The Alchemy of Dreams


Let’s talk about the alchemy of dreams.

Many writers enter the fray wanting to become rich from their writings. Very many of them hope to be able to write a best-selling book which will not only make them famous, but will provide them with money for the rest of their lives. Just one book. So good, though, that Hollywood will call and offer vast sums to turn it into a movie. Then the movie will take off at the box office, thus ensuring abundant wealth for decades…

It’s a common dream. It’s an easy dream, too, because all of the framework is there: we see it happening all the time, or think we do. It’s the ‘J. K. Rowling Dream’, isn’t it? ‘Desperately poor single mum pens manuscript in coffee shops and on trains, and, after being suitably rejected time after time, is "discovered" - her first book revolutionises reading in schools, it’s so popular; her second and third and many more follow, with all the glamour of the film world trailing behind. Now she’s rich beyond everyone’s wildest dreams but still a nice person - if only we could be like her…’

With any dream, there’s a certain amount of unreality - that’s why it’s a dream. But if you really want to make a living from writing, it might help to let a little reality in. Not an uncontrolled flow that will overwhelm you with commitments and routines and everything else that swallows all your time and prevents you from even getting started, but a tightly-supervised trickle of reality that is just enough to help make your dreams come true.

Start by defining what you want. It might help to base that on what you actually need, rather than on some wild fancy. Do you need millions of pounds (or dollars)? What would it take for your life to be comfortable without being unreasonable about it?

How about we start with £100,000? Not enough to conquer the world, but enough, perhaps, to secure or pay off a mortgage, or to live comfortably for a while. How do you go about acquiring £100,000 from your writings?