03/08/2013 01:22 am ET Updated May 07, 2013

Day 8: 31 Days of Daily Inspiration From Brilliant Women

Daily Inspiration: Day 8 of 31 Days

"When you stop having dreams and ideals -- well, you might as well stop altogether." -- Marian Anderson (Singer, 1897-1993)

I once worked in an office, a depressing place where every person there hated their jobs and complained all day. They spoke of wanting to leave, though most had been there a decade or two. I befriended one chap who seemed to share my dream of becoming a writer. On tea breaks we talked about writing novels, promising and procrastinating. One day we made a pact to finally finish something: a first book. That night, I began. The next night I continued, and the night after that. Hope surged through me, passion tingling at my fingertips when I picked up my pen. I was dreaming and, at long last, I was actually acting upon my dreams.

A month into the pact, halfway through my first draft, I realized that my friend had stopped writing and started making excuses. He was too tired, too busy, too something or other. I felt sorry for him. I cajoled and encouraged, I tried to inspire. But it was no use. I left the office and returned to waitressing, finding it much easier to write unclouded by facts and figures. I suggested he join me, but he didn't want the late hours, manual work and unreliable pay. I finished my book. Then another, and another. It was many years before I was finally published, but on that day I thought of my friend. I knew, though we hadn't spoken in years, that he was still sitting in his office, talking about wanting to leave, believing he still dreamt of becoming a writer, but really having stopped dreaming a long time ago. And I knew then that when you stop dreaming you might as well stop altogether.

Inspiration From Brilliant Women

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