This is an article I wrote in 2017 that was published in the Writing Cooperative. Since it's out of circulation now, I thought I'd post it here.
I wrote it to encourage anyone who may be starting something new. It's always intimidating to venture into something when you're just beginning or still learning. That's how I felt about writing.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Over the years, people have encouraged me to give it a shot. They said I’d be good at it and who am I to doubt them? After all, if they said it, it must be true. So, after years of excuses and too many bad jobs, I decided to go for it. Like they say, there’s no time like the present.
After consulting Google on “how to be a writer” (which turned up over 700 million search results — if you don’t believe me, try it), I started a blog. I thought that would be the easiest way to launch my career and the best way to build an audience. At least, that’s what I gathered from the first three articles I read, and that was good enough for me because I just didn’t have time to go through all 700 million.
To get my blog off the ground, I created a website, wrote a few posts, and got my social media profiles in order. Once I was satisfied with everything, I stopped to relish the moment. I sat back in the chair and let a smile creep over my face. No more excuses, no more delays, and no more bad jobs — those days were over. My long-awaited writing career was at hand. Overwhelmed with pride and a pinch of confidence, I clicked the publish button and launched my new blog into cyberspace.
Let the fanfare begin.
It has taken a long time, but I have finally found a way to explain one of the most influential forces in my life.
And it's affecting millions of others like me.
Another day in the desert.
Sand in every direction.
While it’s true that I could reach the other side any day now, it’s just as likely that I’ll die here.
The kind of desert I’m talking about comes in a variety of circumstances and situations. Financial struggles, health battles, relationships gone sour. Maybe a feeling of hopelessness or loneliness. Your desert may not be like mine, but eventually—and more than once—each of us will be forced to cross a wide, dry, desolate expanse that tests us in ways we never expected.
Today, I’m reflecting on a lesson I’ve learned in recent years that has had significant impact on my future. Had I learned it sooner, perhaps I would have been spared a decade or more of wandering.
As I write this, a man I admire is on his deathbed. Though I’ve never met him personally, he has served as one of my business mentors through his books and seminars. He’s in his mid-sixties, young by today’s standards. In the marketing and advertising world, he’s a superstar. Just a few days after receiving a terminal diagnosis, he wrote a final letter to his followers and fans. In response, they thanked him for everything he had done over the years. Thousands of letters poured in, each a testimony to the impact he had on them and on their professional lives. For many, he was a true hero.
When I read his farewell letter, it got me thinking about my own life. What kind of legacy will I leave behind? Will I do anything in my lifetime that will actually impact the world, not just while I’m here, but after I’m gone? Is it possible for each one of us to have that kind of lasting effect on our fellow humans or is it reserved for those whom God has anointed?
I’ll admit, I’ve not always been sure. It seems like a fantasy and beyond my capacity to make that kind of mark.