Questions

I thought this would be the year of answers but it’s turning out to be the year of questions. Big scary ones. I changed full-time jobs, hoping to feel less exhausted and more fulfilled but in all the chaos of the holidays and everything else that’s been going on, I haven’t written or revised or even thought about creating something in almost three months. It’s felt like an eternity and the more time that passes, the more I wonder whether I could actually exist this way.

Today was my first day off in the past eight and I should have spent it working on revisions but I just couldn’t get started. I didn’t want to. I was afraid of too many things–of spending another two years on the same emotional roller-coaster of being an indie author and of not. It would be so easy to stop, to just forget about this series mid-draft, to take my books off sale, to remove every bit of my social media identity. I actually considered it this week and not just because I got some shitty reviews or because I almost lost a friend because of them or because I’m tired and unhappy and unsure. But because I’m afraid.

I’ve faced my fears of failure before but this time is different because I’m not just questioning my path as a writer, I’m questioning everything about my life. I don’t want to be a bystander, a thin reed that bows whichever way the wind blows just because I’m afraid of making a mistake or of being alone. I don’t want to be afraid of the future but I am. Because for the first time in my life I don’t know what it’s supposed to look like.

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17 thoughts on “Questions

  1. Wow, how very honest of you to come out and voice these fears on WordPress. Also, it’s very brave of you.

    I think your fears are some that many of us face. It comes down to figuring out what you want out of life. Can you imagine an identify without being an Indie author or not? I quiver at that thought, but sometimes I worry that there is no good future for an Indie author in this economic climate.

    I relate because I’m going through similar things: wanting to change jobs and make life less stressful. I’m discovering that being an Indie author is difficult beyond measure.

    Anyway, I have no advice, but think very hard before you make any final decisions. I do hope you come to the best conclusion for yourself.

    Best of luck and virtual hugs!

    • I usually prefer to keep my posts less dark and more encouraging but I also believe in being honest. I’ve blogged before about feeling like not a lot of indie authors share the full truth about how hard it is to pursue this kind of dream because it’s not good for business but I think it’s important to acknowledge that the urge to give up is actually totally normal. Yesterday was a bad day and I so appreciate your virtual hugs! But today is a new day and even just getting the words out in a blog post has done wonders for my perspective. I’m a writer, it’s what I do, and I would never give it up but I have come to the realization that I don’t want to keep pursuing this dream the way I’ve been pursuing it. I just want to be me. I want to write what I want to write, when I want to write it and I’m going to stop worrying about other people’s opinions good or bad.

      • Good for you! I know it’s hard to find perspective when others aren’t sharing theirs. I have a few blogger friends who have been brutally honest, and it’s helped me ground myself early.

        It’s hard to give up the dream on retiring to write, but that’s what a dream is. You work towards it, and sometimes you don’t achieve it, but you attain something else wonderful:)

        Best of luck!

  2. Sue Archer says:

    Those times are so tough, when you feel like you don’t know where you are going. Big hugs to you. You are not alone!

    • Yes, I think it’s just called growing up! We all go through transitions that sometimes make us question our place in the world and sometimes those questions can feel overwhelming but it’s a necessary part of life. All I can do is try to be as open as possible to the unknown and trust that there are no such things as accidents.

  3. angeladewit says:

    Facing the fear of failure is nothing more than facing our fear of rejection, or facing that incessant nagging friend named doubt. When we face rejection head on and say “so what?” we say “I still love me and find worth in myself.” When we face doubt, with her childish pout, we say “I believe in myself.” Those words are empowering and give us the strength to do whatever it is needed of us, to make us the brave little toaster who believes we can do anything!

    But the unknown is a different entity. Everyone fears the unknown. Everyone. How could you not? The unknown could mean certain death after all. Death of a dream. death of a Life. Death of something beloved.But it could also not. We are surrounded by the unknown at all times, and we continue to trudge along instead of shivering in the corner out of fear, because we have learned that great things can come from the unknown. Its a simple coin toss of the gods.

    You do not know what comes next and you feel lost, confused, and so scared. Why? Because what if you do not achieve your dream? What if your happiness does not come from that said dream? I empathize with your struggle ten fold. (Along with empathizing about career changes).

    But you know what? Everyone fears the unknown. So… you’re not alone. And sometimes the unknown offers awesomeness. So… be excited. And remember, we are only brave when are confronting our fears, and we are only at our bravest when we are the most afraid.

    Remember you found strength and empowerment through facing your fear of failure, remember that you have found the belief in yourself when you had to deal with the diva, Doubt. The Struggle is real, but diamonds weren’t made from sitting around. Diamonds were made from pressure, and heat, and uncomfortableness. So yes, what if you don’t achieve it? What if it was all for naught? What if you give up? But what if you don’t? What if the coin toss ends in your favor?

