Finding My Voice and Book Launch Thoughts

Writing my book is forcing me to be open about things I’ve mostly kept to myself over the years. The book is full of true stories as well as made up ones. I’ve always been hesitant to speak up, and I have not been my best advocate in many circumstances, but this book is calling me out into the world.

Can I be honest with you? I’m so afraid to launch this book.

I have a bad habit of imagining all the worst possible outcomes for any situation I am in, instead of imagining the best scenarios. It’s a form of protection, but it also closes the door to what could be amazing outcomes if it weren’t for the doubt. I’m excited about writing this book, I’m excited about completing this book, but releasing it… that’s something different.

It would be easy for me to not have expectations for myself or for the book. If I don’t have any expectations, I cannot be disappointed. However, if I don’t have expectations, how can I surpass them?

I’ve been creating this book for years, and it has seen many changes. More importantly, it is helping me expand. The book is about speaking out loud, finding my voice, and telling my stories, and whether it sells five copies or five million, I am grateful for the movement it has caused in my life. It is pushing me mentally, spiritually, and financially. It is forcing me to reach out to people and allow them in. It is forcing me to not do everything on my own the way I am inclined to do.

Still, I’m bracing myself for judgement and lack of support. I’m bracing myself for this book being something I did rather than something I accomplished. I’m bracing myself for a book launch with zero virtual viewers and only my parents in attendance. I’m bracing myself for a failed book launch.


I’ve become accustomed to being the only person excited about something I’ve created. I’m good at celebrating myself. And, quite honestly, I’m okay with investing the money I’ve spent to create something I’m proud of, even if it doesn’t sell. Of course, I still hope and pray it’s a hit. Even if not immediately, I hope someone finds it and loves it and shares it and other people find it and love it and share it. But even if that doesn’t happen, I love it.

I love my book now as it is (unfinished), and I’ll love it more once it has a beautiful cover design, and I’ll love it even more once it’s printed and in my hands. And, yes, I pray other people love it too, but if they don’t, I’m fine with that. Honestly. It’s how I’ve come to live, and how I’ve come to view myself as well.

I am not the “right” kind of something for many people I encounter. I’m not the right kind of woman, the right kind of Black, the right kind of writer, the right kind of a hundred other things, but in finding myself and finding my voice, I have come to appreciate being an acquired taste.

I know I’m rambling about a lot of things right now. My point is, I hope you decide to attend my virtual book launch, and I hope you buy my book, and I hope you love it. But even if you don’t, that’s okay with me.

Happy reading!

A New Month and Struggling with Self-Doubt

You ever wish there was a pill you could swallow and your whole life would magically morph into what you’ve always imagined it should be? Yea, me too. The thing about our imaginations, though, is that they are never as good as the best possible outcome, so creating the life we imagine is actually quite limiting.

2021 is flying by much faster than its predecessor. We’re almost halfway through the year, and yet, not much has changed for me. One thing that has changed, though, is I am in a much better mental state than I was in January. With that, comes the clarity of self-doubt.

For much of last year, and the beginning of this one, my mind was clouded in so much anxiety that I couldn’t see much else. Surviving day-to-day was the only thing I could do. I showed up here, and that kept me moving, but moving and moving forward are not the same. All of my writing is cloaked in self-doubt and fear. I’ve decided to stop making (or not making) decisions out of fear, but that is still more a practice than a one-time decision. What can I do in the next seven months to push myself forward? What do I want my life to look like?

I was on a call yesterday regarding a program that could alter the way my career looks… the way my life looks. After the call ended, I sat and thought through all the things I was afraid of about joining the program and emptying my savings to pay for it. One of the things that came to mind as I was talking to myself and God was that none of the things I am most proud of have come out of my jobs. The things I have been most proud of, the things that have made me feel the most accomplished, are the things that have come out of my creative work.

My work is covered in self-doubt, wrapped up in fear, and that’s a large part of why I haven’t finished self-publishing the book I’ve been working on the past couple of years. The manuscript is done. It needs cover art and interior formatting and ISBNs and to be published. It needs my confidence rather than my fear. I don’t hold the delusion that this one book is going to make me a famous author. What I do know is publishing this book successfully will give me the confidence to publish the next one and the next, and at some point I will have the shelf full of books with my name on them that I’ve always imagined.

