Why Your Dreams Die

Dear Me,

Hey you!

How ya doing?

In Day 1 you read a letter you wrote and then ripped the lie apart that you had a crappy life and nothing to offer. In Day 2, you wrote another letter and figured out just when you stopped working for yourself instead of just working for others.

At some point you fired yourself from your creativity and said ‘other people can make choices for me.”

So that brings us to today. Day 3. You’ve been through Day 1 and Day 2 of creativity boot camp for slugs. You might still be feeling a bit sluggy.

Sliming along. Moving slowly. Being battered by the elements.


Do you like that feeling?

The feeling of being vulnerable to everyone else’s dreams and goals?


What happens if you spend your whole life fulfilling everyone else’s dream?


Your. Dreams. Die.

When you come to the realization that your dreams are dead, you should feel something.

You should be furious. You should be enraged. You should be livid.

You should be #@$!ing mad.

[box options]You just tossed in a choice word that, until now, you’ve never written down. And the word isn’t really there. But we all know what it is. If it offends you, awesome.[/box]

You should be enraged.


Why be furious?

Because your lack of passion has kept you from success, from trying and never stopping.

It’s kept you from believing. That’s why your dreams die.

And here’s the kicker: you made those choices. No one else made them.

Not your wonderful (or abusive) Mom. Not your heroic (or alcoholic) Dad. Not your faithful (or cheating) spouse. Not your generous (or stingy) boss.

You made the choices.

Why Your Dreams Die

No go back and read the answers you wrote down during Day 2.

(If you didn’t write them down, you’re a slug. You’re a creative who says they’re creative but never creates. You’re the couch potato slug who will wish his life away, buried underneath other people’s successes. Wanna fix that? Then go back to Day 2 and write the answers to the questions down. You’ll be glad you did. Oh look! You’re off the couch. Progress!)

Here they are again…

Question One: What is my destiny?

Question Two: Why Don’t I Know What I Want?

Question Three: When did I stop wanting, desiring, and working toward something that mattered to me?

What did you write down in response?

What did you realize about yourself from writing down the answers to those questions in Day 2?

Today, Day 3, is all about getting to the root. You’re answering the question “why.” If you can get to the “why” of those three questions, you’ll rediscover what you really want, expose the lies, and be able to start your creative work again.

You have to know why your dreams die to resurrect them again.

This letter that you wrote to yourself will not self-destruct. It will be here to haunt you until you get to the ‘why’ of your lack of creativity.

Then the awesome work you were created to do begins.

Onto Day 4

[box options]Question: Where are you at in the process of fulfilling your creative dreams?[/box]

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Author: Andrew Zahn

I'm a son, husband, dad, business owner, actor and good sleeper/eater. On this blog, I pave a highway for creative growth by providing food, water, and shelter for those wishing to live, work, and play with creative zest.

  • My dreams began to die because I began to believe the lies: that my dad was right, and I was no one. Who was I to ask for anyone’s attention, or time?

    And yet, who else is like me, shares my exact experiences, has my voice? I found that voice again after a time in Recovery.

    And the rest is history.

    Still, there are dreams yet unfulfilled, but I am on the road, and I am blessed to have folks (like you, Andrew) walking with me. In the words of Hugh Grant (from ‘Notting Hill’), it’s “surreal, but nice.”

    Very, very nice indeed–this thing called a tribe, a community, coming alongside me. There’s something of a burden to it–a (to borrow Lewis’s phrase) “weight of glory” that presses on me. Because it is both inspiring, and humbling, to be so empowered with trust.

    Thank-you, Andrew, for all that you do in pursuit of your dreams, and in inspiring the dreams of others.

    • Andrew Zahn

      I really appreciate you sharing that Chad.

      We all need community don’t we? As much as I like to tout myself an an independent and an introvert, I still need it to. It’s a good mirror to help us grow.

  • I believed for most of my life that my dreams were set for me by others. It wasn’t until I was much older in life that I realized that I could form my own dreams.

    • Andrew Zahn

      And some people NEVER realize that.

      Glad you’re on the right path!

  • At this stage in the game I’ve had to put aside some likes and interests in lieu of dream fulfillment. Because as Oliver Wendell Holmes once said,
    Alas for those who never sing,
    But die with their music in them!
    I wrote about it here.

  • Andrew: thanks for the creative sermon, man. I’ve taken the plunge and started writing the outline of a book…first time in my life. I’ve been blaming life, having kids, owning a small business…your blog has persistently shown me that if I wanted to do something, I would just do it.

    THANKS for the tough love.

    • Andrew Zahn

      Your book will be great Susan! I can’t wait to read it and do a review of it!

      And this tough love kick in the #@$ posting I’ve been doing is basically me writing to myself as much as everyone else.

      I feel like we all could write these letters to ourselves. Sometimes we need the kick in the *bleep*

  • Ebook. ^_^

    • Andrew Zahn

      I”m totally feeling it. *shivers with excitement*

  • Where am I at in the process of fulfilling my creative dreams? Floundering……….not only in trying to organize what I’ve written, finding my “voice” and niche…..but in knowing where to submit them when I get that far. 🙂

    • You’re definitely not alone Pamela! So many of us experience those same frustrations. Getting into a local writer’s group can really help out with that! There’s also a great discussion on Twitter for writers every week and you can ask professional writers tips. They answer some of the questions you’re asking.

      Follow Andrea Cumbo (@andilit) on twitter to get in on the group. I know you’ll benefit from it.

      • Pamela Williamson

        Thank you. I’m new to my writing group, but have found it useful already. I took your advice and now follow Andrea on twitter and enjoy reading the posts, and the awesome information on the twitter writing group (#writestuff). Thank you, Andrew, for your advice, and for taking the time to pass this on to me. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. 🙂