Posts

write!

What’s Stopping You?

This morning I was listening to a podcast whose host was talking to a woman about what was holding her back from pursuing her dreams. The woman's dream? To write. She said she has wanted to write since she was a kid and she was afraid it might never happen. (Or something like that.)

And what I thought, as I listened, was, “What's stopping you?”write!

Anybody can write. If your dream is to write, then write. All you need is a piece of paper and something to write with, and you can write, write, write, write, write. Nobody can stop you.

Nobody should ever have an unfulfilled dream to write, because you can write any time you want to. So if you are (I am) saying that you/I have an unfulfilled dream of writing, then what you are (I am) really saying is, “I want to be published.” Which is a different thing entirely.

If your dream is to write, then get at it, my dear. Pick up your pen, boot up your MacBook, and get to writing.

Dream fulfilled.

2013-04-20 signature blank background

 

 

 

Dallas, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Podcast: The Productive Woman
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

What If You Fly?

I've started a collection of inspirational quotes I find on Facebook. Lately the ones that have caught my attention relate to overcoming fear and stepping out in faith toward accomplishing my dreams.

IMG_0486As I've written before (for example, here), most of my life I've been afraid to try new things for fear of failing, and even more, fear of looking foolish in front of other people. I've missed so many opportunities because of fear.

IMG_0485The older I've gotten, though, the more I've realized life is too short to sit on the sidelines, watching everybody else have all the fun. So although I'm still afraid a lot of the time, I've been trying to drag myself out of my comfort zone, swallow hard, and try things instead of just dreaming. Like the podcast I launched earlier this month.

IMG_0506It sort of comes down to this question: Am I more afraid of failing, or more afraid of reaching the end of my life, looking back, and saying, “If only . . .”?

IMG_0509For now, it's the latter.

It's still easy for me to think about the things that could go wrong, about the ways I could embarrass myself, especially when I choose to attempt something new in a public arena. But I'm trying to remind myself to focus on the positive–the wonderful things that could result, the joy I could experience (and maybe bring to other people).

IMG_0773Yes, when we dream big and step out in the direction of our dreams, failure is a possibility. But oh . . . what if we succeed?

IMG_0417

What about you? Is there something you've dreamed about but been afraid to try? What amazing things could happen if you try and succeed? What could I do to help you take a step toward giving it a shot?

2013-04-20 signature blank background copy

 

 

 

Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom

Email me

**Honor and credit are due to the unknown artists created the beautiful graphics in this post. I only wish I could be that artistic.**

Is It Ever Too Late?

I've had many conversations with women about the things they wish they had done. And often they lament the fact that it’s too late now.

But when is it really too late to start something you’ve always wanted to do?

Writer and speaker Michael Hyatt offers a response in his book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. He asks these questions: When is the best time to plant a tree? Twenty years ago. When is the second best time to plant a tree? Today.

The same is true of our dreams. Maybe the best time to start was five or ten or twenty years ago, but the second best time to start is now. And really, as long as you’re still alive, it’s never too late to start.

I’ve written elsewhere about how my husband and I married at eighteen and had our first child when we were twenty. By the time I was thirty, we had three children, and I was pregnant with our fourth. I was busy home schooling our children, teaching childbirth classes, and serving in music ministry with Mike at our church. In my mid-thirties I began thinking again about a longtime dream of going back to college (I had taken a few semesters of college classes in my early twenties). With my husband’s encouragement and support I went back to school to get my bachelor of arts in political science. I still remember the day I walked across campus to attend my first classes. Looking at all those young people, I distinctly remember thinking, “What in the world am I doing here? I don’t belong. I’m too old to be a college student.” But with a pounding heart and shaking hands, I started anyway, and two years later (one month after the birth of our fifth child) I graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. I might have been one of the oldest students graduating that day, but my degree was just as good as those earned by those youngsters–and my husband and children celebrated the milestone with me!

222659_1032295458668_2757_nAs if that wasn’t enough, a few weeks later, I moved with my family from Nebraska to New York, where I started law school at age 35. This was something I’d dreamed of as a teenager, but life intervened and the dream got put aside for decades. Interestingly, I wasn’t the oldest student in my class. One of my classmates was in his late forties! Maybe because I’d waited so long for this opportunity, maybe because I’d lived in the real world before getting there, but I felt like my age actually was an advantage, both in law school and when I started my legal career at age 38.

I could point to any number of people I know who’ve started something new and challenging “later” in life–like my friend who married the summer after she graduated from high school and then many years later went back to school after she’d raised her children. She recently earned her master’s degree with her adult children and their children there to cheer her on. And there's my amazing husband, who just earned his master's in mechanical engineering this spring and started a brand new career–at age 52!

My point, of course, is that it’s never too late to start. If there’s a dream you’ve discarded because you think you’ve missed your chance, please think again. Pull that dream out of the trash, brush it off, and think for moment: what’s one little step you could take today (or tomorrow) to move in the direction of that dream.

