“Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale
Welcome to my first official blog post.
I’ve started Monday Zen for the purpose of gaining some clarity and bringing meaning into my life, as well as sharing with you the joy and challenges of writing ~ I write Regency Romance (You can check out my blurb and a sample of my voice under The Enemy Spy tab).
To be honest, I am a very private person and blogging is an entirely new challenge for me. Odd, isn’t it? I am a writer and yet when it comes to sharing my ideas and what matters to me the most as a human being, I’d freeze up, my critical mind telling me I have nothing useful to share with anyone.
I’ve struggled with the critical voice in my head that often keep me stuck in life and as a writer, sometimes it keep me from writing and finishing my manuscript. In fact, I am struggling with it right now.
If you are a writer, you will have heard the words, “Just sit your butt down on that chair and write.” Nora Roberts is famous for saying these words to fellow writers. Sometimes it works for me but often times this isn’t enough and I have to walk away from my desk and dig deep.
It’s the voice that says, “You have nothing useful to share.”
What is inhibiting me from writing? Is it the fear of failure? Rejections? Is the fear coming from not meeting the society’s definition of what success is? What is it?
I try to look at this objectively to clear up any delusion and chaos in my mind.
Have I really failed? When I objectively think about this, the answer is clear. No, I have not. Despite countless rejection letters, I think I have improved on my writing because of the rejections and support of my writer friends. In fact, I am fortunate enough to have the time to pursue something I LOVE. ~ to create, to write, to dream. Sure, I have received countless rejection letters and emails, but I also know that this is the process and it means I am actively seeking publication.
While most of us think having success may mean having lots of money, a big house, vacations to the exotic locations, and so forth, the truth is, if we really get to the core of what we believe are really important to us, success may look entirely different from what society tells us.
Thomas A. Edison was once quoted saying, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
It isn’t that we have failed or will fail. Everyone experiences “failure” in some form. Sure, we may “fail” or get rejected, but it is how we choose to view the situation that ultimately matter in the end.
I can choose to give up and said, “I have failed,” or know that the rejections and the feeling of uncertainty are all part of the process.
I know it’s a cliché, but we are our worst enemy sometimes, aren’t we? I think it’s really important to be compassionate and kind to ourselves and to appreciate what we have to offer.
When the critical voice tells me that I am not enough, I try not to entertain that voice, the emotional chaos in my head; instead I listen to that voice with kindness, like being there for a friend who is suffering. Often times, it works and I feel renewed. Sometimes it doesn’t work and that’s okay too. I try to sit with the uncertainty and when I am ready, I let it go.
Here are some methods you can try out on your own to remedy your own fears or struggles you may be facing:
1. Fear is part of being human: Don’t push it away, instead listen to it and ask yourself, as a compassionate friend would, what it is that is making you feel stuck and fearful? What can you give to yourself that will help sooth your fear? Give yourself what you need to feel accepted and understood.
2. The negative voice does NOT define you: We all have moment when we are afraid of the unknown, that chatterbox in our mind that keeps us stuck and unhappy. Listen to it, but try to not fuel that voice by agreeing to the negative, critical voices in your mind because the negative voices in your mind will pass.
3. Be kind to yourself: Don’t hold it in. If you need to cry it out or give yourself a warm blanket to feel protected, do so. Why not? We are so ready to reach out and help out a friend in need, but when it comes to our own fears and need, we don’t treat ourselves the way we deserve to be treated.
4. Live today: We don’t need to push ourselves to the point of exhaustion, competing, doing, working, endlessly filling our day with activities, and should do this and should do that, that we often forget to just STOP and breath, to be in the present and live it fully. This moment, this day is all we really have.
What are your challenges and fears? How do you overcome your struggles?
I leave you with this quote by William Shakespeare: “Our doubts are traitors, and make us loose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”
- 5 Ways to Beat the Fear You Fight Everyday as a Writer (write-2-be.com)
- 11 Inspiring Quotes on Failure (themavericksmanifesto.com)
- A Little Riff on Zen (zazenlife.com)