Guest Post – Jan Fishler

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 .

Thanks so much for stopping by. I'm here early most mornings with one of my photos and a few words about life and those thin places where faith intersects.
15 comments
  1. Interesting that I should read this post this morning. Even though I have taught Speech classes for the last 10 years and taught sales training classes in the 70s, I find myself a bit apprehensive speaking on my own writing(s). But I do find myself wanting to do that. Good luck to you Jan on your journey. I would love to read your book so thanks for the chance to win it.

  2. My friend Jill and I were talking recently about finding “the next big game”…the challenge that energizes, excites, and fulfills us. Life was filled with those games when we were younger, and we played them passionately and well. As we get older, it’s important to search for new games that can bring about that same kind of satisfaction. You go, girl!

  3. Good for you, Jan!

  4. I read Jan’s book, “Searching for Jane, and Finding Myself”, and found it fascinating. I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. Though not an adoptee myself, I found that the inner struggles Jan faced on her way to wholeness, feelings of shame, blame and regret are something most anyone could identify with. I admire her courage to not only dig deeper but to then share the experience. I’m happy to see Jan taking it to the next step towards speaking, to tell her story, to make a difference. I recommend the book for anyone.

  5. Interesting–that tug between writing and speaking. I say, if you have a message you’re passionate about, go for it! Your enthusiasm will overcome anxiety quickly. And you are absolutely right, one day you will be speaking and someone will hear you speaking just to them–and it will make a difference. Good post!

  6. Amazing to find this post as I too just recently have decided I want a career change into public speaking. I have not read your book but I bet I would find it fascinating and am excited for the chance to win it. Best of luck as you shift your focus..who knows maybe we’ll cross paths as speakers at a conference some day 🙂

  7. Jan,

    You are a wonderful writer, an interesting speaker and a delightful person. Follow your heart!

  8. Well, I think public speaking is terrific and I KNOW it causes everyone at least a little bit of anxiety. But, think of it like test-taking anxiety — a little bit actually enhances your performance. I always diffuse the situation by ‘fessing up to being a bit nervous right out of the gate. Oh, and there’s always that suggestion of imagining your audience in their underwear… A great source for becoming a public speaker is Bill O’Hanlon, a terrific therapist and speaker out of Santa Fe. I recommend perusing his website at http://www.billohanlon.com and subscribing to his wonderful (and not too frequent) email list.

  9. Jan, I’m so happy to meet you. You are beautiful, your book sounds wonderful, and I’d love to read it. I also love that Frost poem. It’s one of my favorites.

    Thank you, Linda, for hosting Jan.

  10. Jan, you have already come so far in taking the road less traveled, I just know this new path will be exciting and fulfilling. If anyone can do it, you can! Good luck on your new adventure. To quote Helen Keller: “Like is either a daring adventure, or nothing….security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature.” (I love that one so much, it’s on my refrigerator!)

  11. Delightful post Linda and Jan! I love Robert Frost’s poem as it can apply to anyone of us at anytime in our lives as there are always choices to be made. It sounds like you are at an exciting juncture in wanting to do public speaking. I taught nursing for years and was guided by this saying:”Fill your head and be yourself” You certainly have filled your head, published a book (which sounds fascinating) and now it is time to spread your wings and really fly. Wishing you the best on your new path!

  12. I’ll look forward to hearing you speak in my neck of the woods.

  13. Great post. I am dealing with resistance in myself also. In fact, here I am on the computer instead of making a little art, like I was intending to do.

    Having recently met Jan, I would love to win a copy of her book!

  14. Jan, I think public speaking is fun and I’m sure you’ll enjoy doing it. You have a lot to share with audiences.

  15. Thanks Jan I always get something good out of your writings, Keep on keeping on

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