What about you? Is there a dream you’ve set aside that maybe deserves a chance? What small step could you take toward making that dream a reality? Perhaps just the small step of saying it out loud? Feel free to share it in the comments below.


**Housekeeping note: I published an “extra” post last Friday, but due to a technical glitch it didn't go out to my subscribers. Bad news, because it included a giveaway of four great novels. If you haven't seen that post, be sure to check it out here (AFTER you leave your comments on this post below) and get your chance to receive a free copy of one of the novels I wrote about.


2013-04-20 signature blank background copy.png
Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

Ready to Make a Mistake?


English: Albert Einstein Français : portrait d...

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.

―Albert Einstein

I don't like making mistakes. I spent a good chunk of my life not trying new things out of a fear of looking dumb in front of other people. But the year I turned 50, I realized that I likely have more years behind me than I have ahead, so I'm sort of running out of time to do the things I've always dreamed of.

That forced me to to make a choice:

  1. Give up those dreams OR
  2. Learn to be okay with making mistakes in front of other people.

I'm too young to give up on the dreams, so I'm working hard to allow myself to jump in and try things I don't know how to do. It's not about waiting until you're not scared; it's about being scared and doing it anyway.

What are you afraid to try? What would help you get past that fear just enough to go for it?


Laura
Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

Taking a Leap of Faith

 dreamstime_xl_27975289 garden staircase 2013-01-13

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

I don't have any statistics to back this up, but based on personal experience, lots of reading, and many conversations with other women, I think many women have a hard time believing in themselves. Some of the women I've found most inspiring because of their accomplishments or apparent confidence have confided to me their own struggles with self-doubt. So often, it seems, women hesitate to pursue their dreams because they lack the confidence that they can achieve them or, worse, question whether they deserve the right to try. Many times we keep our dreams secret, afraid of how other people might react if we admit that we dream of accomplishing great things.

Or maybe it's just me.

Since I was a little girl, I've wanted to write–to write lots of things, but especially to write novels. As a girl I spent hours at the public library, poring over back issues of Writer's Digest and The Writer, studying the craft. Over the course of my adult life I've spent hundreds of dollars to amass what I'm sure my husband believes is the world's largest private library of writing books. I collected notebooks full of ideas for characters and plots. But I didn't write a novel. And I seldom spoke to anyone about my dream of being a novelist.

Why?

Good question.

A year or so ago I finally admitted the answer to myself: fear.

Fear that I didn't have the talent or skill or creativity required to do this thing I've dreamed of since I was a little girl. I was paralyzed by it. It was safer not to write. Because as long as I didn't try, I could continue to hope that maybe I could do it. But if I tried and failed, that dream would die forever.

Last year, though, I decided I'd let the fear paralyze me long enough, and I finally started writing my first novel. As I write this blog post, the first draft is nearly complete. Is it any good? I don't know. I can't let myself think about that until I've finished it. The goal this time around wasn't to write a masterpiece, or even to get it published. It was just to finish.

Here's the funny thing, though–even after I started writing the novel, I still didn't talk about it to anyone. I was embarrassed to tell anyone I was trying to write a novel. Afraid, I guess, that they'd secretly laugh at me. Who is she, to write a book?

But you know, if you don't believe in yourself, who will? (My husband does, God bless him.) If you can't call yourself a writer (or whatever it is you want to be), why should anybody else?

So recently I took a step that, for me, was a huge leap of faith. I launched a website, which is now the home of this blog. It's part of my decision to allow myself to say out loud that, along with the other things I am (wife, mother, lawyer, . . .), I also am a writer.

So welcome to Laura-McClellan.com. It just launched last week (as of the date I'm writing this). I hope you'll take time to click on the link and explore the site, and then maybe come back here and leave a comment telling me what you think.

Even as I launched the website, I found myself feeling embarrassed to tell anyone I'd done so. (Old habits die hard.) Who in the world does she think she is, to have a website?! She's not an author. She hasn't published a single book yet. Maybe she can't even write!

Yes, I worry about things like that. What am I going to do with a website? But I felt like it was time to take that step, so even though I have no idea where this staircase will lead, I've climbed up onto the first step. And we'll just see where it all comes out, hmm?

In the meantime, what dream have you been hiding in your heart? Are you ready to give yourself permission to pursue it, or at least to admit it's there? I'd love to encourage you. Leave a comment below, or if you want to share it with me without making it public, send me a note through the contact form on my website. I'd be happy to cheer you on or hold your hand as you start the climb on your own staircase of dreams.

I would love to hear from you.

A couple of notes for you to consider:

  • If you like the design of my website, all the credit and thanks go to Tekeme Studios. If you're a writer who's considering launching (or redesigning) your own author website, I highly recommend them. Check out their website for the various services they offer. If you decide to work with them, use the code LAURAMC20 for a 20% discount on their services.
  • Special thanks to Jodie Westfall Photography for the photos of me that appear on my site. I don't like being photographed, but Jodie made it fun.

Laura
Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me