One month from today, I turn 30.
I am mostly okay with that. Mostly.
One of the hidden pleasures of birthdays--for me, anyway--is the future-facingness of them. I take my new number and we look to the future together.
Right, #30? What are we gonna do together?
Here's a suggestion:
Most of the writing advice peppering my desk falls into two categories: uplifting and butt-kicking. This is what I need.
Anyone with me on this? You need the lift on those discouraging days, when your brain is a desert, only without anything as interesting as cacti inside. And then for the lazy days, a bit of a smack across the hindquarters to get you running again?
This quote manages to do both of those things for me.
I definitely hope to still be writing in five years, sure. But I don't tend to think about that. I tend to get mired in the day to day. I see the obstacles between me and today's work. (Usually it has something to do with whatever mud is on my emotional boots, whatever it is I'm tracking to my desk.)
In five years, I'll be a month away from turning 35. (What?!) It's easy to imagine future me. ... Basically I enhance all my best habits, get rid of all my annoying qualities, and then add in a few more white hairs. Is this a fair picture? Probably not.
But I do imagine an even more professional outlook than the one I struggle with. I'm hoping to have more focus. I want to be more clear about when I'm working and when I'm not working, so that I can work hard... and then play with total abandon.
I want to be a better writer, plain and simple. More diligent, more wise, and more compassionate. All that good stuff.
That's the uplifting part. That thought of being farther down this road, and a bit better at all the things it involves.
So the butt-kick is this: If I want to get there, I need to correct my aim now.
Acting professional, even when I feel seven years old. (Which is most days.) Drawing that line (and being dependable) between when I'm at work and when I'm available. Cultivating diligence, wisdom, and compassion right here. Right in the midst of normal life for nearly-thirty-year-old me.
Because I know where I want to be. I know what I want to grow toward.
And the courage-giving thing is, I can grow that way today.
Work today with the habits of the writer you are going to be in five years. - Heather Sellers
By the way, have you read Heather Sellers' fantastic books on writing? Page after Page, and Chapter after Chapter? I wouldn't be writing at all today--would have crashed and burned badly five years ago--without her marvelous, insightful, and companionable books.
Seriously. I have read a ton of writing books, and hers consistently make the top of my list. If you're the writing sort, do yourself a favor and get your hands on them.