Read In, then Start Writing

You don’t have to immediately quit your job to become a writer. You need only to start writing. -Cheryl Strayed

I started my morning with a cheerful read-in on Facebook.

Most days, that’s how my morning begins. A short drive or walk to work (often accompanied with a healthy dose of NPR and/or a book on Audible) and a cup of coffee, then I settle in to catch up on what I missed while I slept. This involves social media, some carefully selected websites, and occasionally my Apple news app.

“Read-in” is a newsroom term I learned when I worked for CNN. It describes the first part of the day, where you check your email and see what’s happening so that you can be caught up and ready to produce a news show or report on the day. It explains my addiction to NPR and the reason why, even though I’ve been out of news for several years, I feel like I’m flying blind without some sort of briefing.

Anyway this article popped up on my Facebook feed, shared by a woman I met in a creative “meeting of the minds” type environment. Definitely check it out; it’s shared from the New York Times and the “Dear Sugars” podcast.

The thing that struck me is that for most creative types I know, they feel as if they missed their big chance to be a novelist or a poet or an artist. When you’re 22, fresh out of college, and swimming in student debt, it’s only the losers who move back in with their parents to be able to afford to create full time. So we get jobs. Some of us follow other passions. Some of us “sell out” completely and then the trajectory of our lives take over.

I see so many other young 30-somethings who have done way cooler things than I have and made money doing it. I have a career I genuinely do love, a manuscript I’m proud to be working on (if not yet 100% proud of) and debt. I’m happy with my life, but have I accomplished what I want? Not even close.

But the lesson here, friends, is that it’s never too late, or too early, to be creative. Just start doing it. Do it on weekends, on lunch breaks, early mornings and late nights. Most of my manuscript was written at 5am with a hot cup of tea by my side and a cat draped over my arm.

You haven’t wasted a minute. You don’t have to feel hopeless about what’s next. You get to decide what it is by doing the work you feel called to do. Now is a great time to begin. -Cheryl Strayed

Where I need your help:

What’s on your morning read-in? Mine has been centered around news and marketing (my career) but I want to start integrating more writing-related pieces into my morning as well! Please leave me a comment and let me know what I can’t miss.

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