Sometimes, as I sit here thinking of what to say to you about my week spent dreaming, my dream life doesn’t seem all that exciting or inspirational enough to write about.
In fact, I must confess that part of your dream journey can be akin to watching paint dry.
With any big dream you’ll have to perform behind-the-scenes work that no one really sees or cares about, but you. It’s the repetitious dream work that you must regularly roll up your sleeves to do because it keeps your dream moving forward and prevents you from losing momentum.
Often, it isn’t glamorous work.
You have to do it even when you don’t want to because you want your ultimate dream bad enough.
That’s how you can tell you are on the right dream path if you are willing to do the maintenance work even when you don’t want to.
This week, I needed to work on the back-end of the 8 Women Dream website. Now, I could probably hire this site work out, or ask someone else on the team to help me, but it’s actually maintenance work that informs me of what is going on with the 8 Women Dream website.
Working on the site is like listening to your child breathe when they have a slight cold. You make decisions on their care based on what you see and hear.
When I work on updating parts of 8WD, I am usually fixing parts of the site that have become obsolete. I implement the latest Internet standards and while I am digging and fixing typically one click leads to another and I find something else, which leads to more work.
It can be a tedious, but necessary process. I am always satisfied when I am finished because I value what I see as I click through the site.
I’ve discovered over the years that I’ve managed the 8 Women Dream site, that I enjoy editing and placing content, testing it, changing it, and testing it again. It becomes a sort-of mental conversation with the readers as I learn what you enjoy reading and sharing and what you don’t.
Reading through and doing maintenance on the site always makes me ponder if more can be done for our readers.
Can we be more?
Can we do more?
Can we reach out more?
I love to write. Writing online is what lead me to create 8 Women Dream, but I am the kind of writer who writes the best when my whispering creative voice begins to share a story idea with me through my imagination. It then simmers in my mind for a few days before it completely takes me over and I am forced to sit down and write.
I’ve been known to miss showers, live in pigtails, and stay up way later than I should to pound out my thoughts in written form.
Sometimes my whispering voice goes quiet when I’m lost or scared about the next step I should take. It’s harder to create movement in your life when you are carrying good responsibilities–like children you adore and income that comes from other creative sources.
There are times when I sit down for my weekly dream update here and I think,
“I have nothing to say.”
Writing when you must put something out while you are feeling blocked is its own sort of maintenance. It stretches me when I force myself into the chair and begin writing–anything.
So when I spend a week updating and fixing the site itself, it doesn’t really feel like I’m working on my dream of having one of the top websites for women on the Internet, which is kind of crazy if you think about it. The fixes and updates place the site in a better position to be found by more women… doesn’t this relate directly to my dream?
But fixing and editing maintenance never feels as lovely as imagining and expressing creativity, does it?
Before Heather of 8WD became a triathlete and lost all her weight, she had to decide to do something towards her goal every day so she could eventually compete as a triathlete. She had to begin by walking each day to build momentum and grow stronger. I am sure there were days she had to talk herself into moving out the door until exercise became a part of who she is, like breathing. Exercise was her dream maintenance, eventually changing her diet became a part of it too. And she will be the first to tell you that there were many times the exercise felt boring until she had completed it.
The hard truth about dream success is that there will always be some sort of maintenance that needs to be done regularly.
Sometimes the maintenance can be fun while other times it can feel like digging a ditch on a 100 degree day. And yes, sometimes it can be boring.
A painter has to clean and care for brushes, deal with solvents, prepare canvases and perform a great deal of maintenance work that is not actually painting the flower. There is also the practice of painting to work on new techniques, or sketching work to be done that may, or may not, go well.
The “other work” is all a part of your dream journey, but you should love your dream so much–even when you don’t want to do the maintenance–that your vision of your completed dream will still suck you in and force you to do the work you don’t feel like doing.
I’ve fixed 2,043 stories on 8 Women Dream this week. Do you think it was fun?
I did not touch every story, although I did look at quite a few of them to see if they needed updating–after looking at how they were appearing in search. I just needed to fix some code on the site that allows visitors to see when the last time a story was updated, which fixed a bulk of the errors the next time Google bots crawled the site.
As I looked through the data I realized that 8 Women Dream has written close to 2,469 stories. The book, Les Misérables, was only something like 1,488 pages and it’s considered one of the top 10 longest books every written!
8 Women Dream has enough stories to have written a book on dreaming big. Truth be told, some of our stories are better than others. We 8 Women Dreamers have become better as we’ve practiced our own writing and dreaming maintenance.
I’ve written 336 posts, Heather’s written 331, Lisa 261, Iman and Sue are tied at 109 posts, Kelly’g got 105 to her credit, Natasha is at 88, and we’ve published another 806 from other dream contributors. Karen already has 3 under her belt.
It blows me away to look through these numbers. I wouldn’t have noticed and felt as proud as I am of what we’ve accomplished here if I hadn’t been performing maintenance.
Even in doing the work, your dream can bring you lovely surprises.
When I am fixing these old stories from the 8WD site–maybe an image has dropped off, or a link is broken, or some web standard needs to be addressed–I read the entire dream story over again. I can see that showing up on 8 Women Dream and sharing a dream story for a while changed the dreamer who contributed in profound ways not revealed at the time.
You are never the same once you begin a dream journey. Once the dreaming bug bites, you’ll have a fever for it for the rest of your life.
I am reminded how the dream of starting 8 Women Dream has become more than what I imagined it could be on that Christmas that my son and I struggled through many years ago when the idea hit me.
The stories on 8WD remind me of all that the dreamers have gone through–the good and the not-so-good–and I am proud. They did this. We did this.
Simply by showing up and doing the dream maintenance.
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Catherine Hughes is the founder of 8 Women Dream. She is passionate about helping women step out of their own way and strike out into a world waiting for their special talents. She’s a published author and a former award-winning mom blogger. Catherine has helped companies both large and small create engaging web content, social media narratives, and unique blogging platforms. She claims to be a redhead but don’t hold that against her.