I was sitting in the audience of a panel discussion when I heard three words that changed my life.
It was at the West Virginia Writers Conference and, among other fantastic writers, R.G. Yoho was on the publishing panel. I try to take copious notes at these events, but I didn’t need to for his final words — they’ve stuck with me ever since!
He writes Westerns, and I don’t know anything about Westerns. So I listened with interest as he started reciting some statistics. He said he’s heard that because the genre is small, the odds for a new writer to make a living are ridiculously low.
And then he said the words.
“Why not me?”
I’m telling you, the tears welled up instantaneously. The question, so simple but so electric, went straight to the hearts of the audience of dreamers. “I figured, somebody was doing it. So, why not me?” he repeated, and shrugged.
I’ll never forget it. I wanted to whoop and holler and throw my fist in the air. (Instead, I just clapped too loudly.)
Today, if you’re wondering why you keep plugging away at your creative pursuits — if you feel like giving up — remember R.G.’s words:
Why not me?
Someone else is living the life you’ve been dreaming about. Why? Is anyone else going to work harder for your dream? No! Is anyone else more talented? (They’ll probably tell you no!) Did they catch a lucky break? Okay, maybe, but you know what? I’ll bet it was because they invested the time, put in the practice, and showed up day after day to catch that so-called lucky break. (Try googling “20-yr overnight success” and read everyone you know on that list!…)
Now, here’s the sting. Why not me? Does someone else want it more than me? Ouchie. I had to make some sacrifices, but also allow myself some grace. My spiritual health, my marriage, my family all come first. I had to acknowledge that and carve up my time accordingly, but you know what comes after those most important parts of my life? Not dishes, not laundry, not pulling weeds that just grow back — NO! I’m livin’ the dream. Butt in chair, picking out my 500 words a day.
Even now, when I lose sight of my motivation, I remember the words and head for the chair.
Why not me?