This may be the first time you’ve seen my name, and that’s not your fault. I’ve been writing for years. Everything I did, I kept locked away secret, or it was shredded and thrown away. Now, I’m on the cusp of having my very first book out in the public’s hands. What happened? I keep asking myself if this is real life.
My problem – which may very well be your problem too – was fear. I wrote “in the closet.” I told myself nobody could possibly want to read any of the garbage I put on paper. I wasn’t as good as Stephen King, or Earnest Hemingway, and I certainly was no Shakespeare. So what was the point in putting it out there? Why voluntarily stand in front of all of human kind, figuratively naked, for them to dissect, laugh and point at? To be humiliated, disliked, talked about?
All I wanted was to be invisible to people, because I feared I wasn’t good enough. That hurtful fear cost me many years of doing what I love. It may be stopping you, too. I can’t break those walls for you, but I can tell you what happens when you let that kind of hurtful fear turn into a motivator. A helpful fear.
I visited a local Halloween convention in Katy, Texas last year. I had never been to these types of things and was already out of my comfort zone just showing up. I walked past table after table, and landed in front of a local author by the name of Jae Mazer. (Read her stuff after you finish this blog!) She asked me a few questions and got me talking about my favorites. She asked the question no one had ever asked me before:
“Do you write?”
I told her I dabbled in it some, but wasn’t quite good enough to do anything with it. I bought her books and headed home. Inside one of those books, she’d written “Follow your dream! If you have a story inside you, we want to read it!” Those words have stuck with me since.
A contest popped up, and I wrote a thing. I sent it to Jae, and she loved it. I thought she was probably blowing smoke up my ass, but I ran with it anyway and submitted it. And then I wrote another thing, and she liked that too. Then, with my permission, she shared it with a large Facebook group we’re in. People started asking questions, referring to me as a writer. They had wonderful things to say. I was shocked. No possible way they were talking to me. Someone even asked if I had a site they could follow me on. What?
The sad part – I shouldn’t have been shocked. Neither should you. It’s okay for us to believe in ourselves. There’s a fine line between being arrogant, and having confidence in your skill. I’m still learning that it’s perfectly okay for me to tell someone I’m a good writer. I do fit in. This is what I was born to do, and now I’m doing it in front of everyone. I should have my very first book in your hands by the end of 2019. Me. The girl who threw everything away and hid from everyone.
The fear isn’t gone. Some of the old fear remains, the fear I’m not good enough and people won’t like me. Only now, I’m not afraid no one will like me, I accept that some people won’t. I also know some people will. I accept that I may never sell as many copies as a Stephen King, but I know I will sell some.
It’s not perfect; I slip back into those old fears daily. But when I do, I remind myself that I’m here now, doing what I love because I’ve learned to accept the fears and not let the lock me in a little box away from the life I want to live. Open that box. Let the fear fly around you, let the unknowns wiggle across the floor.