Remembering the time I almost…

We all have an “almost” story.

Sometimes, it’s the thing you almost did, but didn’t. And sometimes it’s the other way around (have I lost you yet?). Either way, getting to “almost” and going beyond can make a powerful difference in your life’s path.

My own “almost” moment, at least my most recent one, happened in 2011. I was unemployed, let go from a company where I’d been for twelve and a half years. I had two kids, a mortgage, two car payments, and all the associated bills. Scared? You bet. I had to find a new job.

Except my husband said, “Take the summer off. You know, finish that novel (the one I’d been working on for ten years at that point). See where it goes.”

So I took the summer off. I finished the first draft of the novel. But now what? Then I saw a piece in the local paper about this national organization called Sisters in Crime, and how a local mystery bookstore had a connection. So I went down to talk to the owner. “There’s a meeting here on Sunday,” she said. “Come on down.”

On Sunday, I parked and stood on the sidewalk. This is stupid, I thought. These women have probably been writing for years. How can I seriously think I belong in this league? I almost got back in the car and went home. But something in me said, “Why not?” so I went inside.

Three-ish years later, I’m the secretary of the local SinC chapter. I’ve submitted three short stories that were accepted for publication, including one in our chapter anthology that was released in December 2013. I helped put together the anthology. I’ve met some really fantastic people, and learned a metric ton about writing and publishing.

Most importantly, I learned I didn’t suck. I did belong in the same league as the rest of those women. Yeah, there’s more to learn – there’s always more to learn – but I found a writing tribe of “sisters” to learn with. Had I gotten back into my car that August afternoon, I would have missed it. I almost did.

But perhaps that’s the true power of “almost.”

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Author: Liz Milliron

Liz Milliron has been making up stories, and creating her own endings for other people's stories, for as long as she can remember. She's worked for fifteen years in the corporate world, but finds making things up is far more satisfying than writing software manuals. A lifelong mystery fan, her short fiction has been published in online magazines Uppagus and Mysterical-e. She has also had stories included in Lucky Charms: 12 Crime Tales, Blood on the Bayou (the 2016 Bouchercon anthology), Fish Out of Water, and Mystery Most Historical. She is a past president of the Pittsburgh chapter of Sisters in Crime. Visit her online at http://lizmilliron.com, find her on Facebook at https://facebook.com/LizMilliron, or follow her on Twitter (@LizMilliron).

9 thoughts on “Remembering the time I almost…”

  1. Nice! I’ve found in my own life, particularly my writing life, that taking that unknown step, forcing myself to go into and often uncomfortable situation can have positive repercussions that will last for years. Thanks for sharing your moment like that.

  2. Joyce, I’m glad I did too. My life would be a whole lot less interesting without all of you.

    Kristi, I have a friend who says “if something makes you a bit scared, it’s probably the right thing to do.” She’s talking mostly about endurance sports, like doing a triathlon, but it applies to so much more, I think.

  3. Mary said “I have a friend who says “if something makes you a bit scared, it’s probably the right thing to do.”
    I love that! And it’s so true. My biggest almost moment came outside of an AA club house in 1995. I cannot imagine what my life would have been like if I hadn’t pushed past that scared feeling. It’s always hard to recognize, except in retrospect, what a turning point those almost moments can be. Great post, Mary!

  4. I know I felt that way before attending my first SinC meeting in Dallas, and again before my first one in Los Angeles. Funny that it’s a universally scary thing for so many of us, but how much we’ve all gotten from the experience!

  5. Donna, congrats. I cannot even imagine how scary that decision was so brava.

    Cynthia, thanks.

    Diane, it amazes me how many people have those moments – and how many of us keep having them, over and over. I think that’s what’s called “fraud syndrome” – “this might be the time they figure how I don’t really know what I’m doing.” Good thing we all keep pushing past that.

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