Have you ever walked outside with a flashlight? Maybe you were at a campground, or going through a corn maze, you may have dropped something on your way into the house and went back out with a flashlight. Whatever the reason, as you walked, the light from the flashlight only lit up so far. Beyond the beam of the flashlight was darkness. A still quiet land just out of your reach. As you took a step, that area burst into light and you could see what was blind to you a moment ago.
Life too is like walking outside with just a flashlight in hand. We go through life and we see this area around us. A place we find comfortable and familiar. It is cozy and we feel safe. Outside this area in which we reside is the unknown, the unfamiliar. For all we know it could be filled with wild and ferocious beasts. And so, we quietly stay in our little circle of light. But what would happen if we took a step and allowed that light to open to that which we could not see. Maybe instead of wild beasts we would see a portion of a field of roses.
Growth is Natural
When we continue doing the same things in the same ways, we miss out on so much. Every time we try something new, or have a new experience we learn and grow. If we do exactly the same thing every day, in the exact same manner, we leave no room for this growth, we leave no room for change. Growing, learning and changing are a natural part of life. Take a baby for instance. If day after day, week after week, and month after month were to pass with no growth, learning, or change taking place, you would naturally and rightfully worry that there was something wrong. But why should this growing, learning, and changing stop once we become adults? The answer, it should not stop.
Even as adults we should continually be gaining new knowledge, growing in some way, and experiencing change. However, these changes can and will only take place when we create an atmosphere and environment for them to occur.
At the end of January I had written a short story and submitted it to a writing contest. Before, when I was little the creation of short stories was a common occurrence. I was constantly starting a little story which I pushed aside either from lack of interest or not knowing how to continue. As time passed, writing nonfiction became my preferred venue. Instead of spinning tales I found myself digging into research and studying facts. Some things have shifted for me since January. This year I wanted to try and do new things. With this thought and plan in mind I decided to write and submit a short story into a contest. The end of January found me doing just that. While I will not know anything about that contest for a few months more, that first step of writing a short story has created an interested once again in spinning tales. I have since then submitted short works to several other contests and am finding that this is a lot of fun.
Two months after having written that first short story, I am finding myself falling in love with creating a tale out of an idea, a thought, a word, a feeling. Creating a glimpse, a snapshot of a moment in time and building it into something momentous. This is fast becoming an addiction.
Deciding to submit a story was my flashlight’s beam revealing what was blind to my eyes. When we try and do new things, we gain new knowledge. In the process, we may find, as I did with short stories, that what we failed to pursue before consisted of something we now love.
LETTING CHANGE CONTINUE
My writing is not going to stop with short stories. The more we experiment the more paths we see. A short story I wrote a few weeks ago gave me an idea for a novel, and so, I thought, why not? Experimenting with writing a novel has already found me having written 19,007 words.
The change I am going after though does not stop there. A year or so ago I had come across Camp NANOWRIMO. While it looked interesting and fun, it was not something for me, and so I forgot about this writing camp until last week. Looking through Instagram I found a picture and someone mentioning they had signed up for April’s Camp NANOWRIMO. Well, with the changes I have been making this year I decided this would be something else to add to my list of things tried. In less than five days the online camp begins including being part of a cabin. Usually writing alone and showing or discussing my work only when I am ready for critiquing, advice, editing, and such this time around is going to be different. Being part of a community where others are working on writing projects may be the next stage of change needed. I am excited to see where it will take me, what I will learn, and what it will lead me to doing next.
Do not be afraid of change and that which is new. Everything in life is new at some point. For the baby learning how to walk, that first step is the scary unknown. The first time one posts an article on the blog it is frightening. The first day of work at a new job or the first day of school consists of new experiences. And yet, we have gone through them, and we have survived. No matter how scary a change may be it may be the very thing you need. So go out there and submit an article to an online magazine, apply for a position to your dream job, take a step toward the start up business idea you have. If you do not try, you will never succeed. If you try, you will learn something, make some progress.
Whether it is with your writing, the way you drive home from work, or the next vacation you take, step outside the path you normally travel. Try something new or do an old thing in a new way. Growth, learning, and change is natural. Make sure they are a part of your life.
In what ways, whether in writing or any other area of your life, have you tried something different and found that it was something you loved? Leave a comment below and lets encourage each other to go out there and try some new things. They are never as scary as we make them out to be.