Are you going to live your dreams? Or are you already locked into the ever-so-slow process of giving up?

For me, I had always known I was supposed to be a writer. I felt that hunch in my soul from a very young age. I just never turned into it in a way that showed any commitment. As life marched on, and years grew into decades, I eventually began to feel like it may never happen. I excused my lack of drive and commitment by convincing myself I lacked the time, resources, and a hundred other variables to really give writing a real try.

It’s a dangerous game to play with your passion because excuses often begin to work as shields for our lack of actions. Excuses always foster a woe-is-me attitude that basically puts a creative heart into deep hibernation. Oh sure, I would still tell people I was planning on writing soon, but deep inside my mind, I knew I was just pretending.

The darker reality of why I was not writing was much more embarrassing… and very seeded in my insecurities. I knew things about me that others didn’t. I couldn’t spell. I didn’t understand grammar, syntax, or morphology AT ALL (I honestly still don’t understand morphology but I googled some bigger grammatical terms to sound profound). I also couldn’t type. I didn’t even understand how to operate a computer very well. Looking back on it now, it was so sad it’s almost funny. Almost.

See, growing up, my family moved around a lot. From jr. high school on, I never went to the same school more than one year at most so, somewhere I missed out on a ton of instruction. I also had some real learning challenges early on, and my family simply began to treat me like just passing was a victory. I have learned first hand that sometimes low expectations for children can really damage potential; even when your trying to make them feel better about their lives.

As an adult, instead of being honest about what I clearly didn’t understand, I found creative ways around these challenges. I passed many high school and even college classes with great grades because I’m a gifted problem solver. It is a skill I’m forever grateful to have, but sometimes it can be used to hide things that need to be exposed. Problem solvers can often find ways around issues instead of just owning up to what they didn’t know and take the time to learn. When we avoid challenges, we often end up on paths that turn out far less inspiring than we had hoped. And that was very true for me.

As I limped on in that area of my life, I began to find success in other arenas and simply learned to hide my ignorance by not trying at all. Like a broken bone that heals wrong, I hardened in this place and learned to accept my self-imposed limitations. Limited by what I hadn’t learned, I became less than what I was created for. It was a very bad move, for sure.

Game Changer

Thankfully, things were not to remain this way forever.

You see, when you have dreams, life makes sure to give us all opportunities to undergo very painful and impactful moments that can alter our priorities forever. One of my opportunities would turn out to be a real game-changing moment. This moment started when I was slammed by a former friend as she was exiting my life. Before she left our offices that day, she turned to me and out of no where said, “And who are you kidding, Michael, you’ll never be a writer. Stop saying you will write someday… you won’t.” She was leaving our staff and friendship for entirely different reasons, but somehow she felt that she need to attack me personally.

I shrugged it off in front of my friends, but honestly, it crushed me. Not because a once close friend and co-worker was leaving, not even because she was taking a shot at me. You see, it hurt so bad because she hit a real and truthful nerve. She said out loud what my heart had come to believe for a while now.

I can vividly remember later that night resting my head on the wall of my shower while the hot water ran over my wounded ego, dreams, and heart. I hated that she was right. I felt such embarrassment and pain. It wasn’t enough for her to end a friendship so callously, but she ripped into my heart’s dreams, as well. I remember feeling empty and helpless. And then it happened…

Somewhere in that shower I decided she was wrong about me. I decided I had been wrong about me too. I decided that I would not stay broken in this area of my life, anymore. I actually said out loud, “Don’t let her be right about you Michael!”
Then, I got out of that shower, washed clean of my past failures and ignorance. That night I googled the habits of great writers and made a list of a few things I would start doing every single day. Through others habits, I found my own way.

