This one is going to feel raw, but necessary. Please go along with it.
Early on in the days of mine and April’s relationship (April being my wife for new readers), we had a policy called “Honesty Effect.” Basically, whenever we said, ‘Honesty Effect,’ we could proceed to say whatever we wanted with no judgement, only listening. Most of the time it was for really cute stuff, like how we felt about each other or where we saw our lives 5 years from then.
But some of the time it could lead to real insight.
See, I was on the backend of a divorce that came out of nowhere so, emotionally, I was a bit of tiny, massive wreck. The only survival tactic I could think of to help pass those long, drawn out summer days (Thanks, teaching, for giving me sooo much time off with nothing to distract myself from the pain) was to be totally honest with myself about the relationship and who I was as a person. Survive, a way to make it past the trauma of someone leaving you.
Everything. Every fault I made. Every fault she made. What went wrong. Could it have been fixed? Was there ever a chance for us to begin with? That kind of stuff. Then, I wrote each thought down and looked at them. Then, I told them again and again to myself. There would be no shadows in this awful time, I decided. Only light shining down to erase it all.
And those harsh, sometimes cruel, honesties were shared with the woman who blessed us with two amazing sons. She helped me through it because she helped me see those cruelties as learning opportunities.
Sometimes it’s important to be cruel to yourself, especially when it’s the hardest time because it’s in those moments you find your way to survive. The way to tough it out and think, “No, I won’t let this continue to be the way I hurt myself.”
I think we tend to hurt ourselves the most when we hide from our truths, when we won’t tell ourselves the thing we already know because to confront it would be “cruelty.” Yet, that “cruelty” tends to be a real way to say, “This is how you’re hurting yourself.”
I’ve been hurting myself.
I’m afraid of failure.
Let’s turn the corner.
I had to admit something to myself: I like the planning part of writing. I like the scripting and notebooks and plotting a story part of writing. I like the first draft of a story. I like editing the 2nd and 3rd and 4th and 5th draft (Hey!) and, weirdly enough, I even love crafting a pitch.
I know. The part a lot of writers hate is a part I like.
If for even one second I think that this is going to be sent to an agent for approval or disapproval, that all my hard work will be for nought, that I might FAIL, then I internally panic, halt my own progress, then stop.
And here’s the honesty I’m sure a lot of writers have, I like to play in the safety of the before-sending than the actually-sent.
Here’s another example:
I’m obviously a huge Pokemon fan. One of my favorite things to do is catch just the right Pokémon with just the right stats and abilities, train them, give them customized movesets, and then…
I don’t take them online to battle around the world, which is kind of the whole point of why I raise these Pokemon in the first place. At least, that’s what I tell myself when I fill whole boxes with them. They sit in the box, doing nothing, some never serving the purpose for which I raised.
“But, Robert,” you might be saying, “those are just pixels? How does this apply to real life?”
It’s the same with my writing. I have boxes filled with notebooks, ideas that could have been fleshed out into novels but once I got the cold feet, that was it. Into the box they went.
What if I lose online?
What if I lose?
None of this is unique. These ideas are most assuredly universal across all creative-types. Someone read this could think, “Duh, of course playing in the practice zone is the best part. That’s the safe space where nothing bad ever happens. Everyone knows that.”
Yes, everyone knows that, but how many of us confront that within ourselves then write about it on their blog?
Probably still a lot.
But for me, this is a big deal. This page is where I examine how to become a published author and everything that happens along the way. I think this, more than anything, is the barrier separating the accomplished from the wishers. Those who would do and those who say they’re gonna do.
And it’s a huge hurdle to overcome.
To follow through, finish, send it to someone who says, “No. No, this isn’t good enough.” And THEN keep doing it.
It’s a huge hurdle.
But I’ll overcome it.
I have to.
It’s not much, but after writing this out in my Morning Pages journal, I went home, fired up my Pokémon Sword game, went online, and battled actual, real people around the world. Did I win? Sometimes. I lost a few. A lot, actually. Went on a 3 match losing streak for a while there BUT then when it asked do you wish to continue battling I didn’t select ‘Quit Battling.’
I selected to keep going.
You keep going.
Thanks for reading,