art, book, disease, journey, life, mental health, mental illness, writing
First, let me thank you all for your incredible patience while I raised money to get my book edited. That should be first. I made my goal and was able to send it off. So thank you.
Getting a book edited seems to be on the surface an exciting thing. If nothing else you are at least getting your book off your desk and onto someone else’s. But then comes the self-doubts. What if the editor thinks it is a stupid premise or doesn’t think that your style of writing is worthy of publication? What if the editor comes back with so many notations asking you to change the very core of the idea you are trying to present? What if they are brutally honest?
I am reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book entitled, “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.” I recommend the book to anyone who needs their own justification for the life and the world in which they inhabit. If you are one of those incredibly egotistical and self-confident people, don’t bother. Like all of Gilbert’s books it isn’t for everyone, as her writing style often comes across as erratic and sometimes even strange. But I like her. Ever since I read “Eat, Pray, Love” and shouted out to the walls that is what I want, I realized that she is a writer I enjoy.
In her book, the new one about creative living, she states a number of things. For instance, I am supposed to shout out loud every day that I have the right to exist and therefore, I have the right to live in any way I choose. (Please note, this is my side of the story, and even Mrs. Gilbert herself may argue that I missed the point so if you want to know your truth read it yourself.) Mrs. Gilbert says that I don’t need permission from anyone to live this creative life (in my case, to be a writer). And that fear and doubt, those insidious beasts of no useful occupation, are going to be there anyways so I may as well make room for them in my life.
I find the idea of saying out loud each day that I am a writer to be cathartic. I have no idea why; I would be a writer without someone telling me to shout it to the roof tops or not. It is too consuming, too ingrained, and even too important to me to allow something as silly as doubt to keep me from writing. Keeping me from selling myself in an attempt to get published may be a different problem – one where it won’t be enough to say I am fearful but I won’t let it guide me. That fear comes next.
As for the permission to write; Mrs. Gilbert is right, I don’t need permission. But it is still a necessary step in the ability to finding the courage to be a writer. Gilbert states very clearly that it is bravery you need most to lead the life you are looking for; one with magic, mundane chores, and the ability to open yourself up to inspiration. I have given myself permission to be a writer, with the acknowledgment that there are strings attached. Mrs. Gilbert does not mention strings.
But there are strings. Strings that include finding the time, finding the space, and finding the instruments to live that life. There are always strings. And so why I give myself permission to be a writer, I often wonder how much of that is in my head? And how is it possible that I can get the permission to that place where courage and bravery exist? I don’t know where courage and bravery actually exist; I would have been residing there for years if I knew.
As for fear, doubt, (and let’s carry it to) self-doubt, those will be a part of my lexicon until the day I die. It won’t matter if I become an author that doesn’t have to beg every time she has a new book to publish, and it won’t matter if everyone is finally happy that I have accomplished something in my life. All that will always matter is that voice in my head telling me that I can’t, I shouldn’t, I wouldn’t. And it is that voice that I can’t come to terms with but I must allow to share space with the courage and bravery that makes the idea of jumping out of a plane seem as normal as taking a walk on the beach.
I am having someone edit my book. I have to be patient for that. But then I have to sell myself to a publisher, a much more daunting task. Give me a t-shirt and I can sell it to so many people that the bosses are on the phones begging the printers for more. Give me a book that I have read and I can convince you that it will literally change your life. Give me something that is personal and completely mine and I curl up in a ball and hug that fear to me as tight as my bra straps usually are.
The idea of putting myself out there and facing rejection is probably difficult for most. I am not an exception; but that doesn’t give me an out. A way to deal. Just knowing that everyone feels the same doesn’t mean that my emotions are unique but it doesn’t mean that my emotions are going to find their own peace.
Will I push through? Yes, because I believe that in helping others I will finally be able to find the way to search for my own contentment. By giving others a window into a troubled soul, I hope that my soul will make more sense. And by giving others a path to walk on I hope to find my own path to finally start this journey I should have taken so long ago. Fear, again. It stops everything.
I don’t have many answers in the next part of this process; the process to get my book into the hands of those who need help. But I suppose I better learn despite this nagging self-doubt and my stomach’s inability to ignore the fear. I suppose it is time to show that there is a time for everything.