What Would Young You Tell You to Do?

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This is me at around age 10.


I spent my childhood on a farm, climbing trees, building forts, and yes, training calves to follow me around in a circle at the fall fair.

(I was good at the later. I still have one of my trophies. *kisses bovine leadership biceps*)

I also loved reading.

And writing little stories.

Every year, before school started, my mom would get out our "books"—those ones where conscientious parents kept track of their children's milestones—and ask us the questions listed on the page associated with our age.

One of those questions, of course, was:

When I grow up I want to be...

The answers varied a bit year to year, but this one never did.


Over and over again, from the age of 5 until I was a teenager, I told my mom I wanted to be a writer.

I'm not sure when, or why, I lost touch with that aspiration as a vocation or career idea.

I did well in high school and university, and my highest marks were always in English and Creative Writing.

But it never occurred to me to *become* a writer.

And then I got a job in advertising right out of university and my career in business took off.

About 10 years ago, I started thinking about writing a book, something related to curiosity.

I met with a literary agent, he liked my ideas and took me on as a client.

And I wrote nothing.

After dismantling my research and innovation consultancy in 2014, I worked for a year as a ghost-writer for a business friend of mine who wanted to develop a book proposal and build his platform as a thought leader.

I worked on the book proposal, wrote all of his blog posts and produced and co-hosted his podcast.

And I wrote nothing of my own.

At the end of last year, I sat down with myself and said, "hey self, it's time to get serious about this writing thing. Or let it go. And if you're going to get serious about it, you clearly need some support. Because you're not making it happen on your own."

So, I hired a writing coach.

And our work together has been absolutely life-changing.

Because here I am.


Which brings me back to trust.

I'm going to keep coming back to that inner child, that clever little genius who *knew* writing was a thing that grown up her was meant to do, and I'm going to TRUST her.

Trust her when the shame monster shows up.

Trust her when the mean girl shows up.

Trust her when the imposter syndrome shows up.

And trust her when I'm raging about the gap between my high standards and good literary taste, and my lack of ability to meet either.

I'm going to trust that little cow-wrangling, book-reading, word-loving genius.

Because she knew.

Which means I know.

And there's only one thing left to do.


Karen Ward