“The problem is that, of all the crimes a writer can commit, playing it safe is among the most unforgivable.”
When I left for the #SmileProjectRoadTrip, people kept telling me I was going to find somewhere that I loved and that I was never going to come back. I told them they were insane. New York City was my home and despite loving every minute of my adventure, I knew I was coming back to Manhattan.
Then New Mexico left me breathless. San Francisco stole my heart. The Pacific Northwest inspired me. I was all the better for having seen the country, but when I settled back into my NYC apartment, I realized that the wanderlust had only grown stronger since my adventure. While still maintaining my temp jobs and part-time work, I began to seriously consider what I wanted.
The most frequently asked question I received when I told people I was quitting my job to drive across America was “what comes after?” I knew I would likely return to the city and again pursue full-time nonprofit work but every time I was asked I couldn’t help but joke about “the New York Times bestseller” I would have in my hands about kindness in America and how “I’ll just get back and be a writer and that’s my life.”
You see, in second grade I proclaimed I wanted to be a writer when I grew up and the desire to spin words into magic has never left me. At the same time, despite constantly writing for work, The Smile Project, or personal reasons, I have never fully committed myself to the art of writing with intent of publishing.
That’s why a few weeks ago, I bought a one-way ticket to Seattle, Washington. My intention is to live on an island north of Seattle for approximately a month. My goal is to write the book.
It’s a scary idea – to give myself total space to be creative and to write and to dream bigger than I maybe ever have – but so much of The Smile Project comes from doing the things that are scary or uncertain. This one is for taking chances, betting on yourself, and believing in your story.