I have had a reminder to myself for weeks to do the smallest, simplest thing: email one person I’ve met several times over several years to reconnect and ask for advice.
The reasons I kept thinking of it and not doing it immediately are myriad, even removing busy-ness from the equation.
A very small number of you that I’ve met in person may have heard me mention in passing a narrative travel book I have in the works, My 15 Big Fat Indian Weddings.
(I’ll share the story of how it immediately got 22 very well-respected agents hungering after it my first time out pitching it–and how you too can have the same experience in our next webinars series on How to Publish Non-Fiction Books Easily, available live starting mid-October to members of our Dream Buffet and coaching programs.)
The reason you have never heard me mention it or, if so, only in passing, is that it’s been on ice because Dream of Travel Writing had had me working 16-hour days six days a week for exactly the last two years.
But I made a commitment to several folks I know who are high-up in the travel writing world that I would resurrect it this fall.
The problem was, life and work kept getting in the way, allowing me to continue to get in my own way.
All I had to do to get a very important ball rolling was send one simple email.
It may not have gotten a response, or a polite one that didn’t result in a phone call, or a phone call that didn’t result in the outcome that I had never quite thought was possible but would save me tons of time now and be the best solution for the future as well.
But I didn’t have control over those things. I did have control over sending the email.
So, I kept putting it off for vague and idiotic reasons that were mostly shadows of the same usual suspects that keep us from doing most small bit scary actions that will actually move us directly toward our goals:
- fear of rejection
- fear of failure
- fear of not being liked
Why is so it so dreadfully difficult for us to take the shortest, most important, and most impactful steps toward the things that matter the most to us?
I read a lot about the psychology of motivation as well as other topics in writing, business, and coaching to best help those that I work with achieve their goals, but this one thing has always stymied me.
So often, we don’t take these elegant, efficient, checks-all-the-boxes-while-moving-things-dramatically-forward steps until our back is against the wall (interesting piece on that here).
Wherever you are on the path to whatever your travel writing dream looks like, I just want to ask you this week: are you making your quest to freelance freedom look like one of those movies where there’s always one more thing they need to get in order to reach their goal?
There is actually a technical term for this in the film world: McGuffin.
It’s any thing that has the characters running around on quests that are subsidiary to their main purpose.
(TVTropes.com uses the intricate web of finding the various things needed to do away with all of the pieces of Voldemort’s soul in Harry Potter as a prime example.)
I hear wonderful successes all the time from folks that I work with or that follow this newsletter:
- signing a guidebook deal
- getting a cover story in USA TODAY
- landing serious, regular work from major name-brand websites from our newsletter job listings
- netting four-figure, paid-up-front monthly retainers for content marketing work you’re psyched to do
- penning a piece for Hemispheres with the enthusiastic hint of more on the way
On my end in the situation above: I sent the email, had an amazing phone call, and feel completely rejuvenated toward focusing on this and making it happen….but have since fallen into the same time/procrastination/excuses trap because of being sick.
Moral here: It doesn’t really get easier; you just have to make it a habit!
So, when you have a few minutes today, I challenge you to think of what “fetch quests” you’re on, and what is a quick, easy, and elegant thing you could do to completely sidestep them and move decisively toward your goal.
I can’t wait to hear what happens!
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