Too afraid to go for it, even if it might be good for you?

That seems like a no-brainer. Why not go after what’s good for you? Hmm…is it because…wait for it….it’s different or uncomfortable?  “To improve your life, don’t ever do anything that pushes you out of your comfort zone,” said no one, ever.

It’s been snowing here for almost two weeks now. Not non-stop, mind you, but steady enough to cover the ground with a permanent layer of white, crunchy snow. The seed-heads of the dead thistles in the field behind my house have all been picked clean, so I’ve decided to help out my little feathered neighbors with a hanging bird feeder filled with seed. But the mule deer have come down into my yard and cleaned it out during their nightly raids —not once—but three times.

So I offered a new source of food for my backyard feathered friends and put up a suet feeder with a block full of seeds that touted to be a good source of energy food for all types of wild birds—perfect! Then I returned to the house to watch through my window and waited for the feeding frenzy to begin when the birds would discover what I had provided; energy food served on a silver platter. Well, more like a tin square cage.

But what I discovered was that the birds wouldn’t land on the feeder, so they had no idea that what was inside was good for them. They flew past it, whizzing ever so close, but not landing on it. They sat perched on a branch, only inches away, examining it as their tiny heads tilted back and forth in jerking little movements, checking out the new thing in their area. For the next few hours, I’d occasionally stop on my way through the house in front of that window, hoping to see that the suet had been pecked on, or to actually see a bird perched on it, but so far, no takers.

Why are the birds not landing on the suet feeder? Is it too cold and they can’t smell it? They can certainly see it and are diving by it to get a closer look, but they won’t land. What’s with that?

Maybe it’s because the feeder is new, something they’ve never experienced or seen before, so they’re scared to approach it. Even though what’s inside is good for them, they are too afraid to find out.

Hmm…something about that hits home to me, in a kickme-in-the-ass sort of way. Every step of this writing career is something new, something I’ve never experienced before. And just like all those little finches and sparrows that are too afraid to land, and therefore, are missing out on what’s in that feeder, even if it’s good for them, I too am doing a lot of fly-bys. I’ve been learning and absorbing everything I can about this publishing journey, and I know that if I want to grow and take the next step, I have to land on that feeder. Or in my case, launch my author’s platform. I know it will be good for me, will be the first real step in catapulting my writing career, and will identify me as a real writer and a published author.

Yeah, it’s different, and different can be a little scary. Sometimes it can be downright terrifying. But if we don’t experience the different, the new thing in our path that we must embrace, how will we ever grow? How will we ever know how great we can be unless we take a chance? And I certainly can’t use the excuse that I’m too old to start something as big as a writing career, since it really doesn’t have anything to do with age. We never stop learning, not if we really want something that we’re passionate about attaining.

I came across this quote years ago, and though I never knew the author, I’ll never forget these words: If you want something you’ve never had before, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done before.

Fortunately, I have a little more sense than my backyard feathered-friends, and I’m done with fly-bys. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about this publishing industry, and one of the things I’ve discovered is that this journey is a process, and sometimes a very long process. If I’m not in it for the long-haul, during the boring, tedious, and all the suck-time of tying to see the magic that is happening in between my editor’s red lines on my MS, (for who knows how many times–I’ve lost count!) then I might as well pack it in now. I might as well go find a job in a bookstore and stuff my soul’s desire into reading other people’s books.

But I know myself well enough that’s not going to happen. I’m not a quitter. I’m still moving forward, and have a good team on my side to keep me focused on my golden-ring. My dream of being a published author has now become a reality, but launching my author platform feels a lot like landing on that bird feeder. I know it’s good for me, though it’s something new and different, and therefore, a little bit scary. But it could be the source of energy that will take me to the next step in this never-ending process. And who knows, the next step might just come on a silver platter.

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