    This moment, this post, is but the moment where you identified what you were afraid of. What comes next is the moment when you stand up and be brave, despite the fear, while remaining afraid, while learning something new about yourself.

    I don’t know you, so pardon me if I come off as weird, but I’m pretty sure you got this.

    ~Peace and Good Vibes
    AD

    • You’re so right. “When we face rejection head on and say “so what?” we say “I still love me and find worth in myself.”–I absolutely love this. It’s funny that you would word it this way because my personal mantra whenever I’m feeling stuck is, “I’ll figure it out, I always do.” It’s my form of self-affirmation and I also try to turn to self-love in the worst of times but this week I was suddenly faced with questions I didn’t know the answers to and unknown territory that I wasn’t sure I’d ever figure out. I know that everyone is afraid of the unknown even though we live with its presence and possibility on a constant basis so I’m glad that I’m not alone. But you’re right that it’s so strange for us to all fear something so ever-present in our lives. Personally, I always feel the need to be in control, especially of my own dreams. I’m used to working my butt off and seeing the results but creative work has taught me that patience is key. It’s also taught me to expect the unexpected, which was exactly what blindsided me yesterday when I realized that for the past three months I’d been living a life I’d never planned on living. It was a small glimpse into one possible version of the future and it terrified me. Because I thought that if I stayed on this particular path my dreams would die. You absolutely hit the nail on the head. But I believe you when you say that they don’t have to. I just have to be open and stop panicking every time something in my life doesn’t go as planned. The plans I have for myself are nothing compared to the true destiny that awaits me and I need to learn to trust in the divine design of things.

  4. blondeusk says:

    I am questioning it too! Writing is so hard and is so personal. Its also very tough, hardwork and at times makes me cry. Why do we put ourselves through this torture? The love of stringing words and stories together is a strange one – happy Sunday 🙂

    • It is a strange and wonderful obsession, one that comes with so many highs and lows. It is incredibly personal as well and even though that’s the thing that makes art great, it’s also the thing that makes sharing that art so dangerous. I enjoy sharing my stories and my writing with others but for my own well-being I’ve decided to be more selective about how and when I do that. I don’t have to strive to be some social media butterfly or to put out a book every three months like some other indie authors. I can just be me and hopefully that will be enough.

  5. If you don’t mind comments from a stranger, your future and your life isn’t supposed to look like anything in particular, it just is. And there’s beauty in that. And your writing isn’t just a career, or the amount and quality of reviews you receive, or number of sales, your writing is a part of how you exist in the world, as much as breathing or walking. And there is beauty in that.
    Don’t be afraid because you can’t see exactly how it should be, be excited because you get to witness how it develops every day. Live your life, write when you can, and enjoy that you’ve been given that gift.

    • There is beauty in the unknown but it’s something we often only realize in hindsight. Staring into it head-on is the terrifying part. But you’re so right about writing being apart of my expression in the deepest sense and therefore more than anyone’s reaction to it. Your explanation is really beautiful and it reminds me that my writing is personal and because of that it’s important. I will absolutely try to live my life and write when I can, cherishing every second that I get to spend getting to know myself on a deeper level.

  6. Laura says:

    I wonder if there is something in the water? I could have written what you have shared here. Yet, I believe it is part of human nature to be afraid of change. We become unhappy with our circumstances, do something about it, and then become fearful of the results. Perhaps because there is something comforting about having a routine, even if it there is no sense of fulfillment in it. Best wishes to you as you move forward. Best wishes to all of us.

    • This struggle is so human and universal, which is the only reason I felt comfortable writing about it here. Unfortunately that also means that it’s one none of us can avoid and one we’ll go through many times throughout our lives. Change is inevitable but that doesn’t make it any less painful. The only thing we can do is be open to it and hope for the best!

  7. Julie Israel says:

    The unknown is scary. Being an author is scary, especially so because it is woven with so many unknowns.

    But:

    You are Laekan Zea Kemp.
    You are Laekan Zea Kemp.
    You are Laekan Zea Kemp.

    May you now be sufficiently motivated to kick the scary future’s ass. (I have total faith in your own mantra: You WILL figure it out.)

    Hugs and confidence! x

  8. Being an Indie author is tough. There’s such a huge learning curve, and it feels like it’s impossible to rise above the ocean of books out there. Writing, itself, is soul-baring. It’s so hard to put yourself in a place where others can so easily tear you down. Bad reviews hurt, no matter how hard we try not to let them. But I’m not going to let all the worries and doubts stop me, and I don’t think you should either. If writing is what you like to do, then you should do it, no matter what anyone else says. Hang in there. You will find your way.

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