Two days ago, I’d have never typed that title line.
Even today, my fingers fumbled over those keys in that order.
Blame it on Jeff Goins.
He’s stirring my feathers and ruffling my pot. As my friend Dean winkingly accuses me, “Well, now you’re just meddling!”
Jeff Goins is meddling.
It began with an innocent enough tweet advertising an online series about writing. There wasn’t any cost, and it only ran fifteen days. Because my wife and I just had our third child, run an approved home, and pastor a church, I was looking for something to do with the two unclaimed minutes every day. This seemed to fit.
And it fit quite comfortably. Until Day 1.
Declaration: That was the opening day’s key concept. In a sentence, this day was a dare:
The journey of every writer begins with a declaration. If you have written, then you are already a writer. Now you just need to keep writing. To overcome the demons of insecurity and create.
So here’s what I want you to do today: Declare you’re a writer.
And that was the beginning of the end.
He pushed us to speak to a friend, someone who’s opinion really matters to us. Sitting conveniently by myself at that moment, I timidly typed into my iPhone:
Note to self: I am a writer.
Why the struggle to pump out those twenty-eight keystrokes? Answering will require five more:
It’s exceedingly easier to speak hypothetically, something like comedian Dylan Moran (see him HERE) says about potential:
“People always speak about releasing their potential. Don’t do it! Stay away from your potential. You’ll mess it up, it’s potential, leave it alone. Anyway, it’s like your bank balance – you always have a lot less than you think.”
My long-time dream of being a writer is much safer couched in fuzziness.
Left on my bucket list, it hides deep enough down to be invisible. Described as a hope, it remains a next-door neighbour to “winning the lottery”. Relegated to the realm of un-expression, a cloak of protection hangs over me.
No one will roll their eyes at me. No critique is necessary. After all, my reference to writing wasn’t “really serious”. It wasn’t a “dream”, the type you bind yourself to while burning your ships with Cortez.
It was a casual desire… just something that I might have wanted… if it ever worked out… and I ever got a shot… and a genie popped out of a lamp at a garage sale.
Except that isn’t how it feels.
And that is what can change in the moment of declaration.
To push words through my larynx or form black text on white screen: These are reality-forming acts. They involve a boldness, even a brazenness, an attitude that rattles the bars of the cell just long enough to realize that the keys controlling your freedom are on your ring.
Jeff Goins, you crafty critter! You’re prepping speech for my tongue that my skills with syntax have never dreamed of drafting.
Yes, I WANT to be a writer. Of course, I HOPE to be a writer. These feelings are mine, but they are sufficiently weak, held in check to keep me from danger or disappointment. They are also strong enough to keep me rooted right here.
But today, where I am, I’ve been dared. Beyond dared, I’ve been compelled to believe that declaration is dynamite: It shakes foundations and scatters pieces to faraway, never-thought-I-could-go-there shores.
So I declare, as part of my homework (dutiful fellow I am) and part of my hope (daring in small steps I am), that I am a writer.
And one more: Sigh.
Now I intend to act like it.