We’re all a little groggy from the time change, I suspect. Welcome to Daylight Saving Time, 2014. Woo. Look at all that daylight we’re saving. Oh, wait, my eyes won’t stay open.
In honor of the leaping forward we’re all doing today, time lord-like, let’s talk about times we’ve taken a leap into the void.
I’m not a very good jumper. When it comes to taking risks—look, I won’t even play the board game Risk. It sounds too…risky. But I’ve taken a chance a couple of times.
Like the time I ran for senior class president—and won. What the hell was I thinking? I’d never been a class officer before, and that little victory also meant I had to speak at my high school graduation ceremony in front of hundreds of people. Public speaking and I are only now, none-of-your-business years later, on good terms. But being senior class president (job for life) has paid off, because I’ve been able to stay connected with lots of friends in ways it would have been hard to do otherwise. I have an excuse to track people down and talk them into joining Facebook, and now I get to hear about their kids, their (gulp) grandkids, and keep other classmates connected, too.
I also took the leap into full-time graduate school not once, but twice. The first time, the leap was the point. I was ready to make some progress, any progress, in my life, and finishing up my journalism grad degree in a short, low-paid year was a way to make a big change and get unstuck. The second time was scarier. I was more established in my career, and the degree was in creative writing. Not exactly a career jumpstart—unless your life’s dream was to write a book, hello. And if I went kersplat trying to go after my life’s dream? Well, it’s the thing nightmares are made of. But I had to try.
So it turns out I’m more of a jumping bean than I’ve given myself credit for.
The thing is, writing itself is a leap into the unknown. Even after you’ve done it a while, and successfully, it’s fraught with peril. Uh, a writer’s form of peril, which is less like leaping over a pit of alligators and more like that game we all played as kids where we just pretended there were alligators as we leapt from couch cushion to armchair, trying not to touch the ground. But still: the peril of having to scrap hours and hours of work if things go sideways. The peril of having a side character take over and start bossing you, the author, around. Each writing session starts with a leap of faith that the words will come, that you’ll have the follow-through to get all the way to the end and somehow make your steaming pile of first draft into something someone else might want to read.
And then do it again, even if the first time didn’t work out. (See: book in drawer syndrome.)
And publishing? Oh, don’t get me started.
So let’s get to jumping, beans. Whether our eyes are open or not.
What’s the next leap you’d like to make?