Today marks the start of a new season in the year – autumn! And for me, this month marks the start of a new season in my life – one filled with an extended stretch of free time and reborn creativity in the words, crafts, images, and ideas I generate!
But, in an effort to make and keep things simple (at least this time around), I’ve zoomed in on the dreams I shared with you all at the start of 2015, so that I can see what parts of them are reasonably doable now. Meaning, no more excuses – no more hiding behind a busy work schedule, no more discrediting my talents and abilities due to lack of belief in them, no more defaulting on promises to myself because of poor budgeting or a lack of funds to budget. What can I accomplish at this moment, but in smaller steps with even less in resources now than before, to prevent myself from becoming so overwhelmed by those big dreams that my “little engine” of confidence loses steam, eventually dropping back down the mountain of progress to roll off track altogether? I say lots. Lots of small victories can add up to a war being won.
For one, last week I publicly shared through this blog and Goodreads an excerpt of a book project I’ve been hiding behind as a writer for the past five years. Sounds very simple but believe me, that took a major shot of courage. Most folks I’ve known closely or met through work in the last five years have heard a quick rundown of what I call “my story” – what brought me to be in Egypt at just the right time to meet my future husband. But, I doubt many knew I was actually writing a memoir about that period of my life. In bursts of productivity over these long years, I wrote, rewrote, printed, rearranged, edited, and reprinted draft after draft – mostly of part one in the book, and mainly just to “sit on” what I’d done thus far. However, it wasn’t until this past New Year’s that I set a personal goal to be a published writer by my birthday this November, preferably with this book in print.
Researching literary agencies, the query process, and publishing timelines brought me to starting this blog. Yet, I didn’t feel prepared enough to “come out” with even a drop of what I’d written so far on the book. I thought I needed an established platform, months of growing followers, and the perfect pitch first. But, after renewed soul-searching this summer, I realized there’s no time like the present, and the only way to move past my excuses, procrastination, and need for perfection was to just “go with what I got.” November is right around the corner, ya’ll!!! And not only did I release my death grip on a few unfounded fears, I also used the inner momentum I’d generated from posting excerpts online to submit requests for representation at three literary agencies last week. Nothing major has developed (nor will in the next two months), but I’m not stopping with just these three agencies. These major leaps of faith I count as small victories.
For two, I created a simplified version of my 2015 vision board. This summer I was feeling very disconnected from everyone and everything I held close to me, lost – between an old job and a new one, between an established home and a temporary one, between close coworkers and office strangers, between a daily routine and not much of one at all. So, to bring some sense of structure back to my scattered thoughts, sidelined goals, and ever-changing physical space, I decided a clarified vision was in order to remind me of my purpose and place. Not nearly as loaded as the first with quotes and clippings competing for my attention, this board has its main sections narrowed down to three themes – work, life, and fashion (beauty). I believe, in the overall scheme of things, that’s all I should focus on right now but with the key distinction that I apply for myself what those themes mean or represent for me.
In the work section, there’s a stack of books (representing my prolific writing), a DJ (representing my “alter ego” DJ Lady Luck, sharing tunes weekly that inspire and motivate myself as well as others), a graphic asking and identifying “what gets you to happy” (representing a question I always come back to asking and answering for myself), and a reminder to “BE A (fill in the blank) for the DAY” (representing my “inner kid” desire to make each day an opportunity for discovery, dress up, and imagination. Hey, it worked pretty well for Mr. Rogers! Right?). Then, in the fashion (beauty) section, I have reminders to empower myself, accept my natural beauty and current physical shape, be financially smart about my fashion purchases while daring to take what I already have and stylishly mix it up more often than not. All these clippings represent my aim to be my own definition of beautiful, inside and out. Last but not least, there’s the life section. This area takes up about half of my board space but is filled with the connected message to: “live life unfiltered, and oh the places you will go with purpose.” Again, small victories make a major impact.
For three, as you may have noticed with today’s post, I’ve simplified my blog – opting for a cleaner look, shades of calming cool colors, more strategic use of images, and additional pages to highlight all my outlets of artistic expression. With streamlined thinking, an open approach to blog topics, and a better understanding of how I can utilize this media platform to more effectively promote related projects, I am back on track for changing my world one dream at a time. And though I’ve been told it generally takes a year for a book to make it to print once an author has signed on with an agency, I’m not letting that discourage me from achieving my ultimate goal of being a published writer by this November. I mean, with every day, week, or month that I add a post to this blog, I’m self-publishing my work. And that counts towards me moving closer to my MLK (Ms. Lucretia King) dream.
Small victories matter.