When I was still teaching high school, I would often travel over school breaks. When I returned with photos of sweeping views and tales of international hijinks, my students' number one response was to moan, "You're so lucky!"
I took issue with this statement. None of those trips happened by luck. They were a direct result of intentional planning and hard work, duly allowed by the sovereign grace of God.
I started planning each trip a year in advance. I would choose a destination, seek a travel partner, map out the budget, and then curtail my day-to-day spending accordingly. Most travels required major cutbacks on almost every aspect of spending, from foregoing nights out to only buying new clothes when my old ones literally fell apart.
The same has held true for my writing. While I credit God for blessing me with an aptitude for language and a love for creative expression, nothing I've ever written made it to the page by sheer luck.
To block out the chunks of time necessary to focus on manuscript development, I've cut back on almost all other areas, including my social life--a difficult task for an extrovert. I've traded sun-drenched weekends at the beach for Saturdays hunched in my apartment with the blinds pulled tight, huddled over my laptop hammering out plot points while clutching my hair and muttering to myself. In order to move my creative life forward, I opened myself freely to criticism, judgment, correction, and nearly-perpetual rejection.
None of that feels like luck.
In almost every area of life, success comes by way of intentional planning and hard work, duly allowed to move forward by the sovereign grace of God.
As children, we see dreams as just that--as dreams. As we mature, however, we realize that in order for dreams to become reality, we must pull them down from the clouds and root them in solid ground.
Only then can we chase them down.