Why do we ever do anything other than to follow our dreams? Even the ones we don’t know we have yet, the ones that are taking shape?
There was a time when my boss–the news director at the TV station where I worked–advised me, for the sake of my credibility as a budding journalist, to reconsider bringing baked goods to the newsroom for my coworkers to eat. I was young, blonde, and had a unique name rather than a trusty Anne or reliable Rachel, and therefore had to be careful, lest people start thinking of me as the newsroom Martha Stewart. These days, as a food writer, I question whether that would have been such a bad result.
I was aiming for a career in news at the time and was so dedicated to the opportunities already presented to me so early on that I did what I thought it would take to land my first on-air job. I cut and dyed my hair, bought the wardrobe fit for a reporter, and read books about interviewing and doing live on-air standups. I recorded my résumé tape in my spare time and mapped out a plan to eventually leave my big-city writing and producing job to pay my dues as a reporter in a smaller market before working my way back to Seattle.
I had so many people supporting me in my endeavors, from the news director who was my mentor of sorts, to some of the city’s veteran anchors—not to mention my soon-to-be husband, who stood behind my career goals that had already defined so much of our lives. So I think it was a surprise to a lot of people when in August 2007 I left my job and said goodbye to the world of television news. I took the proverbial leap of faith and decided to make a foray into print journalism, ultimately landing upon a communications and marketing job at a theater–something unexpectedly perfect for me at the time.
As I look back on my career in TV news and the experiences I have had since, I am awed by how each step has built upon the next to bring me where I am today, still a writer but with a different goal: writing a book. Today I am making a commitment here on Nooks & Cranberries to keep that goal going.
There’s no one warning me that baking might ruin my credibility, because baking is part of what my goal is founded upon. I have been wanting to write a book, a food memoir related to my Scandinavian heritage, and it is time to start taking the steps to make it happen. So this is when I follow my dreams. The first step: starting the book proposal. I did that nearly two weeks ago, on October 18. Rather than committing to a timeline right now, I need to dig in and determine the steps I need to take to get the proposal just right. The timeline, I expect, will come organically. Besides, I have a commitment on the pages of this blog, where you are part of my accountability network. If six months from now you haven’t heard me tell you about the progress I’m making on the proposal, then I ask you to tell me, “What’s stopping you from pursuing your dream?” Because each dream starts with one small step, a step that is incomparably easy next to the daunting process that we might see before us if we don’t break it down in our minds before starting. Why not begin right now?
Image: Collage features photos of things I’ve baked and shared at Outside Oslo. Hungry? Check it out!