One of the best things about my new intentional life is the ability to spend time doing things I really enjoy. As I downsized, I knew I wanted my life to include more time to travel, more time with family and friends and more time relaxing. As I was thinking about what my dream life looked like, I didn’t know it included writing. But here I am a couple of weeks away from launching my first book on Amazon.
Fear of Failure
I started writing when I was 9 or 10. I loved reading the Nancy Drew mystery series and I was determined I could write a mystery story that was as exciting and fun all by myself. I spent hours developing my own story line and filling up notebooks with my ideas. The whole process was fun and exciting.
But here is the thing. . .I never shared my story with anyone. Even as a child, I was nervous that people wouldn’t like my writing. I was worried they would laugh at my ideas. And I didn’t think it was really something I should pursue.
As I have gotten older, I have started worrying less about what people think about me, but I’m still not immune to the fear of failure. Putting our time and effort into any type of project and not succeeding is tough. It’s something most of us avoid, but if we aren’t failing from time to time we probably aren’t growing either.
In junior high and high school, I always looked forward to classes that had short answer or essay tests rather than multiple choice tests. I was always better at translating ideas and concepts into stories than I was memorizing facts and figures. In college my love of reading and writing translated into a liberal arts degree. But never once did I stop to think about how I could pursue writing in my “real” life.
I have a Masters degree in History, and my favorite part of my coursework was writing my thesis. I loved going to the library and doing research, I loved the process of trying to decide how to share the information and most days I loved the actual writing process. Ironically, I ended up in a career that involved very little writing. In some ways I guess writing still didn’t seem like a viable “responsible” option to me.
It is easy to dismiss our talent and passions in today’s world. We are often raised to focus on how we can make a living rather than how we can pursue our passions. It is easy to ignore the things that we love and are good at in the pursuit of survival. And obviously not all talents are going to allow us to make a living, but what if they could? How would that change your life?
Shake it Up
Luckily when I changed my life last year, it involved a new Tiny House and a new job as a speechwriter. The combination of these changes helped me uncover the joy of writing again.
The fact that I write for my “real job,” has changed my view of my writing ability. It has helped me remember why I like to translate concepts and ideas into stories and it has allowed me to watch people respond to my words. But most importantly, this job has given me confidence as a writer.
Sometimes shaking up our lives allows us to gain the confidence we need to follow our dreams. Withou a job change and a significant lifestyle change I doubt I ever would have considered publishing a book.
I don’t think everyone needs to move to a Tiny House and change jobs to uncover forgotten passions. It’s as easy as shaking up your routines. What can you do differently that would give you more time to find out (or remember) what you are passionate about?
Share Your Story
In January, I started my blog as a way to share my Tiny House journey. And writing for my blog has encouraged me to share my story with a broader audience. So I am taking a leap of faith and writing my first book.
Dream Big, Live Small: A Guide for Intentional Living and Downsizing, is in the final stages of editing, and I am excited and terrified about its big debut in a week or two.
But here is what I decided. Sharing my story not only allows me to pursue a passion I forgot I had, but it also allows me to share my story with others. If even one or two people start living a more intentional or authentic life after reading my book, then I have succeeded as an author. And that dream is 25 years in the making!
Maybe your story is waiting to be told.