Recently a friend asked me, “What is your writing process? How did you decide to leap from one career to another?”
Initially, my writing process required committing to the voice in my head that said, writing a book is something you have to do. It was a must-do calling. Taking a creative leap requires us to immerse ourselves in something risky and unknown. To commit to the vision that starts as a mere voice in our head.
Once I allowed myself to follow the voice that encouraged me to write, I had to overcome my fear of failing. Self-doubt is powerful. Our insecurities can fuel our internal critic and leave us questioning, Can I do this? Will I fail?
Everyone starts as a beginner in their chosen field. Time and practice are the only things that allow you to hone your craft; which means our decision to focus on the work is the foundation to any outcome.
In “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell says this about mastery, “If you work in a complex, cognitive discipline it takes 10,000 hours to reach mastery.”
For instance, if I wrote four hours a day, five days a week for a total of 20 hours, it would take 10 years to reach a level of world-class ability.
Before you make the scary and often overwhelming decision to do it, you have to allow yourself the time to create. I have found this process often messy and intense, but the rewards as I progress are significant.
One of my great lessons so far has been not to give up when writing feels like climbing to the top of Mt. Everest where the air is thin and I can barely breathe. I celebrate the days when I achieve a goal I set out for myself. Whether it is launching a website and slowly building a social platform, or reading a chapter I just finished and trusting the words that are staring back at me from the page.
The process is a dance between what we want, what we know to be true about ourselves, and letting go of the voices of self-doubt.
We can’t shy away from what we want because of not knowing how we will get there. Once we start, the process is in the pursuit.