I have a secret – a big secret – that I won’t even tell my own husband about. I have only shared this secret with a few close friends and my mom, because I have been intimidated by my own fear of ridicule. I want to be a writer. I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, and all throughout my childhood I wrote a great many poems and short stories. Then life happened, and I entered the world of dating, and work and later marriage and parenthood. My dream fell by the wayside and when I finally got around to picking up a pen in an effort to rekindle the flame of a talent I once had, I discovered that I no longer have any aptitude for fiction or prose. Time went by, as it does, and I got involved in all sorts of other stuff the way we all do, while my dream collected dust on a shelf in the back of my mind. But I still wanted to write, despite thinking I no longer had the ability to do so.
In 2001 I got my first home computer and I discovered the internet. I ranted away in forums all over the web and never gave it a second thought. I am a stay at home mom with some medical conditions which preclude me from being able to find a traditional job at this time and to keep from going crazy, I have gotten busy writing notes and essays for only my friends to see. I really enjoy writing about how I see the world and researching facts to back up my opinions. I became a pretty good keyboard debater!
One day, not too long ago, my dream that had been sitting in the furthest recesses of my mind started calling to me and I came to a realization – I’d been writing all this time! Sure, my works have been no great masterpieces of storytelling or memorable and moving poems, but my stuff wasn’t bad – it actually resembled a lot of editorials and opinion pieces which I have been reading in newspapers and online ever since I first learned HOW to read and I always did really well on research assignments and essays in school. “Oh!” I thought to myself while slapping my forehead, I can write NON-fiction! The dream was again, alive.
So I have been researching what I need to do to “make it happen” and where I can send my stuff in the hopes of getting published. The main hurdle I have encountered so far is actually sitting my butt down and writing things to submit for publication. For instance, I’ve been wanting to write THIS piece for three weeks! I’ve got tons of notes and quotes to inspire me, but I keep letting my self get distracted and derailed.
Procrastination is something I am all too well acquainted with. There is also something else that has been tripping me up until this point which I will fight against with ever fiber of my being from this point on – it’s the fear of failure and ridicule. I have read so many inspirational stories and have literally hundreds of quotes in my notes about perseverance, but it hadn’t been enough to move me past the dread of sending my most precious brain fruit out into the world where it will be judged and stands a good chance of being rejected. See, I had forgotten that failure is a GIFT – it is a means for which we can learn to do better and can be an inspiration in itself to keep one plugging along even when odds for success seem overwhelmingly out of our favor (I’ll show THEM).
I found a great page which helped inspire me to get over my fear of failure called, “But They Did Not Give Up” which contains many short anecdotes about people who did not allow anything to stop them from becoming successful – not even sometimes spectacular and repeated failures.
I also needed to address my penchant for procrastination, luckily, there is a wealth of information about how change that easily available on the web; my favorite article on the subject (which I read while putting off sitting down to WRITE, ironically) was “How to control procrastination”, written by Hannah Joseph, which really spoke to me and made me feel better, calmer, and more prepared to get the job done.
So I will write, whenever I can and do my very best to make my own dream come true, and I will consider every rejection I get a lesson from which I can try to learn where I need to work on and as an inspiration to keep going until I gain acceptance (and even if I never do) – no matter how long it takes or how many times I have to try. I also decided that I will not let myself get too far derailed by distractions; for instance, this morning I wrote and submitted a 900 word opinion piece to a publisher with my two year old son climbing on my back and pulling my hair the entire time! Even if I get rejected, I find the fact that I was able to write the whole thing in itself to be a huge accomplishment. Even with countless interruptions from my five year old who needs something from me every third minute of the day, I am managing to get it done (frequent saves really come in handy – especially when the two year old has a fascination with pushing all the buttons on the keyboard every chance he can get).
Maybe one day I’ll be able to make a living writing, maybe not. Maybe one day I’ll be recognized as a writer, maybe not, but at least I know that not only have I tried my best, I have also will not have let anything stop me doing whatever it takes to make my dream come true.
I won’t be intimidated into abandoning my dreams by my own fears any more.