No Plan but Plan A

Hi everybody 🙂

Some of you maybe just found me and are pumped about the upcoming release of my novel, Asher’s Gifts. Awesome! If you haven’t signed up for my email list yet, do it now HERE to make sure you’re notified about all the exciting news related to its launch.

But I imagine that most of you reading this first post on EmMcDermott.com have been with me for quite awhile. You’re the friends and family who have followed my endless journey towards this moment for years.

I knew I wanted to be a writer in elementary school, and most of my life since that time has been spent in an inner battle trying to convince myself that such a thing was possible. Most people will tell you that it’s not. They’ll speak of the failure rate, “practical” college majors, and ask about your Plan B. But for me, being a writer is so fundamentally inseparable from who I am and why I’m here that the only real answer to any question about my Plan B is:

Plan A is to live honestly, happily, and fulfill the purpose that I was put on this Earth to fulfill.

Plan B is to fail in every way.

If only I’d been clever enough to say that at the time.

I know most people have looked at me in the decade since I declared I was going to do it—I was going to be a published writer!—and seen me as a failure. I’ve seen myself that way, sometimes.

There’s a quote from a Steven Pressfield book, Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t, that goes:

“It was clear to everyone I knew that I was riding the L train to nowhere, and it was clear to me that this was clear to everyone I knew.”

Life has felt that way for me hundreds of times.

And yet now I reach this moment and I realize that I have never failed. Why not? Because here I am, publishing a book. The only failure would have been to give up along the way. To switch over to Plan B.

Yeah, this journey took a lot longer than I thought it was going to. I thought I’d pump out a fantasy novel at twenty-two that instantly established me as a major new writer on the scene, earned millions of dollars, and inspired reviewers to use the word “genius” whenever they discussed it.

It didn’t happen that way.

Instead, I never published at all, I think because I was afraid. Afraid of change and loss and making mistakes. Afraid of failure. But more than all that, I was afraid of what failure would mean. It would mean that everybody else was right and I was wrong. It would mean that I wasn’t who I thought I was, I wasn’t put on Earth for the purpose I thought I was, and that basically every single thing that ever mattered to me, that I built my entire life around, was wrong.

Better to fail by not trying than to learn that.

So here’s the part where I’m supposed to tell you that now I know better. I’m supposed to say: Of course it’s better to learn and live, to reach for my full potential, even if I end up being wrong about what that potential is. It’ll still be more than I could’ve done if I kept holding myself back!

But that’s not what I’m going to say. Because it’s not what I honestly think. I honestly think that to spend a lifetime in soul-centered work to become something, or someone, only to fall short and discover that the magic, the brilliance, the purpose that you’ve bet everything on was just a figment…yeah, I think such a thing would be a tragedy of epic proportions.

I also think that such a thing does not happen. Not if you give it everything you’ve got. Not if you never take your eye off your goal. Not if you believe in it the way Peter Pan believes in fairies. Not if there is no plan in you but Plan A.

And so I am not worried, as I climb the final steps of this long climb and prepare for whatever mountain comes after. I cannot fail, because a decade of proof has taught me (and probably, by now, everybody watching) that I will never give up on becoming the acclaimed writer I see in my mind. All that can happen is that it will take longer.

But for now, the wait is over. Asher’s Gifts will, on May 1st, become my first published novel, and I could not be prouder of it if I gave birth to it myself after laboring for ten years.

Oh wait, I did. 🙂

To read the first chapter for free, click HERE.

To subscribe to my email list and receive notification when Asher’s Gifts is released, click HERE.

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