My themes for this year’s A-Z challenge are writing, the writer’s life, and living in the creative flow.
There are so many things, people, and circumstances that demand your attentions every day. Most writers don’t have the luxury of simply shutting their entire world down for days at a time, or jetting off to foreign locales to focus solely on their writing.
I hear you.
For most of my writer life, I’ve worked full time, raised young children, and managed a home for four people. There have always been hundreds of distractions, interruptions, must-do-nows pulling me away from writing time.
And still, I am as we speak putting the finishing touches on my fifth novel, Affective Needs, that will be releasing this July.
I could tell you that it has been simply a matter of setting word count goals every day and showing up enough days in a row to complete these projects—because that certainly is part of the truth.
But there are and have been a couple other, less concrete actions as well.
First off, I learned to believe in myself as a writer. I am a writer and therefore I write. This sounds so simple, especially now that I have direct evidence to support this belief in myself. But I remember how difficult this was at first. Even calling myself a writer out loud was hard. Now, when people ask what I do, “I’m a writer,” rolls right on out with a smile.
Secondly, I have and continue to intend aspects of my writing career and the books I will write.
How is this different than the concrete goals I set for myself you may be wondering.
My goals are exact, I know for certain I can obtain them, no-brainer get to work and you’ll get there action items. “I will write 1,000 words today.” “I will finish chapter 10 tomorrow.” “I will email five fellow bloggers about xyz today.” I know exactly how, and that I can, accomplish any of these goals.
My intentions don’t always have such a clear path.
Here is an example:
I have, for years, wanted to be able to transition into leaving my job and writing full time. I wanted to do this, but I had no idea how I could make it happen.
I didn’t, for a long time, even believe this would be possible for me.
Last October, I had a heart to heart conversation with someone who is highly intuitive. She brought this topic to the forefront of my attention by pointing out some pretty sobering beliefs I held about myself. Limitations I believed in.
“Open yourself to the possibility,” she advised.
“I’m scared,” I admitted.
She nodded her head.
So for the next few months, I worked on simply being open to the possibility of writing as a full time career move. Instead of doubt, I allowed myself the freedom to imagine what that would look like. That imagining led to stronger feelings. I suddenly really wanted this, and I let myself want it even though I still didn’t see any real way of making it happen.
I stopped being afraid of becoming a full time writer.
I began to trust that this would somehow work out.
Then things kind of started to work out.
My book sales increased.
I started to receive more invitations to speak and teach about writing.
My blog traffic picked up.
Then one day out of the blue, my husband suggested that I quit my job and focus on my writing.
Two weeks later, I told my boss that I would be leaving at the end of May.
All of these things are still accelerating. Opportunities that I never would have planned on continue to present themselves. I have, and am, intending a writing career for myself. It is vastly different from my concrete goals that I set every day, week, and year in that my intentions are not things that I know exactly how to do.
They are bigger than word count.
Harder to plan than completing a book.
They are the things I want and then lean my life toward. I’ve been letting the Universe fill in the details.