Writing, Taking Chances, and Merlin Mann Made Me Do This

Merlin Mann told me to do this. Type, type, type. If you want to write something and for some reason, whatever that may be, it isn’t happening, you should start moving your fingers on the keyboard. Eventually the words will start to come.

Well, this is me typing. I don’t know if I really have anything to say right now. I would like to write about refusing to help the guy at work who doesn’t know how to ‘copy and paste’, but I haven’t figured out how to write about that without being and sounding mean. I don’t know, maybe I should allow myself to be mean.

Just start to become comfortable with the sounds of the keys clicking as you hit them and you will find yourself eventually writing. Not just typing, but actually writing. My keys do not click very loudly, not like when I was a kid and my dad sat at the dining room table typing away on his typewriter, creating tests for his students. That was a comforting sound to me I think. Yes, this is my stream of consciousness just coming through my fingers.

I have always thought that I had something to say. Not that I necessarily wanted to be a writer, but I think that everyone does have something in them that should be communicated. Some people use art, some speak and some write. I think everyone has a story to tell.

I always wanted to be able to write. I feel like I can tell a good story. But something about the process of writing has always kept me from even really trying. Writing isn’t fast. It takes a long time to put your words down and even longer to fix your mistakes along the way. Then, eventually, you have to show what you have written to someone.

I think that is where my problem lies. I hate wasting time. So much that is crippling, and the thought of showing something I have created / written to someone and feel like it is going to be judged in some way is enough to keep me from even trying. The anonymity of the internet doesn’t even help because I know someone will see it eventually.

I guess the real issue for me isn’t moving my fingers across the keyboard to see what happens, it is letting myself actually say ‘screw it’ and allowing myself to take a chance.

This has been a monstrous year for me in terms of taking chances. I adopted a little girl in early 2010. After putting the process off for so long out of fear, I finally gave in and went for it, no matter how scared I was. Now, I walk / drive my five year old daughter to school everyday and thinking of her can bring tears to my eyes with how much I have grown to love her.

In September of 2010 I left my full time job. For years, and I mean years, my wife has been begging me to leave. She hated me working there more than I did. I felt underpaid, and being a web developer, my job was made for working at home. Why did I have to go and deal with these people that drive me so crazy for such little money when I had a wife begging me to leave to work for myself.

I resisted her for a solid 6-7 years until I finally said screw it. I walked in and told them I was leaving. I thanked the owner of the company, told him I loved my time there (I had been there for almost 15 years) and that it was time to move on. I needed to work for myself and I wanted more time to see my daughter. She needed me and I wasn’t going to let a job I was hating keep me from being with her. I was tired of leaving at 8 in the morning and not returning until almost 8 at night.

You really find out what your worth to someone when you tell them you are leaving. All of a sudden I was indispensable. They couldn’t go on with out me and would do almost anything to keep me. All of a sudden, there was more money available. Maybe I could change my working situation. Maybe we could find a way to work around my daughter’s schedule.

It was becoming apparent to me that it was really more about the job. It was becoming more about my little girl all the time. And no matter the money, I told them I couldn’t be there they way they wanted me to anymore. But I said I wouldn’t abandon them. They really did and do need me, so I agreed to come in for about 10-12 hours a week when my girl was at school, basically as an on-site consultant or freelancer, but I was not going to be available to them anymore, and I went home that day terrified. Did I really just quit?

Then out of the blue, I got a call. Someone needed a website built, could I help them? Well, I sure could. A relative had a business she needed online. Another needed an online gallery built. Someone I had working at my home needed their business website updated, and then his wife was starting a business and could I help her. All of these opportunities started appearing. I don’t know if they were there before, but now they were.

I felt like I was being rewarded for taking the chance to quit. Which I was only able to to because I felt like I needed to be around more for my daughter. Which only happened because I finally dove into the adoption head first.

Taking that one chance has dramatically altered any path that I was on and I could not even imagine what my life would have been like if I didn’t.

And now I am sitting here, moving my hands over a keyboard, wondering if I actually have anything to say and, at the same time, realizing that I could probably keep typing for the next hour.

If you aren’t familiar with Merlin Mann, you should be. he talks about being in control of your time and your attention. He is smart and personable and listening to someone like that talk, even if you don’t find it educational, it is definitely inspirational.

He got me to write 1100 words, didn’t he.