Grab a pen and paper and number it from one to twenty-five. Now list everything you did yesterday. Tomorrow I want you to write down all the things you did today because by tomorrow, today will be yesterday. For an entire week, I want you to write down what you accomplished the day before—which is always a yesterday.
After a week of itemizing, go back and circle those things you feel passionate about. Take a hard look at each day, the time you’ve spent. Do all your yesterdays look alike?
I know there are things we have to do. Many of us hold full-time jobs, we have young children to care for, and school activities. Some of us actually prepare and eat our meals at home. There’s grass to mow and clothes to wash. By the time we have a quiet moment, we fall asleep, or we’re too tired to think.
I could say “this too shall pass” because it will. It’ll be our yesterday.
I don’t believe in putting our writing before the family so somewhere between putting the youngest child to bed and tossing the whites into the washing machine, can you figure out the GMC (Goal, Motivation & Conflict) for that new idea that’s popped into your head? Snag it this time. Don’t let this idea get away from you. Jot it into the Notes of your iPhone, or download the Dragon Dictation app, speak your GMC and email it to yourself. You can always glue a magnet on the back of a light-weight notebook to keep on the fridge. Capture some of those brainstorms that pass through on their way to yesterday.
I can’t tell you how many times I hear “I’ve always wanted to write a book. When I find the time, I will.”
I want to ask them so many questions, like:
A book or THE book?
Do you have an idea that gnaws at your insides?
Find time? Why don’t you MAKE time?
What’s standing in the way of writing that book now?
I don’t ask my questions, but I feel sad because often those people—regardless of age—will never write their book. They haven’t started the process: studying the craft, buying the how-to books, hanging with other writers in clubs or critique groups, attending conferences. Actually writing.
Start now! I can’t say it enough. You’re not too young, too old, too sick or too busy. Start now! No matter how many or how few words or pages you write each day, it counts. It matters. It’s part of the process that puts you on the path to accomplishing that dream.
I’d rather chase my dreams for fifty years and never catch them, than never chase my dreams at all.
Is yesterday a sad word or is it my imagination?