I fell short.
One post a week for a year seemed both perfectly reasonable and wildly improbable when I decided to launch this little series last year. I had subjects in mind, a list to draw on. Surely I could write 800 or so words once a week about people I inspired.
The kickoff went well and for a little while I met the self-imposed deadline of Saturday completion for Sunday “publishing.” Too often it would get a little frantic at the end, my procrastination skills being what they are. But I got it done. Colette edited all those early ones—as her life got busier, it became more important to get things done on schedule.
Then, one week I wasn’t done until Sunday. I posted Monday. And so the story goes… lost momentum here, an attack of laziness there, and somewhere in the summer I started falling behind. At first I assured myself I’d catch up. Even at Thanksgiving I envisioned weekend writing sprees where I’d knock out a dozen.
Didn’t happen. But something else didn’t happen, too.
I didn’t abandon the project.
Oh, I thought about it. Both early on, when the streak was first broken, and more recently, when getting to 52 was clearly not going to happen. Just let it go, no one is going to die if you stop doing these, I told myself. You missed the mark, you’re out of the game.
Perhaps it was not an accident that I saved some of the most important Inspirers for the end. Because even as I floundered, that small voice said “You can’t stop before Lin-Manuel.” So I kept chugging.
37. I got to 71%. Not exactly what I was hoping to hit. But still, far more than I’d ever done before. I’d created 37 little vignettes, mini-tributes that we’re meaningful and some that had really touched readers. I had brought my writing skills out of the dusty attic and put them to work, with some pretty good results. I learned new things, gained insights on the different ways people overcome fears and put their talents and passions to work.
I’d reminded myself, in the midst of what often felt like a crazy year, that there were folks out there with lessons to teach by the way they lived and the chances they took. And I’d shown myself that despite my own doubts, I still had some talent.
I’m proud of each and every post. Grateful that i found so many people to admire, including from my own life. And hopeful—make that confident—that this endeavor is just the beginning. As part of this grand experiment, I did something I hadn’t expected.
I inspired myself. Not by hitting the mark, but by coming closer than I ever have before. By moving past the initial stumbling blocks and persevering when it would have been easier to throw in the towel. That’s not my usual M.O., but this time I tried something different.
And here’s the thing—the calendar year called 2017 may be over, but time hasn’t stopped. And neither has my ability to write. There are 15 posts to be written to make up a year of them; I plan to continue on and complete the project.
Because if there is one thing I learned from looking at the lives of those who have faced and overcome challenges, it’s that giving up is not an option for those who wish to inspire. Our quests may take a little longer than expected, but the rewards remain.
As I’m sure many will recognize, the title of this post comes from The Little Engine that Could. For as long as I can remember, this story has touched something deep inside me. I have often felt little, in one way or another, and longed for the courage to keep moving uphill, as hard as it might seem.
Thank you to all who took the time to read, comment, and encourage me on mine so far. May 2018 bring new inspirations into all of our lives, and may we all find ways to inspire those around us.