“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Maryanne Williamson
**Bear with me: This starts out personal, but it does have a point for writers in general**
I’m a hell of a lot of woman.
I’m not loud and I’m not always the center of attention. But I’m strong-willed, decisive, independent, absolutely certain when it comes to what I want and going for it, and I’m usually all or nothing. In other words, I don’t do luke warm … I don’t have a working definition of halfway … and I couldn’t hit mediocre if I aimed for it. If I grant you a promise or my heart, you can take both of them to the bank.
It’s what makes my writing and my characters, and the worlds they populate, what they are. It’s what centers the Adorian culture and what pivots against Ereubinian slavery and repression. It’s the center and soul of my drive career-wise and what founds every friendship I have. If I love you, then I love you for life. I simply don’t know any other way to be.
This is not the easiest thing in the world to handle if you are in any way involved with me. Just ask my publisher. They’ve had more than a few candid conversations with me about this very issue. And I’ve learned a lot through professional growth this past year and a half … how to take that energy and tone it down enough to accomplish what I want. Still … on a personal level … there’s only so much dampening you can do. And after the events of the past two months … after walking on coals and mending the broken parts of my spirit … my soul is on fire.
I mean this in the best possible way.
Part of this is because I’ve recently been focused on rediscovering who I am—altering those parts of myself that I’d slowly changed to suit someone else’s wants and needs. There is tremendous empowerment in this. There is a sense of self unlike anything I’ve ever known. And every bit of it is coming out in my prose. My voice is sure and solid, without a hint of reservation or fear or hesitation. I was speaking with a fellow author not too long ago and I was trying to explain to her this whole process and how drastically my views on public scrutiny and critical reception had shifted, and it’s tough to really understand until you’ve been where I am. I had my foundations tested and they proved solid. But, until I knew that for sure, there were always those questions in the back of my mind … What am I made of? Am I worthy? Will I make it as an author?
Even if you don’t consciously entertain these thoughts, more than likely your subconscious is or has on some level. If you’ve ever read a review with trepidation or feared a critic, then you’ve absolutely asked yourself those things … even if you didn’t realize you were doing it. And while I can’t assure you of much else, I can unequivocally tell you that at the end of the day NOTHING else matters in your writing life outside of knowing who you are. Know that … and everything else … EVERYTHING else will fall into place just like it should.
Yeah … I know. You’ve heard this before. And nothing I tell you can show you or force you into this experience. It’s hard. It involves a lot of tears and heartache and pain. And solitude. This is not an endeavor you go through with others. While they’re there for comfort and support, the quiet, silent hours are the ones in which you feel the burn. It’s steel being forged in the fire. It shapes you into your true purpose as a writer … as a human being … as a creative, bright creature who refuses to sit idly by while your future is left in someone else’s hands.
Don’t think you’re leaving your future in someone else’s hands? OK … what do you want to happen in the next five years? Where do you want to be emotionally … physically … in your career? If you don’t know where you’re going, then you can’t complain about where you wind up. Aim for greatness and you’ll reach it. Aim for the very best and you’ll most likely get it. Don’t say, “if I make it as an author.” Don’t doubt yourself.
Because you are made of awesome. You are more than worthy. You’ve already made it as an author … the world’s perception of it in the future is merely icing on the cake.
Like I already stated … I’m a hell of a lot of woman. More so now that I’ve entered into these burning days. You’re a hell of a lot of writer. Whether you know it yet or not. And like Marilyn Monroe said, “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” I don’t care if you have to tape that quote onto your computer screen … or bathroom mirror or wherever … just don’t forget it when you start to think negatively about your life, your gifts and your calling as an author. Don’t be afraid to burn brightly … hotly … and for the world to see.
Because if they can’t stand the heat … they should get out of the kitchen.