A Shaky Step

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My finger hesitates over the send button.

There aren’t just butterflies in my stomach. There’s a whole parade of stampeding elephants. Elephants painted with big bold signs across their sides, which they prance proudly in front of me.

“Who are you?”

“Why would anyone want to read your story?”

“This is garbage!”

“You call this a memoir?”

“Your characters are flat.”

“Your dialogue is boring.”

“Why are you writing this?”

“What could it possibly add to the world?”

“You aren’t as good at this as her… or her… or her… or him… or her… or him.”

“Give up before you waste any more time on it.”

Oh, their messages are loud. My whole body feels riddled with them. I shake.

And then I breath.

“Hello, elephants. Hello, fear. Hello, insecurity. Hello, self-doubt. Hello. I see you. I hear you. I know my writing doesn’t live up to lots of other people’s talent. I know that others have told similar stories far more eloquently. I know that I’m still learning. But, for today, just for today, I’m not going to listen to you. I’m choosing something else.”

I don’t hesitate this time. My finger hits the send button and instantly more than 23,000 words race from their safe home on my computer, to the email of a woman I have never met.

Today I’m taking a step towards honoring my dreams. Today I’m taking a step towards believing in myself. Today I’m taking a step towards valuing my writing, that thing which I can’t stop doing, which is so close to my soul that to stop doing it would be to stop breathing. Today I am choosing not to compare my day one with someone else’s day 1,567.

I am taking that step even if my feet shake while I take it. I am taking that step even though the elephant parade marches on all around me.

Today I am not just taking a step and working at my writing, I am paying for help. I am saying this is important enough to me that I will put something valuable towards it.

Today I sent a very rough version of my memoir off to an editor so she can help coach me through where it needs help and where I should take it from here.

I just sent a piece of my heart and my creativity out into the world, and although the elephants haven’t stopped their stampeding, my breath tells me a different story.

“This is a GOOD step.”

Rejoicing in the journey,

Bethany

UncategorizedBethany Stedman