Anyone who follows on me on Facebook, or has been a loyal reader since my debut novel several years ago, will know I’ve spent a couple of years MIA. Yes, I’ve still been active – kind of – on Facebook, but I haven’t written anything for a long time. There were reasons I stopped, none of which I’ll go into in too much detail. Let’s just say that I let certain events get to me and, in the process, pretty much gave the haters what they wanted. That being my creative silence. I quit writing while I spent time sorting myself out and figuring out what to do with my life.
Call it a mid-life crisis… hell, I don’t know what it was! The point is, I went off on a journey of self-discovery. There were things I wanted to do, and I did them. I realised that writing full-time is not something I can embrace. This was actually a tough pill for me to swallow, because all I ever thought I did want was to be a full-time writer. Guess you never really know something until it happens, then suddenly it’s not quite as sparkly as you imagined. The important thing is that now I recognise my strengths and my weaknesses. Took me long enough to figure it out! In a nutshell, I get bored easily. Very easily. Sitting in my home office all day, every day, started to feel like a prison sentence and what I loved became a chore. I couldn’t, and wouldn’t, expect a reader to fall in love with a book that I wrote while hating every moment of the process. Where is the fairness in that? They wouldn’t be reading something that had 100% of my attention, and that – in my opinion – would have been career suicide. Not to mention it would have gone against everything I believe in as a writer and story-teller.
So, I walked away for a good while, and embarked on a ‘Face My Fears’ challenge. It’s been confronting, but oh so rewarding. Things I never dreamed I’d have the guts to try, or retry, I’ve done them. I’ve met so many great people, made wonderful friends, and set new goals for myself. One of my absolute passions as a child was horses and riding. I’ve gone back to that now and I love it. I’m good at it. I’ve set goals to get even better at it. That’s just one thing I’ve done, there are others. I won’t bore you with an entire list. Facing my fears has made me feel confident, like I can push aside the phobias and beat them. Yet, even after all the things I’ve done over the past couple of years, it dawned on me that there was one fear I hadn’t confronted. My fear of being a published author.
Seems crazy, right? I’ve written several published novels. I get great reviews for the books I write. I know I’m a very good writer because I’ve worked damn hard to be good. But, I have always been my own worst critic and my own worst enemy. When the aforementioned event happened that succeeded in stripping the last of my confidence away, I let those involved win. I mean… for fuck sake… I let them win. The bullshit that went through my head to get to the point where I silently agreed to bow down to the bullies was my own personal assassination. What I said to myself was far worse than anyone else could say to me. The person I believed, more than any other, was me. Was my voice, not theirs. I told myself I wasn’t good enough, and I believed it.
The aim in the ‘Face My Fears’ challenges was to take back my own power. In many ways, I’ve done that. So, writing new books is my next challenge, and God damn it, I will succeed with this challenge, too. Hey, I’m already onto it, with several new works in progress on the go.