For years, I’ve had a few different book concepts I’ve been tinkering with. Over the last few months, I got more serious and committed to completing and publishing them. I’ve devoured books in similar genres, read endless articles on writing, joined support groups and writer organisations and attended courses. I have written more frequently, however, the majority of my time has been taken up with ‘research’.
Yesterday I had coffee with Michelle Worthington from Share Your Story. I attended her ‘Get Published in 2019’ course last month and taken up her offer to catch up. I outlined my various concepts to her, including a non-fiction book aimed at encouraging people to live more authentically and unapologetically, caring less about what others think of them and more about daring to live audaciously. When I’d finished, Michelle asked me what is stopping me from finishing. I’d explained that, unlike most people, I have an abundance of time to write, yet I struggle to produce consistent writing efforts. I told her how I felt bad at her course, hearing how the biggest hindrance to most writers is a lack of time to do it. I have the time, yet don’t use it effectively. I suggested that I’m probably just too lazy, feeling sheepish, but proud of myself for being honest. Michelle questioned if that was really what was stopping me. Perhaps what was really stopping me was fear.
I thought about it more and admitted that I was fearful of finishing any of my books because then I’d have to do something with them. I’d have to put them out in the world and find out if this dream I’ve had since childhood has any possibility of becoming a reality. Oh yes, I see the irony in writing a book about embracing the fear and not caring what others think – yet being too afraid to complete it because I want to avoid rejection and failure. I’m not sure if that makes me more or less qualified to write the book!
Over the past few years, I’ve gotten comfortable with vulnerability and learnt to recognise the strength and power it holds. I’ve spoken about things that I’ve kept inside for forty plus years and marvelled at how much lighter I’ve felt for doing it. I’ve shared greatest fears and been admired for it, rather than shunned. Certainly, on this blog site, my most widely read stories are the ones where I share a personal fear. My experience with being vulnerable has been almost exclusively positive. So much so, I wonder if I’m a little addicted to it now.
I told my husband that I now understand I’ve been procrastinating due to fear, making excuses to justify why I’m just not ready. In the last 24 hours, he has asked “Is your book done yet” at least 20 times. This is going to get painful! However, I’m ready to be held accountable. Michelle also asked why I wanted to write a book. Yes, part of it is the cliché notion that I have a story in me I want to get out. However, it’s also because I’ve been saying I will be a writer since I started to read books at a very young age. It feels like such a part of my identity, that I can’t possibly imagine dying without reaching that goal. It is the one consistent thing I’ve wanted in a life that has been full of me changing my mind regularly. If I don’t do it, I will have failed. So, I guess I might as well do it. Maybe my books will be widely adored, maybe they will be abysmal disasters. But until I put one out there, I’m failing already.
“Vulnerability is… having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” Brené Brown