When I first began this blog in mid-January, I wrote about overcoming my own creative fears, telling a story about writing a manuscript that has sat on my laptop for over a year. Around the same time as my first blog post, a close friend asked me about the manuscript, saying that she really felt I needed do something with it. She reiterated this sentiment over the following week at least two more times, telling me she felt very strongly that I was supposed to publish the book. I filed these as nice comments, but mostly ignored them. I believed the manuscript was no longer relevant; its time had passed, and I had missed it.
During these same few weeks, a new friend, a writer no less, also encouraged me twice to publish the book. While I appreciated her creative support, I again dismissed the encouragement. After all, she hadn’t actually read the book. But one afternoon, my sister called just to tell me to publish the book, and miraculously, I abandoned my hollow (and fearful) protests and began to agree.
When I hung up the phone, I thought about the three people, strangers to each other, who were nudging me to act. Then I recalled all of the encouraging comments I had received about the blog, which I had only been writing for a few weeks. Something just clicked, and I asked myself, “How many messengers does the universe need to send in order for me to accept that I must publish this book?” Immediately, I heard the reply, “As many as it takes!”
With great trepidation, I opened the file on my laptop, and began reading my own words. What I quickly discovered was not that there was a lot to clean up or edit, but that I had really judged myself harshly. I had sabotaged this project with my vicious criticism and self-doubt. As I read on, I thought this doesn’t actually suck. In fact, parts of it are really good. It’s a solid first work.
Over the past weeks, I have massaged the manuscript gently. Very gently. And yesterday, I made a couple of minor changes, again with a light touch, and then I heard, “It’s done,” and I knew that it was time to print it, proof it, and then publish it. So after many, many months, this project that came from my heart and my soul has a new voice and a new life. I credit my willing messengers with prompting me to muster the courage to move forward—and the universe for thoughtfully sending them, until I finally heard.
But my story is not unique, as so many of us have unspoken hopes and secret dreams. And more than a few of us have unfinished projects or aspirations that have languished somewhere, if only in our minds. In telling my story, perhaps you will recognize another. Is there something however big or small that you might dust off and reclaim for yourself? My guess is that you know what it is. But there is no pressure and no hurry. I may simply be a messenger, no doubt one of many.