I like WordPress. Have done since the leader of a seminar I was attending encouraged all of us to write a blog as one step toward building a platform. At the time – this was about three years ago – I was only beginning to understand how our lives were being impacted by the growth of social networking. I’m certain I didn’t understand how to set up a blog (although I had fumbled around a bit with Blogger) and I hadn’t grasped the long-term influence blogging might have on my writing future.
But now, thirty-six months later I’m quite comfortable spilling my inner demons for the world to read. I’m happy to share the struggles of an aspiring writer. Let me correct that. I’m not aspiring to be a writer. I am a writer. I’m aspiring to be a “successful writer”. What is that? How do we judge success? Is it the first paycheck? If it is – well – I managed that last year. Or maybe it’s finding an agent. Am I not a success if an agent wants to spend time selling the words I lay down on paper? Ah yes, but I know it won’t be enough. The book will have to be sold to a publisher. And even then I won’t be happy until I’m on Oprah. Or listed in the New York Times. Or win a Pulitzer.
I dream – as the cliché goes – big. I can see how long the road is, and, since that first and only paycheck just about filled my CRV’s gas tank – I can see how far I have to go.
So – getting back to wonderful WordPress: as part of their commitment to the “post a week” concept they’ve been providing suggestions for topics. I’m generally able to come up with my own – case in point my lambasting of the Yoga Journal Conference in my last two posts. But today’s suggested topic intrigued me:
What’s the most important thing you’re putting off?
And why haven’t you done it yet? What do you need to make it happen?
I’ve been putting off making the kind of commitment it takes to be the successful writer I know in my heart I have to potential to be. I blame my insane schedule. I blame my raging hormones. I blame my age – I really should have begun all this fuss earlier in life. I blame the day of the week and the fact the sun shines on my computer screen at an awkward angle. But none of those excuses are credible. This is what it boils down to:
Not fear of failure – I’m had plenty of failures. I know how to brush myself off and climb back into the saddle. I’m talking about fear of success. What do I do then? What happens if I actually succeed?
In the past, when I’ve thought about what success looks like, it has always involved being over-committed, flying back and forth to New York, rushing about. Having to find my inner extrovert. The pressure of always being good enough. That’s the picture I painted in my head of success.
What if I paint a different picture? What if the picture includes being able to afford a home of my own and a secure retirement? What if the picture includes a schedule that allows me to teach the yoga that I love but also gives me solid days of secluded writing. What if the picture includes – wait for it – a yearly vacation?
I feel better already. Now I’m motivated. But the question remains, how will I make it happen?
By taking the first step.