I was at a friend’s wedding a few years ago when I met a nice, middle-aged woman who happened to sit next to me in the chapel. Since I was pretty much the only person I knew at the wedding (besides the bride and her immediate family), this woman and I decided to buddy-up and chat during the reception dinner. We got to talking and somehow, someway this lady figured I was a writer. I’ll admit I’ve kept my true love of words a secret from practically everyone except my mom (most of my friends and family have very little interest in books), so the fact that she was able to deduce that so quickly let me know she was a woman of good insight. As we got to talking about writing, she gave me a good piece of advice: “Just do it.”
At first, I thought she was sounding like a Nike commercial, but then she explained to me what she meant-if you want to write, then write. Don’t let fear of failure or your own insecurities hold you back.
That wedding was nearly 3 years ago. And though I felt inspired by her words after I went back home, I didn’t heed her advice. I didn’t write hardly at all. And for the most part, the stories I wanted to write just remained in my head.
And so 2013 came along. I was working and staying involved, but writing was still in the background. It was what I wanted to do, but with no money and no connections, it seemed like an impossibility. On Sunday nights before bed my mom and I started watching Joel Osteen, the American Christian preacher based in Texas that’s on TV every once in awhile. He had a sermon about having a calling-like something you knew you loved to do and you knew you were meant to do it. Like this woman at the wedding, he talked about not letting fear or insecurities hold you back and that if you had a dream, you should pursue it.
I sat there listening to his words and was brought back to all the times this had been told to me. First by my mom, then by the woman at the wedding, and now by this TV preacher. And then I came to realize why my dream of being a writer wasn’t coming to pass-it was because I wasn’t making it happen. I was just sitting around, waiting for inspiration to hit me when all along I had the inspiration inside myself and it was just waiting to come out.
So I started to change things. I started writing, even when I didn’t feel like it. I participated in NaNoWriMo even though I was working all day and exhausted by the time I came home to write. I started a blog. I tried to learn more about the art of writing itself. I started researching publishing opportunities.
And after finally doing it-after finally putting my dream into action instead of just letting it fizzle in my mind-I’m seeing everything slowly come together. I’m feeling more confident. I’m happier with my work. I’m writing more than ever. I’m finally doing what I want to do.
I’m finally a writer.
So as 2013 comes to a close, I look back at this year as a beginning. A beginning not only for a hopeful writer career (I’m trying to be optimistic, ha ha), but most importantly a new beginning for myself. A beginning of a life that is not defined by insecurities and a fear of not succeeding, but a life that is defined by confidence and hope-that even if I never publish or finish a novel or anything, that I at least can say I’m doing what I love and I’m proud to follow my dream.
So thank you, 2013, for my beginning. And here’s to 2014-whatever it may hold!
Happy New Year, everyone!