If not now, then when?

“Be fearless in trying new things, whether they are physical, mental, or emotional, since being afraid can challenge you to go to the next level.”

Rita Wilson

This past weekend, I attended a writers’ festival. The Wine Country Writers’ Festival, to be precise, if you were wondering. I had no idea what to expect or what I would get out of it, but I figured, what the heck. Let’s see what it is all about.

Within the workshops, I was able to participate in a blue pencil. If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry. Neither did I. I had never even heard the term blue pencil before. But I signed up for it because I figured, if I am going to do this, then I should do this. By the way, a blue pencil is a brief and helpful critique of your work.

I also signed up for the opportunity to pitch with a publishing company. I was pretty nervous as it was another first for me. It was the last thing on my agenda for the weekend, and I was pretty ramped up. I had big dreams about the results of this pitch. Not hopes, but dreams.

I didn’t ‘hope’ the publisher would pick me up because I knew my book was not ready. But I did ‘dream’ that they would be in awe of my story and gushing with praise and encouragement. You know, the dream that we all secretly dream of, involving us becoming famous and renowned. The dream of us accepting our award or having a crowd hang onto our every word. Or maybe that’s just me – hey, dream big, right?

But. They didn’t gush. They had good, positive feedback, but it was pretty much the same thing I had heard in my blue pencil. I left feeling slightly disappointed even though I told myself repeatedly that I could not expect to be an overnight sensation. Again, I knew my book was not ready and that this was a long learning process for me. I have no prior writing experience and no formal writing education. I am new at this, and I am green. That’s just a fact.

But it doesn’t stop me from doing it. So. I shook that little girl disappointment off, and I straightened my shoulders, took a deep breath, and remembered why I came to the festival in the first place.

It wasn’t to become an overnight sensation. It wasn’t to win an award. It was to spend a weekend in a room full of like-minded individuals and learn a thing or two. And I did. I learned so much. Most importantly, I learned that I have more work to do. And that it was totally okay. I have more direction. I have more insight. I have a plan of action on what to do next. A plan to make my book the best book I can make it.

I could have skipped this festival because I knew I wasn’t ready to be published. I could have skipped it because I have anxiety about being in a room full of people I don’t know. And I could have skipped it because I had never done a pitch for a publisher before and had no idea what I was doing. I could have skipped it for all of those reasons. But I didn’t.

I knew the only way I would know how to do those things was to do them. Experience them with no expectations. To not be afraid of the possibility that I will be the only one in the room that doesn’t know what I am doing.

Just go and do and learn. No expectations. No fear. Because if not now, then when?

Today is the day. Go try.

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