HOW I can

picture from: thesaleslion.com
 I went to a writing class a few weekends ago and the facilitator asked a deep question (well, it was deep to me anyway). She asked, "What would you have accomplished if writing was your full time job?"

Well at first I said (to myself), "Duh! I'd have several books completed and I'd be touring right now."

Then she elaborated. She asked what personal accomplishments would be under your belt? What things would you be doing as a part of your normal day? Would you be taking yoga each morning before you wrote? Would you spend every third Wednesday manning the phones at the support center? Would you be taking those cooking classes that you keep talking about?

It seems we always plan the activities for "when we get there" (wherever "there" is).  When we get the better job. When we've saved a few more dollars. When little Johnnie and Susie graduate high school. There are so many thing that we can do NOW that we put off until "the time is right". Why aren't you doing those things now? Is it money? Time? Energy? Really think about it and figure out why you aren't doing those things.

Pick something -- that one thing that you really want to do. It can be big or small, that doesn't matter. Now that you are thinking about that thing, can you do it? Really, take away the excuses and figure out HOW you can. Don't think about the "why you can't". Only think about the "HOW I can".

I'll let you in on a little secret. Going to that class was a HOW I can. Moneywise, timewise, energywise and just plain "worthywize" I couldn't see how in the world I could fit some writing classes into my life. Once I decided to do it, it was easy.

I found a writing group a little bit outside of where I live. It's not a formal group. Some meetings it's twenty people. Some meetings its four. Sometimes there's a formal presentation with a guest and finger sandwiches. Sometimes there a copied, copy of a copy that you read on your own and you ask for a breath mint from the person next to you. The ladies aren't "formal" writers (there has been a guy there twice). Each of them writes in their own time, at their own pace. They will critique your work if you'd like or they'd just smile at you as you come in and leave. You can talk during the meeting if you want or just keep to yourself. There are older members and there are really young members. There's one young lady that's 16 in the group. She's written and published 2 books. The oldest member is publishing her first book this summer. It's a "just as you are" group and it's wonderful.

So far I've been to a few meetings. Each time we pay $5 in dues. They told me that they've never had a big time speaker of their own but they have traveled together to see big time speakers. I've only been there for one formal speaker but I traveled with them to a workshop just outside of Atlanta.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I received an email last night from one of the members. She told us that she was moving from her home and going to stay with a friend in NYC. She had found an agent there and was going to work part time during the day and offer workshops in the evenings and Saturday's. She already has workshops booked for June, July and August.

I was jealous. I really was. Why wasn't it me sending that email? Well, except the part about NYC. I don't want to live there. It gets too cold in the winter. The "It shoulda been me" song (my fave version) went through my head and I got a little sad. But, I kept a stiff upper lip and sent an email back telling her how happy I was for her and I wished her the best. She emailed me back and told me that she expected me to send the same note as soon as I started using my "HOW I can"s.

Lissa, I'm going to start using my HOW I can right now. Save me a spot on the workshop roster for next summer!