Flying lessons

The Bravery Files

Today, I am really excited to be introducing a new series on the blog, the bravery files. Over the next few weeks I’ve invited some friends to share their own perspective on my one word. What does it look like in their lives to be brave?

Kicking it off is Helen, who happens to be my cousin. I love that we’ve stayed friends beyond that point in our lives when parents brought us to the same family events. She’s wonderfully kind and wise and I’m thrilled that she agreed to be the first in my mini guest series. So please be lovely and welcoming to her!!

Learning to fly

In her post of 13 April, Fiona wrote:

I am an ideas person… I love starting new things. I love the excitement of conceiving of a new idea, feeling it grow and take form in my mind, nervously proposing it to others and seeing them catch a vision, and researching like a mad woman all I am going to need to do to get this idea out of my head and into the world.

This struck a chord with me, because I love starting new things too. But while I often share her inability to finish things, already Fiona is braver than me. You see, she proposes her ideas to others (however nervously) and gets her ideas out of her head and into the world. Even when they are not yet perfect.

This is what being brave looks like to me right now.

Let me give you a little background. Having dedicated ten to twelve years to building a career in the public sector, I have spent the past five years at home raising two small children. This was a big shock to me at first, but has completely reoriented my life priorities and opened up new interests for me. One of these is writing for children.

I have always been interested in writing on and off since school, and would love to write picture books in particular. I started putting ideas on paper last spring, and have a year’s worth of jottings on the computer. But aside from a draft or two seen by my children, husband and sister, I have not been brave enough to share them with anyone else. Or, in fact, to develop any story to the point where I feel I can share it. I resist doing the last 10% just so I can say no, not yet, it’s not ready.

Meanwhile, I follow book blogs and publishers on Twitter, take part in an online writing challenge to write 12 picture books in 2012, and take out mountains of books from the library. But I can’t quite define myself as an aspiring author.

I have also become interested in children’s apps for the iPad, since seeing how inspiring and entertaining the best examples can be for my children. I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a blog on apps from a parent’s perspective. I’ve even registered a title with WordPress, but again I haven’t had the courage to focus on it and, beyond that, go public.

One of my favourite books when I was a child was “The Very Worried Sparrow”. He worries about whether he can fly, find food, or build a nest – “Meep meep, oh dear!” says the Very Worried Sparrow. Until he learns about the Father who takes care of him and everything he needs. I’m so excited to see that it is still in print.

This is why I admire those brave souls who do let their fledgling ideas go. I can see that it is the only way to let them grow, like baby birds taking their first flight from the nest. They certainly aren’t perfect at flying yet! But they trust that the time is right, and it will help them develop way beyond their original constraints.

So perhaps it’s time to take inspiration from one of my favourite picture books. Time to stop worrying about what could happen and let some of my writing out into the world to fly.

Helen D

Follow Helen on twitter – her username is @aitcheldee.