In my last post I urged you to actually say or do something that you’ve thought about for awhile but just didn’t take the time to say or do. While this blog was on hiatus, I thought about an old project I had started years ago. There would always be time, I thought. There are more pressing matters that require my effort at the moment. Three months ago the time was right so I put the project on my daily schedule. Imagine my disappointment then, when last week–despite completing what I thought was thorough due diligence checking out the competition–someone else published the very thing I have been working on. Yes, competition is about making a better product (and I aim to do just that). It’s just that my creative baby now seems like a copycat, rather than an original in thought and form.
That’s happened to me more than once. Years ago I wrote an essay about joyfully embracing the phrase Merry Christmas rather than the politically correct happy holidays and I was encouraged to send it to national magazines. I didn’t. Sure enough, it was the hot topic on television and radio two years later. I could have been a forerunner.
And in high school I wrote a book report on Shane from the viewpoint of the pie that was cooking in the frontier oven. I don’t know what made me do it (the trees in the Wizard of Oz perhaps?) I wilted from peer-rejection anticipation when Sister Rose Clare read it aloud. I could have parlayed that sense of personification in my future writing, but no, I had other tasks to attend to. Now, decades later, personification is such a staple of television commercials, movies, and cartoons I have nothing new to add to the arena. My chance to be original (in that regard) has passed.
Don’t put your light under a basket where no one will see it. (Yes, the Bible said that first.) Don’t be the grade school kid in an adult body who has to listen to the teacher compliment your classmate for the answer you knew but was so too afraid to give. Don’t wait for a better time–it may not come. As many others have already said, we regret less the things we do and more the things we don’t do. Have confidence in what you have to offer.
And if you have a minute, please share a memory (or twelve) of your experience with holy cards.