Help for the Directionally Challenged by Pearl Allard
I’d recently achieved a couple milestone goals in my writing journey – first publication, first paycheck, first acceptance after three rejections from a place in which I’d really wanted to be published – and I had less trepidation telling people I was a writer. I was stoked attending Breathe for my second time, but after meeting some of the goals I’d worked towards, what next?
I knew I was one step in, and a whole ocean away from arriving. That was just it. I suffered kid-in-a-candy-store syndrome flipping the pages of the conference schedule and breakout sessions offered. Did I meet someone new or continue under the amazing teaching of those I’d met last year? Did I explore a new topic or add to the foundation being built? For each session I attended, I grieved the five I missed. I felt directionally challenged.
That’s exactly what I was seeking at Breathe this year: direction. Brenda Yoder’s workshop Where Do I Go From Here? promised clues.
“THERE IS NO OBSTACLE YOU CAN’T OVERCOME! FIGURE.SOMETHING.OUT,” Brenda Yoder bellowed. I loved her already. Dead serious. It was loving bellowing, I promise. (Still, I felt like I ought to drop and give her twenty.) It was as though she’d said, “I believe in you so much I’m removing all your excuses.”
It wasn’t exactly direction but for sure it was motivation.
“It will never be ideal. Just prioritize, and do it.” I don’t remember if Brenda said that or inspired that, but either way, she deserves the credit. It’s been a phrase I’ve kept handy since.
And then…we were supposed to write our goals and plan steps to achieve them. My stomach sank. If my goal was to find direction, was this a tail-chasing exercise? I tried to apply “figure something out.”
Other writers discussed securing agents for finished manuscripts, mastering book proposals, and other stuff that still felt foreign and unattainable. Insecurity crept in. After all, I didn’t have any big picture vision for my future yet. I’d simply been taking baby steps the past eighteen months. I listed a handful of baby-step goals I wanted to achieve before year-end, but beyond that? I had no clue. I dug deep to find the courage to ask Brenda after the session: was that ok?
“Absolutely,” Brenda said with conviction.
I could’ve shed tears of relief. She even pointed out the advantages of not having something large looming over me while I worked on doing the next right thing. Maybe I could more easily embrace that the writing journey is not a race.
Continue is a valid direction, and baby steps are a valid transportation, even when I can’t see my destination.
But continue in the things that you have learned and have been assured of, knowing those from whom you have learned them… 2 Timothy 3:14
Pearl Allard is happily-mostly-aftered to her hero of thirteen years and is stay-at-home mama to two crazy-wonderful kids in Southwest Michigan. She blogs weekly encouragement at Look Up Sometimes (http://www.lookupsometimes.