Every year I vow to complete another book. Unlike my previous ones, the new one will surely be a blockbuster! It’s the story of a lifetime that is mine exclusively to tell, if only I weren’t terrified to tell it.
Last summer I tagged along with Bob and his nephew on a fishing trip to northern Minnesota. I imagined this to be the perfect writing retreat because other than fishing, there wasn’t much else to do but write. Or so I thought.
I discovered a secluded beach, a hardware store, and other random places that held the promise of adventure as opposed to the hard work of writing. The expectation that I would produce a prolific amount of material prevented me from writing little more than a blog post. This made me ponder the possibility that the IRS auditor might be right. Was I just a wanna be writer who likes to take nice vacations?
What I didn’t fully grasp then that I’ve begun to appreciate enormously in the last six days is writers write. They don’t write when it’s convenient or when inspiration strikes or when they are on a self-proclaimed writing retreat. They don’t write for millions of fans who hang on their every word. They write for a small army of friends who notice if they haven’t written for awhile, forgive any grammatical errors, and allow the taking of creative license to tell a better story.
Readers keep me more accountable than any IRS auditor ever could. Readers and the way I feel when I write. I pay more attention. I am more engaged in life. I watch less television. I exercise more because ideas tend to come to me when I’m moving. I notice the absurdity or beauty of things in much more detail so I might share them with you.
I write to feel connected to my tribe or community. For the longest time I believed I had to find my tribe by traveling the country, attending workshops and studying with the wise ones. I had a preconceived notion of who these people were, how they spent their time, and who I would need to be or where I would need to live to fit in.
Now I’m convinced the best way to find my tribe is to contribute to it. I do this by being my quirky self, writing what I know from wherever I happen to be, putting it out there, seeing who shows up, listening to what they have to say, and repeating often.
Clearly, I’m not for everyone. It took me one bad blind date with a sketchy guy who revealed he’d spent time in the slammer for drug trafficking to realize that’s a good thing.
But that’s another story, for another day. Today, why not contribute to your tribe or community by trusting you have something of value and offering it up in a way that makes the most sense to you?
I’m betting you’ll be glad you did.