We tend to focus on the big achievements in life – the prize-winning novel, the gorgeous new baby, the move to head office. But while those are exciting, heady ‘wins,’ there is a special magic in the small, unheralded first step one takes on the path towards these goals.
That first step is your declaration to yourself, and to the universe, that there’s something you want and that you’re committed to making it happen. It is a time of vulnerability; a time when we can fear ridicule or failure. But by bravely opening ourselves to those possibilities, and stepping out boldly, we seem to attract the help of the cosmos.
“Follow your bliss, and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you never expected to find them,” said mythologist Joseph Campbell, and I think he was right. Take a few small steps in the right direction, and you never know what will happen next.
A writer teaching at the SFU Writer’s Studio credits the successful publication of her novels to a hand-assembled, low-budget chapbook she put out for a very local audience. It happened to catch someone’s eye in the publishing business, and the rest is history.
I’ve recently met a wonderfully interesting woman halfway across the world thanks to a chance comment I made on a writing forum – you never know who will read a random posting. I know another writer who made great connections by volunteering to give a reading at a graduation event.
I’m not suggesting that bevvies of New York literary agents are lurking in our midst, ready to leap up and discover us the moment we open our mouths or enter a local writing contest. But when we take a small step in the direction of our dreams, the result is often an encounter or a response that gives us new ideas, fresh energy or an added dimension to our project. All sorts of helping hands, both ethereal and earth-bound, line the paths of people who are being true to their passion.
You may never get your New York agent. But chances are you’ll be living the life you want, wherever the journey takes you. Just think. What small step could your Writer Self take today?
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