People ask really good questions when you say you’re writing a book. And they expect you to know the answers. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. For moments like these, I practice conversations when I’m by myself. I don’t just practice the words. I “see” the entire conversation, setting, audience. For years, I used to consider what Oprah would ask me as I sat across from her. I also used to prepare notes in case I was ever asked to give remarks at church. Hey, you never know!
In other words, I do a lot of daydreaming. And while I never got those calls, I did get a few others. And things I learned as I visualized my dreams still serve me well today.
Recently, I did some mental mapping for my answer to questions about my start as a writer. In doing so, a memory popped up. Turns out, I was a “blogger” years ago! I’d been low-key chiding myself for not starting sooner and not being more intentional with my writing journey like others I admire. (I know, I know. My path is my path, yada yada. Stay with me, people.)
In my “conversation,” however, I recalled the letters I used to write in the late 90’s. I purchased stationery and pens and I’d hand write each letter with words of encouragement and mail each one every month. My list included ladies from church, friends, and even a few of my mother’s coworkers. As I got more sophisticated, I’d print them out on a computer and still sign them and address each envelope. Why did I stop? Life. When I hit a bump in the road — specifically, divorce — I decided to take some time and regroup. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t share my writing in that way again for years.
During the interim years, I wrote skits and plays, took a screenwriting course and even saw one of my plays in production. But I didn’t touch the personal stuff. Each time I felt my testimony was taking shape and I could share, life hit. I took those hits to mean others wouldn’t find worth in my words because my life status didn’t exemplify the traditional meaning of “success.” Today, I know better.
I understand now that we can’t judge success on a scale that has someone else’s name at the top. Every time I diminished my progress, it was because I looked to the left or right of me and set my markers by their race lane. No more. Now, I get it. All those years of talking to myself (yes, I know that’s what it was) paid off in perspective and poise. When I’m blessed with the opportunity to get a microphone now, I’m a bit less nervous than I would be if I hadn’t “seen” it and already succeeded in my mind’s eye.
Take time today and daydream. Let your imagination go as far as it dares….then follow it.