I remember the day it happened, where I was, who I was with, and what was said. But that’s not what this post is about, it’s not about the who, or the where, or even the when, it’s about the what.
It’s about the click.
It was three years ago and at a high point in my very short writing career. I use the word career loosely here because after all these years I still have a hard time calling myself a writer much less a career writer, but nevertheless, my career in writing was going very well. But before I go any further in my story, I think I should back up and give you a little background info.
On a Sunday afternoon in the spring of 2000, I sat alone on a wooden pew reflecting on the church service that had just ended at The Assembly in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. As I sat, an overwhelming feeling of expectation swept over me. I felt as if God was getting ready to do something special in my life. Maybe He was going to bless me with a new van that didn’t smell like french fries. Or maybe He was wanted to impart wisdom in an area of my life that needed it. Or maybe He just wanted to tell me how wonderful I was. I quickly reached for my purse and dug around for a pen and something to write on. I found a crumpled receipt and a crayon and waited patiently. What came next was not what I had expected at all. It was an instruction. Great, I thought, something I have to do, not something I get. The instruction was, “Tonya, you have a story and you need to get ready to tell it”.
It was a very simple and straight forward instruction
1. You have a story
2. get ready to tell it
Fast forward ten years (yes I said ten) to August 16, 2010. Nestled in a corner booth of a sandwich shop, I began to tell my story. With two fingers, I pecked out my very first blog post, entitled “My First Post”, real original huh? It was 305 words of hilarious perfection, and my very first attempt at writing, ever. I was instantly hooked! For months I wrote every day, about anything and everything. Some of it was good, some of it was tolerable but much of it was literary homicide. But that was OK because I didn’t really know any better. I was just doing what I was told, pure and simple.
A few months later, in September of 2012 I decided to do something I had dreamed of doing for a long time but had allowed fear to keep me from it. I began to write Faith And Folly, the story of how Devin and I met. Day after day I wrote, publishing on my blog a chapter at a time. The more I wrote, the bigger my reader base grew, and as my reader base grew so did the popularity of the Faith and Folly series. I was caught a little off guard to be perfectly honest, the reaction I got from my readers over this love story took me by surprise. I didn’t understand it all, but I loved the process, so I just kept writing and doing what I was instructed to do. I wrote daily, until I got to chapter 22. And then it happened.
I was sitting in my living-room, having an innocent conversation with someone who I love very much, and that loves me just the same, when one little innocent statement was made. That’s all it took to knock me off course. She said, “What are you going to write about after you and Devin get married in the story? I mean, it’s been so exciting up until now, wont everything be kind of anticlimactic after that?”
That was it. Just that one little statement and….CLICK! Something happened. Fear happened. Doubt happened. Fear of failure, fear of disappointment, fear I couldn’t keep up the pace, fear I couldn’t fulfill expectations, fear I would suck. And You know what comes with fear? Doubt. I doubted myself, I doubted my abilities, I doubted other people’s opinions, and I doubted God.
For weeks I tried to write but I just couldn’t. Nothing was there. The joy I had in writing was gone. The passion to tell my story, to share my life was gone. Self doubt and second guesses had taken its place and I was sad. Weeks turned into months, and months turned into years. Still nothing. Here it is, three years later and still, the struggle to write continues. Over the years readers have contacted me via text, email, and Facebook asking why I had suddenly stopped writing. I found it difficult to explain, because frankly, I didn’t understand it myself. So I would blame it on writer’s block or ramble off some excuse that I was just to busy to write. But today all of that changes. Today is my day to get it all out there, to admit my weaknesses, to confess that I doubted God, and that I allowed fear and self-doubt to knock me off course from where He would have me be. This is the day I will stand up, stare fear and self-doubt in the face and say, “No more!” I’m done struggling.
I did not write this post for sympathy, attention or words of affirmation. I wrote it for me. As a declaration and a new starting point. And partly in hopes that maybe, just maybe, someone else out there has been fighting the same battle as I. Maybe that person is you. Maybe you have a task ahead of you, a challenge, or a mission. Maybe you have a dream or you have set a goal but fear has, once again, reared its ugly head and you have allowed it to hold you back from your full and true potential. Well, you’re not alone. And if you would like, this post can be your new starting point as well. Come stand alongside me and we’ll shake our fists at fear and declare, “No more!” No more distractions, no more listening to the negative voices, no more believing the lie. No more. But you may be thinking, Tonya, just because I tell fear “no” doesn’t make me unafraid. That’s true, but you’re not just saying no to fear, you’re saying no to the control of fear.
If you find you’re still afraid, then just do it afraid. That’ll kick fears butt!
I have learned that it’s not about the person I was yesterday, or the person I’m going to be tomorrow that matters. What matters is the person I am today, and today I am a writer with a story, and I told it. And yes, I did it afraid.
Thanks for the visit. I love you more than a double stuffed Oreo!