Those two words sit there, so unassuming, so plain-looking. But they are far from innocent. They are a battle cry, a conviction, a revolution within my own thinking, within my own heart. Those two words are the invitation to enter into the kind of life that isn’t made up of dreams and ideas and schemes and concepts. Those two words are the entrance into the blood and tears of effort, action, attempt, failure, success… and the cycle of doing it all again.
I guess it makes sense: if you want to be a great writer (or anything really), you have to shut up and do.
It’s exciting to dream, but the first steps when you commit that dream to action… that is the hard moment. I’m not ready. I’m organizing my thoughts. I need to clear some big time chunks for this. I have to shower. I need a coffee refill. I can’t find the right music. Dreams quickly fade when we throw excuses at them. So, we end up needing a new dream, get excited about something new, and start the process over again… once again failing to take the first step and doing the work.
This reminds me of something I say about both marriage and parenthood: “You’re never ready. You either decide to do it or not.” Ya, there might be smarter times in life to get hitched or to have a baby, but at the end of the day these new things you become are so paradigm shifting and “brave new world”-ish that you can never be prepared completely for it. You either do it or not. If you take the plunge and become a husband or a father, nothing is ever the same. Your self is forever altered by this identity.
Same with dreams. In my case, being a writer. Either I am going to start writing, leaning into that declaration and belief, or I’m going to be forever never taking the first step. So then I never take the second. So I never take the third. So I never do what I dream.
I am proud of the fact that I am blogging regularly. It’s been hard, but I am doing it. I am writing! However, I don’t just want to blog. There are two books I want to write. There are probably more in my head and heart, but these two I’ve thought allot about, started pulling together my thoughts, drafted titles… pretty much everything except actually started to put down the actual words for the books.
Let’s change that. I am going to start writing for my books. I will still blog, I will still practice writing in public, still share my thoughts, but some things (like a book) take longer to write. I can do this. I can write the books that are in me. I’m going to need to get up earlier (ugh!), stay up later, make use of my time, pen words instead of glazing my eyes over with Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. I am going to keep writing even when the words will get dropped to the editing floor, even when it’s like pulling teeth, even when it’s flat. Initiative doesn’t mean I get it right, it means I know I’m not ready to be a master at my art yet, so I jump in anyways. Ready or not, here I go.