I’ve been shying away from writing lately – avoiding the one thing that I’m usually the most comfortable doing.
I could chalk it up solely to the fact that I’ve been more invested in building inventory for my Etsy and all of my creative energy is going there, but while that may be part of the truth I know there’s a bit more to it than that.
I wrote a book, my first ever completed book, and all that’s left to do is finish one more round of editing. However at this point it’s taking me almost as much time to muster up the courage – yes, courage – to even look at what I’ve written. Just in this past week God has opened up every door for me to focus on finishing the book and getting started with the next one. One of my packages of supplies for my next project has even been delayed so I’m in a complete crafting lull. Yet I’ve spent my free time doing a lot of things that are not writing. This is the break I’ve been waiting for and now that it’s finally here I’m not taking advantage of it. Up to this point I really haven’t been able to figure out why the thought of finishing is so daunting when I’m so close to being done.
My best explanation is that I’m scared. Plain and simple. I’ve built up this writing dream since I could physically write, and now that I’ve reached a point of needing to actually turn a dedicated hobby into something physical (i.e. a book), I’ve psyched myself out.
I told my boyfriend a few months ago that I get afraid of showing people things like my photography and art because my confidence in those areas isn’t the highest, but I don’t care at all about showing people what I write (as long as it’s completed/edited) because writing is where I’m most comfortable; it’s where I’ve spent the most time, it’s what comes the most naturally to me, it’s my safe haven when audible words completely fail me, it’s my favorite thing to do. I don’t care much what other people think because I love it enough to be content with it. But that’s become a lot less accurate lately.
Nowadays, thoughts of people that I know in real life reading my book terrifies me because of how they may perceive the content. Thoughts of never selling a single copy of any book I ever write equally frightens me. Thoughts of my coworkers finding my book, reading it, and hating it (they’re librarians…reading is kind of a big deal where I work) haunts me everytime I walk into that building. Those thoughts pile on until I see the familiar Word document full of my brain’s treasured thoughts and ideas laid out in front of me and the temptation to hit “delete” becomes overwhelming.
Maybe I’m being dramatic. Maybe I’m (definitely) overthinking it. I know this is all coming from the girl who preached about “just start something and learn as you go” a couple months ago, but I’m honestly too scared to go now that I’ve come so close. Now that the dream I’ve held on to my whole life is becoming some sort of reality and I have no idea how it will be received (if at all), I’m stuck in a place of fearing a lifetime of trying and never really getting anywhere. There’s still such a long way to go and I may never get much farther than putting a few books out there with little in return.
Yes, I will admit that I’m venting…maybe even being a little pessimistic, but I’m also trying to convey to you that no one has their lives completely together. That’s the whole reason I try to be honest about my own shortcomings on this blog. I see a lot of people sharing the exact same sentiments as one another without actually showing the realities behind it – without showing the realities of being human – while showcasing only the highlight reels of their lives (especially online). Of course keeping things private is important and I don’t expect everyone to share every hardship they come across…in fact some of us share too much and I respect those who keep their private life private. However there is a balance of keeping things private and sharing what may be helpful to others, and it’s something I have learned to do over time. All in all, it’s just important to me to put out a reality rather than a fantasy. It’s important to me to say “hey, here’s a shortcoming I have and here’s what I’m learning” because I can’t in good conscience sit back and just preach at you. I can’t tell you what I’ve learned without giving any realistic context. I can’t paint a picture in black-and-white, because most things just aren’t as simple as they seem. I can’t pretend that I have it all together and everything I say is the truth, because that’s ridiculous – I’m human. I have no right telling anyone else what to do when I’m a constant work in progress myself, but I can be honest with you and tell you what I have learned, am currently trying to learn, and/or where God leads me. I can tell you what I think and I will tell you why I think that way, and I will definitely tell you what God tells me, but there will rarely be a time in which I write a blog post as if I know better than you, especially if I have no personal connection to the message I’m trying to convey. Some people can do that and do it well, but that’s not my calling. I’m just here to show that it’s okay to be human because we are, but it’s also important to strive to be the best versions of ourselves and realize God is the ultimate support system.
Anyway, that felt important to get across but now I’m getting back to the actual point in reference to me being afraid to finish and publish my book and why it’s relevant to people who are probably not trying to write a book.
Being afraid of failure – even when you’re normally super confident in what you do – is normal. It’s okay, as long as you push through it and give yourself time to figure out the root of the problem. No part of life is going to be simple, and it’s rarely ever going to be black-and-white. It’s not as easy as “hey I wrote a book!” There was a lot of struggling, stress, failure, and wanting to give up that went into that book…or whatever it is that you’re trying to accomplish.
And that’s a good thing. It makes what you do mean a thousand times more. The uphill climb makes the downhill slide a lot more fun, or something like that.
I’m not saying fear is a positive, or that you should give into it. What I’m saying is that fear is inevitable and while you should find ways to overcome it, there is nothing wrong with the fact that you were scared to do something that is scary. What matters more is how you treat fear. If you live with a security blanket tightly wrapped around you then you won’t get anything done, but if you live with the knowledge that fear will come and you will be ready to deal with it patiently, I think you’re going to be just fine.