I’m not the kind of person who’s smacked in the feels by bottled-water commercials. I swear, I’m not.
But I had Chopped running in the background last night and Food Network had this commercial on heavy rotation.
The basic message is this: Someone is going to do the thing you really want to do. It might as well be you.
It isn’t even about being a breakout superstar, either.
Just — someone’s going to finish writing their novel this year.
And someone’s going to land an agent.
And someone’s going to decide to keep trying, if they fail.
Someone’s going to say what you want to say.
Someone’s going to tell the kind of story you want to tell.
Someone’s going to do those things — and they don’t have contacts or a ton of money or some kind of supernatural ability to shine.
(Those people are out there, but they aren’t like us and I’m not talking about them right now. I’m talking about some normal person who is going to do the thing you want to do.)
The only difference between them and you, if you don’t do your thing, is that they’re going to do it.
They’re going to do it, even though they don’t know for sure they’ll succeed.
They’re going to do it, even though getting their hopes up might disappoint them in the end.
They’re going to write their book, even though they don’t have any real proof that it will be published or that anyone will read it or that they’re even any kind of a good-enough writer.
They’re going to take a risk. They’re going to do the work. They’re going to try.
They’re going to sacrifice. Because everyone alive has a huge range of things they could do instead of working on the novel that they’re really afraid is absolute crap.
I’m not talking about time-wasters, either. Whoever that person is, they could be doing any number of worthwhile things instead of writing.
What makes them special isn’t their talent (they probably don’t have any more than you do.) What makes them special is that they will actually sit down and write their first book.
And here’s the kicker: chances are astronomical that they’re going to fail. They won’t become a bestseller. They won’t even sell their book. It won’t be good enough.
They’ll put in the work to learn how to be good enough.
And that someone is going to do it again.
And that time, their work will be better.
And someone is going to do it again.
And eventually someone is going to have the writing career you want.
Someone is going to do it.
The one thing that makes them really special is that they did it.
It might as well be you.
Think about what you want your life to be like, in ten years.
What do you know for sure?
I’ll be 57 in 2029. I know for sure that all my kids will be solidly into adulthood.
What do you know that you want?
Me? I want to be healthy. I don’t mind getting older, but I want to feel good. I also want to be financially independent.
What do you not want?
I don’t want to be like my parents-in-law — unhealthy thanks to decisions they made in their 40s. Dependent on their only child.
Now dream. Where do you want to live in ten years? What kind of work do you want to do? Forget about being rational. Just think about the things that someone is going to do — and imagine that it’s you.
I’m not sure where my 10-years-from-now house is, but I know what kind of house it is. I know just how it feels. It’s old and rambling and has a huge garden, room for chickens and maybe goats, and lots of people. It’s close to a city, but maybe not right in it. (But, maybe it is, too.)
I’m happy and healthy. I travel when I want to, but I’m happy at home, too.
And I tell stories. I write novels, but also movies. And I teach.
Someone is going to do it. They’re going to live in that house. They’re going to live that life. And they’re going to tell the kind of stories I want to tell.
It might as well be me.
Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She is an out-of-place Nevadan living in Northwestern PA with her husband, three superstar kids, two dementia patients, a good friend, Alfred the cat, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She’s on Twitter @shauntagrimes and is the author of Viral Nation and Rebel Nation and the upcoming novel The Astonishing Maybe. She is the original Ninja Writer.