If you’ve read my recently released book Notes to Self you’ll know one thing (actually you’ll know lots of things) about me. The one thing that I give away upfront is that never in a million years would I have believed that I would write and publish a book.
It’s not that I didn’t know how to write or string a written sentence together, but ask me about formal sentence structure, punctuation and you’ll get a perplexed look and a swift change of subject, it was more that I never believed I could do it.
Writing books was for them…you know those people…W R I T E R S. Those people who’ve spent years learning the art of writing and literary geniuses who could spot a fake a mile away. I never thought I would hold my head up and say I too am a writer without coughing and spluttering.
It wasn’t until I stopped running around like a headless chicken that I felt the strong sense that I would write a book whether I liked it or not. On one hand I felt like a fraud and on the other I felt compelled to do it. It was like being abducted by the Writing God and taken to the land of Writing and told that in no uncertain terms to sit down and shut up until I had written a book. Either that or I was channeling my old English teacher which is a little creepy.
So I started to write and wow what revelations I had. I figured out that a writer is someone who writes (told to me by my good friend…a writer who also writes) and therefore it is relatively easy to be a writer…whether the writing is good or bad is a minor technicality.
As I came to the completion of the book, I remember pressing save and shutting down my computer, feeling rather accomplished. Speaking of technicality…there was a minor flaw in my plan. I needed to publish it and as much as I wanted to, there was something holding me back.
I felt very apprehensive (which is a really nice way of saying I was crapping my pants) about pushing the ‘I’ve just launched a book button’. I felt exposed. Think walking down a busy street…naked. It wasn’t that I was reneging on my promise to the Writing God that I would finish this book, it was more that I was getting real and I was about to expose myself to everyone and I was a prime target for them to poke fun at and throw darts of doubt about me and my writing.
It was a great lesson for me in remembering what I teach others, that your past doesn’t define you, it makes you who you are now and to embrace it with your entire being is to embrace yourself, your whole self. It also taught me about nurturing an idea and seeing it through to reality.
Since I’ve published the book, I’ve had fantastic responses from people. BUT and there is one, I have built up a community of people who are loyal, engaged, compassionate, inspiring and loving. This won’t always the case, there will always be someone who says your writing is shit or your journey was nothing or who do you think you are.
And if I had of dwelled on the fear of exposing my true self for too long I may have hidden away and gone into full combat protection mode to avoid the risk.
However, the truth is we can’t protect ourselves from others’ negativity but we can decide on how we respond to it. Exposing myself and some of my story feels liberating and I feel proud of who I am today. It made some sad, it made some laugh out loud, it made some feel like they weren’t alone and it made some feel all of these things. For me this is the greatest gift of all time, to know that I have connected on a deeper level with my reader.
And for now I know one thing for sure, I am a writer because I write.
Tell me what you dream of doing, share and let’s begin to make it a reality.