It’s always a little scary when thinking of starting something new. I know, because I’ve started, re-started, and begun many new projects. Every time I start something new, I begin questioning whether it’s the right path for me. Is this something I want to continuing doing, and what is involved in starting the new project? I believe in making informed decisions about any new start.
When it’s been a new career path I’ve considered, I’ve done the only thing I know how to help me make an informed decision; research. I look into all the aspects of the new option to see where the road might lead me, and whether or not I think it’s something I might enjoy doing for the foreseeable future. When I started out in real estate, I went on-line to learn what courses I’d need, the cost of those courses, and checked out some of the local brokers to see what I thought of their platform. I then booked the courses, and booked interviews with the brokers I was considering working with, but I asked as many questions as they did, since I wanted my choice be good for both sides.
Once I’d made up my mind, I knew I’d done sufficient investigating to ensure minimal surprises, but of course every new venture comes with some unexpected pitfalls. I mean, it’s impossible to foresee things around every corner. What I’m talking about is checking things out to get a good sense of whether or not I think the obstacles are ones I’ll be comfortable in tackling.
It was the same thing when I transitioned from real estate into residential mortgage lending, and then novel writing. I wanted to learn as much as I could about the business, obstacles, and advantages before making a final decision. I’ve always said I’m a student of life, and life has taught me to be thoughtful and prudent when making choices. It doesn’t mean I may not change my mind later about whether or not to continue in the career I’d chosen, because I certainly have. To me, that’s the other beauty of choice; you can choose to either continue walking the same path, or investigate a new one that seems to be a better fit. I truly believe we create the life we want to lead by the choices we make daily.
I’ve discovered a lot about myself through this process, and I know I need to be challenged in a good way, and I don’t suffer fools gladly. I’ve learned that I’m self-driven and prefer not to have someone looking over my shoulder telling me what to do, and when to do it. I work hard at my chosen career, no matter what it happens to be at the time. I’ve also learned that writing offers me the freedom to do as I wish, when I wish it, and I’m driven to establish concrete working routines to accomplish tasks. For me, writing is the perfect marriage of challenge and tasks. I love it, but it’s taken me over fifty-four years to get here. What I know now though, is that had I not gone down some of the other roads, I might never have discovered what I have about myself, and learned the skill sets I’d need to continue walking this long dirt road called writing which is full of pot holes, hills, and steep drops.
I still get the butterflies in my stomach, and I still tend to second-guess myself while I’m in the investigation stage of any new project, but once I’ve made up my mind to do something, I dive in head-first. I immerse myself in the work, the learning, and how-to’s, and I love the challenges that come with it. I give any new venture my best shot, and I’ve learned to be patient for the rewards. Hint; I’m not a particularly patient person by nature. I prefer things get done or achieved today, not tomorrow, or the tomorrow after that. Still, as my family knows, I’m a work in process, and that’s okay.
One of the things I do when stymied as to which way to turn before tackling a new project is to allow myself the time to mull it over. I’ve learned quick, impulsive decisions aren’t always the best for me, and if I allow myself to just think things through, I’ll come up with the right decisions for me. It comes down to listening with my gut, and using my instincts to tell me what’s right for me. It’s while I’m thinking things through that I do the research part. For instance, I’ve begun doing more public speaking on motivational topics, in addition to my writing and publishing talks. since discovering a love of connecting with people one-on-one, sharing my personalal story of triumph over the fear of failure, and inspiring others to go after their own dreams and goals.
When beginning a new book, I do the same thing. A story line or plot will start to form in my head, and so I’ll write a few short points about it on my computer (at my age, memory can come and go, so it’s best if I write it down somewhere). Then, I’ll let it all simmer while I continue on with the current project. I’ll do a little research into the subject matter, then let that simmer a bit as well. Now, I’m not talking about a long time, I’m talking a few weeks to perhaps just over a month. Once I decide I’m ready to tackle the new project, the excitement begins to rise. I begin to envision the characters, their struggles, and how they feel about certain situations. It’s like a movie that plays in my head, day and night, until I HAVE to write it.
The writing feels good, the words typically flow easily, and I get lost in the story. Once it’s ready to be published, I begin to get anxious again. Will publishers and/or agents see the merit in the story? Will the public enjoy the characters and get drawn into the plot? I’m nervous as all get out, but at some point, again I have to trust my gut. I remind myself I’ve dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s, and with the aide of my publisher, I’ve done the very best I can. My stories are released like an offering to the waiting readers, and I hope they enjoy my work, and perhaps find some small take-aways from it; whether because it gave them some enjoyable entertainment or respite from their everyday, they could relate to one or more of the characters, or it made them think about something going on in their own lives.
I’m a communicator, I always have been. I believe my job, as a writer, is to have sufficient faith in myself and my stories to release them into the hands of readers around the world, and believe I’ve succeeded in some of the above goals. After the release of a new book, I start another one, and the cycle begins again. It’s a never ending carousel that goes round and round, but when it stops to take on new riders who join me on my journey, the ride gets even better, because it’s shared with others.