I think we lose something when we hold ourselves back out of fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of judgement. Fear of failure.
The thing with that, though, is that there will always be the next scary thing. Might even be the same thing, just coming round again. Very few of us get second chances, and I think deep down we always want the first time to be the best time. I mean, do we ever really want to have to need a second chance? Do any of us just say “I’ll fuck it up this time, because I’ll do it better – do it right – on my second chance”. Surely we don’t? Because we don’t know if we’ll get a second chance. We don’t know if we could make it any better.
I’m not saying let yourself go completely. Sometimes having that apprehension is what truly makes things thrilling… and what often makes it even more rewarding, is pushing past the fear, and coming out the other side, and saying I did it.
But holding yourself back because you’re afraid… You end up hiding parts of yourself, and people who are worth you, your time, and your energy, just want to see you.
Who are you? Are you that person that when they decide to do something, they decide to put all of themselves into it – because why decide to do it at all if you’re going to do half-halfheartedly? Or are you that person who teeters on the edge, wishing they could, but never actually doing? Or maybe you’re in between… but is that satisfying?
— Thoughts to myself.
I’ve finished my final draft. My fiancé is reading it – even as we speak. Taking his time to both enjoy it, and scrutinise it. He’s found some small issues, things I’ve just passed over, and so far one issue with two chapters not fitting together cohesively. Not surprising, though. Where he is now and from here on I did the most edits, and I often wrote those scenes on a separate document before shoe-horning them in, and then trying to meld them together, otherwise I just found myself overwhelmed. Perhaps wasn’t the best way, but it was the way that got me writing.
I’ve known for some time, though, that I am terrified. Terrified that my work is just awful. Terrified of failure.
I’ve been writing since I was a young child… mostly short stories I can’t even remember. It wasn’t until I was about 11 years old I found the desire – or perhaps even need – to write something more. Now, if I go longer than a week without writing, I’m miserable. Yet when I try to find inspiration from successful writers, I just find myself frozen with such intense inadequacy. It was only earlier today I was looking at a published author, just a year older than me, who was first published several years ago, and saw that their daily routine is writing from noon until late at night.
Now, perhaps only those with disabilities, chronic illnesses, or some other form of limitation might understand where I’m coming from… but I can barely write three hours a night – and certainly not every night.
Comparison destroys so much happiness, I know.
But it wasn’t just them – many successful authors spend most of their days writing. Physically – and especially mentally – I just can’t. Brain fog and fatigue with the inability to concentrate makes the process so incredibly difficult and slow, and I can’t help but be angry, and hurt, and upset about my limitations. It’s a daily grief sometimes.
I’m still going to do my best and put all of myself into it, though. I just have to hope that at the end of it, there’s some success… I’m just not sure in what form.
Right now, my novel sits at 111,337 words.
— photograph taken by me, 10th May 2016, East Lothian, Scotland.