Thursday, April 10, 2008

Watch that first step, it's a doozy!

Over the last few weeks I went through a gradual but big revelation. Up until recently I've been paying lip service to my job. Sure I've told everyone who'll listen that I'm an author. Talked and talked about all this writing I'm doing, read all the how-to-write books I could spend my spondoolies on, and made much noise about it all...outwardly. Inwardly, was a whole 'nother story all together.

I've been very afraid to commit to this in my own heart and mind. I'd tried being a chef, and that didn't work out so well. For various reasons I failed, and was failed by those I found myself surrounded with in that career path. Failing at that dream was all right. I still had my biggest dream to fall back on. Writing has been my secret desire ever since I read Dragonflight, at approximately the age of ten. By subconsciously not giving my full commitment, within myself, about writing as a career, I could always say "Oh well, perhaps next time, if I try harder." Or I could blame others, somehow.

If, however, I do try my very best, then it is me that has failed and no one else. And if I fail at my biggest, brightest dream--seeing my name up there on book covers, knowing that my words could bring as much joy to even one person as Dragonflight bought to me all those years ago--what would that do to me? I'd be gutted. Completely and utterly, gutted. But, I realised the other week, by not trying my hardest, wasn't I already failing? Not only failing myself, but that one person who could have had their life enriched by my stories.


I'd been blaming other people in my life for not believing in me and trying to distract me from my chosen course, when it reality it was me that didn't have enough faith in myself. It was the helmswoman with a loose grip on the tiller. With that realisation, I ranted and raved, and cried, and overate for about a week, then got a grip on myself. (My usual response to unpalatable personal epiphanies) And when two opportunities came up very recently, I didn't run screaming into a pit of self loathing or reject them because I'm NOT WORTHY! I studied the opportunities, asked for advice from those I trusted, (if I'm to be completely honest, it included a few questions from me about any s'posed unworthiness) and then said yes to both opportunities.

One was to join an online workshop when invited to do so; the kind of workshop I've been desperately hunting for during the past two years. (It's not a face-to-face workshop like I prefer; but online and containing what I've been seeking, is better than in person and not quite what I need.) The second was to join another writing group. A writing group with a slightly different focus to the others I belong to, but a fabulous opportunity to brush up on skills in said differing way. So I jumped at the chance and applied. If my application isn't successful, well at least I tried. And if it is? Woohoo!

And now I find myself in yet another quandary. An exciting one, but still a quandary nonetheless. I'm going to have to learn time management. This is something that's never come easy for me. In all my creative efforts and most areas of my life, I'm a make it up as we go along kind of girl. I worry about things incessantly before the actual event takes place, but once it does, eh, anything goes. Bored with writing? Fine, switch to house work. Bored with house work? Switch to something else. That was fine and dandy while I wasn't serious about my writing. But now that I have truly made that commitment within myself, I know I'm gonna need to learn this skill and mighty pronto. Just like every other grown up who's running a household and holding down a job.

In many ways I feel like I've always done, when standing outside a place of new employment. That moment I take to gird my loins, knowing that inside is a whole lot of unknown. The girding is bolstered by the hope that in time I'll look back on my nervousness and wonder what the hell I was ever worried about. But still, there's that fearful moment of hesitation, every single time, without fail. And I find myself standing in that moment tonight. Stage fright is not comfortable, but it is a necessary step if I'm going to step out into the spotlight of my dreams.