On Daydreaming and Staying Hungry

Michelle Sikorski

I’ve decided to give up on my dreams.

Well, my daydreams.

I can’t manage a car ride alone without acting out my half of some imagined conversation. We’ve all been there. You defend your side of an argument you’re never going to have, or reconstruct witty dialogue you wish you’d summoned while talking to that cute barista.

Or maybe you do what I do: Imagine you’re being interviewed on some fabulous talk show. For me, it’s either Ellen or Jimmy Fallon. We’re old pals at this point. Ellen always hypes up whatever work I’ve made it famous for, and Jimmy is likely to laugh hysterically at even my most half-baked jokes. I come off enormously likable whether I’m airing at day or night. The audience loves me. My twitter following goes wild for weeks after the interview goes live.

And then I get out of my car and walk into the dentist office feeling satisfied and pleased and not remotely inspired.

As fun as it is to picture myself chatting with a talk show host or accepting my Prestigious Award or whatever, I’ve realized it leaves me feeling like I’ve done something. I think I’ve been spending this time rewarding myself for the mere act of wanting to succeed. I don’t need to reward that. I need to stoke it.

So I’m done imagining my fame. I’m trading masturbatory daydreams for the entirely unsatisfying reality that there’s so much work to do.

Daydreams are junk food. Don’t fill up on them. You need to stay hungry.

Explorer’s Notes: Tips for Roaming is our weekly blog where we share our visions as editors, as writers, and as humans. It’s our field guide to navigating the world. Join us!

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If two roads diverged in a yellow wood, ideally, you’d be traveling in pairs. Someone could take one, someone the other, and you could meet back and report what each road was like. Or maybe you’re wandering through the woods in groups of three, or seven, or twelve. Maybe someone takes one road; someone crashes through the underbrush; someone climbs a tree; someone sits quietly, staring down the road less traveled and listening closely for the distant wanderer step, step, stepping toward them.

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