“Start before you’re ready,” they say.
The collective they are a very smart bunch, but do you know when I feel ready? When I’m safe, when I’m comfortable. When I’m insulated from criticism or feedback.
(What’s that, you say? YOU TOO?)
But that’s not where I’m great. It’s not where we (the collective we!) are great. That’s not how we achieve anything, learn anything, do anything worth doing.
The scary things you want to do? The ones you’re sure you can’t do yet?
You need to go do them. We both do.
There will never be a “ready” for the things we’ve never done before. Do you want to leave this earth having never done them?
I got a new car in 2012 and there were two things that were very important to me: a sunroof and navigation.
Even though, my husband told me these were not particularly important things to worry about when purchasing a car, my sheer stubbornness won out—as it often does—and my Jeep came equipped with the navigation (and sunroof!) I so desperately desired.
Even still, occasionally, my car won’t know where to take me. I’ll sit in the drivers seat, plug in the address, and my GPS will search and search—but the directions won’t appear. It hasn’t been there before (and I haven’t updated the software), so it doesn’t know where to start. What’s the first move it needs to make to get me exactly where I want to go?
That’s where I am right now. I know where I want to go, though I can’t see the entire journey mapped out for me.
(At least I’m in the driver’s seat, right?)
I can’t pretend like I don’t need to make money. And I won’t pretend like I’m particularly attracted to the whole “starving artist” concept. It is undoubtedly hard to make money as a writer (a creative writer, no less)—which is one of many reasons why, I think, I avoided trying to for so long.
But it it not impossible.
It is hard and uncertain and fucking terrifying. But it can be done.
So now, my business is being a writer. What does that mean?
I’m still figuring it out myself, really.
But here’s what I’m thinking: It means writing every day. It means taking my words as seriously as every word I’ve ever written for a client. It means reading (and rereading) the work of writers I admire. It means writing a book. It means supporting and encouraging other writers, young and old. It means being courageous and bold in my writing—and not being afraid to share what I wrote. Or rather, being afraid and sharing it anyway. It means sharing my journey—the wins and the missteps—with the hope that I’ll encourage you on yours, as well.
We may not all be—or want to be—writers, but I’m certain that we all have dreams we long thought were impossible; passions we still long to pursue. Let’s do this together.
Let’s start before we’re ready.