What does it mean to make something real? How is it possible to create something out of nothing? The journey of making something real has followed the same basic course during my twenty-plus years as a creative entrepreneur. One day the spark of an idea comes along and taps me on the shoulder, and then I'm pretty much screwed. Because I have to either take whatever steps are necessary to fulfill that vision or surrender to the possibility that the idea will haunt me forever. I've learned to sit still with most ideas for a bit to see if they really mean business or if they're just popping in to distract me from my real work - which I may or may not even be clear on at the moment. But if the vision continues to squeeze out other rational thoughts that don't actually threaten to push me outside my comfort zones, then I know I need to pay attention and eventually heed the call.
It isn't easy, and things rarely turn out the way I thought they would - I've come to appreciate the magnificent chasm that always exists between my creative imaginings and what I actually end up making - but every time I turn my back on something I know deep in my bones I simply must do I am turning my back on my very own life. The kicker is that I know which ideas are the non-negotiable ones because they are the ones I feel the most resistance to. Would I rather spend an afternoon getting a root canal? Does the idea of memorizing the phone book suddenly sound appealing? Bingo - I'm exactly where I belong.
So, back to my original question: What does it mean to make something real? It means taking the first step, even if that first step is as small as typing the sentence "This is my book" on a blank page. It means grabbing an extra twenty minutes that just fell in your lap to write. It means allowing the gremlins to blather on as much as they want about what a nut job you are for thinking you have what it takes to write a book and, well, writing. It means filling page after page after page with a mishmash of thoughts, ideas and ramblings, knowing you are unearthing all the raw material that will be used to craft your book. It is writing. It is writing. It is writing. It is deep listening, the kind that enables you to figure out if your laundry really truly needs to be done right this instant or if, instead, it is Resistance trying to entice you away from your most meaningful work. It is pulling inward to focus, reaching out for encouragement, and, eventually, sharing your process with others. Because the world needs stories like these; it needs them desperately - the ones about making dreams real and following a wild idea. The ones about making it real.