Confession time. I am the worst for planning to do something, and then not doing it.
The thing in question could be as simple as sending an email to someone new, or writing a blog post, or even replying to a text message. This tendency to avoidance is fairly textbook introvert behaviour, and is something that I’ve struggled with my whole life. Far safer and more peaceful to keep my ideas inside my head rather than putting them out into the world; and so much safer than the horror and stress of having to get Other People involved.
I’m not afraid to admit that this trait holds me back, in my work and my life. I can recite for you a litany of opportunities missed, connections not made, and chances squandered because I held back and did not commit, did not follow through. Well, not any more dammit, not any more.
Every Wednesday night Kat Molesworth, founder of the amazing Blogtacular conference and writer at Housewife Confidential, hosts the Blogtacular Twitter chat. Earlier this week the conversation, held every Wednesday at 9pm UK time under #blogtacular, centred around making big leaps in our work and lives, what was holding us back, and how to move past our fears and make exciting things happen. The conversation was inspiring, empowering, and for a risk-averse introvert like myself, a beautiful reminder that I Am Not Alone.
How many other people struggle against themselves every day, against their fears and their self doubt, against no real odds or barriers at all save for the ones they create for themselves? My hand is waving frantically in the air at this point, as I suspect are many others.
A theme of the Blogtacular conversation that really resonated with me was accountability and publicly committing to the things that you want to achieve. For me this is a big step – as I mentioned before it is easier, and far safer, to keep my ideas in my head and out of the public eye. So I settled on relaunching my newsletter as a first step, something I have wanted to do for months now but have always managed to find a reason not to. I shared my intentions, set myself a deadline, and sat down to write. What surprised me was how easy this was. In my mind sorting out my newsletter was a huge, insurmountable challenge that would take forever. But broken down into a little chunk of planning here, a chunk of writing there, a chunk of tweeting there, somehow the elephant in the room was reduced to a handful of rather friendly mice.
The final step I want to take is to make myself accountable here. So here it is.
I am forever amazed by the ways that we express ourselves in writing. The words that we choose, the techniques we use to circumnavigate our creative blocks. What we can do to create rhythm and simplicity in the practice of writing, and our wider creative lives.
Once a month I sit down at my kitchen table and pour out these thoughts and ideas into a letter for my community, called my Afternoon Stories. Come and join me for writing tips and practices, creative prompts, and support for bringing your stories to life on the page.
New letters are sent out on the last Sunday of every month.
So now I extend the challenge to you. What do you want to make happen, and what holds you back? If there is one thing I have learned this week, it is that being accountable for our hopes and plans is far more empowering than it is terrifying.