I have always wanted to be a writer, even before I knew how to write. When I was 3 or 4, I used to tell my mom stories. She would write them down and then I would illustrate my new “book.”
I just knew I was going to be a writer some day.
The thing is, I expected “Some Day” to come and tap me on the shoulder, shake my hand and congratulate me on having arrived: “Well done, Brittany. You are NOW a real writer!”
The thing is, I didn’t know what Some Day looked like.
I did the whole aspiring writer thing: I went to college, got a BA in English (heck, I even got an MA in English a few years later!), taught for a few years (because making money by writing requires a sort of magical alchemy), wrote a few short stories, and started a blog.
I had no idea what I was doing in the blog.
I posted cute pictures of my kids and funny anecdotes about our life.
I dabbled in crafty and foody posts.
And I wondered when Some Day would come.
I was often overwhelmed with jealousy when I heard about the writing success of others, strangers or friends, who were blogging or writing books more successfully than me.
I sighed and wondered why they had all the luck.
I wondered when it would be “My Turn.”
My life got busier and busier with teaching, grading papers, and birthing babies (4 boys!).
I blogged when I had time, sometimes because I felt guilty that I hadn’t done it in a while.
I started to give up on my Some Day—maybe when my youngest son graduates from high school, I thought. Then I’ll have time to write.
Then, last fall, I did something I had never done before. When I assigned the “Goal Project” for my freshman class, I actually told my students that I had goals.
Yep. I told them out loud that I wanted to write a book “some day,” but my short term goal was to “Becoming a better, more consistent writer.”
It was terrifying to say it out loud, mostly because I wanted it so much and because I had failed to take any steps in a productive direction, even though I had been saying that I wanted to be a writer for over 25 years.
But something powerful happens when we state our desires and dreams out loud. It’s like the dream comes into existence for the first time, and then our words stare back at us, daring us, saying, “Ok, fine. Now what are you going to do about it? What are YOU, Brittany, going to do about becoming a ‘better, more consistent writer’?”
I knew that if my dreams were going to become reality, I was going to have to create some practical steps.
So, one year ago, this week, I bought my own domain name for a blog, this blog actually, www.thebamblog.com.
It was a first step. Instead of wishing that something would change, I started making practical plans.
I signed up for Write 31 Days, a blogging challenge where bloggers write each day in the month of October on the same topic.
It was a crazy, insane, what-are-you-thinking goal, an extremely difficult challenge.
But do you know what?
I did it—I did Write 31 Days 2015.
And it changed my life.
They say it takes 21 days to create a new habit and Write 31 Days taught me that I have time to write, even in the middle of my crazy life (and my life was crazy last October—teaching, grading, ear infections, appointments every other day: CRAZY YA’LL!).
But I made a new habit.
I got over my guilt of making time for something I loved.
I worked hard and took steps toward my dreams.
In January 2016, just 9 months ago, I made a new goal: Blog twice a week for one year.
Consistency has always been my Achilles heel. I needed to tackle my weakness one blog post at a time, every Monday, every Thursday.
And then, because I started planning, carving out time, and being consistent, things started to happen:
I started getting “yes’s” on articles I pitched to other websites.
Websites started emailing ME, asking if they could publish my blog posts.
People starting sending me private messages, telling me their stories, because after reading mine, they felt brave enough to speak for the first time.
My readership was growing and so was my confidence.
I started to feel like a “real” writer.
“Some Day” was coming a little closer.
I thought I didn’t have time to pursue my dreams, but that wasn’t true. I was mostly afraid of beginning. “Some Day” seemed impossible, so far away; I didn’t know where to start.
But once I stated my goal out loud, wrote down some practical steps, and made a commitment to be consistent, the whole world started opening up to me, or at least the world that I wanted to join, instead of jealously sitting on the sidelines.
My dreams have grown this year, and next month, they are getting even bigger.
I’m not doing Writer 31 Days in October but I am starting a new website: Mothering Beyond Expectations.
This collaborative blog will focus on the ways women learn to accept, adjust, and even grieve their expectations of motherhood in order to find new hope and purpose in their relationships with their children, their own personal growth, and in life in general.
I’m doing things that I never dreamed of doing a year ago: Website design, interviewing authors, collecting essays, editing and polishing and anticipating our October 1st launch date.
I can’t wait.
A year ago, this week, I was wondering when my “Some Day” would come.
But I finally stopped wondering and starting doing.
I made goals—little ones, then bigger—and started following through, making time for what I said was really important to me.
And do you know what? I think Some Day is tapping me on the shoulder, saying “Look around: I know I look different than you imagined, but you’re at the start of something big and beautiful. Keep working hard because we’re moving forward together.”
Do you have a dream?
What are you doing TODAY to reach that dream?