I leave in two weeks on a research trip to Ireland. During the last six months — yes, SIX — since my last blog post, I have devoted all writing time to my novel, both writing scenes and researching newly significant moments in history my work-in-progress has led me to. No, I didn’t abandon you, dear readers. Sitting down to write a blog post, rather than giving my book the full attention it deserves would have been irresponsible with a research trip looming on the horizon. Every attempt at dividing my time also rose feelings of guilt, so I gave myself a hall pass and devoted my time where it was most needed.
I’ve reached a point, as of yesterday, in which I know I should postpone writing additional scenes of importance, structured within my outline, until I’ve gone to Belfast and County Clare and gathered the mandatory current and historical data necessary to move forward. You know what that means? I get to be with you!
Let’s talk about getting out of your comfort zone.
Part of a research trip is putting myself out there, in my case to strangers in another country — well, technically two countries, but let’s not get all political — in hopes that they will be willing to spend part of their valuable time helping me, a stranger to them. How can they determine my commitment to this project? I don’t have a string of novels behind my name, nor a huge online platform for them to check me out. I don’t tweet, post, or instagram as much someone who is developing their brand should. I’m not even sure I have a brand.
So, who am I, a fledgling writer, to email professionals in their field abroad and say “This is me, here’s what I’m doing. Can you please help?” Let me tell you, it’s scary as fuck.
But I do it anyway.
You may or may not be a writer, but we all have areas of our life in which you can either stick with what you have done, know, and feel comfortable with, or you can choose to reach out your hand and grab a new opportunity by your shaking, trepidatious fist. You may have begun to reach, thought twice, and either froze or retracted. Don’t.
When faced with that moment, a knot heavy in your stomach and fear niggling at your conscience, allow your spirit to tighten your gut, strengthen your perseverance, and push you out of your comfort zone. It will be frightening, but on the other side of that, overshadowing that feeling and coming before acceptance or refusal can dare attempt materialization, is sheer exhilaration.
Because you did it, and that is significant.
Freedom from the bonds of your own mental trappings sends energy through your body, and you may face rejection or failure, but you’ve done the deed and now live in new territory. There is no going back. Secure your footing atop this burgeoning podium and allow what you’ve put into action swirl around you, pieces falling into new places of opportunity that did not exist until you created it.
You are amazing, so, go do it!
Image by Francesco Gallarotti