Oh, The Possibilities When You Dream Big (and are slightly delusional)
There was a time in the not so distant past when I feared the results of my writing so much so that I failed to see the possibilities that could result instead.
I feared not having enough to say. What I said not being said right or well. Having what I said hurt, impale, embarrass, traumatize or insight psychosis because of the stories I shared that people in my life also starred in (without their giving me consent to make them characters in my book).
[photo: something funny – hurt or impale]
Worse than any of these: I feared having what I wrote land on certain people’s ears as an open invitation to please create another Facebook account with some other variation of their name so they could write to me. Again. For the umpteenth time. Since we broke up umpteen years ago… because somehow nearly-slandering depicting them in a book was a cry for ‘lets be friends.’ For those people on the other end of the spectrum, I feared being sued. Or receiving hate mail – of the black variety. From my parents, I feared abandonment, disappointment, or shunning. “We don’t know her. We don’t have a middle child.” (Okay, they would never abandon me. But you get the point.)
I feared writing under my own name for all the fears previously listed. And I equally feared not writing under my own name because of what it might do to my own self-identity and security, both of which I’ve nearly lost before. On more than one occasion, I feared that even if I ‘did it,’ even if I wrote, there wouldn’t be anyone to write for except friends and family. The people who had always either expected it and were waiting for it, or were waiting for it but secretly hoping it may never happen (see the above on real people turned into characters, ex-boyfriends, parents who are worried, and general haters.)
I feared I would never convince an agent of my worth or that my writing wouldn’t be good enough to land one. I feared I would have to self-publish at the outset, before traditionally publishing anything, and that this would somehow damage my credibility. I know this is elitist and snobbish but even you cannot deny the reality that anyone can publish their book and call themselves a writer. And those people – the ones who don’t know enough of the rules but break them; don’t proofread or edit; don’t check their facts; etc. – ruin it for the rest of us. I feared I’d have just spent most of my life dreaming of being only one thing and failing at it at every turn.
The thing about doing something you feel meant to do is that the feeling never goes away. It’s like a continuous buzzing. Or a hum. Or a never-ending whisper. You can’t just tell it to shut the fuck up and leave you alone. It’s persistent and prevailing.
[photo: something else humorous about not being able to shh the noise]
And so even with all those fears, I knew there was no turning my back on writing. Writing remained the one thing I wanted to do. Felt called to do. Needed to do.
Finally, I got sick of the image of failing. I got sick of the hiding. The sitting in the margins of my own story. (And the delusions of writing possibilities emerged. We are getting there…)
Somehow I came to realize I was being stupid.
Why am I stupid? There are two main reasons.
I’ve never really failed at anything. (Except relationships. I fail in a big way. No one could fail with the dramatic effect that I have over my lifetime. One could argue that these have been successful fails because they’ve created an enormous amount of terrific writing content for which there will be a book.) I’ve been successful and motivated in a variety of other things. I should never have gotten into a Psy.D. program for psychology based on my test scores alone. But I got accepted because of every other part of my application even though I was told to my face at the live interview, I was the least likely candidate to be accepted because of those fucking scores. I’ve had different types of jobs in different industries and even when I hated some of them, I was damn good at them anyway. (That’s called ‘fake it til you make it’. Or ‘make it look good.’ You can take your pick.)
People have been waiting for me to blaze ahead and light my own path. Now I know I gave some people some shit earlier about not wanting to be characters in my book or about embarrassing my parents. But. There are probably just as many people in my life who would think it really fucking cool to be in my book, if not more, as those who don’t want to be in it. My parents, yeah, I’m sure they’re shitting bricks about what I might write, but I also know that when I get to the other side and I’ve chartered my own destiny, they’re going to be proud as fuck. And when I think about all the other people who ask me how my writing is coming, or how many people have ‘liked’ the occasional Facebook status about my writing, I realize that people have just been waiting. People already know I’m capable. People already want to read what I have to say. I’ve had fans this whole time.
Now, I don’t know why I didn’t see these things before. Fear is a fucker I guess. Don’t worry though. I’ve dealt with him. He’s in a serious time out and Hope and Possibility are in the driver seat. Fear is tied up in their trunk with thick rope and a gag shoved in his filthy mouth.
(Ah, you’re saying. This must be where the delusions come in. She’s personified Fear, Hope and Possibility. Yes, my readers. I have. Isn’t it great?)
Hope and Possibility are my cheerleaders. They’ve got me all jazzed about what success can mean. Possibility has listed heaps of things for me to consider that could be waiting for me on the other side.
[photo: animated cheerleader with Pom-poms]
So here are the ABCs of Oh, the Things that are Possible When you Dream Big (and are slightly delusional)
A book that people like and more than just my family and friends read
A book that wins some kind of notable award
A book that gets turned into a movie
A book that gets turned into a movie and now my agent wants me to do The Ellen Show
A book-turned movie that gets nominated for an award
A book-turned movie is nominated for an award and I’m invited to attend
I’m invited to attend and I get to rub elbows with celebs who play me, my family and friends, and all those haters on the big screen
I attend the after-party and have an amazing time
I come back home with autographed shit to give my favorite fans (aka my family and friends)
The book and movie make so much I can pay off student loans and start paying rent
I make so much money I can pay off student loans, start paying rent, and set some money aside to take my kiddo to Disney when he’s old enough
I can quit my day job
I make so much money that I pay off loans, move into a house, and take the whole family to Disney
See N but I also can help people in my life who are in need
The book becomes a franchise – think t-shirts, bumper stickers, board games, keychains, magnets, TV show spin-offs, phone apps and more
I can hire people to manage my social media
I have an agent dedicated to only me
I only have to write half the time because I’m killing it out there
The other half the time I can dedicate myself to a cause I care about
I start a second book
The madness starts all over again
But life is so damn good because I’m doing what I love
Nothing is holding me back or down or off
I’ve created an empire for myself
I’m the queen, I rule my land, and I fucking live happily ever after as I always intended to from the beginning. Just me and my pen.
[photo: something dramatic with image of a crown]