears. But all too often we give it way too much power. So, from now on, the minute your inner gremlin starts saying mean things to you, I want you to picture it as a tiny, scared, little baby and visualize sticking a dummy in its mouth to make it be quiet!

  • Pursuing a dream always takes confidence, so it’s really important that you feel good about yourself before you set out to write that book, or train to become a rocket scientist, or whatever it is you dream of doing. A fun exercise, that can seem tough at first, is to write a list of all the things that you are proud of about yourself. If it makes it easier, try breaking it into categories based upon the roles you play in your life. What are you proud of achieving at school or work? What are you proud of doing as a sister or daughter? Or friend? What are you proud of doing for yourself? Once it’s done, keep a hold of your list to take out and read whenever you’re having a down moment – or you need to shut up that gremlin. 

  • This next one is best done when you’re not going to be interrupted – and an accompanying supply of chocolate works very well too. Under the title ‘My Perfect Day’ write as much as you can about what your perfect day would involve. Ideally it should be set after you have achieved your dream. Go right through from the moment you wake up – Where would it be? What would you do first? What would you have for breakfast? What would you wear? – to the moment you go to sleep that night. And in between make sure you provide loads of nice detail about your dream life.

  • The next stage of this exercise is to set manageable goals towards one day achieving this dream life. In other words, if your dream is to one day be a novelist, but at the moment you haven’t even got an idea for a book, then maybe your first (and manageable) goal could be to spend a few hours brainstorming ideas. Once you’ve achieved that goal, and settled upon an idea, you could set a new goal to flesh out some characters. Then your next goal could be to write the very first chapter, and so on. I did this exercise several years ago, and now I’ve written seven novels – so anything’s possible!

  • Creating a motivational playlist can really help you get fired up for pursuing your dream. It’s also another great way to silence that gremlin. The minute it starts bitching and moaning, press play and crank the volume right up. Dancing around the room can also help – air guitar optional!

Back when I was a teenager I had so little confidence in my writing abilities I actually dropped out of university. It took me ten years to finally find the courage to write my first book. I really wish I’d been more like Georgie in Dear Dylan and had more self belief when I was younger. So to anyone reading this who is allowing their inner gremlin a little too much air-time, please don’t make the same mistake I did. Believe in yourself and chase after that dream…

*Tomorrow (Weds 11th April), as part of her blog tour, Siobhan will be talking about the Dear Dylan playlist on Feeling Fictional. It is full of inspirational songs about finding the strength to follow your dream.

Dear Dylan By: Siobhan Curham
Publisher: Electric Monkey/EgmontUK, 288 Pages (April 2nd, 2012)
Add to: Goodreads
Order Online: Amazon UK | The Book Depository
Read my review of Dear Dylan - HERE

Synopsis: A first crush. An unexpected friendship. A dream come true. Dear Dylan! Thanks so much for your email and I'm sorry about my last one when I said I love you. I hope you don't think I'm a weirdo mentalist?!!! It's just that I was watching Oprah yesterday and she said we should all say we love each other a whole lot more. Not to everyone of course. There's no way I'd tell my scummy step-dad that I love him because that would be lying. But the thing is, sometimes when I watch you on TV, I feel as if you're talking just to me and it makes me feel less alone. I know you probably get loads and loads of fan mail but I wanted to ask you - could we be e-mates? Yours hopefully, Georgie xxx.

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