I have this quirk where once I work through something. I’m done. I’ve moved on. Been there, done that, don’t need to deal with it again.
Oh, if only life worked that way.
You’d think by now, I’d have mastered facing fear. Especially fear of new beginnings, because at 45, I’ve had my fair share of new beginnings, some by choice, some not so much. And yet, here I am again at another new beginning and the fear stands right beside me.
I’ve been fortunate to be able to focus on my kids these last few years. The plan was to turn out my first romance novel in the space between volunteering at school, volunteering for the Cub Scouts, writing for the town paper (pro bono), managing the household, cooking more meals, and running the kids to karate, cub scouts, ski club, garden club etc. Some how things didn’t work out the way I expected (hmmm, I wonder why???). I’ve made some progress on my WIP. I have a ideas mapped out, I am about a 1/4 of the way through my “shitty first draft” and I’ve learned a TON. It wasn’t wasted time, but I wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped to be.
The time has come for me to go back to work. Prior to my four year stint as a SAHM, I worked for myself for thirteen years. It is probable that I’ll return to the ranks of self employed, but I’m keeping my options open. There are certain constraints and priorities that will impact the work I choose to pursue. Some of them are practical (I still have to get the kids to karate etc.), some of them are personal, I been working long enough that I have a pretty good understanding the environments where I can thrive and best contribute. Whatever I end up doing, it will have at least a writing component if not be completely writing focused.
Still, I need to dust off the old resume and put myself out there. The advantage of working for someone else is that you put yourself out there once and then you’ve got a moderate level of security. With freelancing, you put yourself out there again and again. With every pitch comes the chance for rejection. After four years out of the practice of actively seeking clients, I’m feeling a little timid (anyone who knows me IRL, just snorted), but it’s true.
I have a lot of skills, I’m a good writer. I am highly organized and love organizing for other people. I’m knowledgeable about social media practices. I understand the marketing process. On the surface, I am a very confident person, but oy.
- What if I’m not as good as I think I am?
- What if I screw it up?
- What if no one wants to hire me?
These are irrational fears. I know it, but that’s the thing about fears, logically you know they are foolish, but the still hang out like ghosts you see out of the corner of your eye. So, I’m doing what I can to chase away the ghosts.
I bought these t-shirts a long time ago. Both have outlasted their usefulness as clothing (can you say grease stains?), but I still love the sayings. So much so that I turned them into artwork and hung them in my office (sorry about the glare). I made them as reminders, that I’ve been here before and I’ve conquered and thrived. I will do it again.
In the meantime, deep breath, big smile.
What do you fear and how do you combat it?
Lee Laughlin is a writer, wife, and mom, frequently all of those things at once. She blogs at Livefearlesslee.com. Her words have appeared in a broad range of publications from community newspapers to the Boston Globe.