How I’m chasing after my dream, and it scares me to death

keep running

Before we got married, Mr. Right asked me what my biggest goal was in life.

To write a book.

It was an easy answer, something I’ve always felt compelled to do, from the time I sat in my high school English classes and savored every word of so many great authors. The dream continued through college, and my love for writing became more and more obvious as I pursued a journalism and English degree. Words are like water to my soul – as I go through my day, I narrate it in my head, looking for interesting ways to frame my ideas and observations, entertaining myself with a running dialogue and trying to find the right words to turn something ordinary into something interesting.

Maybe that’s how I ended up in advertising?

But back to the book. I was meant to write a book – my soul longs for it. But the rest of me had no idea where to begin. Books are just so… long. And intimidating. How could I commit to just one story, one set of characters with which I would develop such an intimate relationship? I would have to live with them forever – such a daunting idea that it made me terrified to even begin.

Besides, what if I wrote my book, and nobody liked it?

But good old Mr. Right, who pushes and pushes me toward being brave. He told me that if writing a book was my biggest goal, then he would do everything in his power to help me make it a reality.

Sometimes that kind of support is so annoying. He told me that he wanted my first chapter from me that Christmas, but I wasn’t ready. I wanted to put it off further.

But that Mr. Right is pretty persuasive, and so he got his first chapter, not by Christmas, but by the following Christmas.

And then life happened. I got pregnant, and very, VERY sick, and then, you know, I had a newborn and things like showering and feeding myself seemed like luxuries, so there was no time to write a book. As always, the seasons changed, and life became a tiny bit more manageable (I will never, ever, use the word “easier”), and so Mr. Right started pushing again.

What a waste of years to have a dream, and all you do is think about it, wish for it, but never actually do anything to accomplish it. That’s what I was doing. Mr. Right saw that, plus the fact that I needed a break from being a responsible adult every once in awhile, and told me that he was going to start giving me Monday nights off to work on my book. Between you and me, I was kind of hoping for Monday nights off to get pedicures and have dinner with girlfriends and do mindless things. But he specifically said it would be for my book.

And so, every single Monday night for the past 13 weeks or so, I have handed off the baby, driven alone to a coffee shop, and worked on my book for a few hours. Some nights I churn out five pages, one night I churned out 15. At the beginning, I took what I had already written (about 30 pages) and rewrote everything, which took several weeks. And then, after studying the work flow of other authors, I learned that the best thing to do is to just throw words on the page and get through a story, and not get caught up in editing and re-editing and getting lost in the weeds. First, birth the story, then make it beautiful. And so I’m in the process of birthing a story, something that is more than half-way through (although, with plenty of holes that will need to be filled in later).

You guys, I am more than half-way through with my book! With my life dream! Do you know how mind-boggling that is, to actually DO what I have always felt like I was made to do?

It’s not easy. Every Monday I make five excuses of why I need to stay home instead of go write. And every Monday night Mr. Right shoos me out the door, and once I get settled in with my decaf latte or hot tea, with classical music playing through my headphones, I get lost in this story that I’m trying to tell.

It’s terrifying and outside my comfort zone, and yet I am so… proud.

I’m being brave. And guess what… it’s fun.

brave

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