I used to think I was actually “putting it out there.” I sort of thought that’s what I was doing with this blog. But really, I’m only talking theory and ideas here. When it comes to my writing, like my actual story, I still feel so guarded. Only a close handful of friends and family know that I write. I mean, I talk about it on Facebook, but who really pays attention to that? I tweet about it, too, because it feels more anonymous, since I’m followed mostly by people I don’t know in real life.
You’re probably familiar with the Eleanor Roosevelt quote, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” I think it’s a nice quote. I even have it on a magnet. But do I live that way? No. Would I like to? Maybe. I think I’d revise the quote to say, “Do the thing that scares you right now.” Or, I’m sure someone already has. I don’t know if it’s about every day, so much as it’s about taking that leap of faith and believing in you.
So last night I tweeted and Facebooked a public statement, committing myself to finishing the second draft of my book by March 30th. It seemed so doable when I first dreamed up that date. Then I got scared that I couldn’t possibly make that deadline. Then I counted down the calendar and tried to do some mental math. And after finding the cosine of the hypotenuse and added the tangent of the right angle, I realized I’d done too much math and not enough trusting myself.
Then, this morning, I did the thing that scares me. I told a coworker about my secret. I admitted to being a, *ahem* writer. I explained the inspiration for my story. And I’m still alive. In fact, I feel proud of myself for taking that baby step. I know it’s not a huge deal, but it feels like exposing yourself. I mean, what if he wants to read the story? What if he hates it? What if he writes terrible reviews of it?
The what-if trap is always holding me back. I have to reign myself back in. I go on Goodreads every day and look at books my friends are reading. I read reviews before adding a book to my to-read shelf. I write reviews when I finish my books. I’m in multiple book clubs. I enjoy critiquing books and I enjoy reading others’ opinions about books. So the what-if trap starts in easily for me. What if I got published? What if people wrote mean things? What if people hated it? And then I remember- the story isn’t even finished yet. Pull yourself together woman!
I spend so much time living in the future, the possibility of when I finish… what if I…what if they… Doing the scary things brings me back to the present. I want to live now and enjoy the process. And IF things happen with this story, I will enjoy them as they come.