Say It Out Loud, Write It Down

As a writer, you’d think I would inherently appreciate the power of words. You’d think.

And yet, I have a long history of using words carelessly when I’m speaking in anger. I tend to lazily choose profanity over more descriptive words. And it took me forever to acknowledge that writing words down is a powerful tool for getting things done.

Every self-help book, goal setting guide, and productivity primer that I’ve ever read (and there have been many) preaches the gospel of writing down your goals and dreams.

But I was always too… I don’t know, busy? arrogant? embarrassed? too not quite ready to take that step.

“Yeah, yeah, write it down. Got it. Now tell me the next step.”

It just seemed kind of stupid, you know? Like when my algebra teacher used to make me “show my work.” I understood why other people had to do it, but my answers were right, so what was the point?

The first time I wrote down a goal was in March of 2010 when I decided to try the Body for Life workout challenge. I wrote down my goals and what I was doing to reach them every single day for 12 weeks. And it freaking worked.

The next thing I wrote down was my desire to quit smoking. Jared and I had decided to try Chantix and part of the system involved a website that walked you through goal setting and quitting exercises. Nothing I’d tried up to that point had worked permanently, so I decided to go all in and do whatever the hell the website told me to do – including writing down what I wanted and why I wanted it. Jared did the same thing.

Neither Jared nor I have had a single cigarette since May 1, 2010.

I started writing other things down. I put my budget on paper. (OK, fine, digital paper. Totally counts.) I made daily goals in the form of to-do lists. I wrote my dreams down and started making lists of little and big tasks that could help me turn those dreams into a reality.

And more and more of my dreams started coming true.

Even the really big and ridiculous ones. I’m moving into an RV in 5 days and traveling full time for a year with my family. That’s huge! That’s impossible. That’s a reality that started off as a “what if” conversation with my husband one Sunday afternoon less than a year ago.

I wholeheartedly believe that the reason this dream is coming true is because I wrote it down. And I didn’t write it on a dream board or at the top of a planning sheet. I didn’t buy a special book or spend a weekend crafting our mission statement.

I wrote it on the Internet.

It started with a tweet, and then it became a blog post.

And then it became an RV in my driveway and 5 more days until we head to our first campground.

I still have no idea why turning thoughts into words makes such a big difference. I don’t really care why. I’m just in awe that it does.

Are you ready to write your dreams down?

You knew that’s where I was going with this, didn’t you? And did it scare you? Did your stomach tremble a little at the idea of having the power to turn your wishes into something real?

It’s OK if it did. I still get scared when I get too close to a dream, every single time. I got an email recently from an editor at a national magazine asking me what I would want to write about for their publication. That is a possibility that is too insanely unrealistic to even hope for, and yet it happened to me. It took me several days to write back because the realization that I had the chance to send an email and make a huge dream of mine come true kept making me want to throw up. The possibility of dreams coming true is, for some strange reason, scary as hell.

But man, I really hope you push past that queasy feeling if you have it.

I hope you tell the voice of reason that explains how stupid and impractical these ideas of “manifestation” are to shut up for just a little bit.

I really, really hope you come on over to the new forum and write your dream down, because I believe you’ll find magic there.

Hey, Mister, what’s your dream? Tell us here.

Comments are closed on this post in an effort to coerce you into checking out the forums.

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