Ghosts don’t haunt us. That’s not how it works. They’re present among us because we won’t let go of them.
I watched a Hallmark Christmas movie yesterday. It was called “A Family for Christmas” and focused on a successful career woman plagued by “what if”. What if she had not gotten on the plane 10 years ago and instead had remained and married her sweetheart.
That movie couched “what if” as a Christmas wish, but “what if” could just as easily be a Christmas ghost as in “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. Christmases past, present and future, all embodied by “what if…”
“What if” is full of possibilities. It’s not about changing the past, which is impossible, but about changing the future. It’s about taking a chance, a leap of faith, and building the future you want. As writers we do this all the time. We envision a world and build it, exploring, creating better places, unraveling problems, probing characters, situations and times outside our own routine. Often, our own “what if” involves finishing the scene, chapter or book. So, if you’ve started writing a book, what if you finished it? What if you then finished another?
In 2016, I challenge you to explore your own “what ifs”. What if you took the class that could change your career, learned something new, started exercising, or yes, finished that novel? In one year, working one step at a time, you can achieve that goal. In hindsight, today’s hurdles won’t seem so daunting.
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