I was recently on a long car trip to Nashville, TN for my son’s college day. I love listening to books to help pass the time. This trip I was excited to listen to a book by an author, Benjamin Hardy, who has really inspired me along my writing journey. Hardy writes books with strategies to encourage growth and transformational science. I was excited to listen to his newest book, Be Your Future Self Now. One of the interesting suggestions in this book was to write a letter to your future self, imagining what you will have accomplished by that future date.
I immediately started thinking about my journey as an author and the path I have taken. If I had written a letter to myself five years ago, I doubt I would have imagined myself being a published author today. Five years ago, instead of looking forward to the future, I was more focused on my obstacles. I started to write, not because it was a goal, but rather as a reaction to life’s circumstances. We moved at spring break which is not really a great time to get a teaching job. I wanted to feel like I had a purpose. I decided to take the story I had poured out while the movers packed our house and turn it into a book.
At first, it was just play. I was pretending to be an author. I listened to books about being an author and joined some online groups. Most writers suggested that to be an author you should commit to it every day and share your work. So, I began taking my play to the next level. I created a web page and started blogging. I also committed to work on my book every day. I set up accountability partners and friends to give me feedback. Over time, I developed the practice of becoming an author. As my book neared its completion however, I was stuck. I wasn’t sure what to do with the next part. I ran into roadblock after roadblock. In hindsight, each of these obstacles was just a detour in the right direction. My book was published at just the right time and I’m excited to see where it goes.
This idea of our books creating their own path was recently shared with me by a fellow author, Danielle, in a recent Author Moms meet-up. She shared the path to publication she took and noted how often it did not follow the path she expected, but that the detours ultimately took her in the right direction. Although she had an initial purpose, it was shaped more by the twists and turns life presented than her own plan.
I think that’s an important thing to remember. Often, we start off toward a destination with a clear path, but if we don’t stop to look at all the treasures along the way and relish the obstacles as opportunities to take a detour, we might make it to our destination but miss the highlights of the trip. I’m trying to keep that in mind on this next leg of my journey of learning how to share my book with the world. I wonder what advice my future self would give me. I would probably tell me to play along the way, to stay committed to the practice of writing and to focus on the purpose of inspiring teachers and parents so that every kid has an opportunity to get excited about learning. I would also probably tell myself to stop grumbling at the detours and enjoy the road less traveled (thank you Robert Frost)
What does your future hold? What advice would your future-self share with you on your journey?