A Flash from the Past
Years ago when I was back at school, I had two very different English teachers.
The first was Ms. H, a quiet, unassuming and knowledgeable young teacher. She was my favourite teacher because she encouraged me to improve my writing through my assignments. For a long time, I wondered if she wanted to become a writer herself and just before I left school, I found out that she was writing a novel in her spare time. I remember feeling pleased upon discovering this information and secretly wished her well.
The second was Mrs. W, a very knowledgeable and exceptionally opinionated teacher. In many ways, teachers with strong views can be an inspiration and Mrs. W was exactly that to me. Mrs. W was a retired journalist who had worked at a number of the famous newspapers in London. She seemed the most worldly-wise among all the teachers at my school.
At the tender age of 15, I figured that whatever Mrs. W said was worth listening to. This rule worked well until the day I mentioned I’d like to be a writer and she replied, “Forget about becoming a writer, you’ll never be good enough.”
The rule of listening to Mrs. W had been hardcoded into my brain and what had been heard could not be unheard. At first I felt shocked then angry at the certainty with which she uttered her judgment. And when the shock and anger fizzled out, I decided I would have to find my own way. She may be right in her conviction, but I had to at least try to do my dream justice.
And so I dabbled with writing short stories for a while and, being a complete novice, quickly got lost. The next baby step I could take was a joint honours degree in English and French to keep my dream of becoming a writer alive.
Eventually, with the distractions of life and reality, I fell asleep, along with my dream of becoming a writer, much like Dorothy did in the poppy field on her way to see the wizard.
When I awoke, I’d become an IT professional, first a developer, then a development manager then a consultant.
In the last 4 years, I’ve made at least 20 attempts to write a book. Fiction or non-fiction, it didn’t really matter. To be a writer, I needed to write. For me, a successful outcome would be a book I wrote.
Back to the Future
Twenty five years later after that fateful conversation with Mrs. W, my dream became a reality.
On Wednesday, 6 June 2012, two days after the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, my first book was born: ‘The Dream Team Nightmare’, a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure aka Fighting Fantasy style game book where you, the protagonist, plays an Agile Coach tasked with helping to get a failing Agile team back on track.
The value of experiments
Thanks to my previous attempts (aka experiments), I’d finally produced a work consisting of elements of fiction AND non-fiction. What’s more, it’s the first ever game book in the Agile Community that I know of. And better still, in writing ‘The Dream Team Nightmare’, I imagined into existence a series close to my own heart called ‘Agile Adventures – When the journey matters as much as the destination’.
Dream BIG, live it little by little
So what’s my biggest take away from my 21 attempts in recent years at living my dream of becoming a writer? That we have everything we need to overcome the challenges we face to live our dreams. The key is to stay faithful to your dream, go easy on yourself and live a bit of the dream every day.
What’s the smallest step you can take right now to help make one of your dreams come true?