I’m sitting in the beautiful Icons Cafe in Alger Heights, a neighborhood in Grand Rapids, Mich., that is seeing renewal. My husband grew up in this neighborhood and his parents still live here. They have seen the small business district as a vital neighborhood hub; have seen it fall into disrepair and disuse; and now see the neighborhood attracting new business and renewed interest in its walkability and small-town feel.

The area has reinvented itself thanks to investment by local businesses and the people who choose to frequent those businesses. It takes effort and long-term thinking.

The writing life can do with the occasional overhaul as well. We can invest time in thinking through where we want to go with help from others and our own questions and honest assessments. We can invest resources in additional training via books, writers conferences or classes. Thinking through where we are and where we want to go shouldn’t be a bad thing, though it may be scary.

I’m doing some of that these days via questions like these:

  • What do I love?
  • What am I good at?
  • What are my strengths and weaknesses?
  • Have I committed to doing too much?
  • How can I streamline my professional life?
  • Where do I need to adjust my priorities?

Which questions ring true for you? I’d love to hear how you have readjusted your priorities and actions to create the writing life you dream of. It’s hard for me to do and may mean some tough decisions in the future. But it’s necessary and useful. I’ll say to you what I’m saying to myself: be honest; be careful; be courageous; just do it.

In the meantime, I’ll enjoy sitting in this cafe whose owners and workers have turned empty space into something usable, beautiful, and perfect for the area.

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