Another aha stroke bolted into my mind last week.
Late at night, surfing some television, I came across an advertisement for a show called The Moment. It's new and I'd not heard of it. Don't know which channel was doing the offering.
Hosted by an ex-NFL quarterback, Kurt Warner, the show is about giving people the chance to realize their dream. Warner won the NFL's gold prize, the Super Bowl once, and made the pilgrimmage a few other times. He also won the highest accolade of league Most Valuable Player twice.
A lot was made of Warner's football history in the run ups to the big games. Undrafted after his college football career, he played in Arena Football before being released and ended up stocking shelves in a grocery store. After some more time in the Arena league, he finally joined an NFL team as the third string quarterback. After one year in which he completed four passes, he became the starter the next season. That team went on to score a record 500 points with him as their quarterback.
My point is not to document Warner's career but to provide some perspective. He knew about pursuing your dream and not giving up, making him a good choice for The Moment.
In the episode being advertised, a man was being given an interview with a top NASCAR team and a chance to drive some of their race cars. That was his dream. I didn't see the show but I saw a moment of him in tears and another moment when a man wasvtelling him, "You don't know how to finish."
With that long lead in concluded, I've come to my "aha" moment. I didn't know how to finish.
I'd learned how to investigate and start projects but finishing - there was the irritant in my oyster. I get to the point where I think I should finish and I just don't know how. I don't know the steps to take nor how I should feel. The lack of knowledge leaves me with a yawning gap.
It might seem odd for a fifty seven year old person who has had a decent life, working for several corporations and start ups, with a twenty year military career behind him. In an odd way, my military career was an enabler for not finishing. We were always planning, always ready, just in case. The projects that I did finish always had a hard terminus, a date or place beyond which we could not go. All of that was the mundane matter of business and work; it had nothing to do with my dream.
There is where it stands. I began with the dream of writing fiction and taught myself the simple steps of having an idea, developing a story and fleshing out characters. I started with short stories and wrote and sold a few. I dreamed of writing novels and focused on instilling writing discipline - to write, you must write. I struggled with craft, language and structure. I wrote novels but reached the point where I had finished them but they weren't done. Yet I didn't know what steps to follow to finish them.
I repeated that process through seven novels until reaching this one and guiding myself through editing, revising and polishing. Yet it won't be done. I need to publish it. I need to finish.
My aha moment was a perfect addition to where I was and the mantras I was following last week, first, focus and then now. I melded them into sharper focus, focus on now.
Now I'll close the circle that I began when I first dreamed of writing a novel: I'll now focus on finishing.
Time to go write like crazy.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com