I saw something today that triggered a moment of internal reflection. At first, it was more like one of those “if I could get in a time machine and tell the 20-something me…” then I started to wonder would it even make a difference?
We all have those “if I only knew then…” moments, um, I actually have a lot, but the one I was specifically thinking about today was my writing. I’ve always loved to write and from a very young age received positive feedback and encouragement on it (if we don’t count that one huge a-hole professor) Anyway, it was my dream to write, and at various stages of my life I wanted to write different things. In my teens I wanted to be a journalist, in my early 20’s a children’s book author, more recently a YA author, but what steps had I taken to accomplish any of these things…nada.
It wasn’t until I reached my 30’s that I even attempted to finish one complete book. I had several short things I’d written and lots of ideas, but nothing concrete. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy I finally did it. I’m living a total dream right now–2 books under contract in a three month time frame, amazing–but I’m still learning. A LOT. I have a ton to learn as a new author, and I feel confidant in saying my writing has improved greatly in the last year. It’s clear to me throughout my own work. I’ve seen amazing growth between Gossamer and it’s sequel, growth that I’m very proud of.
So this brings me all back to–why did I wait so long? Why didn’t I set my mind to getting published in my 20’s. It’s unfortunately a very easy answer. Self-doubt, insecurity, cynicism…all things I’m not proud of. I worried that just because some people liked my writing would anyone else? (I still totally worry about this by the way) I also thought, getting published is a dream, it will never happen to me. So instead of trying, I accepted failure on something I never even attempted. Looking back I could seriously kick myself.
How do you know until you try? My dad’s words, which to me unfortunately meant nothing at the time. The younger me thought I don’t need to try to know. Yet, during this time, I watched my childhood friends take risks. I watched as one juggled three kids and law school–she’s now an attorney, another took on medical school–she’s now a practicing obstetrician, and another took her amazing talent and turned it into a home based business. But me, I sold myself short. Why? Because I was scared of failure.
I’m so grateful that I finally took the risk. I still fear what others will think about my writing. I still wonder what the future will hold, but ultimately…I’m trying, and that’s all that matters.