Sunday, April 22, 2018

JOIN: Celebrating What Sucks About Writing Right Now

Every Saturday, join me as I CELEBRATE This Week 
with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.

It's seems a bit counterproductive to be celebrating what sucks right now but for me it is a celebration because by acknowledging what sucks right now, I can hopefully move past it. 

1. The Voice In My Head That Tells Me I'm Not a Writer

I'm not sure this will ever go away but I can definitely stop listening to it. As much as I write and as much as I love writing, there's still a little voice in my head that tells me I'm not enough. Partly, I'm not good enough as a writer and partly, I'm not good enough as a person that anyone would care about me or my stories or want to read them. It really hit home this week when I read The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. I knew I was in a sort of funk and this book was recommended to me so I finally read it. He points out how we all have hidden barriers, these stories we tell ourselves that hold us back, that don't let us live up to our potential. Well, one of my hidden barriers is that I feel seriously flawed as a person. Who cares about me? Who wants to read my stuff? Who am I to think I matter let alone, I'm important. 

I have no idea. 

Solution to celebrate: I'll tell that voice to be quiet. I honestly think I'll always have that little inner critic. In some ways, I think it's an internal defense mechanism. Putting myself out there, sharing my writing, hoping to be published, is a risk. But it's a risk I'm willing to take because I know that everyone else writing is a person too. Everyone else has gone through the experience of sitting down, writing, working on their writing, and putting themselves out there. If they can do it, I can do it too. I have no idea if anyone will care about my stories or want to read them but I can still try. 

I also have an idea for how to breathe some energy into my writing life by connecting with other writers. I'm planning to merge this blog with Teacher Mentor Texts next month and as part of the merge, I'll be offering writing conferences to any educators who embrace the writing life or who want to embrace the writing life. I'll share more info soon!

2. The Fear of Standing Out

I have another hidden barrier...and that's worrying about what other people will say if I write and blog and sell a book and love my life as a writer. I can't tell you how many times people ask, "Where do you find time?" I've even had people ask, "Do you ever sleep?" And I get it because I do a lot. I'm a mom, our family is busy with school and sports, and we love to have fun. I read, I go to yoga, I write. The truth is that I make time for what I really care about and what fuels me. I make time for my family and I make time to live a writing life. I'm lucky because my job as an instructional coach lets me to interact with people and share my love of learning and literacy so it fuels me in a similar way that my home life does. BUT I there are also lots of things I probably could be doing that I let go because I want to make time for what I really love doing. 

Case in point, below is a current picture of my living room table. It's littered with books, bills, homework, random stuff like sunglasses, a hat, a Color Street smple, blue sticks, pencil sharpeners, a compass. It's stuff we need to put away that we haven't. Mostly to blame are me and the kids. My poor husband...I really should clear it off, put all this detritus away, put books on the shelf. Then we could all eat dinner together at the kitchen table. But I don't make dinner every night. At least, not a fancy home-cooked meal. We don't set the table. 
All of this is to say that I have this fear of outshining other people. I have this worry that if I do too much, other people will judge me and ask how I do it and the very last thing I want is for people to tuck their chins back and look at me like I'm some kind of super human person. I'm not! I'm just me. There is so much I don't do to be able to have time to focus on what I really love. 

Solution to Celebrate: *sigh* I'm not really sure how to solve this other than doing what I do, trying to share as much as I can, and inviting others to go on the journey with me. I honestly believe we all have stories to tell. All our stories are important. That's a main reason why I started Story Exploratory. I don't want to prance around and have people fawn over me, I just want to share my writing life and encourage others to embrace their writing life, whatever that looks like. 

3. #1 and #2 Together

Okay, so what really really sucks right now is that I uncovered my hidden barriers. I was able to see that I have this underlying belief that I'm not good enough but also a fear of letting myself live up to my creative potential. It just sucks. They're basically in competition with each other. Just when I tell myself to believe in myself and go out there and work towards my dreams...I then tell myself to hold back and not be too free and too successful. Somehow I have to figure out how to shut down the voices in my head and to believe in myself and hold myself ultimately accountable to myself. But at the same time remind others that if I can do it, they can do it.

Solution to celebrate: The only thing I've got for this right now is to just keep going. I'm not sure what else to do other than to keep writing, to keep blogging, to keep connecting with others, and to celebrate this writing life. Just writing about what sucks right now feels freeing. I can put these ideas out there and maybe let them go. I wish I could say I could write this, post it, and completely let it go. I'll try. But I have a feeling I'm going to need to write about it more and just focus on my living my writing life and also inviting others to live their writing life or their creative life, whatever that means. 

You know what? I feel a little bit better. I teeny bit lighter. I smidge more ready to get over my hesitations, those silly voices in my head. I'm me. I'm a writer. I love myself. I love writing. I'm worth it. I'm enough. I'm going to keep going. 
How about you? What sucks about your writing life right now? What are your struggling with? What's holding you back? Maybe I can help! I'd love to hear more and hopefully this post helps you know that you aren't alone. Wherever you are on your journey, there are others on the path ahead of you or behind you. And we're here for you. 

1 comment:

  1. Jen, I relate to this post more than you could ever know. I have a book coming out in June. Yes! My first book of children's poetry and published by a university press. Crazy. I am so unsure of how to go about promoting because I experience #2. After all this time of being in the pits of #1, and finally there is something to show for it, and boom! I am not sure I can handle it. I just love your honesty. Thanks!


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