Time to Dive in. Ever since I discovered, many, many years ago, the profound joy in writing something that not only expresses what I think and feel but also evokes the same in others, I have wanted to write.
But I listened to the other voices, you know — the ones that say you’ll never make a living, you’ll starve in a garret, etc. and then later on when I stopped listening to those voices, there was a whole headful of new ones — it’s too hard to get published, who’d read your stuff anyway, stop wasting your time — do a real job.
Eventually, on New Year’s Eve 31 December 2015 I published my first and so far only) book on Kindle and CreateSpace. It’s a book of poems I wrote between 1977 and 2015. I hesitated before choosing publish, feeling all the old insecurities and fears come roaring up from my memory and flooding me with adrenaline as if I was about to be attacked and needed to flee.
Thankfully, I didn’t quit and did publish. The response was significantly different than what I expected. Within 6 weeks, my book was No 1 on Kindle for the category Irish poetry, dislodging (for a few days at least) our most distinguished poets and Nobel Laureates such as Seamus Heaney and William Butler Yeats.
What pushed me to finally publish and put my ‘stuff’ out there wasn’t a desire to publish per se, more of a determination to not step back from the brink.
My fear of being ridiculed has been a lifelong companion — my earliest memory is from senior infants class in junior school at the age of 3, going on 4, when I made a mistake and got an answer wrong. The teacher made fun of me, put me outside the door and told me to go back to junior infants, the ‘babies’ class, and everybody laughed at me. Strange how things like that stay with you throughout your life. That was the summer of ’65, a mere 55 years ago but with the slightest prompt, I’m back there.
In most areas of my life I’ve overcome that fear. I’m comfortable getting up on a stage and talking, or teaching, chairing meetings, giving presentations etc. But those things don’t usually touch my soul or shine a light directly on my innermost thoughts. And when it comes to those, I’m still afraid to invite people in, never mind put myself out there.
This year I will be 59 and I’ve started on a new journey to create a business and life for myself and my family. It involves learning lots of new things, taking new risks, finding and developing new ways of expressing myself and reaching the people I’m most meant to serve. So I’m into Facebook and Twitter and even started Instagram and Snapchat accounts. I’ve been active on LinkedIn for years but this social media is a whole new ball game to me. My natural inclination is to keep pretty much to myself. Instead, I’m being encouraged to widen my circles and expand my horizons.
I started a blog about 12 years ago but let it go when I came out to work in the Middle East in 2012. So I’ve started that up again. Work in progress.
I’m doing a 30 day challenge at the moment and the task for the day I’m on (I’m a week behind, but hey, I’m not giving up) is to write and post here. The challenge given for today is to write here for 365 consecutive days. It’ll help me find my voice. And that I look forward to.