Last week I blogged about new beginnings and I said that they can be had at any age. I hope that post resonated with you because I truly believe it and I’m living proof. My life consisted of being a boring Accounting Controller up until 2012. Now, I create worlds that people (and myself included) get lost in. This week, in compliment to New Beginnings, I’m going to speak about The Path.
Dreams are very easy to…well, dream! But for those dreams to take flight we need to follow the correct path or at least a path. This is where most people fail. I’ve said it before (or some form of it) and here it is again: Nothing is accomplished without a plan set into place and actionable steps to move the plan ever forward.
That translates to The Path.
I won’t harp on the logistics…I think I did that in New Beginnings, but if you’re stuck in knowing what The Path is, I’m going to try and provide a blueprint. It has to be generic, so bear with me as I muddle through.
I promise to (try and) keep it short.
Whatever your dream or new beginning is, you need to develop a plan or path. What that path will be is dependent on your level of knowledge. In New Beginnings I urged you to stop dreaming & just BE IT & I hold fast to that advice. If you don’t believe in yourself, you’ll never convince others…so, that’s truly the first step.
Granted…most transformations don’t happen overnight because they take time & work, rightly so–but as of today, I want you to say to yourself: I am a (insert new beginning here.) Once you truly get into the mindset of what it is that your heart desires to become, it will make the process much easier. That isn’t just BS. Believe me…I’m the biggest skeptic on all things. I know you wouldn’t gather that from my writings but they’re two different worlds. My internal judgmental clock ticks faster than my misfiring beating heart. But you must find a way to convince yourself.
The next most important step is knowledge.
Remember, this is your dream. If you truly want it to take flight…take the steps that will make it soar. I’m not saying that you need a Master’s Degree, unless if that is what it’s going to take, but many dreams are accomplished without a lick of schooling. So, determine which route that will be–for you. For an example, I’ll use myself.
I have an accounting degree & not one iota of creative writing courses have I taken within that curriculum. Again, I’m not saying those courses wouldn’t be beneficial, but I’ll save you having to read the list of writers that have never even finished school. I read EVERYTHING I can get my hands on involving my craft.
When I wasn’t working in boring accounting or reading a novel from one of my favorites, I was filling my head with knowledge on the craft. For years, I’ve sat in Barnes & Noble and voraciously read all the writer magazines. (Don’t judge! I’ve supported BN immensely…they can let me sit & read a few mags.) I also googled articles online & read all my favorites advice on writing, etc.
The most important thing that I have done is READING… I read everything that I enjoyed and felt would be the sort of novel that I’d write. This isn’t plagiarism or plain old copying, no, not at all. It’s the smartest way to learn this craft. Those little gems of novels have been written & polished to perfection. What better way to learn something than watching how professionals do it? I’ve also been learning marketing this way. I pay attention to what professional graphic designers are putting out and I emulate their copy & advertisements! Through this process, I’m actually learning & seeing what truly works.
A little side note about writers. The shift from writing fiction to writing advertising copy is a difficult one. Our brains aren’t hardwired that way and it often feels scammy or salesy, neither of which I want to be. So, taking a lead from the pros has helped me find a balance.
Once you determine how you’re going to learn what you need to in order to make your dream-beginning happen, the next step is goal-setting. Without goals, you’ll forever be stuck in learning mode. Some use this as a crutch & it stalls the final outcome, sometimes preventing it altogether.
It’s all about the push & drive, people! Don’t let fright hold you back & if you think you aren’t afraid of success, think again. It’s a tricky one. If you never finish, you never fail, right?
WRONG! If you don’t succeed, you fail.
I set dates as to when I needed to be finished with my first novel. Did I finish in time? HELL NO! But that isn’t the point. I did finish the novel, albeit a little later that I’d anticipated, but chalk that up to the creative process. The point is I was scrambling & pushing myself each day towards that goal and why? Because I set the date.
Once you’ve set a date, the obvious (or maybe not so obvious) step is to work as hard at reaching that goal as possible. Work as hard towards it as much as you want it to happen. The thing about that… It’s really easy to want something and even easier to whine about not having. Be honest with yourself during the process, because in all fairness, no one is going to care as much as you do.
A really important step most overlook is evaluation. At some point (preferably before the goal date) you should take a moment to evaluate how far you are at reaching that goal. For me, it was word count. I used my daily word count to keep me “accountable” in reaching my goal. Some of you may remember me posting that word count every day. Many of you were like cheerleaders, cheering me on and I loved it! It took the edge off the hopeless feeling and drove me to push on.
I know that my seemingly slipshod approach to a blueprint may seem vague, but honestly? That’s all there is to it. People look for magic in the process of making dreams a reality. There is no magic, only hard work. The magic comes at the end from all the hard work that was put into it.
There’s nothing that irks me more when I hear someone badmouthing a successful person like they don’t deserve the success. These people’s words scream jealousy and it’s obvious to all within earshot–but to themselves. Rarely, do we recognize our blatant flaws, but those successful people weren’t handed that success.
They earned it. Give props!
When I see an up & coming writer making it big with a breakout I don’t glaze over with envy. I repost their success & give them praise. That’s just good karma for karma’s sake.
Here is the easy blueprint summarized:
- EMBRACE the new you. Accept that you ARE insert new beginning.
- ARM yourself with the knowledge of your insert new beginning.
- SET realistic goals in order to become insert new beginning.
- YIELD for evaluation to ensure you’re working hard to achieve insert new beginning.
The Path to a New Beginning is never easy. And it shouldn’t be because if it were, everyone would be insert new beginning. There is a reason why all of us cannot do EVERYTHING. There is a reason & purpose to the meanings of our lives & it’s up to you and you alone, to figure out what that meaning, means to you. Once you do, look back at this article & tell me if those four easy steps are not what anyone would need in order to find success. Best of luck to you in whatever it is that you hope to accomplish. I’m always open for questions & comments in the section below.