I like to watch reality tv where people put their passions to work, like Project Runway and Top Chef. And I still watch American Idol despite the fact that the bawling booted-off singers make me want to gag. But there are tears from the chefs and designers of TC and PR as well because they believe that in addition to their inherent talent, and their willingness to do hard work, that they are meant to get to the top of their chosen field.
Writers are the same way.
For years, I have come across many writers who feel driven to create stories. They would create even if they never get a single word published. I don’t think it would be natural to feel driven without also feeling that your drive is meant for a destination, one near the top of the pile. But mathematics is cruel. Not everyone can be at the top.
Every season, my favorite reality shows choose among the best chefs and designers, and at the end of the season, only one emerges the winner. That leaves a pretty large chunk of talented, driven, hardworking people in the dust. Granted, winning isn’t everything, and many go on to do well in their fields, but it bears minding that the pinnacle is narrow for a reason.
The only reason I write this is because after watching so many shows where people come to grief feeling that their dreams are crushed I want to say: just because you believe something is meant to be, doesn’t mean that it is, and the top isn’t the only place to be.
At some point you have to stop believing in what’s meant to be and lay your trust in yourself.