The development of my writing career definitely seems weird, at least to me. Maybe other writers can affirm that strange routes to becoming a writer is normal, but I’m still too green of a writer to know that. I find this picture to be exactly right, though.
All the way up through high school, I didn’t particularly like writing. In college that didn’t change either. Writing assignments for school was hard enough, but then my mother kept trying to get me to keep a journal. I’ve heard a lot about the benefits of journaling, and I believe it, but I can’t seem to get myself to keep one consistently because it just feels like a chore all the time.
There are people who want to be writers because they simply love to write. I am just not one of those people. So, why bother writing then?
Because I’m compelled to. Because it’s powerful. Because it has a way of opening doors to possibilities that just aren’t even visible without writing.
When I say, “compelled” I am not saying “obligated.” I’m driven to write, but I don’t feel forced or coerced. It doesn’t have a negative feeling or connotation, I’m simply trying to say that for me it feels like an unexpected turn in my life.
For me, the question, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” has been a question that I have never been able to answer, even to this day. I’ve never known what I really wanted to do.
What I’m starting to realize is that not knowing the direction of my life is leading me exactly to where I need to be. There is a key element (besides trusting God, which I think is vital) to finding your purpose and potential without specifying a specific career path or passion; personal growth and development.
Elements of Growth & Development
I’d estimate there are at least two key elements to consistent growth and development.
- A love for learning
In order to grow and develop yourself — that is, to be constantly improving yourself, to be a better person today than you were yesterday, to learn more and accomplish more — you have to desire to learn and become better at things — anything and everything.
You also have to be willing to take responsibility for your own education and training. That is taking initiative. Whether that is through going back to school or by doing self-study, whatever form that takes, just do it. Don’t wait. Do it daily.
How I Started
I never thought of myself as a writer until recently, at 31 years old, and even now the idea that I am a writer is still taking some getting used to.
When I separated from the Air Force in 2013, I started praying to God to give me direction in my life. I kept asking Him, what am I supposed to do now? I honestly hated my job in the military. I have great respect for the military and the job I had, but those years were probably the hardest and most miserable of my life so far, so I knew I didn’t just want to continue in the same career field.
I started going back to school a year later (2014) and just decided to study my hobbies — learning Japanese with a minor degree in Dance. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with those either. They were my hobbies, but I didn’t feel like they were really the career I wanted. A career had always been a mystery to me because every job I’ve tried or industry I’ve studied has left me feeling, well, just blah. I so much want to do work that I can look forward to every day. Work that energizes and excites me. I just couldn’t seem to find it.
Around the time I went back to school, I felt like God was prompting me in my heart that I need to write. Write what? I thought. Just write. That was the prompting.
Over the next several months I started reworking my personal website to try to create a blog — something I know almost nothing about.
I tried blogging for a few months. I found it hard to maintain consistency, and I often wasn’t sure what to write about. I decided to make the theme about personal development and potential because I was still working on myself in those areas and figured I could share as I learn. I gained about five subscribers; just close friends and family.
After trying and not really succeeding so well at blogging for nearly two years, with a lot of gaps in between when I posted nothing, inspiration started shifting.
During those years of, let’s call it, “practice blogging,” I started listening to podcasts about writing and subscribed to a couple of blogs from successful writers. One if my favorites so far is Jeff Goins. He has material on Medium.com and also some great podcasts that help a lot. I also subscribe to materials from Brian Tracy for general personal development. He has some great books for building good work habits. I’ve found helpful insight for time management, personal growth, building good habits, etc. which all add up to creating success.
Now that I’ve learned some more, I have felt prompted in my heart again to try to write books! That feels way over my head but my thought is; God, if You want me to write a book, then You will give me what I need to make it happen. Please give me the words and resources to write the book(s) You want me to write.
I now have a brainstorm list of many book ideas and am just now starting to write my first book ever, and it’s really exciting!
I have goals to redo my website to make it look and be better, but that will take some time. I have already completely replaced the last theme I was using, so I hope you like this current layout. For now, I apologize for any incomplete or amateur-looking sections you may find on my site. It is a work in progress.
The take-aways that I’d love for you to get from my story are these:
- You don’t have to have a lot of training or experience in writing to become a writer — just be willing to learn and improve as you go. Most of all, just START. My motto has been like Nike’s — Just Do It.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help and feedback from others. Always try to get around people more knowledgeable and successful than you and learn from them. Listen to their podcasts, read their books and blogs, interact with them however you can to get their insights. Your path to success may not be the same as theirs, but they often have tools and tricks that will save you so much time and energy along the way.
- Constantly try to learn about your art or the things you want to do and create a plan to get there — step by step. Take initiative to start doing the steps, every day. Define and commit to your goals.
- Be willing to be flexible with your goals and propose. Sometimes life goes in unexpected directions and takes you somewhere you never expected to be. Look for the blessings in those times and how you can benefit from them. Look for how you can create value in that new situation or direction.
I will start writing about my learning process and steps toward becoming an author. Please feel free to follow me as I embark on the adventure of writing my first book! I’ll take you step by step through my process and you’re welcome to write your own book along with me if you want! Let’s do this!
Thank you for reading! I hope you’ve enjoyed it and found it useful.
Please subscribe and comment, I’d love to hear what you liked, or what you’d like to see in future posts!
NOTE: I am looking for volunteers to help me with my new book by giving feedback on short sections! If you help, I will give you a free e-copy of the book when it’s published! For more information and to sign up, click HERE!
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