It is amazing what a person’s subconscious can whack them with.
I was talking with one of my coaches trying to work out why I was having such a hard time writing up the sections of my book based on outside contributors.
Then I started wondering why I was holding back on delivering the sections I have drafted to the people who contributed.
Talking this out went a little like:
Writers reading another writer’s work is difficult because <fade off into mumbling>.
I didn’t want to ask other people to write my book, so I asked questions and wrote up the answers. Sending that write up to the source of the information can be awkward because <more mumbling>.
And then it hit me:
I’m sending my work to these real writers, and they’re going to know that I’m not a real writer.
I could finally hear what my subconscious was trying to derail me with: I’m not a real writer.
And I laughed.
By this time, my coach hadn’t gotten much of a word in, and I think she was having a hard time keeping up. But I was laughing, so that was good.
Here’s the story my insidious little voice used to tell me:
You’re not a real writer. You don’t have a degree in anything writing related, you don’t write stories, you’ve been faking it for years.
Can’t and won’t argue the degree part because there’s no point. Plenty of people call themselves writers without a writing-related degree. I at least had my Technical Communications professor admit that he was holding me to a higher standard than the rest of the class because he know I could write better than the rest of them.
Writing isn’t only about stories. Besides, I don’t claim to be an author.
And we’re all faking it, life doesn’t come with instructions (trust me, I would have edited them by now if it had).
I must be a real writer – my clients keep coming back.
I hadn’t heard the “You’re not a real writer,” mantra in a long time, so I thought I’d finally gotten over it. Well, apparently not when it comes to others that make their living with the written word.
Our subconscious finds safety in what it knows. This writing a book thing falls outside that realm, so mine is trying to reel me back into that safety zone.
So, now it is time for me to firmly start my mantra, “Thank you for sharing. Now shut up.” Because, as they say, nothing great ever came from a comfort zone.