Sunday, October 6, 2013

Who I Am

Image courtesy of posterize /
I know myself pretty well, could describe myself in myriad ways.

I am an overachieving perfectionist in recovery, an avid reader, and a shameless whore for my husband’s gravy. And his lasagna and beef stew and barbecue ribs and chicken alfredo and…. Okay, I’m a whore for my husband’s anything.


But this past week, the last few really, I have discovered some new truths about myself. I covered my hard-headedness last week, but here are four more.
I am frighteningly naïve, so optimistic I am often blindsided and frustrated by difficulties others expect.

I yell at rowdy teenagers on the subway, telling them to clean up their language for the sake of my six-year-old’s innocent ears.

I will do nothing—no matter how highly recommended by someone I trust—if I do not have peace about it.

Most surprisingly, in personal areas which matter most, I have a shockingly low self-opinion.

Take this journey to finish this draft of my novel for example.

Every time I sit down to write, I doubt the story. I wonder if anyone will want to read it, if I made a mistake abandoning the former manuscript for this one, if I should be a writer at all. 

Oddly enough, I face none of these insecurities in the fanfiction world. Yes, I worry people will disapprove of a plot development or that my intentions will fall short in execution. After posting, I crave alerts and reviews, and private messages that might make me a new friend.

But I don’t doubt my writing prowess, believing I’ve lost the ability to tell a compelling story. I don’t fear Stephenie Meyer tracking me down to demand I stop torturing her characters with my inanity and incompetence.

I told my husband my fanfiction confidence is rooted in the safety of playing in an established universe, of assuming readers come to my stories partly engaged by default. The ability to write one chapter at a time at my chosen pace eliminates deadline concerns, and knowing I cannot be paid for my trouble allays fears about my work’s effect on my livelihood.

But this self-doubt manifests in other areas. Being a mother, my singing dreams, my relationship with my husband. In every significant part of my life, potential paralysis lurks beneath the surface of my most important decisions, paralysis rooted in fears of not being as good as I think I am, of not being what people expect.

Of not being enough.

Then I hear a familiar voice in my ear, reminding me His strength is made perfect in weakness, that empowered by His love I am more than a conqueror: a conqueror able to mother her children, achieve her dreams, and finish her manuscript with minimal emotional scarring. I focus on who Christ is instead of what I am not, remembering his grace is sufficient for every task before me.

And armed with His power and strength, I shed my fears, silence my doubts with the truth of His word, and rise to write another day.

Right after I sneak another spoonful of Hubby’s gravy.

1 comment:

  1. You ought to join the Insecure Writer's Support Group (yes, it's a real thing. I'm a member.) You would see that this self-doubt is completely natural. It goes with the territory, I'm afraid.

    I naively believed I would grow in confidence with every novel. Instead, my confidence seems to shrink with every work I produce. Third novel coming out in January. Finishing manuscript of fourth novel this month, and I wonder who I'm kidding. That ugly voice tells me no one is ever going to want to read this, and I can't tell a story any better than a distracted three-year-old.

    As the saying goes, here's where they "separate the men from the boys," the wanna-bes from the professionals: you plow through it, babe. You keep writing, even when you question every single word. You can always go back and edit later; you can't edit a blank page. Keep going, even when you feel like you're throwing words at the screen like Jackson Pollock threw paint. And when you go back and read it a few months from now, you might discover that, hey-- that's not so bad after all!