Be Honest — Was I Snoring?


Sweet inklings, I’ve found another bloggèd gem: Jennifer Brown’s post about owning our time and taking back the power we’ve given away. Jennifer talks about how we so often settle for “backseat driving” through life, instead of getting behind the wheel ourselves.

Instead of following our dreams, we content ourselves (however resentfully) with sitting back and watching others follow theirs.

We might tell the “dreamer,” “Hey! You’re not doing it right. You should be doing it this way.”

But actually do something about our own dreams?

Nah. Driving that car would be way too risky.

Jennifer’s post sparked the following comment from me:

Jennifer, I LOVE this metaphor! “Backseat dreaming” — I’d never thought of it that way, but it makes so much sense as a description of the mindset that keeps us from going after what we sincerely wish for!

I’m not sure I’ve been a backseat dreamer…but I have been a notorious passenger seat driver. Watching how the driver shifts gears, noting how early/late they brake, critiquing the use of turn signals.

Have I been a passenger seat dreamer?

I think so.

Not as much in recent years — but I know I’ve been guilty of watching others drive toward their dreams and, instead of driving toward my own, criticizing how others are doing it. I’m in the passenger seat: close enough to the action to seem like I’m a part of it, but not doing anything that would expose me to criticism.

No more! I’m getting vulnerable now, taking responsibility for my passions and following them.

It’s terrifying!

And liberating!

I wouldn’t have it any other way.


I Hope I Didn’t Snore

Finally, I am awake. I am following my dreams, pursuing my passions, and doing other hunter-stalker-like things in regard to what I’ve felt called to do my entire life.

Will I screw up? Sure. I’m likely to drive off the road a few times, because I am easily distractable, and I turn the steering wheel in whatever direction my eyes happen to go. (Yes, I’m one of those.)

But at least I have my hands on the wheel. I’m doing what I was created to do.

And I love this ride.

So, dear reader.

Are you a backseat dreamer?

Are you more concerned with how others are pursuing their dreams than with pursuing your own?

Are you a passenger seat dreamer — close enough to seem like you’re in on the wild ride, but not actually making any choices that relate to your own passions?

What do you have to do to get in the driver’s seat?

8 thoughts on “Be Honest — Was I Snoring?

  1. Pamela Davis says:

    With my book having just been released, I feel like I’m in the driver’s seat, pursuing my dream. However, I also feel like I have a carload of backseat judges, waiting to pounce. Of course, these are all in my head, but I feel that at any moment someone is going to judge how well I am pursuing my dream. Getting rid of those worrisome critiques floating around in my head is the next big challenge for me.

  2. Heather Sutherlin says:

    Am I the only one who can waste hours reading blogs and status updates about people doing what I should be doing? I call it research, but I think the rest of the world labels it procrastination. I think this is my way of backseat dreaming. I can pretend I’m gathering information or inspiration, but it is disconnected, aloof and impersonal (see, I can use writerly words!) I don’t think I could handle a Writer’s group, even, because that would force me to make this real and to actually takestepsforward instead of standing comfortably (or at least jealously) on the sidelines.

  3. Heather Sutherlin says:

    Wow, that was a bit too honest. Did I just post that into the wide, wide world? Regret is seeping in…

  4. […] Last week, dear inklings, I shared with you my thoughts inspired by Jennifer Brown’s post about “backseat dreaming”. […]

  5. J.J.Brown says:

    Courtney I love your image of having your hands on the wheel. Personal agency is the pleasure in life I think, sometimes rare, of feeling the power of being your own driver. As a person, I know I’m influenced by so many things seen and unseen. But I hope I’m driven by myself – and have the constant challenge of chanelling impulsivity.

  6. Pam! Congratulations on your book release! I know the feeling of excitement — and the fear of criticism that goes along with it. Welcome to that world. ; ) I think it’s a good place for us to be in. It’s definitely a next step farther into the writing life! Let those challenges do their worst!

    Congrats again, Pam, and I wish you all the best success!

  7. Heather, thank you so very much for that honesty and vulnerability! I appreciate that you feel comfortable enough on my blog to share those struggles. : )

    And I can relate to them. Lots of times, I do start out with genuine research…but then, hours later, I find that I’ve slid from research into procrastination. Writing is hard. “Reasearch” is easy, especially when it has devolved into something mindless.

    That said, I do recommend a writers group. There really is nothing like having a tribe of writing peeps to cheer you on — and take you to task if they find out you’re being lazy! They’re great slave drivers motivators. ; )

  8. Jennifer, I complain too often about the challenges…but really, I love them. I know they keep me going, and I know I’d end up stagnant without them.

    I have mixed feelings about the hands-on-the-wheel metaphor. I do believe that I’m using it in a legitimate way: encouraging others to acknowledge and take responsibility for their dreams, instead of letting other humans determine their fate.

    But for me, the “driving” metaphor goes another level deeper, and I hesitated to share it in the main blog post. On that deeper level, “taking control” and “putting my hands on the wheel” means giving over control to someone greater than I. For me, that is the hardest challenge of all.

    And for me, facing that challenge has looked like this: I made other humans get out of the driver’s seat of my car. I laid hands on the steering wheel of my own dreams. When I did that, I finally understood:

    I am created to create.

    If I am created, that means there is a Creator. And He wants me to create.

    Thus, taking control of my dreams meant giving them over to Him and letting Him drive the car. So in a way, I am still in the passenger’s seat…but I fully trust the driver, because I finally recognize and embrace the path He has laid out for me.

    If I had my hands on the wheel, I would end up in a ditch. But with His hands on the wheel, I can do my creative work and trust that He will keep me on the road.

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