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!

Writing My Life

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I want my life as a writer to look. I’ve been thinking about how much writing I should be doing, what kind of writing I should be doing, when I should be writing, where I should be writing, who I should be writing for, what kind of income (if any) I want to earn from my writing.

Part of me feels incapable of committing myself to any kind of career, part of me is afraid writing will become less fun, and part of me doubts my writing would be profitable in any significant way. I deal with a lot of self-doubt at times, and not just about my writing… I have to change the narrative. Because, honestly, if I never write anything else on “paper,” I am writing my life. Every day, I am writing my story.

It’s been pretty boring lately… a lot of she wakes up, gets dressed, sits at her desk, works for 8 hours, makes dinner, watches some TV, journals, and goes to bed. Every day, the same story. Some days there’s a little more adventure… she goes to the furniture store to find a chair for her new home office space, she meets a really cute salesman, she spends more on a chair than she wanted but decides it was worth it, she goes home and can’t get the salesman out of her head. What does she do next? She wakes up, gets dressed, sits at her desk, works for 8 hours, makes dinner, watches some TV, journals, and goes to bed.

Recognizing that I can change the story is powerful. However, I’m not particularly good with change. The redundancy of life gets comfortable after a while, even when it’s not exactly welcome. I can get reckless with characters in a story because I know I can change the narrative at any moment and make everything comfortable again. Being reckless in my own life isn’t so simple. But here’s the thing… what I’m referring to as “reckless” is really just taking a chance. What if I started viewing myself as a character in one of my stories? What if, as the writer of said story, I made my character (me) take more chances? What if I stopped being so afraid of getting my feelings hurt?

Of course, as in any story, there is a higher power controlling the events that take place, but it is possible for me to take more control of the narrative. It’s possible for me to shape myself as a character, push myself toward action rather than complacency. What kind of life do I want to write? I guess I should start by writing myself as a writer… as an active writer… as a self-publishing writer. The story doesn’t move forward if I don’t move it forward.

I’m sure there are some flaws in this idea of treating myself like a character in one of my stories, but I haven’t pinpointed them yet. I’m intrigued by the idea, though. In general, I create situations for characters in my stories to do things I typically wouldn’t do myself. Their hurt isn’t as tangible as my own, so I take bigger risks with them. I’m interested, now, in discovering what’s possible for me if I stepped outside of myself a bit and started writing my life differently.

We’ll take some small steps toward that. First, though, I have got to get out of my own way in finishing this book. Keep it simple. That’s what I keep telling myself. Yet, every time I get to the next step I make it more complicated than it probably needs to be.

What kind of writer do I want to be? The kind who isn’t afraid to write. The kind who doesn’t get stuck in her own head. The kind who rips herself open so that other people can feel her words in the pit of their stomach. I want to be the kind of writer who gets a little messy… but for the greater good. You know?

Happy Writing!

Write Anyway

I didn’t think I had anything to say this morning. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been getting my posts done early so I could get other things done around the house, but this week I didn’t know what to write. This morning, though I still didn’t know what I would say, a reminder came. Write anyway.

I often wonder if I’m doing this ‘becoming a writer’ thing wrong. My writing habits aren’t strong right now, my procrastination level is about 80% most days, and I have overwhelming doubts that no one is going to want to read my work. Write anyway. I want my first book to be done well, but the way my budget is set up, I am at a crossroads between DIY-ing the whole thing with hopes for the best and keeping it on hold for a while longer. Because I have doubts about its selling capabilities, investing a lot of money in self-publishing this book is not high on my priority list compared to saving up for a down payment or paying off my student loans (I want to do both, but don’t know how). Write anyway.

If something has been placed on your heart to do or say, you should do (or say) it. I saw a post on Instagram that said we have to do the thing, whatever it is, even if it’s just for ourselves. Write anyway. I have to think of it this way… if it was just for me, if I expected no one else to ever see it, could I finish this book? I could. If it was just for me, I could create a cover in Canva, do the interior formatting myself, and upload it for Amazon to print. If there was an error, that would be okay because it’s just for me.

Thing is, though, it’s not just for me. There’s at least one person in the world who is going to see my book, buy it, and read it. Write anyway. They are going to notice any typos leftover after several editing sessions. Write anyway. They are going to think the book is too thin, the font is too big, the cover is not great. Write anyway. They are going to read my thoughts, some of which I haven’t shared out loud before. Write anyway. Knowing they are reading it is going to make me feel vulnerable. Write anyway. Putting this book into the world is putting myself into the world, and I’ve been very intentional about staying in my own little corner where I feel safe. Write anyway. People are going to judge me. Write anyway. People aren’t going to like it. Write anyway. People are going to have negative things to say. Write anyway. It’s not going to sell. Write anyway. It’s going to sit in a box and rot. Write anyway. I’m never going to be successful as a writer, so I shouldn’t even try. Write anyway.

Write anyway.

I’ve been thinking a lot the past few days about freedom and choices and freedom of choice. I’ve been thinking about some of the choices I’ve been too afraid to make. I started making some of the choices I’ve been too afraid to make. Like… ending a 14-year on again off again relationship with the first person I ever loved (besides that one guy when I was in 3rd grade). I was never going to be the type of woman he wanted, and he wasn’t going to be the type of man I wanted (even though I did want him), and we were never going to be right for each other, but I kept holding on because he was safe. I knew what to expect from him, I knew what I would and wouldn’t get from him, and as long as he was in my life I didn’t have to deal with the thought that I wouldn’t find another person to love. I made a choice to deal with the thought that I wouldn’t find another person to love because it was better than another fourteen years of not being right for each other.

I don’t often make choices that have uncertain results. I am very much a person who likes to be in control because it minimizes the anxiety. However, I know that, realistically, nothing is in my control; I am here, just like you, at the mercy of life. So what if the book doesn’t sell? So what if the book only sells to the five people in my family who are likely to buy it just so they can say they supported me this one time? Write anyway.

I hope I am encouraging you as much as I am trying to encourage myself. Even if your thing isn’t writing, do it anyway. If it’s singing, do it; if it’s painting, do it; if it’s letting yourself love again, do it… Write anyway.

Until next time….