On being a writer: Limit

Have loved joining in with Kate Motaung’s online discussion group On Being a Writer, which is based on Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig’s book On being a writer: 12 simple steps for a writing life that lasts.

Yesterday was the last instalment, and we were asked to think about Limit, in terms of what limits our writing time, what needs to be limited so we can have time to write and how to juggle all the things we need to do so that we can write when we have time to do so.

Here goes…

I know I’m a writer because I feel compelled to write. This series has also helped me get to the stage where I can say, “I am a writer because I take my writing seriously and want to find markets for my writing“.

For my fiction writing, this is a huge step for me.


It’s a huge step because, for me, this means that I’ve actively re-organised my life so that I can make the time for not only writing but, also, marketing my work (because I won’t be a published fiction writer until my work is published (Doh!)).

It isn’t easy: I’m a Single Mum, I run two freelance businesses, I literally have zero free time. But, you know, just like having children, there’s never going to be a perfect time to try to ‘follow my dream’ of getting my fiction published.

The perfect time is now.


The ‘On Being…’ series has helped me get to this important stage where I now have the mental clarity I need, surrounding my writing, to realise that I need to “Just do it” (as that highly motivational marketing tool says!)

This feels like an important marker in my life; it somehow feels like I’ll look back at this period of my life and I’ll be able to identify ‘pre-On Being’ and ‘post-On Being’.

Sometimes all it takes is an active ‘yes’ and a firm commitment.


Part of the commitment is realising what limits me, what the risks might be, and working to minimise those limits and risks.

For me, that’s definitely my own self-doubt and self-limiting behaviours (‘Play it safe, Helen, you have two littles to support’). To combat these (fear-based) behaviours, I’ve set in place a series of routines that’ll help me use the time I do have available to market my writing.

I’ve made a series of commitments to myself to meet the deadlines I’m setting myself and to give this all I can because my most authentic me is the one where I’m writing fiction.

I’m living a lie – and being a bad role model for my littles – if I’m not expressing my most authentic self.

Whatever needs limiting so me can be set free, it needs to be limited.

This, I’ve realised, is a direct confrontation with all the things that have beaten me down, all the things that have stripped me of my ability to be spontaneous, to be joyful, full of life, to express my uniqueness.

It’s a confrontation that’s all about re-gaining, and re-inhabiting, my power.

It’s a reclaiming of me.


And this is important. Fundamental, actually. I’ve somehow managed to harness all the negative that came (still comes) from my experiences of domestic violence, of insidious abuse, and have somehow managed to take it all and use it as fuel for re-birth.

It’s beautiful. I feel free. I feel able. I feel like it’s time. Time to let go of the hurt, of the memories, to let go of the resentment and bitterness of gifting 16 years of my life away.

With this transcendence has come deep joy. I’ve felt my limits slipping away. I don’t now feel like a bird trapped in a dark, airless box, trampling my way through my days, suffocating.

I feel I’ve been set free, that I’m standing on the edge of something and that all I need to do is open my wings and be brave. 

To take the jump and see where I land…

(I can see the terrain set out in front of me in my mind’s eye and I’m ready to fly over it)

I’m not scared any more.


I thank Kate and Ann and Charity for setting up the ‘On Being…’ series and I thank all the ladies who have so readily opened their hearts and shared their thoughts about writing over these past six weeks (you know who you all are). I truly feel that my participation in this series has been transformational for me and I literally can’t thank you all enough.

Helen xxx

P.S. For those of you who might not have seen this, I highly recommend watching this video; it’s a discussion between Marie Forleo and Elizabeth Gilbert, all about fear and creativity. I’m sure you’ll find something in it that’ll be a ‘lightbulb moment’ for you.


18 thoughts on “On being a writer: Limit

  1. Wow! Love this Helen!! Can feel the freedom in every word.
    I truly can feel the sincerity in your heart for how ready you are for this next chapter! I’m so excited for you!!
    By knowing your limits – you are now limitless. So go get ’em my Friend!


  2. Christy says:

    The ‘On Being…’ series has helped me get to this important stage where I now have the mental clarity I need, surrounding my writing, to realise that I need to “Just do it” (as that highly motivational marketing tool says!)
    Me too Helen! it has clarified so much for me. Who’d have thunk? And the comments and communication back and forth between all of us has only added to the clarity. it’s been a true pleasure!
    Fiction? Good for you! Not sure I could do it. My mind’s not that clear and creative yet, hehe


    • iwillbloom says:

      Hia Christy, yes, indeed, who’d have thunk it??!! Absolutely the communication/comments back and forth have been a joy and so, so useful. Imagine if we all got together to form a writers support group: it would be amazing, something truly life-giving…..


  3. carlybenson says:

    I love this post! It’s brilliant to hear how much this series has helped you. I love that you feel free to pursue your calling and reclaim your true self. I can’t help thinking of the poem “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/178948 After identifying with the caged bird for so many years, I remember how amazing it was the first time I read it and realised I related to the free bird at last. I have really enjoyed all your contributions throughout this series and I’m excited to see what the future holds for you.


    • iwillbloom says:

      Hia Carly, thanks for your comment. I love Maya Angelou’s poetry….I hadn’t read the Caged Bird for a long long time and, re-reading it now, it spoke volumes to me. Thank you for gifting me that joy today. Thanks: am also excited to keep in touch with you and read your (beautiful) writings….Helen xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Carolyn says:

    This is great, Helen! It takes a special person to be able to experience what you have been through and then to be able to let go and move forward without bitterness and resentment clinging yo your side. Of course, what you have suffered will always inform who you are but to have transcended that so you can be the authentic you must be do liberating.


    • iwillbloom says:

      Hi Carolyn, thanks for your comment….I definitely decided a while ago that clinging on to resentment and bitterness would just compound the abuse, as they’re negative emotions that would only drag me down. My ‘first step’ was to figure a way through without going down that route. Hello gratitude and thankfulness! And yes, I think that’s the exact word I was looking for: liberation. I definitely feel liberated now, that this whole process has been liberating and led me to a place where, having been stripped completely bare, I can freely pronounce ‘this is who I am’. It feels truly wonderful. I don’t remember feeling this good for **years**!!


  5. Kate Motaung says:

    Such a blessing and an encouragement to learn how much this series has been a help to you! It was a great pleasure to have you participating. Thank you for the time you took to read, write, and comment. All of the best to you as you put these habits to use in your writing life!


    • iwillbloom says:

      Oh Kate, absolutely. It’s been fundamental in setting in motion changes I needed to make, externally but, most importantly, internally. I do feel it has been an absolute gift from God. Thanks so much: so much appreciated. Helen xx


  6. Julie Kirk says:

    You won’t be surprised to hear I was going to ask if you’d seen that interview. Wasn’t it great? I ordered the book the minute it was finished [and I never do that!].

    Your sentiments today really give life to your blog title. You found yourself in manure … and rather than let it pollute the rest of your life, you let it work for you. Your blooms will be your reward. x


    • iwillbloom says:

      Hia….no, it doesn’t come as a surprise 😉 I desperately want to read the book….think I’m going to have to ask Mum for an emergency shipment 🙂


  7. Gabriele says:

    Thanks for sending me the link to that interview. I’m so happy for you! I’ll support you by sending you cheers for the next steps you take.


    • iwillbloom says:

      Gabriele, I thought you’d enjoy the video….(it is rather long but definitely worth every minute). Thanks for your happiness: that makes *me* so happy…! Cheers will always be gracefully accepted. Thank you. Helen xxx


  8. Tara says:

    Helen, it was transformational for me too. I’m so thankful for all of us who participated in this series.


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