Baring My Soul
Each New Year, I make myself a promise: This is going to be my year as a writer. I will be a mover and a shaker. Unfortunately, I’ve never followed through on this promise. And while I could be one of those people that blame everyone and everything else (circumstance) for my failures (or if not failures, my lack of successes) I am choosing instead to take a hard look at myself and be honest (with me and you) about why I am constantly self-sabotaging.
The first hurdle to my success is the fear of success.
I am a creative procrastinator.
If I am under a contracted deadline, I WILL get the work done, but only after marathoning the last week of writing. My hands will be sore for a week. My shoulders and neck will scream from the chronic hunching over the keyboard. The dogs and cat will consider putting themselves up for adoption (but they can’t figure out how to take cute selfies). My husband stands outside my office spraying room freshener to keep the funk from permeating the rest of the house. And lastly, my brain will give me the big “fuck you. I’m shutting down now” speech, but I GET it done. I know this isn’t the most efficient way to work. It’s murder on my mental and emotional well-being. So, when I think about getting a contract to do a large volume of work, I, understandably, get afraid. But I’m also of afraid of failing. Which leads me to my next hurdle.
I fear that I am not enough.
My fear isn’t just over the physical and mental challenges of writing. I am also afraid that I’m not good enough. I feel like a big, fat, faker most of the time. When someone says, “Wow, I really love your book (insert title here).” While I know, logically, they are being genuine (probably *grin*), in the back of my head there is a loud voice screaming, They’re just being nice! They’re just being polite! They don’t really mean it! This isn’t fair to the person who gave me the compliment, but there it is. I think it stems from people in my life (when I was growing up) rarely gave me credit for my successes.
People who loved me, people I trusted, made me feel like I was lucky, not good. They made me believe that opportunities were obstacles that I managed to trip over, not earn. Because of this, I have this go-to place in my head when something great happens (like when Changeling Press contracted my first book, and now my 3-book deal with Ellora’s Cave) where I tell myself, it wasn’t because I earned or deserved this wonderful opportunity…It’s because I lucked in to it. I have people in my life now who believe in me and I am grateful, but it’s hard to silence those earlier voices.
My last fear (at least the last one I’m going to write about today) is that I will be unlikeable.
This fear is an extension of the second one—the one that tells me I’m not enough. A rather large and odious voice in my head constantly tells me that my “opportunities” happen because I’m “likeable.” It also tells me that if I make myself unlikeable, by having opinions, by being grumpy, by saying “no,” or asking for the things that I want, that those opportunities will flit away. I will be left friendless, jobless, and there will be no way to recover. My fears completely realized! Because of this fear, I am so moderate in everything I do online (and in parts of my real life) that I am too boring to notice.
Making 2014 My Bitch
I will not be afraid of success!
I am going to take opportunities by the balls this year and force them into submission. I will write every day. I’m already ahead of the curve, in that my first two books for Ellora’s Cave are already with my new editor, Kelli Collins, and I have started the third.
I will believe people will actually want to read my work (and not just my family and friends!). I will form a street team (I’m not sure how I’m going to do this, yet, but I will figure it out!) to help promote my books.
I will not wait for contracts to finish longer works. I WILL be successful.
I am enough!
I will kick the voices that tell me otherwise in the balls this year. I will believe that I have earned my opportunities because I worked hard to get them. These stories I’ve sold DID NOT write themselves. I made the choice to go back to college and get my degree in creative writing to become a better writer, and I should celebrate the fact that my education is paying off. I will listen to my BFFs (Michele Bardsely, Dakota Cassidy, Emma Ray Garrett, and my sister Robbin) who always have my back and are rooting for me.
I will not worry about whether I’m liked (I’d still prefer if you like me. However…)
I will cut off “likable’s” balls this year. I will not censor myself to the point that I am INVISIBLE. And while I have no plans to twerk, clichés are clichés for a reason. The squeaky wheel gets the grease—E.g. Miley Cyrus—this Disney princess elevated her status by pissing a crap-ton of people off, but in the process gained a lot of support and exposure from people who had never noticed her before.
I’m not going to shave my head, enter rehab (unless they have a 12-step program for coffee addicts), or release a sex tape. I am, however, going to be less afraid to put myself out there for people. I want to get to know my fans and I want you all to get to know me. I will put my self out there, naked and raw, and not be afraid. It will be me. The honest me.
Hold on to your cojones, 2014. I’m coming after you and I won’t be playing nice.
By the way, every single one of my issues is solely mine. No one has made me feel this way. I’m just a big, ol’ insecure ninny.