Confessions of a Quick-Start

I finished my first novel! 77K words! I officially finished last Tuesday and it was an incredible feeling!

I work with a life coach once a week and he’s been incredibly crucial in helping me follow through on this novel project. We weren’t able to speak last week but in our previous conversation, he said, “Nichole, you’re a quick-start so it’s crucial that you follow through here.”

I am so aware of this that I it felt like he’d unzipped my brain and looked inside for a bit. I felt exposed and I felt seen. It was a little disturbing but I love working with him and I know he only wants my good. He was quick to point out all the positive aspects of being a quick-start and how we quick-starts bring a really necessary energy to projects.

Talking about all of this with him took me back to when I first recognized this trait that is both a blessing and a curse in myself. I was thirty, newly married, living in Dallas, and in my first year of teaching. Teaching elementary school is an excellent career for a quick-start like me.

I didn’t major in education in college so I was learning on the job. Building the skills necessary to be an effective teacher with a functional classroom is no joke. It was the perfect place for me to hide and throw all my energy into something meaningful and important. So I did. I learned everything I could about teaching special education and I worked my butt off. 

Then came spring. I had settled in a bit by this point and the familiar ache creeped in. I found myself wondering if this was the career choice for me. I felt the itch to change it all up again. Only this time, I had invested too much time and energy to allow myself to blow up my life again which had always been my pattern before. This time I took matters into my own hands and I started going to therapy.

We did a lot of work to explore why my solution was to blow up my life every so often and seek something new. But the biggest thing that came out of those sessions was that I needed to take an action step—or really, a non-action step. I committed to teaching for three years at a minimum. I would not allow myself to change careers. It wasn’t easy but I did it. I wound up teaching elementary school for ten years and that is one of the things I am most proud of about myself for so many reasons.

I tell this story because almost immediately after finishing my first novel last week I felt adrift. I felt lost and I had a strong urge to move on. Maybe this was it. Maybe I’d exhausted my ideas and this wasn’t really the career choice I ought to make. My quick-start self strongly wanted to walk away.

Luckily though, I know that I also have the power to sustain. I have proven this to myself before and I’m ready to prove it again. How do I prove it to myself? I started my next novel! It wasn’t the smoothest beginning but I started. I will make the same commitment I made to myself before. I will try this writing thing for at least three years. Now I’ve put it in writing. Oh boy.