Listen to the Hoofbeats

horses running

Listen to the Hoofbeats
Years ago, when I was getting my MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts I suffered a sustained period of writing draught. Most writers do, but it stymied me as I was struggling to write my creative thesis. I wasn’t a real writer. I had nothing to say. No story to tell.
James McBride, the NYT best-selling author of the memoir, The Color of Water, was a guest lecturer that semester. He had roared up to Vermont on his motorcycle and was putting his helmet on getting ready to go back to New York. I had this sudden urge to tell him how much I had learned from his workshop but that I was discouraged, that I would never be able to write anything worth reading. He swung his leg over his bike and looked at me.

“You’ve got to put your ear to the ground,” he said, “and listen for the hoofbeats.”

That advice has stayed with me ever since. You’ve got to trust that voice talking to you.

Is it time to believe in yourself and make a change? Is it time to do something completely new, go for that big job, or strike out on your own?

That inner rumble is telling us something important. If only we can get out of our own way long enough to hear it.