There’s a very big reason I write. I’ll get to that in a minute. I used to have this false assumption that if something was meant to be it would just happen. You know the drill, the stars would align perfectly and a meteor shower of possibilities would open up and by simply star gazing your world suddenly turns amazing.
Funny. Funny, mixed up, twisted up thought globs. And not quite likely at all. It takes much more than that. Writing, my friends, is quite intentional.
Yep. You have to make it happen.
DON’T WAIT FOR TOMORROW
A big life changing experience helped me realize that. Just over 4 years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer with a re-diagnosis 2 ½ years later. It came as quite a blow. I had plans for my life that stretched out until I was 88 years old. Life’s direction was now a galaxy of guesswork. I had a wake up call. My life plans were not so solid any more. But, it also came as a beautiful blessing because this cancer curse helped me focus on what I wanted to do with my life. So, naturally, I decided to amp up my writing. And I can’t complain about that.
It was during that time that I forced myself to follow my dream to write. I faced the reality that life doesn’t wait for big moments… you create it. And if you wait you just might miss your opportunity. It was time to chase mine. It was fun to dream about writing success (and I think that is the magical part of writing) but it was time to set my alarm and get to work.
Sure, before cancer, I did a little writing here and there but mostly it was sporadic.
COMMIT TO A PROJECT: START SMALL
The biggest thing I did to follow my heart was commit to a project. It was the starting point of my personal success.
I started small. I wrote a free article for the cancer center then worked my way up. I materialized that blog that had only been a hologram in my mind (and nearly puked from anxiety when I launched it). And I got brave and submitted some articles (though I haven’t devoted much time to article writing it was quite rewarding). I accepted opportunities to stretch me as a writer by attending workshops, writing regularly for the thinkingthroughourfingers.com website, and said yes to speaking engagements.
All of this was intentional. And all of it stretched me.
Explore your options. There are many ways you can be intentional: start a family newsletter, write the words to a song (youtube it if you’re brave), write greeting cards, wallpaper your bathroom with old journals (ok, maybe not that one). Find something you aren’t doing and get to it. Commit to a project and go.
Ok, so here’s the nonfiction junkie part of me. Bear with me. The Oxford Dictionaries site had these synonyms for intentional: “deliberate, calculated, conscious, intended, planned, meant, studied, knowing, willful, purposeful, purposive, done on purpose, premeditated, preplanned, preconceived.”
The word I liked best was “premeditated.” I find it a strong word, probably because it’s associated with some supped up Matlock case, but if we want to kill it in our writing there has to be some forethought. Think about it. That is the one thing you can do as a writer to make you most successful. Take time to figure out what you can do to take your writing to the next level. Plan your next move and take action. Ask yourselves what little thing you can do to expand your writing experiences.
Then be intentional about it.
I love the explanation found on the nationalgeographic.com site under the topic: stars. It states, “Some stars have always stood out from the rest. Their brightness is a factor of how much energy they put out…” or into it, right? Writing takes work. You have to plan, study, premeditate; pull the telescope out and look closer at the details. Devote some energy into your writing and naturally it will become brighter.
One of my favorite things to do with my family is to star gaze from the trampoline. The weight in the middle of the trampoline forces us into some cuddled bump glump. If you lay there long enough you will see a shooting star about every 5 minutes. But, you have to be looking for it. Patience and focus is key.
Give yourself time. According to nationalgeographic.com, stars take billions of years to evolve. How’s that for a black hole of hope? You’re welcome. But, I think we can relate to that, just ask any writer you know. Becoming a writing star takes time but if you don’t be intentional about your writing you will never go anywhere with it.
Every effort counts. Don’t worry if things don’t go exactly as you planned in your head (they won’t). It’s all part of the process to build you as a writing star. Enjoy the process of writing and in the meantime you will see star wonders of encouragement in the sky if you are looking for it. Be patient and stay focused.
Once I made the small efforts to step it up as a writer I was amazed at the meteor shower of possibilities that opened up by not just star gazing but by pulling out my telescope and looking for and maximizing my opportunities.
I’ve learned that writing isn’t a matter of destination, some predetermined lot in life that will land gracefully in my lap. Writing success is a matter of where you take it. Writing success doesn’t just happen.
Put yourself out there. Take that step in the dark, get a little scared, look to the stars then board your rocket and take off. Don’t get stuck being star struck. It’s time to be a little more intentional with your writing. You’ve got something amazing to share. I know it because you are here reading this blog. Your passion for writing exists… now don’t miss your opportunity because life can change in a moment and you’ll realize tomorrow may never come. Believe me, I know. Today’s the day, don’t waste it.
What intentional step are you going to take today?
Christie Perkins is a survivor of boy humor, chemo, and faulty recipes. She loves freelance writing, blogging, and is a nonfiction junkie. Her stage 4 cancer doesn’t knock down her passion for life and writing. Not a chance. A couple of magazines have published her work but her biggest paycheck is her incredible family. Christie hates spiders, the dark, and Shepherd’s Pie. Bleh. Mood boosters: white daisies, playing basketball, and peanut butter M&M’s. You can find out more about her on her blog at howperkyworks.com.