I have always wanted to write a book. Ever since I was eight, banging out plagiarized stories about the Muppets taking over Los Angeles on my mother’s Smith Corona, I knew I wanted to tell tales.
On paper, I’ve done all the right things. I went to college and got an English degree. And after landing face-first into Bush’s effed up economy, I went back to grad school and got an MFA. Like many wanna be scribes, I spent several years teaching teens how to write coherent sentences, before finally chucking the deuces. I proofed the writing of friends, family, and strangers. I read tooooooons of books and blogs about the craft. And I spent hours thinking about the Great American Novel I was bound to write, if only I could scrape myself off of the couch and head on over to my laptop.
Seven years after finishing my MFA, and having award-winning poet and novelist Sapphire as my thesis adviser, I still haven’t written a book*.
Like so many other writers, I spend the majority of my time talking, thinking, reading, and researching everything related to writing…but I’m not writing.
Don’t get me wrong, I have ideas. And several unfinished drafts. And have made countless proclamations to sit down and write. Only, I haven’t done it…yet.
So what gives?
One glaring thing stopping me is–you guessed it–fear.
Despite being brave in many aspects in my life, others stop me dead in my tracks. And although writing is how I make my living, and I have two degrees (and lots of debt), sharing my fiction and poetry with the world has always been a very nerve-wracking experience.
The fear of rejection is real out here in these writing fields, and can shake many of us to the core. And frankly, I’m terrified.
My biggest fear is that people will think my work sucks harder than Karrine Steffans, and I will be a terrible, terrible flop forced to adopt a pen name and write hackneyed street lit novels just to pay my car note. Paranoid, much?
Like many creatives, the fear of being lambasted by my peers is damn-near paralyzing. But like any other aspect of life, letting fear rule my actions and decisions is a sure-fire way to live in regret.
And I’m not about that life.
So I’ve decided to finally (for real this time) get to work and write a book*.
If I’ve learned nothing else throughout my many years of scribbling down words is that no matter where you start, you can and will always improve. While I may not pen a best-seller right out of the gate (and who knows, I just might), the beauty of writing is that I will continue to get better with time.
When it comes to your goals, have you just been talking the talk? Please leave a comment and share your experiences.
*I did write a powerful little ebook, tentatively titled Break Out Of Your Box about pursuing your dreams and goals. I’m going to make it look all fancy before releasing it at the end of the year. Subscribe to my list to make sure you’re one of the first to know when it drops!