day twenty: owning your story

How do I fight the trap of jealousy

I take steps in owning my story. 

For months, I hesitated in sharing that I was writing a novel. I knew if I mentioned I was writing, the immediate question would be what is your book about? 

And then I'd have to tell them. 

I feared ridicule. I anticipated people would consider me twisted and question my sanity in diving deep into the subject of human trafficking. I began questioning myself — wondering where this story was coming from and if I could even write something...I don't know...happy.

The pattern began: silence, comparison, confusion, loss of inspiration.

I stopped writing. 

But then, I went to STORY and heard Andrew Klavan speak and was reminded — 

 

stories are meant to be dangerous.

So I gained a little confidence. Started speaking up a little more when I was with other people and they asked me about writing.

Slowly, I began owning the story within — and getting excited about it, even. I stopped paying attention to other people and what they were creating and started focusing on the work I had yet to finish. 

.::.

"Tell me about this book." I looked at her and smiled. We were skyping and I couldn't wait to find out more about what pulsed behind these dynamic characters she was creating. 

"Oh...I don't know," she hesitated. "I get a little embarrassed when I tell people because it just seems like a silly idea. Like instead I should be writing about the dichotomy of good and evil — and not this." 

"Huh." I paused for a moment. "Tell me more about that — why do you get embarrassed?" 

She threw up her hands. "I just...I don't know, really. I don't I'm not supposed to care, but it just seems like a silly topic for a grown woman to write..."

I thought about that moment in Andrew Klavan's session a few years ago and the freedom I felt when I realized I could really write what I wanted to write. I knew that feeling of wanting so desperately others to understand the why behind my novel and the inherent fear that others would reject me simply because of the plot.

I recognized myself in the questioning gaze of this friend. 

"You have to own your story." I whispered. "You have to embrace these characters. Once you do your depth of understanding for this narrative will shift dramatically. You won't be concerned about everyone else and silently censoring yourself. You won't be comparing your book to another. You'll simply be telling your story, and people who love it will love it because of that very reason." 

.::.

One day, you'll be marketing your book. You'll be expected to talk about this story you've written constantly. People will ask you for guest posts and interviews and book signings — and each time, you'll have to harness that belief in the story itself.

Because you have a story. You can't forget that — you have a story worth telling. This is more than just a pep-talk in helping you understand why you should share your book with others. This is the gut-level reminder that these stories you're writing are being written for a reason. 

What is a story if it's not going to be shared?
What is a story if the teller is scared?

People will notice this belief in you. They'll see the difference in how you approach talking about the stories you have inside. You won't be this cowering creative anymore whispering about the book that's not really finished and probably won't amount to anything anyway...you'll be sharing your heart and celebrating your strengths. 

This is where the magic begins.


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Posted on October 20, 2014 and filed under writing, indie publishing.