Monday, March 24, 2008

What If....?

This time of year is always a reminder to me that rebirthing ourselves over and over again is a natural and powerful step to take all through our lives. By that I mean stopping to think about where we are, how we got here, and whether changing any of our assumptions about our lives and ourselves—and our writing—might be worthwhile.

We make assumptions every day about how things are and who we are—as individuals and as writers. Often those assumptions are things we were taught by our families or society and often we outgrow them or discover they were never true in the first place—IF we stop to challenge them.

It’s so easy to go through life never questioning our assumptions but we do so at a very high price—cutting ourselves off from wonderful possibilities we might otherwise have. Some of the most wonderful writers out there didn’t listen to conventional wisdom—and we are all the richer because they didn’t. Some of our greatest inventions came from people who didn’t listen when they were told it couldn’t be done.

When we were children, we knew how to play make believe and ask: What if? What if we did that with our lives now? What if we asked ourselves: Could we be wrong about the person we think has insulted us? What if they were saying thinking something entirely different than what we think we heard?

What if we could do that thing we were told we couldn’t do when we were children? What if we aren’t tone deaf or incapable of doing math or shouldn’t even think about picking up a hammer or wrench?

What if we can find joy even on the most difficult of days? What if it’s okay to have fun as we move forward in our lives and take on new challenges? What if we can get our finances under control? What if....?

What if we stop and ask ourselves: What assumptions do I want to challenge TODAY? What new possibilities do I want to bring into my life NOW--even if I didn't know I could have them before? How can I expand my expectations for what’s possible for me—as a person AND as a writer?

How about you? What ways could you enrich your life AND your writing by asking: What if...?