So I wrote a book.
I hustled hard to get it finished.
I self-published it last October.
Then promptly stuffed my thirty chapters.
The reasons for my sudden silence on this project are many. Perhaps the greatest being I got embarrassed. Not sexy to admit, or even fair to my loyal readers, but it’s true. After pulling the trigger, I got a bit gun-shy. My inner critic got loud. Obnoxiously loud. As the holidays rolled around, I quietly neglected my little newborn book baby. (Who neglects a baby!?)
I let the worries of not being good enough reverberate inside my neurotic writer’s head. I’ll spare you the gory details, lest you start to believe my neurosis as well.
To be honest, I got scared. It was easy to play it safe.
A dear friend recently brought me to the root of my dropping-off-the-radar-ness:
- I’m afraid of hard work.
- I’m afraid of indulging.
- I’m afraid of not following through.
- I’m afraid of not being good enough.
Told y’all. The inside of my head can be nuttier than a Jiffy jar.
Kaela (the aforementioned friend/Christian counselor/artist therapist/all things amazing) had this to say:
“Truthfully I haven’t finished your book. However I think you’re beating yourself up more than you should. Victoria you’re a great writer. It’s just the beginning of a lifelong journey. Yes, you will have to write some difficult pieces along the way to make you better. But you’re good enough. Good enough to have a great following on your blog so far. You want to network more? Treat your writing like a job. Block off time to commit to writing pieces for income or whatever. Sure free write. Sure write another book if you want. Want to write a book on birth? Do it. Be open. Be honest. And believe in yourself and have confidence knowing that God, your Creator and perfectly loving Father, did not just give you this passion and wonderful talent for nothing. He knew your heart before you did. He knows what he is doing with your writing. Have faith for the things to come. And take the giant leap into your writing- abandoning all of the feelings and thoughts that satan has plagued you with and grasping hold to the power and might of your Savior.”
First, let’s stop and honor the fact that Kaela wrote that beautiful rallying cry via text message.
Now you are free to burst into tears as I did.
You guys, I’m just admitting my weakness in hopes that it makes you free to admit your own. Especially if you’re a fellow writer and struggle with similar insecurities as me, let Kaela’s words speak to you.
But you are not allowed to stop.
If you have this talent inside you that’s gasping for air, clawing at the walls, desperate to see the light of day–for Heaven’s sake, set it free.
The difference between making art and wishing you could make art is showing up. Showing up to do the work. Do bad work. Do really bad work, if you must. But do the work. Share your work. (Yeah, even the bad stuff – because I’m going to say your bad stuff isn’t that awful, and even if it is terribly awful how will you know unless it gets a chance to breathe?) Show up. Do the work.
I am incredibly hard on myself. Probably in unhealthy capacities. I hold myself to standards that aren’t fair, or even realistic. My book isn’t the next Hunger Games, and in some ways I wanted it to be. My book is just my book, you know? It’s my first go at a novel, but it’s a start. People bought it. People liked it. And, if I keep doing this show/work/share routine, I’ll produce more work. Better work.
So I’m sorry, Re’and, for being embarrassed by you. We’ve shared a lot of special memories together and I want to give you more of a shot.
I’m sorry, readers, for not trusting you. I’m so for being afraid. I’m sorry for trying to pull a book out of your hands that you so warmly accepted and appreciated.
All I’m trying to say is that’s what happened to that book I wrote that one time.
And I won’t let it happen again. At least, if you keep walking with me.