Just Sit Down and Write
(I’m going to take the disappearance of the original draft as a sign that I’m supposed to just keep practicing getting my butt in the chair and writing, which is what this post is supposed to be about anyway—just sitting down and writing.)
I’m a writer. I’ve been a writer for as long as I’ve been a reader which means I’m going on 30-something years of knowing that words are my lifeline, that this is the work that I’m meant to be doing. I don't think that our dreams are random. I believe that we dream our dreams because our soul already possesses the knowledge and raw skills that are required for us to materialize those dreams. Knowing that you are capable and acting on with those capabilities are two different things. What is it that keeps us from action?
For the past few years, I’ve set out to be a writer. Not just a writer, but a writer who writes poetry. A writer who writes about food and about wine and about the people behind the food and the wine. And yet, here I sit without any of it made visible.
I want to talk about how life-changing it is to have crisp, green lettuce on a burger. I want to tell you about how this wine I drank today (2017 Liocco Pinot Noir from the North Coast) manages to be juicy with fruit flavors but not overripe. And then there’s the petite brunette who left a career in finance to follow a passion for wine, crafting unique and balanced blends named after obscure yet strong women in history.
I mean, yeah. I can do that.
But there are a few things that I’ve let block me and maybe they’re blocking you too. (If there’s one thing I’ve learned after all these years of sharing stories on the internet, it’s that despite how different our lives may be on the surface, many of us are trying to navigate the same struggles.)
Thinking that I lack the right qualifications. What does this even mean, anyway, this lack of qualifications? Aren’t you a writer if you are someone who writes? If we continue to wait for external validation that we are capable of pursuing our dreams, we’ll spend most of our lives anxious, depressed, and full of regret. I’m completely guilty of this and it’s my biggest hurdle. Even though I know that I have the smarts and work ethic to do anything I want to do, I am afraid that my lack of training/experience/certificates/degrees means that no one will take me seriously. And a lack of qualifications might make people discount me—but only for a short while because once one has committed themselves to do the work, the work becomes your source of credibility.
Thinking I don’t have enough time. Yes, I'm a full-time mother of three and a wife and I work part-time on the weekends at a tasting room. I'm also working on building up my own business here in a new state after a move across the country. My life is full. Maybe even beyond full. But for as full as my life is, I spend a good chunk of my day scrolling through Instagram and checking my email. I’ve gotten this far in the post and it’s only taken me 20 minutes. More than 550 words in only 20 minutes! 500 words in 20 minutes, twice a day is 1,000 words. 1,000 words a day for a week is 7,000 words which is more than enough for published articles or a short story or a good chunk of a novel. What I’m saying is: most of us have at least 20 minutes a day that we can put toward crafting a dream. Consistency and focus, even in little bitty bites, add up.
Thinking I have to do it alone. When I look over my past successes, I can see where key relationships played a part in helping me move forward. Whether that was gathering the courage to crowdfund a literary magazine, getting over my fear of collaboration to work with women in different time zones to weave together retreats and workshops, mentors in my head or mentors in real life who gave me insight and encouragement. Success does not occur in a silo. But it takes a little bit of courage and vulnerability to be willing to make the ask. So, I’m working on asking for help when I need it. Turns out I need a lot of it. And I’ve also learned that most people want to be of service. I know that nothing makes me happier than to be able to share what knowledge I do have with others who are in need of it. I have to believe that there are others willing to do the same for me.
And thus here we are. I've sat. And I've written. And I hope to do it again, and again, again. (Turns out, it's really not that hard.)