I’ve been reading a book about writing for a few days now. It’s not the first one I’ve read, but something about it has really penetrated to the heart of the matter for me. It’s got my wheels turning.
I know a few things about myself, probably things you guys have known all along. When I enjoy something, I go for it. I am an enthusiast. Not only do I want to learn it, I want to teach it. I want to know as much as I can about it, and I want you to learn it and love it, too. I talk about it, research it, I get bumper stickers and business cards and join internet groups about it. It becomes my FAVE.
I have a lot of faves.
Some don’t have a lot of staying power. (You should see my collection of crochet needles, guitar picks, fondant rollers, and framing supplies) Others make the long haul, only to hit a wall. But a few things, they manage to survive the ever growing list of things I love– but they stay in some sort of stasis. I’m still invested, but not producing.
I tell myself, it’s because I don’t have time. Or money. Or energy.
I say, I can’t possibly.
But, something has changed. Something has awoken in me, some part of me that is outraged at the repression, at the “I can’ts.” Something has had enough.
And now I see this carefully constructed shield of excuses I have built. Not having enough time, having five children and homeschooling and being involved in all these other things– all just excuses. All to hide the fact that I am simply, afraid of failing. Afraid I’m not good enough, that I can’t work hard enough, that I can’t handle the pressure of making an actual, physical goal and meeting it. Afraid that if I try, and I can’t or won’t see it through, then I (and everyone else) will know what a big letdown I really am.
But, this book- I don’t know, I just had a light go on.
No more excuses. No more fear. No more I can’ts.
I want to set a goal, and take actual steps right now to meet it. I want to persevere. Even if what I have at the end isn’t perfect or reasonable or marketable or logical to anyone else– I want to know I’ve done it. I need to know I’ve done it. I’m tired of not challenging myself because of fear. Life’s too short. Nobody cares if I do or don’t– nobody else is telling me, “You can’t.” I’ve been telling myself that, which is the shame of it all. I just need to believe in myself, stop sabotaging myself before I even try.
So, I’ve committed to myself, an hour a day, to writing 300 words. It’s the minimum, and the maximum. Such a small sliver of my day, one that is easily lost to t.v. or Words with Friends or extra long soaks in the tub– but it’s also the biggest leap, the riskiest use of my time. It means I’ve asked something of myself, and that’s scary.
Maybe the fear will stick, I don’t know. Maybe that’s a natural part of going after a dream, and this whole time I’ve been waiting for it not to be a frightening thing. Whatever, but I’m done turning away from it. I’ll be brave, and I’ll do this thing. Whatever shape I’m in by the end, it will be such a joy to have that dream in hand, real and solid and mine.
Because the alternative, a life time of never even trying– is not just scary. It’s tragic.
Now, every time I hear myself say, “I can’t,” I will change it to, “I’ll try.” And in a year, when I look back and consider the past twelve months– I know I’ll be content with the effort, the struggle to DO those things, to reach my goals, to try for the dreams– instead of the regret of another year lost, another year waiting, another year hiding.
Let this be the year, I Try.