Sometimes, we’re faced with mountains in our lives.
You know the sorts of things I’m talking about. Those obstacles that rear up in front of us, stopping us in our tracks. Rising so high that we can’t imagine climbing all the way to the top. Spreading out so far on either side that to travel around would add interminably to our life’s journey. Presenting us with a major quandary. How on earth are we supposed to get to the other side? How can we possibly make progress in our lives with this enormous behemoth lying in our way?
I’ve found myself faced with such apparently unscalable mountains many times before. Sometimes, I’ve taken the mountain on. I’ve tried to heave myself up to its sheer sides, seeing how high I can raise myself before I fall back to the ground. Other times, I’ve pounded my fists on those rocky slopes, somehow imagining that I can beat the mountain down into submission. More often than not, however, when I find myself approaching another mountain, I’ve taken a more pragmatic route and chosen not to take that mountain on. Either way, the outcome is always the same. Time to stop and take stock and then find a path that leads in another, less obstacle-ridden direction.
Of course, there is another strategy. You can walk right through the mountain. I’m not talking about digging some sort of tunnel into the interior of the mountain. The bedrock at the base is generally far too solid for that. I’m talking about walking blithely forward, as if the mountain is not there. It doesn’t always work. There are times when the reality of the mountain is undeniable. But there are other times when you realise the mountain is only in your head. If you steel yourself, and keep putting one foot in front of the other, you suddenly find yourself out on the other side, as if the mountain were nothing more than a thin curtain of vapour.
I reckon my journey into the world of writing and publishing has been a clear case of walking through the mountain. In the beginning, I was totally daunted. Maybe not so much by the writing itself – that’s always been something I’ve enjoyed. No, it was everything about the publishing side. All the things you needed to do in order to be successful, particularly on the marketing side. All the research to ensure you were writing to a market. All the networking to build an audience, not to mention the planning to develop a focussed and economical advertising campaign with a positive ROI. All of these things represented a massive mountain to me – one I wasn’t sure I would be able to scale.
So what have I done instead. I’ve walked right through the mountain, as if it wasn’t there. I’ve written the stories I wanted to right, regardless of what the market might be telling me. And then I’ve written and written and written some more. I’ve tried to keep up the pure enjoyment of creating stories, rather than turning it into some sort of business activity. Many people might say that’s the wrong way to go about it, and that I’ll never be successful with such a lackadaisical approach. And to their way of thinking, they’d be right.
But to my way of thinking, I’ve already been successful.
Posted by Jonathan Gould and tagged as