Her name is Mallory. At least it is for now. She’s the amateur sleuth in my new cozy mystery — or technically I should say my first cozy mystery. While I’ve written non-fiction books on leadership, trust, and self-development topics, and hope to write more, I’ve started a few mysteries over the years but never finished them.
Mallory’s story might just be read by me. Who knows? But, I’m at a point that to acknowledge her presence in my life is a step in learning more about her and her voice. These days, becoming a mystery writer is something I’m actively involved in doing. The operative word here is becoming.
I think of it like my oldest granddaughter becoming more educated. Her “Continuation Ceremony” in June marked a move from elementary school to middle school. I’m doing my own continuation of sorts, comprised of studying, practicing, learning, and evolving new skills to include fiction writing, specifically mysteries. As author T. Harv Eker put it, “You will live into your story.” While I’ve been learning the craft of fiction writing for a couple years now, at the beginning of this year I decided writing mysteries is a self-story I want to “live into.”
But, it hasn’t always been that way. Sometimes I just wanted to “do it,” “know it” or be good at it; I didn’t want to learn or evolve me; I wanted to be something or do something. In my twenties after our son was born, I decided to be a writer. Since I’d been told I was a pretty good writer, I figured, how hard could it be? Anyway it seemed a good job to have at home with a baby. So I wrote my first story and sent it off to a magazine. I waited months. When the rejection arrived, I decided that editor knew better than me what I could do. So, I gave up the idea of being a writer. I didn’t understand the difference back then between being and becoming.
But instant “being” isn’t what most of us get in life. We aren’t fully skilled when we first attempt something. No matter what role or label I’ve pasted on myself, I evolved from where I started as a daughter, sister, friend, wife, mother, leader, citizen, spiritual being. Becoming a writer is no different. It started during a 20 year first act-career in corporate roles, which led to my second act of non-fiction writing, which led me toward fiction in this decade.
The reality is that we’re always becoming, either by choice or by default. Sometimes it’s a better version of us; sometimes it’s not. Mallory represents the first to me; a choice to learn, grow, and evolve my skills. But the question we must ask ourselves is: Who are we becoming? Becoming isn’t always positive. Are you more or less cynical today than a decade ago? More fearful, angry, kind, trustworthy, healthy, happy, or authentic?
In the scheme of things, it does matters who we are becoming, individually and collectively. It matters if we actively choose, and work towards, becoming the person we’re capable of becoming or we don’t. In my way of thinking, the world needs all of us to show up as our better-selves.
While you can’t choose to become any younger, you can start becoming more active, skilled, engaged, inclusive, and compassionate. You can start becoming more giving and loving. And you can decide that whatever you want more of in yourself, skill-wise or better-person-wise, you can start becoming it, any time you choose. We all can.