I am stuck in some logistical things, so I can’t say it’s all doubt and fear holding me back, but the doubt and fear help to keep me from creating a solution for the logistical speed bumps. Getting over those humps means I have no excuse not to finish what I’ve started (and have been talking about for months). The truth is, I’ve been afraid to really invest in publishing this book. I’ve been treating it as a hobby rather than a starting point in creating the life I want, the first building block, if you will.

It’s kind of ironic that the book is about making my voice heard, and I’ve been so afraid of being loud in creating it. Being loud draws attention, and I’ve been hiding. Hiding from judgment, hiding from my responsibility to use my gifts, hiding from myself. Making decisions from a place of fear has held me back in significant ways, and I don’t want to do that anymore. I know I will have days where I feel inadequate and unsuitable, but I can’t accept those narratives as the basis for my decisions anymore. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy—I’ve been making fear-based decisions most of my life—what I am saying, though, is I’m starting to understand the risk is worth it. Putting myself out into the world is worth it. It has to be.

I was offered what seemed to be a pill that would make my life better. And it might have, but I think it would’ve done so in a way that is inauthentic to who I was created to be… to who I am becoming. The fact that I even recognize that is growth.

Thank you for hanging in here with me. Whether you’ve been here from the beginning, or you’ve just recently found my space, I appreciate you hearing me.

Happy… -ing!

My First Published Story!

I told you some time ago that I had news to share. Well, now I feel comfortable sharing it.

One of my short stories is getting published in a literary journal!

I first got the news back in July, but I was waiting for the issue cover to come out and just to know that it was happening for real, you know. I have been excited since the first email accepting my story, but I’ve been over the moon this weekend after seeing the book cover design and also seeing my name on the cover.

Isn’t it beautiful?!

The story being published is “Makers of Men”. I’d jotted notes down for this story a long while ago and had forgotten about it in a notebook somewhere. When my first submission (an essay) to midnight & indigo wasn’t accepted I was disappointed, but figured I’d try again another time. Almost a year later I’m organizing old notebooks and find the notes for this story. I look at the submission deadline on the midnight & indigo site and it’s in 4 days. I get to work.

I sat down and wrote the story in one sitting. I went back a couple of times to edit and rearrange, and then it was time to submit. While waiting for an answer I figured if it wasn’t accepted I’d just include it in the book I’m working on myself. But it did get accepted, and I got paid for it!

The first time I had something published—a poem—it was some contest thing when I was around 13, and we had to pay for the book, and my poem was the first one listed. It was fishy and I still don’t think it counts as publication. But this…this is legit, and my spirit is floating. I haven’t been this excited about something in a long time, and I’m glad to share this news with you.

Publication date for Issue 3 is in December, so I still have to wait a few weeks before I can actually hold it in my hands, but I’ve already got plans to get a second copy so I can frame the first. I bought a raw shadow box more than 7 years ago when I was really into painting wooden things. I had no idea what I was going to put in it then and it’s still unpainted. I have big plans for it now!

It may seem like I’m overly excited about this, but let me tell you why. First, I get excited about the simplest things, so something like this excites me x100; second, gratitude. I’m grateful for the opportunity, for the recognition, for the validation as a writer, and I’m grateful to the story I wrote (I’m visualizing parts of it now as I write this). Third, I needed this joy. If you have been reading my other blog you know a little about the struggles I’ve experienced this year with anxiety. And while the gratitude and joy I’m feeling right now does not wipe out my anxious thoughts, it has been greatly needed.

I feel like a real writer, y’all.

And I know that the act of writing makes me a writer, but the acknowledgment that I write things other people not only want to read, but share as well…that fills me on a completely different level. I wrote the story, I know it, I have it saved on my computer, but still, I can’t wait to read it in print…in a book…that somebody published!

Once I finish the shadow box I will be sure to show you. Thanks for being on this journey with me, whoever you are.