Writing is an act of discovery.
Writing can unearth truths you were afraid to face.
You think you know your subject or plot or characters, until the words begin to march to the beat of their own drum.
Sometimes you discover-perhaps from a trusted first reader–that your words fall flat. Or sound too familiar. Or leave too much white space.
Something is missing.
To write compelling stories, we have to mine our minds and hearts. This requires a certain boldness.
In drafting a story or essay, or even a blog post, you encounter numerous choices. Which turn will you take?
Some choices seem riskier than others.
To write something meaningful that will resonate with readers, we must take risks. We must learn to write at the edge of what feels comfortable.
We have to ask: what am I holding back? Why?
What do I fear by writing the truth, or exploring this matter?
Whenever I’ve pushed myself in this way, the net outcome was rewarding, whether yielding a stronger piece, satisfaction in my work, or publication. Rewards also come from the reader letters I receive.
The same can be said for our lives. Our limiting beliefs keep us from taking risks. So do our fears.
Fear of what others might think.
Fear of being uncomfortable.
Fear of facing certain feelings we’d rather keep ten feet away.
So we remain in the status quo. Settle into a comfortable routine. Stay inside our safety net—a wholly understandable choice in today’s upside down world.
Yet when we remain there, we miss so much. We miss experiences we can’t even yet imagine.
Sometimes the risk we take is for another. To show up when we’d rather stay home. This, too, can bring unexpected rewards.
I decided that 2022 would be my year of saying “Yes”.
Yes to new opportunities, relationships, experiences, challenges, and writing projects. I chose this action not only to face fear but to feel more alive. To have fewer regrets, even if the outcome isn’t what I hoped for.
But there was another driving factor in this shift: my continued awareness of the brevity of life and the uncertainty of tomorrow in our broken world.
I choose to say YES more often because next week, month, year, I may not have this choice.
A most recent and life-changing Yes was traveling solo from Boston to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala for an 8 day writing retreat. In deciding whether or not to embark on such a trip–my first outside North America–I found several excuses to say No Not Now. (It helps to have a few cheerleaders on your side.)
Stay tuned for the full story…which I wasn’t sure I’d live to tell!