“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” Leonardo da Vinci.
It’s been a while since I have written anything. I have thought about doing it quite a bit, but I just haven’t made the time. The more I think about it the more anxious I become. The longer I wait the more I feel I have failed at something. The more I feel I have failed to do this the more I begin to feel I can’t begin again. When friends ask me how my writing is coming along I wince and say something lame.
It’s not that I have totally stopped writing or that I’m not constantly thinking about my next project or how to possibly get published. I just hit a wall. Not creatively. Emotionally. I have let myself slip into the world of fear and negativity when it comes to my writing. The thought “what the heck am I doing?” pops up regularly along with “who do I think I am?” and “I’m not as good as…” and “there’s no time!” These thoughts are all excuses, a way to talk myself into inertia.
When I first started on this journey, I was on a mission. I signed up for a class, I wrote a novel, I went to a writer’s conference, started my own blog, and received positive feedback from friends about my writing. I was driven! I even submitted my novel to approximately twenty literary agents and didn’t let myself get too disappointed when I received twenty rejections. I know it’s a tough publishing world out there – I’ve done my research. But I stopped submitting. I stopped writing the second novel I started. I took a break from the blog. I slid into doubt and laziness.
Because it’s hard. Because it takes time. Because I doubt my own talent. Because I’m not sure what to do next. Because it’s so much easier to let it slide than to keep going. Because disappointing myself is better than disappointing everybody else. .
So now what? As I see it, I can choose one of two paths. One, just let it go. If I’m not committed to my writing, why spend time feeling anxious and unsure? I can find other things to focus on. Second, I can re-commit to this path. I can develop a plan on what this looks like moving forward. After careful delving into my own psyche, I have determined I don’t want to stop. But I also realize I don’t want to be at the same pace I started at. I started at a fast paced sprint and then got off the track because I was tired and unsure. Then I became afraid to get back in the race because I didn’t feel I was fast enough, or good enough. But who am I racing against? Only myself. And that’s when I decided I could be in the race at my own speed. There’s no one out there pushing me other than myself.
I’ve made my choice. I’m back on the track because I love to write. That’s the bottom line. If I stop, I will regret it. And I’m okay walking the path, doing my best to let the judgement and fear go. What is enough? We each must define this for ourselves. As long as I’m moving forward and doing what I can, that’s enough for me. The journey continues.