When Dreams Age

ACFWAdvice, Authors and writing, Encouragement, Faith, writing 12 Comments

By Tanara McCauley @TanaraMcCauley

I attended my first writer’s conference over a decade ago. I don’t know how I learned writer’s conferences were even a thing, but I remember packing up my work-in-progress and flying to Denver with a mini entourage of husband, young kids, and in-laws all cheering me on.

Although already in my mid-thirties at the time, I possessed a childlike confidence that the path to my dream of publishing stretched before me glittering silver and lined with, well, whatever I wanted. When offered the opportunity to sign up for pitching appointments, I didn’t hesitate to thrust my horrid first draft at multiple editors.

Childish naivety soon gave way to the realization that I had lots to learn about writing, and deep
living to do in the meantime.

It was during the course of living that the path began to shimmer like a mirage. I continued writing (slowly) and sometimes pitched my projects (rarely), but the ups, downs, and detours of life seemed to promise that there would always be something else holding the dream at bay.

Before I knew it, mid-thirties became late forties, and my aged dream was still barely crawling. Now I’m facing the path again and daring to imagine what could be. Only this time, there are no significant (maybe even convenient) obstacles or reasons preventing me from finally braving the next steps.

On the contrary, I now have the opportunity to devote each work day to writing. My office is set up just so, I’ve taken inventory of my projects, and I have every resource I need to move forward.

How…intimidating. For how exactly does one revive an aged dream grown used to dwelling in a corner chair of the heart? And how do I hazard possible failure when the idea of success has been my constant consolation?

How exactly does one revive an aged dream? One prayer, one day, one word at a time. @TanaraMcCauley #ACFW #writingcommunity #writing #Christianfiction Click To Tweet

I know I’m not the only one asking these questions. I’ve met several writers over the years whose books I’ve yet to read. We’ve seen each other at the occasional conference or on the sporadic social media post.

We encourage one another to never give up, though we’re tempted ourselves to do just that, to lay the dream to rest. Because what if after all the learning and growing and living, we start back down this path only to be disappointed by what we find at the end? It’s a valid question and a possible conclusion.

It’s also a risk we have to take.

For who placed these dreams in our hearts but the One who makes hearts beat? The dream only seems old because we’re aging, but this yearning to tell stories that point to Christ is, in reality, timeless; we’ve simply been invited to do it in a way that only we can during our lifetimes. Sure, our motives and methods may get skewed along the way; the Lord does the refining as we move forward.

“But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.” ~2 Chronicles 15:7

These words were spoken to King Asa of Judah after the LORD helped him to win an impossible battle, for Asa desired to rid the land of idolatry and turn his people back to the LORD. He took courage. We should too.

The fear of failure—of a path fraught with continued hardship where we wanted fast success—urges us to put to death dreams meant to rouse life. It’s the fear that has to die.

For while we’re still alive, no matter our age, the dream is possible. How do we move toward it?
One prayer, one day, one word at a time.

Tanara McCauley is a writer of stories inspired by the adventure she lives in Christ. That adventure includes one husband, three children, and a fearful little dog named Charlie. And books. Lots and lots of books. Visit her website at  or Facebook.

Comments 12

  1. Great words of inspiration, Tamara! I’m still chasing my dream, and I’m way older than you are. May your daily prayers and each word you write lead you closer and closer to the realization of yours! Blessings!

  2. Thank you for writing this. After Covid put me in the hospital in August, I’ve been re-evaluating everything! Wondering if I really should keep writing. Or just give up. I’m older than you, but probably started about the same time. But my husband said, have you worked on your book lately? And a member of my online writing group said, when are you going to write another chapter on your alluring book? So that’s encouragement. It’s really not alluring, but it is funny at times. Maybe I’ll continue writing for them.

    I encourage you to keep going.

  3. “For how exactly does one revive an aged dream grown used to dwelling in a corner chair of the heart?”

    Love this post…in awe of this phrase. You are living the dream. Luv ya Tanara!

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