There is a great scene in the movie Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade where Indiana, in an exhausting and perilous journey to find the holy grail, is at last confronted with the final obstacle to his goal. The entrance to the cave holding the coveted cup is within sight. The problem? In order to get to it, Indiana must somehow cross a seemingly bottomless chasm. But the distance is too great to jump, and Indiana can't see a way to the other side. As far as his vision can tell, if he steps off the ledge, he will plummet off the rocky edge to his inevitable death.
A year and a half ago, I made a huge, life-altering decision. By most standards of logic, especially given our economy (and my age), it was a foolish decision. I left a decent-paying career in higher education--one that had exacted a toll of a couple degrees and 22 years of my life--to write. I looked over the edge into the unknown and unpredictable and gulped. It was scary. I have to admit, the image of Indiana Jones stepping off into the abyss occurred to me more than once.
Am I hearing a collective gasp of incredulity? But wait, there's more to the story.
In the movie, Indiana's father, who lies dying in another part of the cavern whispers, "You must believe, boy. You must believe." Indiana, hearing his father's cries of pained agony echoing down the stony corridors, reaches within himself, gathers all the courage he can muster, lifts his foot high, and wills himself to move forward. He takes the fateful step--all to save his father's life
Although my circumstances may not have been as dire as the death of a loved one, the fear of stepping forward was palpable. But like Indy's father, my dream kept calling to my heart, "You must believe, child." After a year of contemplating the decision and debating the pros and cons, I finally took the big step. How could I not? My dream was calling to me; I had to save its life.
As the music and tension builds, Indiana steps into the unknown and unseen. His foot miraculously lands on a solid rock bridge that is suddenly visible, and with great relief he walks safely to the other side. The lesson, of course: he couldn't see the way until he took the step.
I wish life were as neatly written as a screenplay. I wish I could tell you I took my step, found my footing and am on my way to finding the holy grail of a published novel. But we all know the scenes in our lives aren't as nicely scripted as a Hollywood blockbuster. I'm still crossing the bridge one small, careful step at a time--a few published articles, building a platform, a fiction WIP (Work In Progress).
Whether you quit a job or not, writing has called you. It's why you're here on She Writes. It's why I'm here. What has your journey been like? Do you feel like you're taking steps on an invisible bridge across a bottomless abyss? What dream is calling you to "just believe"?
I look forward to the coming weeks and month as we take this leap together, one tentative step at a time. It's heart-stopping and fearful, exhilarating and exciting, and the dream is just on the other side.