“Writing is just not your thing. Don’t become a writer.” I heard those words my Freshman year of college from the English Professor. Creative Writing 101 was one of the few college classes I enjoyed. Yet, I couldn’t seem to score higher than a “C” on most of my stories.
I set my dream of writing on the shelf.
Words have power and can shape your identity if you let it. I chose to let one person’s opinion shape my identity as a writer. The dream would stay dormant for five years.
“You’re going to write a book someday!”
Not long after I was married, my wife said those words to me. I couldn’t have been any further away from being able to fulfill that declaration.
I had no audience.
I had no experience.
I had no manuscript.
I had no book idea.
I was just a high school teacher.
As far as I was concerned, I was in the wrong place, wrong time, and going in the wrong direction for that to ever come true.
I even skipped typewriting class in high school to take Yearbook instead (talk about long-term thinking). To this day, I still don’t set my fingers on the home row.
Yet, words are powerful. My wife’s words that day set in my heart a belief that I could be a writer someday.
I forgot about those words my wife spoke to me until this past Spring. One day in March my book came in the mail. There’s nothing like holding your own published book in your hand for the first time.
I handed it to my wife and tears began to come to her eyes as she held the book in her hands. She looked at me and said, “I told you…you’d write a book someday.”
It was a special moment we shared together.
After coaching thousands of bloggers and writers over the last few years, I’ve discovered there’s really only one thing standing in your way. It’s not your brand, your lack of time, or lack of ideas. It’s really just one thing.
My friend Dennis McIntee says, “What you do flows out of who you are.” Your struggle to blog or write consistently might have nothing to do with lack of time, lack of ideas or inspiration. Your struggle might just be with your identity. Change your thinking and your actions will change.
Steven Pressfield calls this “turning pro.” It prompts a simple question: If you were the best in the world at what you do, how would you behave? In his book Turning Pro, Steven Pressfield writes:
“When we turn pro, everything becomes simple. Our aim centers on the ordering of our days in such a way that we overcome the fears that have paralyzed us in the past…This changes our days completely. It changes what time we get up and it changes what time we go to bed. It changes what we do and what we don’t do. It changes the activities we engage in and with what attitude we engage in them.”
Take a few moments today and ponder whether your constraint is an identity constraint.
If it is, you just need permission to pick that dream off the shelf, dust it off, and use it again.