Write Before Thinking


The Beginning

On my 25th birthday my mom sent me a letter that contained the following advice:

  1. Be curious.
  2. Take risks.
  3. Move on and shake up your world. A small town mindset can even exist in a big city when you continue to live the same way that you have been for years.
  4. Don’t procrastinate. Waiting for things to be perfect before you take a step will leave you paralyzed with indecision.
  5. Seize any and all opportunities- or better yet, make your own!
  6. Swagger with confidence. Since when have you ever been run of the mill? Don’t insult me by letting me ever think I raised just regular kids.
  7. Stick your neck out. You were never one to learn anything from success (period) and generally needed to make things as difficult as possible.
  8. Find something you’re passionate about and really get into it. Getting paid is secondary and the activity could lead to other things (i.e. opportunities).
  9. Write something. Anything. Write obituaries, movie reviews, greeting cards, short stories, letter to the editor… just write for public review and seasoning. Plus, the road to success is a zigzag.
  10. Come up with a financial plan, in pencil. You have so few obligations right now in your life, think up ways that you can implement your dreams without having to ask permission.
That’s it. Let’s toast to the next 25 years, they ought to be a blast. Love, Mom.
Leave it a mom to provide the gentle nudge we need to get on with our lives. And while all of her advice was helpful, it was #9 that she felt most strongly about. She, more than anyone, was the biggest champion of my writing. When I had my first article published she sent an email out to what seemed like every contact she had. And when I showed her the first draft of the manuscript I was writing, she gave me a huge hug and told me how proud she was. Little did she know I’d still be working on it a year later.
And even though what I wrote next I wrote just for her, she was the one person I knew would never read it. 
She was looking forward to toasting to the next 25 years.
Breast cancer only gave us 3 and a half.
I just celebrated my 30th birthday and the funny thing is, until she died I don’t think I read that letter more than twice. Now I read it about once a week.
Writers are nothing if not gluttons for punishment and rejection. And while I hope you like all of what I write, I can handle it if you don’t. This blog is about putting my writing and by extension, myself out there for public consumption. It’s about writing and all its highs, lows and boring crap in between.
If I’d only taken her advice five years ago. 

Filed under: Why I Write, , , ,

3 Responses

  1. clintschaff says:

    This is a great post, Peot. Printed it out.

  2. peotrick says:

    Thanks Clint. I appreciate that.

  3. gregor says:

    Damn brother, you’re making break out the Kleenex over here. She left us proud. That we can take comfort in.

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