by Julie, enjoying a few days on Cape Cod
As part of my life coaching practice, I’ve been taking a class on career transition coaching. This week the conversation was about doing the research to know what a new career entails. The facilitator called on me. “Julie’s a writer. Julie, what does someone need to start writing?”
What she was looking for was a list like this. Space to write, a laptop, classes to help learn, time, professional support.
But my answer, or the answer I would have given in another context, is this. What you need in order to write is the deep belief that it’s possible for you to do, and the determination to figure it out.
Wanting to write a book, or run a marathon, or climb a mountain, or perform, or create, or bake a show-stopper of a cake–all of these creative pursuits start with a “wouldn’t it be interesting if” or “I’d love to do that” idea. From there, many people let the dream die because it’s hard to figure out the path. Or the path itself is difficult. But taking that leap of faith, to believe that it’s possible to achieve the goal, that’s one of the secret ingredients.
Believing that everything is possible, and working to figure out a path, isn’t a guarantee you’ll find a publisher, or get a medal, or win an award. But the point is that you’re opening yourself up to the possibilities that the pursuit offers. And you’re taking action. Which is much better than wondering if you could have done it.
At the end of October, I decided to do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) because Sisters in Crime was sponsoring it. I’d done NaNo twice before, and had barely clocked 3,000 words each time. Would it be possible to write 50,000 words in one month, I wondered. I decided two things. First, to show up every day. The second thing I decided was to really try. As it turns out, it was possible. Last week I added more words, and finished the very, very rough first draft of Garden Squad #5.
Now, of course, there are very real barriers in front of folks who try to do what feels impossible. I’ve found that a mindset shift has helped me with some of my own barriers. Rather than waiting to celebrate the finishing, I celebrate the doing. Right now I’m taking a painting class online. The only way I can enjoy the process is to show up, watch the lesson, and have fun trying. My painting is not likely to be a masterpiece, especially with the way things are going right now. But by celebrating the doing, I embrace what is possible, and keep going. I’m not waiting for the future to happen, I’m celebrating the now.
2020 has been a time of reflection for many of us. Perhaps it’s the optimist in me, but I suspect that as people look toward 2021, they’re thinking about what matters, and adding some “I’ve always wanted to” items to their list. If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s to rethink my goals, and reconsider what I didn’t think was possible. Hence the canvas in my living room, full of possibility.
Friends, have you done something that you once felt was impossible? What gave you the courage to start?