When I tell people about my journey to becoming an author, two things usually happen. First, I get told how brave I am for daring to escape the rat race and pursuing something that I’m passionate about. However, there is nothing at all brave about what I did and I was pooping my proverbial pants the whole way through. Had I fixated on the end result, I would probably have crawled back into bed and hid beneath the covers due to overwhelm, but focusing on writing one chapter a day didn’t seem so scary. Taking small steps towards my creative goal was manageable, and as one step became two, and three steps became four, suddenly I was moving in the right direction. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you shouldn’t expect to achieve your creative goals overnight. Take baby steps, and you will soon find that you have climbed a mountain.
The second thing that happens is that people confide in me about their own dreams of writing a book/recording an album/acting on stage. When I ask why they aren’t pursuing their creative ambitions, I’m promptly offered a plethora of excuses, which fall into two broad categories: ‘I don’t have the time’ and ‘I don’t know how/where to start.’ The trouble is that these excuses are simply proxies for the real reason why they are not fulfilling their creative potential: themselves. I spent years making the same kinds of excuses for why I could not get my novel drafted. I didn’t have the time to write, because my job and social life kept me too busy. I couldn’t afford to give up my day job, because I had a mortgage to pay. And my favourite: I needed to do a writing course or degree first, because I had no idea how to write a book. Yet ultimately nothing changed in my situation except me.
When I committed to my creative goals, I stopped trying to find reasons not to act and started finding ways around the obstacles that lay in my path. Quitting my job gave me the time I needed to write, travelling to the other side of the world removed the social distractions, and renting out my apartment not only covered my mortgage payments, but also the substantially lower costs of living in Asia. As for that writing course, I never took it. It might have helped, and it still might, but I didn’t need to do it. You don’t need anyone’s permission to start writing. The validation of a ‘qualification’ might make you feel more confident, but it’s not a necessity. Every time you write you are learning to develop your craft. Just ask any author out there.
The only thing holding you back is yourself, so get out of your own way and start taking action today. Don’t put it off until next week, next month, or next year; start now. It doesn’t have to be drastic, it just has to be consistent. Choose to make your creative goals a priority in your life and commit to doing something each day to achieve them, however small. Treat your writing as though it is as important as your day job and make it subject to the same rules. When you can’t finish your work within normal working hours, you work through your lunch break, stay late at the office, and in many cases even take work home with you to make sure that things get done. Think about what would happen if you applied that same logic to your creative work. What if, instead of finding reasons why you don’t have time, you looked for where you might have time? Wake up an hour early, write during your commute or on your lunch break, or stay in the office an hour later to work on your writing before packing up for the day. It might not seem like much now, but over time it all adds up. If you wrote just 300 words a day, you’d have an average length novel in about 8 months.
You have a choice about how you live your life. The choice may not always be an easy one, but it is a choice nonetheless.
So ask yourself this: why aren’t you pursuing your creative goal and what one thing could you do today to bring yourself a step closer to achieving your dreams?
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HOW TO GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY by @marishapink http://goo.gl/Lr9Dcd #theartistunleashed #aspiringwriters #writetip