Game Changer

I began making myself write only a hundred words a day. At first, it started really slow. It was a mess of misspellings and grammar nightmares; but, my friends helped me learn, grow, and develop. Over the years, I have gone from a hundred words a day to roughly three thousand a day or more… five days a week. I can now type over seventy words a minute. Actually, I can type much faster than that, but the amount of mistakes becomes so comical, I pace myself there. I still am learning more about spellings, tenses, and grammar each and every week; I also learned that it is a writer’s ideas that people look for. Sure, the world has a lot of grammar Nazis, but for the masses… they simply want to be inspired, touched, entertained, and challenged a little. I used to be so embarrassed when I would make a mistake in a publicly written piece. Now I just check it off to being very human. Ironically, everything I write these days is run past several editors, and still mistakes make it through. Recently, I posted an article on The Huffington Post that went viral. I received emails from around the world letting me know that the word “tenants” should have been spelled “tenets.” All I could say was, yep. I make a point of learning that and just keep on writing on my next work.

There's lots of grammar Nazis, but the masses… they simply want to be inspired, touched,… Click To Tweet

An english professor helped me a lot with my writing by teaching me that I could, in fact, break rules. People who read my writing know I use “…” a lot. Too much even. I use them in places commas go and use them to end sentences. It’s my way of communicating longer pauses for people to think. I break the rule for how to use these little dots because because it’s my writing. By the way, those dots are called ellipses.

At last, I’m comfortable in my world of writing. I’m about the story, the narrative, the communication…not all the rules. It’s my style. I know I’ll be learning forever about better ways of writing and I do enjoy adding to my understanding and vocabulary. But I no longer hide behind ignorance and insecurity. God has blessed me with the ability to make a living doing what I love… doing what once frightened and intimidated me to my core. And for that alone, I will forever be thankful.

Look, we all have dreams. On my last post, I shared a little about what we must do if we want to turn our hopes into a reality; our dreams into a real life. But to do this, you MUST begin today with new habits. Just one good habit can turn your life around!

Just one good habit can turn your life around! Click To Tweet

So tell me, what is one fear you haven’t faced? What is one thing you need to learn? What is the one thing you will commit to do daily for thirty days? What is that one habit that will be your game changer? Share yours in the comments section of this post. Then whoever gets the most “likes” on their comment will win an AWESOME prize and get some needed help in their endeavorer from myself and my staff. You can get your friends to help by you voting for you, as well!

Are you ready to have a game changing moment?!?!
Then make it happen!

Use this as your moment in time and decide that you don’t have to stay broken…
You can heal, you can get strong in your weak places. And what is more…
You can still have the life of your dreams!

12 Responses

  1. Thomas Nord

    So Mike, how would you suggest one over come writing anxiety. See when I can get past my fear I can actually write decent. It’s just getting started that literally(pun intend btw) kills me, ( like chest pain an sweats; REALLY)

    Reply
  2. Angela Agustin

    I like this! I feel like I’ve had stealth dyslexia as a child and I hated writing. I now enjoy writing but feel insecure about my spelling and grammatical errors. I do desire to some day write a book to inspire and encourage people. Three years ago I was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer, went through treatment lost all my hair, and a year later it was back. Through this time I’ve shared my journey on fb and realized how many people were encouraged & inspired through my struggles, it brought me great comfort knowing my struggles were not in vain; if i could encourage and inspire other through my suffering it gave me a new purpose.

    My struggle, a mother of six, three of which are fourteen, eleven and four.(three older independent and living on their own. Ages 25, 22 and 20.) currently going through a divorce from my high school sweetheart “father of my children”. Now a single parent, stage IV cancer with on going treatments. My challenge is time and energy. I’ve been writing a journal daily (trying to be consistent) even thought of going back to school. I do like the idea of learning from successful people’s habits. Willing to do what it takes. (Not willing to sell my soul to the devil. Lol) I’ve been inspired! Thank you!

    Reply
  3. Sarah S

    I started my new habits last week – I broke off a 2 1/2 relationship that was not healthy for me. My self esteem isn’t great, but every day I am going to lean on my Faith, talk to myself in a loving way, and vow never to allow myself to get back into a situation like the one I was in no matter how lonely, scared, or hopeless I may become. In fact – I will try very hard not to “become” any of those things!

    Reply
  4. Trudie Sandberg

    I too have hidden fears. ..like most people. After my awesome husband and everything – life-partner died from injuries from a vehicular accident, I’ve hidden from the world. Two years, 8 months ago. I understand that there are things I need to be doing and that life is out there. I just don’t know how or where to begin.

