Is Writing Fiction An Impossible Dream?

“Playbill Man of La Mancha” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

Yesterday I heard “The Impossible Dream” on the radio and it completely changed my day and mood.

This ballad sung by Don Quixote in the play Man of La Mancha is pretty much the lyrical equivalent of a motivational poster, so it is a guilty pleasure of the overly-noble, heavy-handed, cheesy variety.


Basically, whether it’s writing fiction or trying to be a human in general, sometimes you need an over-the-top battle song to keep fighting!

Is Writing Fiction an Impossible (or Improbable) Dream?

No. It’s possible. But is it improbable? Yes. Yes it is. 🙂

Of course, that depends on our goals. I’m not sure getting traditionally published is the right goal for all writers, including myself.

Most of us have heard that the odds for getting fiction published traditionally and actually entering the public consciousness in any significant way (or supporting yourself financially) are worse than for winning the lottery or something.

However, anyone’s odds are zero if they never even finish anything and send it off or self-publish it, right? My point is therefore not that we shouldn’t try. My point is that we will betimes need battle cries to keep going with it, because writing fiction is a long game with no guarantees.

This song is one of those for me, both for writing and life in general.

I personally find it glorious that Rhydian Robert’s version of this song was filmed in Iceland, including the most uniquely beautiful place I’ve ever seen near the Glacier Lagoon, with its black lava beaches and enormous chunks of iridescent ice.

Dramatic close-ups of the singer abound.

Speaking of incomparable Iceland, it’s interesting to apply this kind of “adversity as adventure” perspective to travel. Like life or writing fiction, travel is an adventure because of the problems and resistance you encounter. In my opinion, it’s not that enjoyable to travel under the philosophy that one is relaxing. You can kick back at home! Travel is not something restful but something you have to rest from when you get home, because it’s an exertion. Of course a lot of lovely moments happen as you travel but one has to endure the less fun aspects to get to all that. And in fact, the trips I’ve gone on that were devoid of that didn’t feel as much like adventures to me.

This version is by Diana Ross and the Supremes and they kill it.

And if you’d rather read these words than listen and watch, here are the lyrics of “The Impossible Dream” in all their delicious hyperbole.

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

Incidentally, this is the poem I’m going to keep in my pocket on National Poem in Your Pocket Day this year, April 30, 2015. Because why not? It’s got to bring better vibes than mere pocket lint and spare change. I should probably listen to this song every morning before even getting out of bed.

Happy writing this week!

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