When I was a freshman in high school, I wanted to be on the debate team. The school didn’t allow such things, because technically, ninth graders can’t compete at the state or national level. But the class period worked out for me based on my schedule, and I talked them into letting me use that as my English credit. I started competing almost immediately, and continued through my senior year. How did I convince the school to let me bend the rules? I acted as if that was the only option that was acceptable. I wasn’t asking for something unethical. I was just asserting what I needed and wanted for my own personal and educational growth.
In college, I did much the same. I convinced them to let me test out of Drafting 1, because I’d taken enough art to know the tools, and I was able to read enough on the subject to pass the test. I saved myself a class-worth of tuition payment.
I also convinced my favorite writing professor to let me take his class, even though it was full.
Why am I going on and on about this? Because it’s a way of life… it’s more than just a “can do” attitude. It’s more like, “I already AM what I want to be… I just haven’t done it yet.” It’s a life-long path of “fake it ’til you make it.” And for me, it’s always worked out in my favor.
In the commencement speech by Neil Gaiman where he delivers the quote from the photo above, he says that, in order to get his first paid writing job, he lied and told them he’d written for a handful of publications. He said he then went back, as a matter of honor, and made sure to write for each of those publications in the future. That way, he wasn’t lying about his experience…. he was simply chronologically challenged. He then urges the students to act as if they already are what they want to be, and then to go out and be that thing.
I don’t advocate lying to get your way… however, I do believe that acting the part propels you to your goals faster than staying where you ware and plotting a course. You can’t go swimming by looking at the water. You can’t skydive while sitting in the plane, wearing a parachute. You have to take that leap. You have to jump. You have to be bold and assertive.
If you want to write, don’t say you want to write. Say you are an author!
If you want to paint, don’t say you’re an artist in training. Proclaim yourself an artist!
If you want to dance, or sing, or sculpt… Name yourself as the passion that drives you.
Calling yourself an author doesn’t mean you know ALL THE THINGS about writing. It simply means you have faith in yourself. In your goals. In your talents, abilities and dreams. It means that you won’t settle. It means you know how to best define you!
I tell people I’m a writer. I make it known that I have a book, and that it will be published. It’s not arrogance, it’s simply me, being authentic to myself.
Just like when I was in high school and college, I knew what I wanted, and how to get there… mostly, anyway. Enough to be able to fake it until I made it.
Whatever it is you want to be, go be it. Don’t want to be it. BE it! Put it out to the universe, and then put yourself in its path.
It’s not too soon. It’s not too late. It’s now. And now is what you have. So use it to the best of your ability to be the truest YOU that you can be! Fake it ’til you make it. And then make it amazing.