Confession: What holds me back

Today, I woke up and finally took to heart what we all know is true: If you don’t (re)start today, the fear/guilt/self-doubt will only be worse tomorrow. Okay, it’s not catchy, but it is true.

About a year ago, Julie Duffy from StoryADay caught wind of my post-May plans: I was writing vignettes every day in June 2017, with an emphasis on description. It was what my StoryADay May stories had been missing, so I thought I’d make my June themed “not all description is fluff.” Julie reached out on Twitter to ask if I’d like to write a piece for the StoryADay site after my experiment was over, and I was delighted. What better motivation to keep at it, right?

Fast forward through some big upsets in my personal and work life, and you find me in the fall, feeling increasingly guilty about my failure to deliver, and trying not to let my guilt prevent me from completing other projects. Did I do nothing all winter? No, my brainstorming was actually super productive. But where did all that work lead? What do I have to show for it?

This spring, I had hip surgery – the kind where they reshape your hip and put it back together with screws – and I allowed myself lots of time to recover. I allowed myself so much time, though, that as the days went by and I could sit at a computer again, I found myself learning C++ instead of writing. It was less intimidating.

I grew to be embarrassed when people would ask, “How is the writing going?” because I knew that the only thing holding me back was my own fear and guilt. I’ve even found myself wondering, “Wouldn’t I be happier if I gave up on writing?” but I know how happy it makes me. That voice is fear. It’s guilt. It’s self-doubt.

Writing is an outlet, but it’s also a set of skills that have to be maintained. You may not see a ton of output for the next while as I build my skills back up, but I’m making a commitment to myself to stay disciplined and flex my writing muscles until I scare away my fear. I’m about to go back to work three months after my hip surgery, and I don’t want the next year to go by like the past one. This is my clean slate.

So, what holds you back?