With that in mind, I'm realizing that there is a particular relationship in my life that is not working, that is less-than-healthy. It's time to commit, time to confess my love and show it through my actions.
How can I call myself a writer if it's something I do only when it's convenient? I mean, when you're a parent, you're a parent 24/7, asleep or awake. You've made a decision to care for a child - or several children. There are times when other people help you, but you don't stop being a parent. When you're a spouse, it's the same thing. You've committed to this other human being, and even if you don't like him or her very much, you're still married, and hopefully things will get better. When you're a person of faith - any faith - you've decided to adopt a set of beliefs or principles, and you plan to stick by them, regardless of what people think of you. When you're an athlete, you're always thinking about how to improve your performance, even if it's the off-season.
So why have I been treating writing so casually? It isn't about time, not really, because we do make time for that which is important to us. Plus, if I cut back on Instagram even a little bit per day, and replace that time with writing, I'll have written the next Great American Novel in, oh, maybe a month. It's not about talent, because in-the-business people I trust - not just my "buddies" - have affirmed that I am a good writer. It's not about ideas, because I have storylines for three major novels running through my head at any given time, and I can churn out a short skit for my teenage actors in just a day or two - there is no shortage of ideas for church groups, believe it or not (I mean, the Bible is pretty beefy source material).
Sooo, what is it?
It's with a measure of shame that I admit it's my fear. Fear of failure. Of not completing these books that are constantly - CONSTANTLY - rolling around in my head. Of completing them and being unable to submit them to an editor. Of submitting them and being rejected for publishing. Of being published and then overwhelmingly negatively reviewed. Of writing subject material too "religious" for non-Christians and too "secular" for Christians (I feature Christian themes and characters in my work, and I even my more mature themes are still family-friendly, but I would not consider my work appropriate for Tyndale or Zondervan). Of being thought of as unoriginal. Or "churchy". Or too romantic. Or too realistic. Or too flowery. Or too boring. Or too obvious.
Now that these fears are out of my head, they don't seem too different than any others. We hesitate to tell others how we feel because we're afraid we might be rebuffed. That the other person wants to just "be friends". We are afraid to ask our bosses for raises because we might be told "no" - and then we'll question our own value and worth. We are afraid to parent our children, rather than befriend them, because we don't want to be seen as "mean".
So, ultimately, that means that my fear of failure is no different than anyone else's, and I just need to suck it up and dive in. I need to re-evaluate my relationship with writing. I'm not happy with our infrequent but passionate trysts. Seeing each other once or twice a week isn't really healthy for a couple; so why should I think writing once or twice a week would work for me?
It's not that there is someone else. You're still the only hobby for me. I've just let things get in our way lately, and I'm sorry if you've felt neglected. You're still a source of joy for me, something I dearly love. I've let life and stupid things like clickbait articles get in the way of us being together, and I promise that I'm working to change that. I won't be afraid of you anymore. You were given to me as a gift. You help me see things more clearly; you help me organize my own thoughts. You let me live a hundred different lives, and re-imagine my own past. I appreciate that you've never left me and always been waiting for me to keep my promises to you, and it doesn't matter if you and I ever make money; let's just stay together. For the long haul.
Rebecca L. Godlove