About a month ago, my husband and I were purging and organizing our filing system. You know the drill. We were going through old bill stubs from the house, choosing which ones to discard and which to keep. I came across a file labeled “Amanda’s writings.” I opened it and found a manuscript that I had started years ago. It was titled “My Lovely” and it was a book I had planned to write about my life as a new mom. I briefly read a few portions and my eyes were drawn in particular to the sentence that indicated I had been dreaming about writing a book since I was 19.
I was referencing a desire that had been in my heart for close to 20 years. Twenty. Years. It was a major shift for me. I had been dreaming about this thing for a long time. Granted, I’d tried my hand at making some headway with the dream a few times. I wrote that unfinished manuscript. I started a blog. I tried journaling. I started another blog.
Then in just the past year, things became a little more intentional. I attended my first writing conference. I made a goal of writing 500 words a day. I have 39,120 written now. I’m doing the writing. I’m carving out time in my day to devote to this dream of mine. I’m taking it more seriously. I can introduce myself to others and when they ask what I do, I can answer, “I’m a writer” without backpedaling or feeling quite as foolish as I may have in the past. I’m sharing my writing dreams with others—listening for feedback and processing some of the steps within my vision.
And yet, I can feel the next step before I even take it. I’m reading about this step. I’m listening to podcasts and it’s the advice the experts are giving.
I’ve got to make this journey public.
I have to share my process openly.
I must be ready for failure—it’s inevitable—any good, brave and noble pursuit comes with a hefty dose of it. And I must be ready for feedback and critique. That’s how a writer becomes better. That’s how my craft will grow. That’s how my gift of words (in the form of a book or blog, or whatever medium) to the world, will begin to eek out, take shape and evolve.
Oh, and ps. Yes, that means that I must start by BELIEVING I truly HAVE a gift to share in my words, with the world.
So, this summer, (drumroll) I will be chronicling my writing journey.
As I take steps toward making this dream a reality, I’ll share here, with you!
So, without further ado, HEEEERRRRE is the first installment!
This past weekend was my Mother’s Day gift to myself.
My kids and husband treated me well on Mother’s Day, but I had requested an overnight away to write and it happened this past weekend. I snuck away Saturday afternoon to a nearby city (let’s be honest… a hotel in the city, with a massage booked the next day is way more my style than a secluded cabin in the woods), and I wrote. I came up with my plan for the book, the blog, what I’ll be reading this summer (some for inspiration and some more practical/technical) and a new little added project on my website (I’ll share more later) that I am excited to launch this summer!
It was so, so good.
I managed to fit in a little shopping, (like I said above) a massage, ordered room service and got to work.
In my approximate 28 hours away, I started and finished a book on the technical side (Blog, Inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho), and started another on the inspiration side (Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin). I defined my purpose for the blog, book and new project using The Action Book by Behance (it’s an a-mazing tool, btw). I came up with measurable goals for the blog, book and project and created my summer reading lists.
Here are some highlights from my time….
Just a few months ago, my sweet friend arranged a meeting with a published author for me. I was excited to hear more about his journey into the publishing world and glean any advice I could.
As the 3 of us sat around the bar table, I was struck by how brave he was. I had recently been noticing that in all of my favorite authors. The common theme was they had overcome their fear of failure in order to pursue their bigger-than-self dream. It was exhilarating… and scary, all at once.
We chatted for over 2 hours and I walked away invigorated and deeply challenged. He didn’t sugar coat anything.
At one point in the conversation, he said something along the lines of, “Don’t tell me how much time you don’t have. We all have the same amount of time each day. Yes, you are a mom of 3. Sure, your children keep you busy. There are moms of 5 out there, working full time and single parenting while chasing their writing dreams. So. What are you gonna do with yours?” Yikes.
It became clear. I was at a crossroads. Was I going to sit around and dream about the time “someday” when this writing thing will happen, or was I going to pursue it? Full-tilt pursuit.
Sure, it will be messy. Yes, there will be times I’ll want to throw in the towel. I will prioritize and then doubt those choices. Sometimes that will prompt me to change accordingly and other times that will propel me to continue on, and get stronger as a result of my choice.
I will be forced to take myself seriously. And at the same time, required each day, to work for my planned amount of time, and then put it aside and determine to NOT take myself too seriously. There’s so much more to life after all.
And perhaps, the most sobering truth of all, pursuing a dream bigger than myself will require that I come face to face with the underlying question, “What if it just doesn’t pan out?” Gulp. And there it is. That’s the fear all great dreamers must face.
And each day, in the midst of that question, we must choose an exuberant (although sometimes not quite as confident) YES!
Yes to the dream.
Yes to our open hands and surrender to what that will look like.
And a ‘yes’ to settling on the belief that no matter the outcome, the pursuit of the dream is always worth it.
So, CHEERS (glasses clinking) to you for joining me on this journey.
And CHEERS to your dreams.
CHEERS to pursuing these dreams with big intentionality and even bigger surrender.
And CHEERS to believing our dreams are ones worth sharing with others.