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Monday, June 24, 2013

The Scariest Thing For a Writer

I hate moving. Seriously.

It’s not that I’m half bad at it—I can pack a house fast enough to freak my husband out. But it’s a task I deplore. Maybe it’s because my astrological sign is the crab, which makes me want to hunker down in my shell-house and stay put. Maybe it’s because of a time in my life when I didn’t have the security of a home. Or maybe it’s because like most people, I am reluctant to embrace change. Whatever the reason, tearing apart what I’ve spent years putting together does not rank on my top ten thousand favorite things to do.

Dreaming of a better life, on the other hand, is something I love to do. My husband and I have been known to talk all night about our dreams for the future and our family. Talk is great, but the time comes when one either has to live the dream or be okay with leaving plans in the dream world forever. So this past month, after years of wouldn’t-it-be-nice, we decided to pull up stakes in order to find a better living situation. And it occurred to me while packing boxes and clearing out junk that writing is a lot like moving.

So many people talk about that book they’ll write someday, or how they’ll finally take the next step and “get serious” about writing as a career. Bump into these same folks two years from now and most will still be saying “someday”. But there will be those here and there who will have shaken up their lives in order to see their writing dream come to pass. 

What's that got to do with moving? The process of taking that step isn’t necessarily any prettier than moving to a new home. The photo at the top of this post shows just one corner of our current chaos. Mayhem has ensued! It’s sad and more than a little stressful to have to disassemble all the things I’d arranged Just So. (Not to mention I managed to dislocate my shoulder in the process--ouch!) At different times in my writing career, I’ve had to make changes to further my goals. I’ve quit jobs, altered the type and amount of writing I produced, and yeah, began my “serious writing” journey by disassembling the house to make room for a writing area. Just like each of those times, I know that the end result of moving will be more than worth the pain and stress of our current upheaval. But that can be difficult to see when you’re standing at the front of the mountain, wondering how to tunnel a road through.

The scariest thing for a writer is to veer off the easy path and go down the road to fulfilling that dream. What if people don’t support your choice? What if you work your heart out and the book fails? What if you never earn enough to replace the income from that day job? Those fears can keep us rooted in place, just like our fears of the unknown in moving to a new place kept us in a bad situation for years. Instead, fast forward and picture yourself already at the goal line, and work your way backward to determine how to get there. Then make a promise to yourself to do it! Not “someday”. Set a date on the calendar and go for it.

What are your goals for writing right now (or a current pursuit you enjoy)? What do you do to give yourself that push onto the scary road?

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On Mondays I gab about, well, pretty much whatever I want!

I'm J. Rose Allister, wife, working mom, and the author of over twenty-five books. Somewhere in between one and the next, I love hanging out here on my blog and over on Twitter. Give me a comment or follow-I love chatting with people! And if you enjoyed this post, consider sharing with friends and subscribing for updates.

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