Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Why So Scared?
I have been writing pretty regularly for about fourteen months now. Prior to that I had entertained the notion of being a writer, even if just as a hobby, but I never could commit to it. I did manage to squeak out a story for a nursing journal back in 2003 but other than that...nada. I had a million and one excuses such as being too busy and not inspired enough but they were just that, excuses.
Then I got sick and lost my job, leaving a lot of time on my hands, mostly confined to my couch or my bed. I started to think about blogging but I was very intimidated by the computer aspect of it. However I really needed an outlet for what was going on in my life so I gave it a try. That was the catalyst for taking a writing class last summer and I think I can say I caught the writing bug! Since then, I have gone through some brief dry spells with my writing when life has gotten too hectic but it always remains a deep rooted passion.
I came to the realization along the way that some of what I was writing in my blog was good, really good. That is not meant to sound arrogant, but I usually can tell after finishing a blog entry whether it's going to be well received or not...usually! I started to feel a sense of accomplishment. I always like to say that my writing is 50/50. 50% for me and 50% for other people. I want what I write to be meaningful to me. I want it to have substance. Just as importantly though, I want it to affect other people; to make them ponder, consider, laugh and cry. I guess I want my writing to leave some type of mark on the world.
I have been working pretty hard lately on the whole blog thing doing such things as figuring out how to network, promote, and use the blogging site to my full advantage. There is a lot more to it than just typing down words. I have also stepped up my writing frequency because at the end of the day, few things make me as happy as writing does.
But here's the thing. I am not an aspiring novelist. I write personal essays and I love it. I would love nothing more than to someday see all of my personal essays compiled into an inspirational book of some sort. For the longest time, I have wanted to submit some of my writings to magazines and other publications but until today, I have not done that. What really bothers me is that for as self-aware as I am, I am not completely sure why I have put this off for so long. I am sure it is fear of some sort. Fear of failure maybe. Fear of not being good enough. Whatever it is, I'm sure a therapist of some sort would have a field day picking that apart!
I finally decided though that enough is enough. Fear can only be conquered with action. I pulled out my notes from my writing class last summer on how to submit a professional query letter. I spent hours and hours poring through magazines and reading submission guidelines. I found a piece I wrote on my blog that I thought would be appropriate for Yankee Magazine. Yankee Magazine is a great publication but all the negative self-talk told me they would never accept a writing submission from someone like me who only has only published one thing in her entire life. Then I stopped and realized this is what I had been doing to myself for over a year; sabotaging myself. I had to at least try and that I did.
Confidence found. Fear conquered. At least for today...
Photo Courtesy of Chuck Myers