Every writer I’ve ever spoken with or read about has something that hinders, to various degrees, their writing process. Time restrictions, privacy, lack of ideas, writer’s block, or, as in my case, lack of confidence. Another obstacle was pointed out to me today – limitation. But unlike the other problems writers have, this is one I could not relate to.
One of the things I love about writing is that there are no limitations. I can write what I want, when I want, where I want, in whatever style I want, for whatever audience I choose. I’m limited only by what I think I can’t do. Anyone who finds themselves limited in any way, in whatever career or skill they are working on, will quickly lose interest and enthusiasm. For writing this is particularly true.
As well as writing without limitation, I love reading authors who have done the same thing. They have not confined themselves to one particular genre, sometimes even melding many genres in the same book.
Clive James, whose writing I have enjoyed over the years, is probably recognised mostly for his journalism or memoirs. But he has also recently published his own translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy, which I loved, as well as numerous poems and novels. He is one writer who has definitely not been limited in his writing, something that could easily happen to a political journalist like him.
Living without limitations extends well beyond the written word, and the pioneers of sport, science and manufacturing repeatedly remind me of the value of dreaming big. In the sporting world we see physical expectations met and surpassed so regularly that most athletes wouldn’t dare even think about limiting themselves when training. Bruce Lee, a man whose body was the perfect example of what a life without limits can do, said there are no limits, there are only plateaus. He should know. In 1970, he injured his back during his morning workout routine. The damage was so bad doctors told him he would never be able to practice martial arts again. After several months laid up in bed, Bruce Lee got himself walking again and eventually went on to become one of the greatest martial artists of all time.
I love stories like this, stories that reinforce the message that we are only limited by our own beliefs.
I keep these examples close to me at all times because, while I fully support a life lived without limitations, I know others around me aren’t always in agreement. The problem with these people is that they are always eager, and quick, to put limitations out there for you.
“You can’t do that. You don’t have the right education.”
“No-one wants to read about that. Stick to the things you know best.”
“You can’t eat more than one block of chocolate a day!”
Blah, blah, blah.
I say, “Bah-humbug!” to all of that.
With the tools, knowledge and experience I have at my fingertips today there are few restrictions to meeting even the boldest goal.
And I intend to take full advantage of that.