This week is a BIG week for me. Not only is it my 35th birthday (!!!) but I’m officially closing in on the date that began my decade-long journey to becoming the writer, author, screenwriter, coach, entrepreneur, etc. that I am today.
September 22, 2008. That was the date I set in January 2008 as the deadline for writing the first draft of my first novel. My 25th birthday.
It didn’t happen without struggle, falling off track or putting in the effort. But it happened.
After nine months of showing up, putting in the work and finding ways to hold myself accountable to doing what I said I would, I finished the first draft of my first novel (while sitting on the couch in the dark, by candle light, on my laptop with a dying battery, during Hurricane Ike).
It was the ultimate overcoming of my procrastination. But my journey didn’t stop there.
And ten years later, as I approach the anniversary of my very first official writing deadline that I actually hit, I almost can’t believe that person in 2008 used to be me.
It feels like a lifetime ago, and when I look back on it, I honestly can’t even believe there was ever a time when I put BS like laundry and cleaning and dishes and TV before my writing. It feels foreign to me. Like I’m looking back at someone else’s life, but not mine.
Except that was me. And that really was my life. In 2008, I was the Queen Procrastinating Writer. (Hence the name of my blog back then, Procrastinating Writers.) I really did put EVERYTHING before my writing.
It’s so easy to look at your current reality and tell yourself you’ll never get there. That other people can do it, but you can’t. That there’s something fundamentally flawed about you.
I know that way of thinking oh-so-well. I used to think those same things. I used to believe that my procrastination was going to be the death of my creative dreams.
Because I had no idea how to overcome it.
Every day I was steeped in fear and doubt and uncertainty. Every day I wondered if I really had what it took. Every day I compared myself to writers who were more productive than I was.
And I never felt good enough.
But thankfully, my desire to have the end result–aka: a published novel–drove me forward. Even when I was scared. Even when I felt shitty about myself. Even when I procrastinated so badly I never thought I’d make it happen.
In all the chaos, I somehow continued to believe that the dream came to me for a reason: because I was meant to achieve it.
And so I did. I finished the first draft in September 2008. I spent a year rewriting it, and then I decided it wasn’t working (because it was an episodic narrative, not a story) and I set it aside to work on another story. That story ended up becoming SoundCheck, the first novel I published, in May 2015.
But just because I’d achieved the original goal didn’t mean my procrastination magically went away. Quite the opposite.
My procrastination was just as bad in 2015 as it was in 2008. I had just gotten better at pushing through and doing the work anyhow.
That comes with time. It’s not possible to journey to a goal and not pick up lessons and resources and tools along the way to help you.
And after a decade-long journey, I finally feel like I’ve reached the point of no return.
I no longer want to indulge my procrastinating behaviors. I no longer want to avoid the writing. I no longer want to deny my creative ideas.
I want to put words on the page. I want to unleash what’s inside. I want to put it all out there and be all of me. Always.
I’ve journeyed on this path for long enough now to know that doing my soulwork makes my life work. And I’m no longer available for my life not working.
I’ve reached the point of no return.
And you will too, if you just keep going. If you just keep overcoming the challenges and struggles. If you just keep showing up as consistently as possible and do the work, day in and day out.
No. Matter. What.
If you do that, you will eventually get there. You will eventually wake up one day and you’ll no longer recognize who you used to be. You will eventually be to a place in your writing and creative life where the idea of not doing the work will feel unheard of.
I know it’s hard to believe that right now, as you sit there feeling stuck, stagnant or like your procrastination and fear and doubt and Resistance will never go away. And if someone had told me I’d get to where I am right now back in 2008, I probably wouldn’t have believed them.
But it’s true.
If just you keep going, you WILL reach the point of no return eventually, and once that happens you will be all in on living the creative life of your dreams.
Dream life or bust,