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.
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.
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.