Inspirational thoughts and random writings from the alumni and friends of Quad-Cities Christian Writers Conference.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What’s Your Dream?

By Shelly Atkins

When we were little kids, we dreamed about the amazing things we would do when we grew up. Somewhere along the line, we gave up on these dreams. Maybe someone told us we didn’t really have the athletic talent an Olympic gold medal swimmer, or some one said hardly anyone makes it as a singer on Broadway. Or maybe it’s just not practical to jump on an airplane and travel the world. I mean, how would you make any money?

 And that’s what it boiled down to for me. I couldn’t possibly be a writer, how would I make any money. So I tried other practical things like teaching and journalisim. But those aren’t my passions. Not my dreams. Not what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’d lost my vision, my dream for my future. I was letting life take me on a journey without a map. I didn’t like the direction I was going, but felt powerless to do anything about it. I had lost my vision. 

Without vision, we wander around in the dark both literally (if we lose the ability to see with our eyes) and figuratively (if we loose the ability to discern with our hearts.) The dictionary defines vision as “the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be.” (from Isn’t that faith?

A few months ago, someone on a social network I’m a part of asked the question, “If you could change your situation, the way you fill your days, what would you do?” The answer for me was simple: I’d quit my job and work as a freelance writer full time. 

But the first rule of freelacing is: DON’T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB.

I haven’t ever really been one to follow all the rules. The more I thought and prayed about quitting, the more I wanted to do it. But I was scared. What if all those fears I kept telling my self were true? All those fears that kept me in a job for years: What if I wasn’t good enough? What if I didn’t make any money? What if I quit and I hate freelancing? 

Last week I put in notice at my job at a local newspaper. I have a little over a month left. I feel free now to work on what I want to do, interview and research the things that interest me and fill my writing days with my own stories and ideas.

Quitting has taken a great leap of faith. But isn’t that vision? I have a vision now, I’m working on turning that vision into goals and setting steps to achieve those goals. I have a map and am dictating my own journey.

What’s your vision? Are you writing it down and working towards it? What do you need to get there?


  1. Good for you, Shelly! I admire you for taking the risk. I will be praying for you!

  2. Thanks. I need all the prayers I can get. There are days I feel liberated by quitting and others where it scares me to death. I'm in a lame duck phase now waiting for the last day of my job before setting out on my new writing adventures.

  3. Good luck - Shelly! It's important to follow our passion!

  4. Love this post....Good for you!