How to Start Following Your Passion
Writing has been a passion of mine since I was a child, but I have always had a long list of things to do before I could get around to making it a priority. There’s always been something more pressing or someone else’s needs that were more important than my hunger to put words to paper: a client needs a workshop, my kids need my attention, or my husband needs to go on a business trip. Something always got in the way. Because I allowed it to. Until I figured out a few things that would help me prioritize my passion.
The first thing I did was get clear about what I wanted to do and the impacts it would have. When I told my husband that I wanted to spend more time writing and less time consulting this year, and asked him how he felt about the financial impacts, he said, “I’m totally fine with it, but you realize this is the third time we have had this conversation?”
What a wake-up call. Clearly I’ve tried before and failed to prioritize my writing.
I think I’ve backed away from pursuing my passion because it means putting myself first. It means saying “no” to clients, friends, my husband and kids, so that I can say “yes” to me. I have difficulty putting myself first.
I needed my own permission to do it. I needed to be able to say, “yes — what I want and need is important, and I’m going to do this for myself.” Now I’ve said it, and I’m doing it. I’ve promised myself that I’ll write every day and so far I’m on track — blog posts, free writing, poetry, random thoughts — the words are hitting the paper. To help me out, I have told my friends and family that this is my year of writing and — to extend that accountability out — here I am telling the rest of the world. I am putting pen to paper and letting the words unfurl.
Another reason that I used to put writing last on my very long to-do list is that it makes me feel vulnerable, like I’m sharing my insides with the world. That is terrifying.
Even more terrifying is putting it off until the passion dies. I met a woman a few years ago at a writer’s conference. She had self-published three novels. She said she used to be afraid of putting her writing out into the world, of discovering she was terrible, and of feeling embarrassed. I could relate. I asked her how she got past it: she was diagnosed with a terminal disease, and realized the worst thing wouldn’t be writing something terrible, it would be to die having written nothing at all.
Think about that for a moment.
I went home that night and started writing. The ensuing novel is in its final round of editing, to be sent out into the world soon. It has taken two and a half years because it was low on my list of never ending tasks. But I’ve plugged away at it, slowly but surely, I’ve been following my passion. I’m almost there — and I’m going to keep going.
I am claiming loud and clear that 2017 will be my year of writing. It’s time to give the passionate writer in me her due, to let the stories and the poems and the blog posts pour forth. To relish this sensation I have that when I am writing I’m happier and therefore a far better parent, spouse, friend and consultant.
What about you? What’s that passion you never make time for? What can you do to give yourself the gift of allowing yourself precious moments to do what you love? Want to join me? Check out my blog at Stephanieberryman.com. Let me know what you hunger for and how you’re planning to feed it, one small bite at a time.
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