How many times have I heard that? As a writer and an introvert the list of ideas that scares me is long and intimidating.
When I decided to throw my hat into the writer’s ring, I did so tentatively, cautiously. I acted on my desire to write since childhood, a dream I abandoned as a teenager because I thought I’d never be able to make a living at it. Writing was the one gift that I was given that I truly loved, and I wanted to share that gift with the world. Just the thought of that vulnerability, exposing the soft underbelly of what little talent I may have, was almost debilitating in its scariness.
My first blog scared the shit out of me in the beginning. I perched my hands on the edge of the keyboard scared to death that not only would I not earn any readers, but I’d be the laughing-stock of the internet. At my husband’s urging, I did it. And I don’t regret it.
I began Scattering Moments in 2011. It wasn’t a great blog but it was good. I met quite a few writer friends there and I learned a lot about what writing my audience liked and what my strengths as a writer were. Eventually, I closed that site down because I hadn’t quite learned what I should hold back on a blog and what I needed to keep for publication.
I joined our local library’s writer’s group and, excited as I was, I was terrified to share what I had written. I was intimidated by the other members at first because a couple of them actually went to college to hone their craft. I hadn’t done that. My degree was in Elementary Education. What if I went there and they heard what I had written and thought I wasn’t much of an attribute for their group? What was I, really? I felt like a washed-up failure of a teacher who dipped her toe into the Mommy Blogging universe because being a stay-at-home-mom was driving me bat shit crazy. It turned out that all the worry was for naught. Not only did I actually have something to give the group, the feedback I got from the essays I shared helped bolster my self-esteem and gave me the courage I needed to keep going. It gave me the courage to publish my first book, Lemonade and Holy Stuff: Collected Essays.
Lemonade and Holy Stuff‘s publication has been such a gift for me. Not only do I feel vindicated as a writer because so many readers have loved it, but I also met an amazing string of women writers as a result. I really feel as if I’ve found my tribe with writers like Sarah Cottrell, Tori Nelson, Lisa Kramer, Kathryn McCullough, Theresa Linden and so very many more. (Please click on their names to check out their work. They are amazing women.)
Because I believe that doing what scares us is also what helps us grow, I’m sticking my neck out again. This Saturday, armed with an essay and my much more travel friendly husband (I get lost after the end of my street), I’m going to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There I will meet the folks in charge of that city’s incarnation of Listen To Your Mother, a professional show that lends a voice to motherhood. I will be auditioning.
My knees are knocking.
I’m losing sleep because I’m terrified.
But, I’m doing it. I’m going to share my story before an audience of people. I’m hoping to come back with an invitation to be part of the experience. Even if I don’t, that’s okay. The only true failure is in never trying, and that simply will not do.