So this may be the theme for this year. Be true. Be true to yourself and honor your commitments. Honoring what you told yourself you want to accomplish. For me, I'm filled with excuses and exercise those excuses regularly. It's not that I don't want the result, I fear the result.
I've recently reread a book by Brené Brown called Daring Greatly. She addresses being vulnerable. Brené advocates that being vulnerable actually leads you to a more authentic life and more productivity. So. I'm trying that out. If I can get to a place of vulnerability within myself, maybe I can show up that way for the people I care about.
I'd like to write without fear. The fear comes not from writing but from writing what is authentic. If I write worrying about what my sister would think or my daughter-in-law might imagine, I am not writing my truth. If I am worrying about publishing after the book is written, am I writing for them or my truth? Many successful authors say they write to please their fans. Is this a good thing?
Today's writing means you either become an Indie author which basically means publishing on Amazon or you find an agent who wants to take you on. Nobody seems to be able to call themselves a writer without being published.
I've written and published nonfiction articles, a romance and written technical documents. Since 2013 I've written five books which are sitting around in various stages of editing. One is really a first draft and the other four are just sitting there because I won't send them out.
Fear. Yes, fear of rejection but I also don't want to send them out because I don't think the work is finished or at least I'm not satisfied with the work.
Does being unpublished mean you aren't a writer? I don't believe so. I believe you become a writer when you are doing what you believe you are born to do, when you are fulfilling your purpose, when you are writing what you believe you need to write.
When I was young I wrote so that people would look up to me because I didn't know who I was. I needed affirmation. As I've grown older I've come to see that as a dead end, even if you are wildly successful commercially as a writer. I am a writer because that is my identity, that is who I am. I will not retire from being a writer and more than I will retire from being a mother.
So I'm going to move forward and not worry about agents or publishing in my vulnerable-me mode. I am a writer and I write what I must write, what it is my purpose to write without regard to an audience. If I want to publish something, I will pursue that separately from my writing.
Here is a portion of the speech called Citizenship in a Republic that Theodore Roosevelt made at the Sorbonne, Paris, in 1910 that embodies this ideal:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
So I want to be in the arena. I don't want to give up without having tried to write the best books I can. Publishing should be incidental to writing or at least a by-product. If you are writing in order to--you will not be in the arena.
Dare greatly my friends!
(Marc Kleen photo from Unsplash.com)