Prompt #15:

Do your work, and I shall know you. Do your work, and you shall reinforce yourself. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Take a moment, step back from your concerns, and focus on one thing: You have one life to achieve everything you’ve ever wanted. Sounds simple, but when you really focus on it, let it seep into your consciousness, you realize you only have about 100 years to get every single thing you’ve ever wanted to do. No second chances. This is your only shot. Suddenly, this means you should have started yesterday. No more waiting for permission or resources to start. Today is the day you make the rest of your life happen. Write down one thing you’ve always wanted to do and how you will achieve that goal. Don’t be afraid to be very specific in how you’ll achieve it: once you start achieving, your goals will get bigger and your capability to meet them will grow.

(Prompt Author: Colin Wright)

Response:

Okay, okay, Universe, I think I get the message: you have been sending me friends, prompts, television segments, songs about speaking my mind, and more. You want me to start writing the book I have always dreamed of writing.

I was reading one of my friend John’s latest projects (he is working on both a second fiction piece and a nonfiction piece right now) the other morning. Talking with him this afternoon, I am reminded that he has the true spirit of an author: enthusiastic, open, tenacious, imaginative. He writes daily or almost everyday. He makes writing a priority in his schedule, balancing that passion with his career in IT at one of our local school districts. John is totally committed, attending conferences, networking with publishers, purchasing a comfortable writing chair. He makes authorship a part of his authentic lifestyle. Even though he hires me for editing and brainstorm sessions, I often feel I am the one really learning from him. He models the kind of persistence and brave work ethic a writer needs to have.

Often I have been waiting for my book to write itself. I’ve many times had the thought of, when the book is ready to come out, it will come. I will feel it in my fingertips. One lesson this Emerson project has taught me, though, is that part of being a writer is writing everyday. Write out those awkward words, and the sparkling words might emerge later. The point is to generate thought, to lubricate the creative, writing mind and keep it limber. Maybe somewhere in all of that writing is the start of one or two or three viable, good, authentic ideas. Maybe there is a phrase that will spark a whole book length project.

So, my steps:

1) Write daily, look at everything as a possible topic

2) Reflect on my recurring themes

3) Begin outlining a nonfiction book (I want to start with a nonfiction work, as I feel strongest in that genre)

4) Don’t worry if the first manuscript is not perfect—it won’t be

5) Have friends and family read it for feedback

6) Many possible avenues for publication…self-publishing, e-book, ????? Let’s see if it is any good first 🙂

7) Have courage. I often wonder why anyone should want to listen to my ideas. I need to have the courage to find where my heartstrings intersect with the vibrations of my audience. How can I use to my sincere words to touch them in their most sincere place?

When I was a child, I spent hours writing little books, both fiction and nonfiction. In fact, writing made up a large portion of my playtime. As a young adult, I wrote constantly in my journals and notebooks in my free time. I have often said that writing keeps me in touch with my true self, with a healthy and contented self, with my passionate self. Asking me not to write would be like asking me not to breathe.

So, start a booklength project? You win, Universe. It’s time to start taking that goal seriously.

 

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