What I’m Learning Wednesday: Where to Begin(?)

Every day this week and next I’m “attending” (from the desk in my office), an online writing conference put on by a spiritual-writers organization called Writing For Your Life. It’s been two and a half days of a VIRTUAL conference so far–and I’m exhausted! I know I’m an introvert, but this is ridiculous! Huge eyeroll at myself.

This is the first “real writer” thing I have done in… ever? So I feel a lot of responsibility to get the most possible content out of it, and to set myself up for the best possible outcomes from it. But…

Where to begin?

The ocean is vast.

In these two and a half days I’ve taken pages of notes on writing itself, on theology, on agenting and publishing, on impostor syndrome and picture books, on spiritual gifts and audience markets, on 5-year visions and immediate plans. (Remember, this is day 2 out of 10.)

After Day 1, I felt emotional, frustrated that I’ve let so many years go by without doing any substantial work or personal growth.

After Day 2, I felt energized, motivated to shape some to-dos and start moving in a direction.

Now, right now, here at Day 2.5 suddenly I feel struck by the overwhelm of it all. There are SO MANY possible things to do. There are SO MANY websites to check out, organizations to maybe join, potential projects to work on, people to read and to follow. And somehow it’s all supposed to be part of a clearly-discerned calling that uses my gifts in a way that serves others. So, you know, no pressure. Where do I begin to winnow down, to focus, and to START?

Where to begin.

Begin here.

The annoying truth is, that’s all any of us can do. Start where you are, with the tools at hand. Think about them creatively; imagine their potential and then put them to use. And let the 5-year vision (and the cunning defeat of the bone-headed bad guys) roll out from there.

I’m forever learning this lesson; I could probably write this same blog post every Wednesday out of a different experience.

I’ve made a list of actions (email newsletter, blog freebie, picture book manuscript) but I think first I need to back up and do a Kevin McCallister. I need to take inventory: What do I have to work with? Look at the big picture: What does my current context allow? And determine what am I trying to accomplish: not sneak attacks of paint cans and pet tarantulas, but discoveries to share, ideas to inspire, words to comfort and encourage.

I can start here. I can start now.

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