“Well, here’s the thing,” [a travel magazine editor] told me. “Many of our readers don’t actually want to travel. They just want to think of themselves as travelers.”
Wow. They don’t want to travel… they just want to pretend.
I probably shouldn’t have been so surprised. Many people say they want to write a book, but most of them don’t follow through. Maybe some of them don’t want to write—they just want to call themselves a writer. They want to have written a book.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. Might as well dream a little!
But if you really want to do something—not just dream about it—then you have to go beyond reading travel magazines or thinking about the book you’re not writing. You can’t be an impostor traveler. You can’t live your life through the lens of aspiration.
To get paid for what you love, you must inspire, educate, or entertain—preferably at least two of the three. But one way or another, you’ll get paid for helping people, not just being awesome.
What many talented people lack is the ability to keep going when external rewards are minimal or non-existent.
Every writer gets rejected, sometimes over and over. But the ones who only have potential stop submitting (or just stop writing) somewhere along the way. They get discouraged and feel beat down.
And then, before you know it, they’ve become someone who used to be a writer. Or someone who wanted to be a writer.