Recently I've been hearing more and more requests and encouragements for me to publish a book. I find it all very flattering and terrifying. I won't lie. It is a dream of mine. I'd love to publish a book of patterns. I'd love to publish a book with slightly altered (for privacy of course) tales from my sit-com life. Who wouldn't? And then in the same breath I'll tell you "Oh, No. Not me!"
Now don't start. I'm not grubbing for compliments or encouragement. Really. I'm just sorting out my fears.
When I told my husband about some recent encouragement I'd gotten and told him I wasn't sure, he paused a moment, accessing me, then asked "What are you afraid of? Are you afraid it won't sell?" Reason #16,325 for loving this man. He knows me. He supports me. He is the best part of me. I laughed. He had pointed out something he knew I didn't fear, thereby forcing me to look into the dark toothy drooling mouth of the monster and blurt out the truth. I'm afraid it will sell, but people won't like it and will regret buying it. That is the brand failure I fear.
Facing your fears is supposed to eliminate them, right? Mostly. I think in many cases, this is true. I also know, that in my experience, killing one sounds off a war cry and thousands follow and attempt to take it's place. I am highly skilled at sounding this invitation. I can dig up a new fear in the presence of all encompassing warmth, light and unconditional love. I am, without a doubt, a master of fear. I am, also, not alone.
There is a wonderful book out in the universe called "Taming Your Gremlin" by Rick Carson. (Rick, if you're using Google Alerts - smooches! I've had this book for years, and well, there were a lot of them, but the pile of dead is greater in number than the field approaching. Thank you. I've recommended your book to countless and continue to do so.) I'm pretty sure you can download it to your e-readers thru Amazon. The general principal of the book is to 1) identify that little voice that shames us, reminds us of past or perceived failures or provides us with no-win scenarios that eat so much of our bravery and time that we simply give up, then 2) tell that Gremlin to shut the hell up/ignore him/her until pop! that Gremlin dies and we no longer live in the Gremlin's circle of fear.
Another amazing resource for insight into the things that hold us back is Brene Brown. Her book "The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are" as well as her TED Talks were brought to my attention by my dear friend Bob. Her book is available for digital download thru Amazon. (Brene, if you're using Google Alerts - hugs! Thank you for putting the word "shame" back into my vocabulary and teaching me that it doesn't define me nor should it dis-empower me. I'm embracing ME, defining ME, and falling in love. Thank you.) Her title says it all. We hold ourselves back with false definitions of self and impossible visions of fulfillment.
Why do I mention these resources? Because I know I'm not alone. Because this whole idea of writing a book reminded me that I killed that Gremlin, that I faced the fear of being "the only one", of being alone. We all have fears. If we don't, we're dead. It is a human truth, regardless of whether you're skydiving, going out on a first date, baking your one-millionth wedding cake, teaching a class, getting in a car, casting on a new knitting project or considering writing a book. Fears actually do protect us and some are entirely rational. But we don't have to fear being alone in our fears. You will find that when you think you are alone, there's usually someone thinking the same thing next to you.
Realizing that I was afraid of someone else's purchase satisfaction - something COMPLETELY out of my control, made me realize that I really had nothing to fear. If I like my work, if I do my best and am proud of my accomplishment, what does it matter what anyone else thinks? What, really, are the chances I will be alone? And if in fact, I am alone and no one else likes my work, I'll bet dimes to dollars there will be one other person out there having the same experience and we will stand tall next to each other, proud to be in the company of the only other person in the world whose work is detested by all. See? Even when you expand on it, it is absolutely a ridiculous fear. The numbers simply aren't there. Bad Math.
What is your fear? Have you got a pattern, a book, an idea that you would like to express to the world that is being halted by a fear? Are the words "not good enough" still in your vocabulary? Bring it! Add to my proof pile. I am not alone. Neither are you.