Tell me, what’s your thing?
You know, that thing you’ve always wanted to do that stays safely hidden on the back-burner, that’s worth your doing? Completing a 10K race? Finishing a degree? Starting a family? Skydiving? Singing karaoke?
For me, it’s writing a book.
It wasn’t always clear to me why I’d even do it. Yeah, I’ve always loved reading and exploring the world through the written word. I also love jazz music, though I’ve no intention to become a sax player (you’re welcome). It’s that its part of my purpose to share and connect and support you with my favorite instrument, the pen.
For years the thought of writing a book remained on a low simmer. Until recently.
Before the pandemic, I was writing about the importance of Pause in daily life and leadership. Initially enthusiastic, I found my energy flagging at the daunting reality of writing a book.
I wanted my book to be valuable, and I wanted it to come easily. Come up with the topic—outline it —write consistently (and brilliantly). Voila!
Suddenly I’m interrupted by Tom Hanks’ exasperated voice in A League of Their Own, “It’s supposed to be hard! If it were easy, everyone would do it.”
Now, I don’t subscribe to the belief that everything worth doing has to be hard, but I understand the gist of what it means to answer the question, ‘what’s worth doing?’
- What I’ll write about.
- Why it’s important to me.
- How to write consistently.
These ‘mighty three’ are useful to you as well when training for that 10K, completing a college course, or heck, making dinner: What, Why, How.
Turns out the creative writing process required even more of me than I could’ve guessed.
As my poet friend, Renee, pointed out, “Who we are as human beings and who we are as crafters of language are inextricably linked.”
The process of grappling with my outline, keeping the content engaging, and writing daily revealed something else unexpected: my abiding ‘human being-ness.’
Who knew?! Okay, Renee knew.
Some of my other human traits that were revealed while writing may be familiar to you as well. They love to show up when we tackle something big:
I wanted certainty. I wanted to know the right turn of phrase, the answer, the direction. And much like life, it’s rarely possible.
I grappled with my pace and needed to drop my self-judgment about how it should be going—and wasn’t—in order to find my rhythm, not fight it.
I got stuck, stymied by the tight structure I’d set for myself. Instead, I needed to connect with the essence of what wanted to come through me, and listen to the greater wisdom that lies just beneath my ego. That took certain courage that came only after a bit of wrangling.
All in all, it’s been a journey of fits and starts; some I did badly at times, and others I’d not trade for all the learning.
Another surprise was how effectively the content of my book integrated itself into my life while writing; an ironic and fine point about my intentions for the book.
- What is worth doing, Chris?
- Why is it important to you?
- How will you move toward it?
I’ve come to embrace the sage words of artist and author, Julia Cameron, “Once we are willing to accept that anything worth doing might even be worth doing badly, our options widen.”
Be inspired to do your own thing and feel the richness in listening, grappling, feeling off-kilter, and coming back home.
May you recognize through your own creative process – it’s all worth it!
The final draft of my book, The Leadership Pause, was submitted and is closer than ever to being in your hands!