A great idea usually dawns on me slowly. I see it, I’m amazed, then it retreats to some back part of my brain.
It’s like when you open the car door and an important piece of paper swooshes straight out and dances across the parking lot. Every time you get close, slow down, reach out, and nearly pinch your fingers around it, the wind carries it a teeny bit further.
It’s like when your friend finds it hilarious to pull the car forward five feet every time you are about to grasp the door handle.
Important realizations are often like that for me. I know it. I see it. I want it. I just can’t quite grasp it. In and out we go. Sometimes I lose sight of the idea all together. I know I forgot something really important.
It’s not totally my fault. I have persistent short-term memory challenges. A couple decades of research reiterates what many people who struggle with long-term post-traumatic stress say – that they experience everyday memory retention issues around content that is emotionally neutral. It is so pervasive for me, I have developed myriad tricks to live productively.
Anyway, that was a rant inside of a rant and nothing so far has covered the primary topic of the big idea I had that I lost. Big ideas CHANGE me. I don’t want lose them. When they start to fade before I can write them down, I get a gut wrenching feeling.
“What was it,” I say to myself. “It was important and I know it.”
Then I have a quick internal conversation, like this one.
“Okay Pam, get to the point. You’ve explained the process of how something dawns on you three times over without talking once about what actually dawned on you.”
I reply to myself, “My point exactly! This is why it is so hard for me to keep ahold of a new, big, important idea. My brain is forever on a mission, sorting through a million ideas. It’s like trying to hold onto a single raindrop in the palm of your hand, in the middle of a rain storm. Just when it appears I got one, my hand fills to the brim. The ideas never cease.”
“Okay, okay,” I say to myself. “I get it. But what was the big idea? WHAT DAWNED ON YOU?”
“I don’t know. I honestly forgot...”
Pamela Say is a nationally-published author, speaker, consultant, and higher education administrator. Her most recent work Waking Up Grateful: Turning a Painful Past Into a Purposeful Present is available on Amazon. Learn more at www.BeASeedPlanter.com. Photo credit for "Poet for Hire" to Matthew LeJune on Unsplash
In 2013, I published my first book and entered the WILD WORLD of authoring.
Seven years and four books later, authoring remains an ever-exploratory journey. Sending a work out into this WILD WORLD can take myriad routes – each with its own terrain, obstacles and buried treasures.
My adventure began publishing my first novel Hope Rising through a traditional publishing company. I entered the process like a kid on Christmas Eve – all the wonder of what might be waiting under the tree brimming up inside me. I understood the privilege of the moment; that only four percent of submitted manuscripts were accepted. I was now part of a small group of budding authors whose names would grace the cover of a book, backed by the power of a publisher. I dreamed big dreams.
A diligent worker, I took on all the challenges of being an unknown author. I promoted myself. I built a web site. I accepted speaking engagements. I arranged book signings. I showed up at library talks, sometimes with only three people in the room. I attended author trainings, wrote blogs, and engaged social media.
I also learned quickly that if you aren’t Dr. Phil or Oprah Winfrey, it is unlikely you will make a big name for yourself as a new author. Most of my profits went to the publisher. I made marginal gains. Sometimes, I lost money.
The same company published my second book Chuck and Spark Explore the Park – a fully illustrated children’s story. Soon after, my publisher was shut down and my two precious books went out of print. All that was left was the inventory on my shelf at home. A flurry of calls came from other publishers looking to profit by charging me to re-publish my book. I felt deflated.
I redirected my attention to my primary profession as a non-profit fundraiser and after presenting at a national conference, was selected to write an industry book Five Strategies to Increase Annual Fund Revenue. This time, I signed with a very reputable publishing company and experienced the joys of working with seasoned professionals. I gained access to the company’s president who mentored me, and to other authors in the group who encouraged and co-promoted one another. It was a joyous experience.
Still, I had to toil. Writing a book is an arduous task. Promoting one is another beast entirely. Seven years in, and authoring has offered me a business card, so to speak. It has opened myriad doors for paid speaking and consulting I never would have accessed without those credentials after my name.
This year, I ventured into a new WILD WORLD. I self-published for the first time. My fourth book – a novella titled Waking Up Grateful: Turning a Painful Past into a Purposeful Present - is, by far, my favorite work. I wanted to experience self-publishing as part of my author journey. It has exceeded expectations. I am learning new tools, rebuilding my web site, learning to create promotional videos, repurposing blogs, AND I am selling books.
I understand today that making a lot of money or garnering a “big name” is of least importance to me. I am a writer. I am compelled to write. Authoring has taken so many turns. Each has grown me as a person. I will never stop. Just as the painter is called, time and again, to the canvas – I am called to write. How I send that finished piece into the world is up to me. I encourage anyone who shares this passion to take the leap. Despite the hardships, it IS a rewarding journey.
Find Pamela at www.BeASeedPlanter.com or on LinkedIn under Pamela Say, BA, MBA, CFRE.
Pamela Witter is a published author, fundraiser, and life-long student of leadership. Browse Pam's blog entries for possible conference session or keynote topics. Pam customizes training opportunities for her clients.
Email me at BeASeedPlanter@outlook.com.