The hardest step in your creative development is the “zero moment,” the point where you go from doing nothing to doing something. The distance between the zero moment and being a newbie is far greater than the distance between newbie and pro, yet rarely does anyone celebrate this pivotal, important step.
Today, I want you to celebrate. Think back to your zero moment and do something to celebrate that incredible leap of faith. Maybe your zero moment was ages ago and you’ve forgotten all about it. Maybe you’re in that moment right now. Regardless of where you are on your writing journey, I want you to pause and celebrate that enormous first step that brought you to where you are now.
I had a handful of “aha” moments when it came to writing. The first one came when I was a girl (shared this in my How did I become a writer post) when a friend challenged a group of us to see who could write the scariest story. That was the moment I realized that there was a safer way to channel my imagination, and that was through writing them down on paper.
Throughout high school and most of my college years, I journaled. It was your typical teenager’s angst and boy-crazed, and trying to figure out what I truly wanted to do with the rest of my life kinds of stuff. Journaling was a way of dealing with frustrations and disappointments as well as perusing through all the puzzle pieces of life, and trying to see what fits and where.
When I was looking at colleges, I toyed with the idea of either Journalism or English major; but, I’d felt that I didn’t possess an aggressive enough personality for Journalism, and found the course work for English to be too dry and boring. So, I ended up majoring in Physical Education instead since I enjoyed sports.
I’d envisioned myself working with either professional or Olympian athletes. I received an associate degree in Physical Education, and went to an University in Virginia to pursue a B.S. in Exercise Science. I was well on my way to attaining that particular dream.
Then Life intervened, and everything changed.
Between graduating with my A.S. degree, and heading down to the University, I was diagnosed with a progressive eye disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa. Because I also had moderate hearing loss, the specific RP I had was Usher Syndrome.
I was slowly going blind.
This shook everything up. So much so, I practically gave up on all of my dreams. I stayed in college though as I didn’t know what else to do. From there, I transferred around at least four different colleges, changed my majors several times, but eventually went back to Physical Education and graduated with my Bachelor degree.
In the midst of struggling with coming to grip with RP, and confusion about my future, I met and married Aaron. However, with a year left of college, Aaron was in a car accident, and died. We were married only nineteen months.
I could have dropped out of college, but didn’t. I decided that since I was that close to graduating, and needed something to keep me busy, I finished out the last year.
Between the diagnosis, and Aaron’s death, I stopped writing altogether. Misery became my best friend as I holed myself up in an apartment (by this time, living on social security disability). Those were dark years.
Three years later, everything changed again.
In come Jay. Jay and I were good friends back at the very first college I attended. Then we went our separate ways. But, in late May of 1999, we reconnected. Something more blossomed between us, and we were married in September (same year). Days before our wedding day, he gave me a gift. A beautiful leather-bound (with a picture of a cute cat on front) journal.
It was full of empty pages. Pages that called out to me.
This was probably my true “zero moment.” The moment when I realized I must write; not just for the sake of writing itself, but for my mind, spirit, and soul.
And, because the price was too high NOT to.
What about you? Do you remember your zero moment?