It is often easier to close your eyes and dream than to open your eyes and make your dream a goal.  In dreams, you do not face the hardships or the realities of achievement.  In dreams, you simply have achieved it.  You aren’t forced to work.  You aren’t forced to sweat.  You aren’t forced to bear the pain of a broken heart.  Life, however, does not come with these same guarantees.  Life forces you to look at the work necessary to achieve.  Life forces you to feel the sweat dripping from your forehead to your toes as you work toward a seemingly impossible goal.  Life forces you to endure obstacle after obstacle and even more obstacles after that.  Amid all of these hardships, however, life offers one major thing that dreams cannot- true success.

I am now twenty-four years old.  I have spent the last sixteen years of my life dreaming about some things and succeeding at others.  I dreamt of being a teacher.  I embraced the realities of that goal and now I teach an amazing group of students.  Now that I have achieved one success, it is time for me to reach another goal.  I have spent the last sixteen years of my life writing story after story and poem after poem without ever showing them to anyone.  I have had countless dreams of walking through libraries and seeing my name on the spine of books.  2017 marked a new year for the world and a new goal for me.  In 2017, I decided to level up my writing.

As I began this journey, I chose one of my unfinished pieces to continue.  I started this particular piece seven years ago during my freshman year of college. It tells the story of a girl whose destiny is thrust upon her at birth. She must choose to save or destroy the world.  In my freshman year of college, that was all I knew about the story that I wanted to turn into a novel.  I wrote a grand total of seven pages, found that it was difficult, and set it aside.  I thought about it from time to time, but it was always more of a pipe dream than a goal.

Fast forward to November 2016-I am now a teacher with a brand new book blog.  One morning, I see an email about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and decide to put myself up to the challenge.  The story that immediately came to mind was the one that I had shelved seven years ago.  This time, I opened my eyes to the dream and made it a goal.  Did I succeed and write the entire novel in a month?  No.  Did I get close?  No.  Did I make an honest effort?  Yes.

Months have passed since I tried to complete NaNoWriMo.  Now, however, that novel is forty-one pages long and is worked on as often as possible.  Sometimes, I am happy to sit down and work away.  Others, I hate the story and have no idea why I am going to try to publish such a crappy piece of work.  For some reason, though, this story is burning a hole inside of my very being and is demanding its existence.

For others, leveling up may mean something a bit more advanced.  It may mean writing stronger characters or establishing stronger details.  To me, leveling up my writing means dedicating myself and my time to my goal.  It means that I am able to take years of dreaming and turn them to reality.  It means leveling up my commitment and my efforts as I breathe life into a novel that has always been a dream.