“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden
It’s been a little over a year since I published my first book titled Red Earth Diaries. The book is currently ticking along on autopilot, generating the occasional sale, and the reviews for the larger part are mostly positive. It is incredible to think that just a few years ago, I had laughed at myself for having this outlandish idea about writing and publishing a book. Like most average folks, I have a very busy life, with a full-time job and two young kids, and there was a suite of ‘reasonable’ excuses that deterred me from embarking on this daunting project. I list below seven such excuses I kept giving myself in a bid to banish the silly idea of writing ‘Red Earth Diaries’.
- I have a family with two young kids. Where will I find the time?
- I have a full-time job and spend long hours at work. Ditto from above about time.
- I don’t have the skills and don’t think I will ever be a good writer.
- Who will read my book? What’s the point in writing a travelogue that no one will buy?
- What if I am unable to complete the project? All of my efforts will go to waste, wouldn’t it?
- There’s the editing, the book cover design, the marketing, the publishing…oh, this is too hard to even contemplate.
- What if people make fun of me? I don’t want to be a laughing stock.
But the mind, well, had a mind of its own…
Somehow, that germ of an idea took hold, and I began fantasising about my travelogue getting published in the mainstream literary arena. For three years, however, from 2015 to 2018, I did nothing but just procrastinate. And then there came a point where I realised that standing in place would not get me anywhere. I compelled myself to start walking in the direction of my dream. Those initial steps were faltering and haphazard, and I felt like I was walking blind in a raging blizzard with the full force of the howling winds impeding my advance. But slowly a path emerged from the fog of uncertainty, and my fears and apprehensions started melting away. The same seven debilitating excuses simply became personal challenges to overcome. This is what my new internal dialogue looked like:
- I will leave this book as a legacy for my children. If nothing else, I will strive to make it a fun read for them. I will also motivate them, by my actions, to pursue their own goals and dreams.
- I will make the time to chase my dream. I will work early in the morning and late at night. Half an hour of work each day will still be better than zero minutes of work.
- I will hone my skills as a writer and self-learn this ancient art of wordplay. I will learn from the masters, and keep practising this art form.
- I will strive to write to the best of my ability, and God willing, it will be well received by the reader.
- I will give my 100% to the project employing all the resources at hand. It may take a year, or it may take three, but I will see to it that I complete the project and publish the best book that I can possibly write.
- There are many mountains to climb indeed, but I don’t have to climb them all at once. I will break down each task into doable steps and shift my focus to achieving that mini goal. I have faith that everything will fall in place eventually.
- To the victor goes the rewards – I will be the gladiator who enters the arena whilst everyone else fills the spectator’s stand. I will focus on doing my best and tune out the din of the crowd. The applause, if I am worthy, will come in time.
Here’s my question (and challenge) to you – what is it that your soul craves to do, and what is stopping you from doing it? Reframe your inner dialogue, turn your debilitating excuses into compelling reasons, and let the magic unfold. Quit living an average life. Be the person you were born to be. Chase that damn dream!
“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” ― Louisa May Alcott
“Aim higher in case you fall short.” ― Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire
“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in you. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.” – Rabindranath Tagore