    Reply
  5. Laura

    I have had the same issue for a different reason. I too have a dream to be a writer and have had it for a long time but haven’t done it. My insecurity isn’t the grammar, I can do that, it’s putting the ideas into a story. Your article has inspired me. I can see me in you. I’m going to start writing each day even if it never gets published, just to practice writing. Thanks so much for sharing this!

    Reply
  6. Rachel

    This was like reading the experiences throughout my life. I have this deep “whisper” that has been calling to me for the last few years. It says to share my experiences and adventures but, I’ve had a horrible fear that my words would open the door to criticism. So this fear has stifled my ability to open up. No one would want to hear from a single mom, I have failed, I am not “proper” writing material, on and on and on my own brain tortures me.
    This may be my game changer moment! I am grateful for your ministry to all of us who are so hungry for the truth about what God can do.
    Thanks

    Reply
  7. Jessica

    I need to manage my finances more effectively instead of letting them manage me. My ex told me over and over how I suck at managing money. I have been proving him right the last 2 years. I decided 5 days ago that I was going to get good at it. First step a budget and updating my YNAB software daily. Also listening to Dave Ramsey podcasts everyday to keep me motivated.

    Reply
  8. Vicki

    I’m also a writer. I’ve published two children’s e-books, and I have many other children’s books and adult novels on the back burner.
    My number one problem is that I have too many projects going on at the same time. Four children’s chapter books, three children’s picture books, and at least a half dozen adult novels.
    I can’t seem to help it. The ideas jump out at me when I least expect it, and so I have to write them down before I lose it.
    These ideas I begin to write when I’m stuck on a former novel. The only good thing that comes out of doing this, is that all my books have almost equally amounts accomplished.
    I have many young and older fans who would like to read my books, but I just can’t seem to get one finished as quickly as they’d like me to.
    I’m a procrastinator, but when I’m in the mood to write, I can go at it for hours. I too make mistakes when I write or can’t find the words that I’m looking for. It’s been one if my greatest struggles, but I try and deal with it the best I can.
    At least I know my stories keep the reader enchanted, everything else just takes a little more effort.

    Reply
  9. Kristi Smith

    Mike…
    I just love your writing and I…for one…am glad that your former friend said that hateful comment to you, because it was the straw that broke the camels back. If she would not have said that to you… then your dream may have never come to life and we would not be experiencing the no-holds-barred writing that we have come to love and expect from you.
    Years ago I posted a sign in my mind that read…
    “Thank God for the final straw.”
    Without the final straw… we would not be able to write those books that we have within us, leave those unhealthy relationships that were over a long time ago, draw much needed boundaries with that abusive family member, take that last drink, smoke that final cigarette, go to rehab, move to that new city, paint that picture, take that photo, ask her out, be grateful for what we have left, breathe in the beauty of the simple things, appreciate that hug, hold that hand a little longer, stand on the top of that mountain, join that gym, walk into that church, answer that voice mail, kiss those sweet baby feet, bury the hatchet, forgive that grudge, or linger in the moment. No…I have learned to thank God for the final straw…no matter who hands it to me.

    Reply
  10. Christy

    Just discovered this blog “awesome sauce!!” We read “why we eat our own” & “how to rob a 7-11 a few years ago. So inspiring and so much truth. New Life Church just celebrated 6 years and wow what an adventure. (Kinda like the good the bad and the ugly) We’ve devoted our lives to reaching out to the lost, broken and unwanted. Drug abuse is running rampant in our little town. Our leadership just returned from a week long vacation/refreshing/renewing time of looking at doing some things better and laying down other things that aren’t working. The big “game changer” for us will be my husband FINALLY giving up his financially supportive construction business to follow his dream of pastoring full time. Our church of about 100+ (average) is not enough to support paying him but my job will take care of us. Not sure what kind of help your staff can offer but we could use help. We long to make/be the difference in the world. So many hurting, broken and misguided folks come to us, the broken ones with a Savior. Pray for us please as we continue through the trenches. P.S. Love your writings!! Thank you!!

    Reply

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