Totally Brief Disclaimer:
I am participating in the Writing Contest: Writers Crushing Doubt. It’s hosted by the amazingly inspiring Positive Writer – See more at: http://positivewriter.com/writing-contest-2016/#sthash.3T03OCRr.dpuf
Procrastination was killing me. Before you write that off as being one of the four million overly-dramatic statements I make per day, know this: it was LITERALLY killing me. Two years ago I was a mess. Living with undiagnosed depression made every menial task seem like an insurmountable mountain. Eventually I just curled into the fetal position and politely asked God if it was my time to die.
Needless to say it wasn’t a very productive time in my life. That doctor’s appointment I rescheduled three times? Nope. That novel I’d been planning for months? All writing stopped. I put off my responsibilities, telling myself I was too broken to do them right.
One day my parents dragged me to a doctor and she told me what I already knew: if I didn’t fix me I was going to kill myself.
Whew. Let’s take an abrupt left turn away from the sudden truth-bomb-of-darkness I dropped there. Guess what? It got better.
My doctor told me I needed to have some measurement to gauge my recovery. I told her I used to like writing back when I had actual emotions besides despair, and she told me to make myself stick to a writing plan. Little by little, as my word count grew, so would my sanity.
Truth of the matter is I think glaring at the first blank page did more to push me over the edge to permanent insanity than anything else. I knew I wasn’t a good enough writer to get published, so why even try? Besides I would just stop writing in the middle of the story, like I always did. And what did I have to say that someone more eloquent hadn’t already said a million times before?
Here’s the hard truth: I was both wrong and right. At that moment I wasn’t good enough to be published, but that didn’t mean I never would be. With every typed word, feverish scribble, and messy sentence I was becoming. Being “good enough” isn’t a goal, so much as a journey you have to commit to each and every day. The person good enough to be published is the one who never stops trying. The moment I realized this, and acted on it, I was already succeeding.
Fun fact: there are billions of people on this planet, and they all have different ideas of comfort, success, love, and pain. Yet even with all this amazing complexity and uniqueness there are threads of kindred spirits, inexplicably and wonderfully linked. Somewhere there is another human being who is going through something you are coming out of and they need to know that there’s good things to come. You’re carrying a message inside you that won’t reach everybody, but it wasn’t made to. Don’t cut the thread tying you to your kindred spirits. Give it a good tug and let them know you’re there too.
Pick up your laptop, or your pen, or your hipster typewriter, and just begin. Telling yourself that you’re not good enough may not be a lie, but it will stay the truth if you never allow yourself to fail and to improve through experience. Let me be your cautionary tale and don’t waste a single moment more lest you accidentally die of procrastination or something. I’m not a doctor, but that’s a real thing. Trust me.
Go. Write. Do it now. Jot down a paragraph or two about how obnoxious you think I am and then sign your name at the bottom and pat yourself on the back. You’re a writer. So go write.