Sunday, April 19, 2009

Donald Miller Strike Back

It took a few days, but on this late Sunday morning, as I'm home with the baby who isn't feeling well, and myself feeling the same, the rain is falling and the peaceful nature of my home allows me to share my thoughts.

As promised, I wanted to share an excerpt that I desperately needed to hear, myself.  It was one of those perfect moments when the world stopped around me and the words jumped off the page and burrowed deeply in my soul.  

As an artist, writer, and dreamer, I bleed inspiration, I bleed belief in the seemingly impossible, yet there has always been this underlying thought of disbelief.  Can I really be successful?  Can I really write books, that seems so huge, impossible?  I constantly envy those who tell me, "I'm writing a book," with confidence, because I know I want to, but I have never said to myself, I am writing a book.  The very concept of starting such project launches me into this state of feeling incapable of doing so, again and again.  Then, I'll find a speck of possibility and think, "I will write books."  Yet, that remains only long enough for me to feel overwhelmed and then returns the impossibility.  This cycle has happened more than I can count.  

Part of my hopes in journeying through The Artist Way is that I will attain the discipline to start that daunting project.  I don't know what I want to write, but I know I need to write.  I just get caught up in realizing the completed product, rather than just the actually writing page after page.  So, on Friday, I read a quote that will never leave me.

As I mentioned previously, it's from Donald Miller's newest book, which will be available in the fall of 09, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.  I hope Donald isn't upset that I'm sharing this, but it was published in the back of a newly released edition of Blue Like Jazz, so I'm thinking it's OK.  Plus, if after reading this, you don't want to pre-order a copy, then there is something wrong with you.  Oh, and if he changes this part of the book in his editing, I'm gonna have to have words with him.

Here goes,

"But the truth about writing and the truth about life is we don't actually know how it is going to go.  If we take action, it come back to haunt us, for sure.  What's worse is that we might not be up for the job, but no good story was ever told without the character taking a dramatic risk."

Yes?  Does that affect you as it does me?  Even now, after thinking about it all weekend, I am amazed at how it answers that question I have asked so many times.  It reminds me of a line from Coldplay's, Fix You... "If you never try, you'll never know, just what you're worth."

As of today, I haven't started that book, but I am starting to believe that if I do take that risk, my story will be better for it.  So thank you Donald, thank you.  I'm glad you decided to take that dramatic risk for yourself.


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