“The world was shocked to learn I wrote a bestseller at 66. No matter how long you live, you have stories to tell. What else is there to do but head off on the Conestoga wagon of the soul?” – Pulitzer Prize winning author Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes
When people tell me they wonder if it’s too late to pursue their dream, I share this eloquent response Frank McCourt gave in the Q & A following his keynote when one of our Maui Writers Conference attendees asked, “Did you ever give up hope?”
If your goal is to make a difference, you have a right and a responsibility to get your work out of your head and into the world. Have you ever thought of it that way? If your creative project might benefit others; it’s almost selfish to keep it to yourself.
Dreams in your head help no one. Sharing your creativity doesn’t come from arrogance, it comes from service. It’s an offering, a way of saying “Here’s something I feel, believe, have learned or created. I hope it might be of interest and value to you.”
Yet, many people start with the best of intentions and then life intervenes. They get distracted, busy, overwhelmed. Doubts creep in and they start wondering if they’re too old. They put their project aside – and never get back to it. That’s a path to regrets.
Pilot Chuck Yeager said, “At the moment of truth, there are either reasons or results.”
If you want results instead of reasons, select a quote from below that resonates with you. Post it where you’ll see it every day. It’s a tangible way to keep your intentions in-sight, in-mind vs. allowing them to drift out-of-sight, out-of-mind.
“If you wait for inspiration to write; you’re a waiter, not a writer.” – Dan Poynter
“Nothing works unless you do.” – Maya Angelou
“Every creative project needs a spine. What’s yours?” – Twyla Tharp
“When asked “what was the secret to finishing your 500 page masterpiece The Power of One?’ author Bryce Courtnay growled, ‘Bum glue!”
“Creativity is always a leap of faith. You’re faced with a blank page, blank easel or an empty stage … and you need to jump into it.” – Julia Cameron
“If my doctor told me I had only 6 months to live, I’d type a little faster.” – Isaac Asimov
“One day you’re going to wake up and there won’t be any time left to do the things you’ve always wanted to do.” – Paulo Coelho
“Inspiration usually comes during work, not before it.” – Madeleine L’Engle
“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at 9 a.m. every morning.” – Peter DeVries
“If you are struggling with fear, self-sabotage, procrastination, the problem is, you’re thinking like an amateur. Amateurs let adversity defeat them. The pro thinks differently. He shows up, does his work, keeps on truckin’, no matter what.” – Steven Pressfield
“I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper.” – Steve Martin
“I made a startling discovery. Time spent writing = output of work. Amazing.” – Ann Patchett
“Ever tried and failed? No matter. Try again and fail better.” – Samuel Beckett
“Procrastination is like a credit card: it can be a lot of fun until you get the bill.” Christopher Parker
“It’s never too late – in fiction or in life – to revise.” – Nancy Thayer
“If you want to write, you can. Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent. Who am I? What right have I to speak? Who will listen to me? You are a human being with a unique story to tell. You have every right.” – Richard Rhodes
“The way to resume is to resume. It is the only way. To resume.” – Gertrude Stein
“Best advice on writing I’ve ever received. Finish.” – Peter Mayle
“If you want to be certain, you should never attempt anything creative. In fact, you might as well just stay home. Because I don’t know anybody who is certain. That need to be certain is just procrastination.” – Mark Burnett
“When I am writing, I am doing the thing I was meant to do.” – Anne Sexton
“You can sit there, tense and worried, freezing the creative energies, or you can start writing something. It doesn’t matter what. In five or ten minutes, the imagination will heat, the tightness will fade, and a certain spirit and rhythm will take over.” – Leonard Bernstein
“I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged. I had pieces that were re-written so many times I suspect it was just a way of avoiding sending them out.” – Erica Jong
“Once you’ve done the mental work, there comes a point you have to throw yourself into action and put your heart on the line.” – Lakers basketball coach Phil Jackson
“The faster I write, the better my output. If I’m going slow, I’m in trouble. It means I’m pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.” – Raymond Chandler
“When you speak, your words echo across the room. When you write, your words echo across the ages.” – Chicken Soup for the Writers Soul author Bud Gardner
“I don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind has to know it has to get down to work.” – Pearl S. Buck
“Planning to write is not writing. Writing is writing.” – E. L. Doctorow
“I think the worst, most insidious procrastination for me is research. I will look for some fact to include in the novel, and before I know it, I’ve wasted an entire morning delving into that subject matter without a word written.” – James Rollins
“There’s a trick I’m going to share with you. I learned it almost twenty years ago and I’ve never forgotten it, so pay attention. Don’t begin at the beginning.”– Lawrence Block
“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You work and write; you don’t give up.” -Anne Lamott
“I write because I cannot fly, but words can, and when they land, worlds appear.” – Susan Zeder
“If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison
“If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.” – Rollo May
“Do you know the #1 precursor to change? A sense of urgency.” John Kotter
It’s time to feel a sense of urgency about getting your creative project into the world. What’s the story you’re born to tell? The insights you’re supposed to pass along that could inspire or enlighten others? The artistic project you want to create?
The time to share it is NOW. As Bob Greene says, “I’ve heard every excuse in the book, except a good one.”
I’ve had the privilege of helping hundreds of people craft quality creative projects.
In all that time, I’ve never met a single person who was sorry they got their creative project into the world; I’ve only met people who were sorry they didn’t do it sooner.
Make 2018 the year you contribute your creativity to the world.
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Sam Horn is the CEO of the Intrigue Agency. Her TEDx talk and books – POP!, Tongue Fu! and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? – have been featured in New York Times, Forbes and on NPR, and have been presented to such clients as Boeing, Intel, Capital One, NASA and National Geographic. Want Sam to share her inspiring keynote with your group? Contact Cheri@IntrigueAgency.com