The only guarantee in life is that it’ll take unpredictable turns. I’ve learned this ad nauseum in parenting and my writing career. Not that I’m complaining; both rides have been fascinating so far.
But every so often, there’s this brief and shining moment of utter clarity where I can see the trajectory of a decision or action right to its final destination. These laser-bright opportunities are astoundingly rare and tremendously gratifying.
Example #1 In Parenting
A few years back, when one of my daughters was at the ripe age of five, she became enchanted with the idea of being a model. Well, I’m not saying this aspiration is bad . . . for other people. I’m just saying, "No way in Hell. NOT in my house. Never. Nosireeeeeebob!"
So when my little darlin’, with her eyes so blue, said, "What do I have to do to be a model?"
I asked myself, "What response can I give that will forever nix this goal in the bud? What can I possibly say that will be so totally repugnant that she’ll never, even vaguely, want to pursue it further?" Then I came upon the answer. It was diamond clear, sparkling with myriad facets of confirmation that it wouldn’t be misinterpreted, that it’d be a bullseye hit.
"Well, Honey," I said. "You have to throw up a lot."
Example #2 In Writing:
Way back in the Cretaceous Period when I wrote my first two Sasha manuscripts — both of which were rejected too many times to count, thank God — I realized that something was fundamentally wrong with my concept. It was kind of like everything else out there: smart-talking PR pro finds dead bodies. Whoopie do.
I struggled for months until I came up with the idea that Sasha could specialize in small-town tourism. The second I landed on that premise, things began to fall in place. I also realized that it would achieve three important ends:
1. It’d be fresh because it’d celebrate places few people in or out of New Mexico knew.
2. It’d give me the chance to write about what I loved — my home state.
3. I’d get to travel all over NM, a place wanted to know more about; even if I never got published, I’d still have a load of fun.
That decision turned out to "make" the series, to give it a distinctive twist. And I knew, the instant I came on it, that it’d work.
So today I’d like you to think about your own crytalline moments — in parenting, writing, relationships or anything else. Let’s celebrate these glorious and accurate flashes of insight into our futures.