Lately, I have been wondering if I am supposed to write. This is not the first time I have asked this question. And I keep getting the same answer, “What are you waiting for? You got your answer to this question—three years ago…. Just write already!”
What happened three years ago? After years of secretly dreaming about writing, I finally decided to write a book. But fear and self-doubt caused me to question the project. So after writing over a hundred pages, I shelved the manuscript in favor of more practical pursuits.
Several months after abandoning my short career as a writer, I felt strangely inspired to write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper. My letter was much longer than the newspaper’s 200-word guideline, but I submitted it anyway. A few nights after I sent my short article, I woke up with a sense of urgency. I thought about how much I enjoyed writing even the simple letter to the editor. I thought about how I had shelved my half-written manuscript out of fear and doubt.
Now wide awake, I grabbed a flashlight, reached for my journal and just began writing. I wrote that the very best I had ever felt was when I was writing the manuscript. Not willing to trust this feeling, I said that I needed a sign to let me know that I was indeed supposed to write. With that request to the universe and to God, I set my notebook down and turned off my flashlight.
Just before I fell back to sleep, I wondered how I would recognize a sign. Then I decided that if the newspaper published my letter to the editor that would be a pretty good sign. I audaciously added that I would know FOR SURE that I was supposed to write if the newspaper published the entire 600-plus word letter.
Early that same morning—just a few hours later—my Grandma left me a voicemail telling me: “Carolyn, it’s your grandma. I read your article in the paper this morning and was very impressed. Keep up the good work!” The newspaper had published my article on the center of the opinion page—all 600-plus words. And I had a byline.
I scribbled another entry in my journal, this time a heartfelt thank you to the universe, to God—and whomever else I needed to thank. And I completed the manuscript. After which, I began to worry all over again whether I was supposed to write. Much has happened between then and now. I can’t go back and change those events, but I can start where I am. And from where I am, I can no longer ignore the voice in my head saying, “Hey lady, you’ve had your sign all along! Now what are you waiting for?”