Recently, I was coming through immigration into Dublin, Ireland, and spent a hefty amount of time answering questions at the border. You see, my life doesn’t really make sense. I’m an American, but born in Norway… a missionary/non-profit worker/artist who has been living in Spain for 8 years and originally got there on a retirement visa… but now I’m trying to move to Ireland, researching jobs, and visiting friends for the summer… and I have less than $300 to my name for the remainder of the month. I don’t live a ‘typical’ life and I don’t look like your ‘typical’ tourist.
This was not my first time being questioned at a border. I am well trained in what to say and how to word my situation so it can be best understood. However, I surprised myself this time. When asked what I would be doing over the next six weeks and what my days would look like, I responded: “I’ll be working on some writing; I write blogs.” A) I know better than to mention anything about working in a foreign country (This can lead to a lot of questions to make sure you’re not working illegally) and B) Since when did volunteering to write blogs once a month become official work that I tell to customs officers?
A few hours later, after settling into my cozy Airbnb, I sat down to write this blog. There is always a frenzied conversation in my head when I sit down to write… What do I want to say? What do people need to hear? What has already been said? Does anyone even read these? Tonight, while pondering all those questions, my answer at the Irish border popped into my head… “I write blogs”… the answer had come completely by accident, but on reflection, it hit me in a profound way.
I want to be a writer in some sort of capacity. I’ve dabbled in copy editing, done a smattering of poetry, and even talked about writing a book. Back in the summer of 2015, I took three weeks of intentional time to start my book and I loved it. I have yet to write more for my book since then, even though I occasionally look over the first few chapters and get super excited again. There has been a block in my mind about writing that has stopped me from moving forward into my dream of becoming a writer.
To be honest, I sometimes doubt whether I have the skill, style, and message to be a great writer. Those thoughts have created a block, but unbeknownst to me, writing these blogs has been a breakthrough in my subconscious. I don’t know when it changed, but I’m now calling myself a writer in my mind. In the past, I would say I’m an artist, a creative, and maybe add on that I like writing, but I don’t recall ever saying I was a writer. And then, under mild interrogation, it slipped out to a ginger customs agent who was trying to piece together the confusing story that is my life… “I’ll be working on some writing; I write blogs.” A clear and definitive proclamation that I write. I am a writer.
They say that the battle is 90% between our ears. They say practice makes perfect. They say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. They say a lot of things. But I think in these cases they were right. The battle has been in my head. A battle of doubt and insecurity. But with a little practice, like writing these blogs, I’ve begun to believe in myself more. I am nowhere near the 10,000 hours supposedly needed to become an expert, but I’m on my way.
This is a small revelation, but I think a powerful one if we allow it to transform us. What do you love? What do you want to be good at? Start practicing it NOW and begin taking steps forward. It might be a poco a poco journey, but they say every bit counts, eh?
For me, it took committing to this blog, something I wasn’t sure I had time for or even 100% sure I wanted to do, to begin practicing what I love. And as fate would have, or more likely God’s grand plan, with each blog I have broken through bits of my fears and worries. I am learning that I have a message, the skills needed, and that my style is developing more and more with each word I write.
What can you do to begin wearing down that 90% battle in your mind? Is there something you can begin practicing to help you move forward in your dreams? Try saying yes and see what unfolds. Say it out loud. Your dreams are waiting!