I am pleased to welcome Jan Fishler to A Slice of Life Writing today. Jan is the author of Searching for Jane, Finding Myself (An Adoption Memoir). Jan is generously giving away a copy of her book as well. To be entered in the drawing please leave a comment on this post. I will draw the winning name on Sunday.
The Road Less Traveled
I’ve spent a lifetime making lists and sometimes, I actually accomplish what’s on them. Other times, I transfer the items that have not been completed on to the next list…and the next. Those are generally the “shoulds” or the things I don’t really want to do, like query magazines and journals about writing articles—something that’s been on my marketing to do list since last January. It’s not that I don’t want to write articles or that I’m short on ideas, and believe it or not, because I like marketing, I actually enjoy writing queries. So what’s the resistance? I used to think it was about the inevitable rejections, but now, at this point in my life, I think it has a lot more to do with my vision of who I’ve been and who I want to be.
While I do love writing (after all, I spend a lot of time in front of the computer pounding away at the keys), and am very proud of what I have written, recently, my mental picture has changed, and my focus has shifted slightly. Instead of pouring all of my energy into the printed word, I also see myself going down a new road. In spite of the fact that national surveys indicate that what I want to do is feared more than illness, flying, terrorism and death, I want to do what most Americans avoid like the plague: be a public speaker.
That’s right. I want to be on stage, mic in hand, speaking to groups on such topics as adoption, the writing process, creativity, motivation, passion and more. Why, you might ask, do I want to do something that gives 75% of the population severe anxiety? Making presentations about my book made me realize just how much I enjoy speaking to groups. I used to do this quite a bit when I was a trainer, but back then I disseminated technical information, not content that came from personal experience or from the heart.
This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop blogging or never write another article or book, it just means that I want to try on a different hat, write a new list, make a new vision board, leap into the void, so to speak. Isn’t embracing challenges and trying new things what life is really all about? Who knows, maybe by doing what others fear most, by taking Robert Frost’s road “less traveled ” I’ll not only be doing what I love, but it just might make “all the difference” for someone else.
Just in case the reference to The Road Not Taken makes you want to read the poem, here it is:
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Jan Fishler is the author of Searching for Jane, Finding Myself (An Adoption Memoir). She lives in Nevada City, CA with her husband, an overweight cat, and a wild and crazy Golden Retriever. You can follow her blog at www.searchingforjane.com .