I have always dreamt of writing a book. I told myself I couldn’t write, however, and that I wasn’t a good writer, even though I had a writer in my family. My paternal grandmother was a poet. She was known as the Poetess of Retalhuleu, a small town in Guatemala where my father’s family is from. The last time I saw her, she gave me all her books, and to this day, I keep them in a drawer as the most special gift I have ever received from her. I told myself she had a special talent — writers are born that way.
So, I continued my path following what I thought I was good at: accounting and finance. I built an entire career around numbers, and today I am the CEO of a real estate development firm. Still, it’s not all I wanted to do.
Four months after my youngest daughter was born, I felt a little voice inside of me that I had never heard before. It told me to write. I didn’t understand where it came from, and I still don’t. I just knew it was there, and it wouldn’t stop telling me to write. I tried to reason with it. I was too busy and tired with three young daughters at home, one of them a newborn. I had also just co-founded a company less than a year prior and was in the middle of setting up the new company while maintaining my role at my prior company. There was no way I could start writing.
The little voice wouldn’t listen to reason and kept insisting that I write. Finally, I gave in hoping I would have some peace if I wrote. I started working on this blog. It was very painful at first because I kept doubting myself. I hadn’t written much in years, so the words would come out, drop by tortuous drop. I would wake up early in the morning because I read early hours helped creativity, and it did, but only a little bit.
As I wrote, every word was a struggle. I kept thinking that my draft articles were useless, and nobody would ever want to read them. I felt like an impostor: when did I ever get the idea that I could write? Sometimes I would stop writing altogether for a few weeks, but without fail, the little voice would come back, insisting I continue. Despite this inner conflict, I continued because the little voice was louder than my excuses.
More than a year after I started writing, I decided I would launch a blog for entrepreneurs. By then I had more than twenty articles written. I also decided that if I was going to write, I was going to do it my way. In my full-time job, I had learned many skills and abilities that would translate well in my new endeavor as a writer. I started to try them out.
Some things worked well, and others didn’t. One of the first things I brought to my incipient life as a writer was the discipline I had developed over the years in the corporate world — I would show up for work regardless of how late I was up the night before or how little I wanted to do the work. This discipline helped me persevere day after day, throughout the thoughts of quitting.
I also tried writing my articles at night, when I would sometimes do my regular work if I hadn’t been able to finish everything I had to do in a day. Writing at night, I found out, didn’t work for me. I didn’t have the focus available after a hectic day at work. I decided to schedule writing at the beginning of the day, which has worked well for me. If I haven’t done my writing in the morning, I know that it is not going to happen during the rest of the day.
When I launched my blog, I had extra articles I had previously written, but I wanted to be consistently writing one blog entry a week to stay on track. I decided to implement a practice that had helped me in other parts of my professional work: whenever I am not achieving my goals, I start measuring the steps that will help me get back on track. I have found that by simply calculating how well I am doing, I start to improve because I want to do better. So, I started to count the number of articles I wrote in a week. My goal was to write 50 in a year or approximately one a week. This strategy worked very well, as it motivated me to check on my to-do list, and before I knew it, I was writing 50 blog entries a year automatically.
Another struggle I was facing was uploading my blog entries to my site on a timely basis. My goal was to have three months of blogs up ahead of time at any given point. Since counting the number of articles I wrote in a week had worked so well, I decided to use this same practice. I started counting at the end of the week how many entries were uploaded and ready to go in English and how many in Spanish. Again, it worked, and I exceeded my goal.
Finally, even though I was getting the results, I wanted, getting those outcomes was difficult because sometimes my day at work would take over. I would then be left finding spare moments to finish writing or uploading articles for the blog. So as a result, I decided to implement a new practice for my writing that helped me organize my time: block scheduling. I set aside time early in the morning to write and upload my articles. Now I know that these two tasks will get done because I complete them before doing anything else in my day.
Patience and experimentation have helped me find a process that works for me. As time has passed, at least the words now come out more easily. I’m also enjoying the creative aspect of writing. Trying to give shape to ideas that might be very vague is something I love. Today, there is no way I would stop writing. First, the voice would probably not leave me alone, but more importantly, it has become a part of my life. I love sitting down to write, and I’m grateful for that little voice for pushing me forward to embrace a new chapter in my future.