We all have fears and sometimes we have to face that fear so we can move forward. Recently, I had to face my fear of writing. In particular, writing in the narrative style.
I tend to be insecure when it comes to language, especially English. Firstly, cause I’m generally better at numbers and logic. Secondly, cause it’s my second language and my brain gets confused by all the rules, grammar and sentence structures that are completely different form my mother tongue.
Many people had told me that I can write. A part of me believed them but a large part didn’t cause my mind liked to block their affirmations and created its own story: I can’t write.
Oh but I love language. I love reading and being taken to far far away lands through strings of beautiful words. I love being inspired by the stories and I too want to share my own stories and inspire others.
This desire to share my own stories had gotten more serious this year. This led to setting up this letter series and my blog as avenues to practice.
About a week ago, I was clearing my emails while getting lost in my own thoughts thinking that I want to write a book but I don’t know where to start. The next email I opened had a link to a travel writing scholarship from World Nomads. The winner gets to be mentored by a Lonely Planet author, on top of getting a 10-day trip to Australia. I couldn’t believe the opportunity in front of my eyes. Someone up there heard me and that was my chance to learn! So I started writing the required essay.
Oh, it was HARD.
I wrote many drafts and got feedback from two good friends. They both said I just have to be myself and let my voice be heard through my essay.
By this time I was in my own pity hole and was chanting “I suck I suck I suck.”
I went nuts. What the hell is my voice? Who am I? How do I show myself through my writing? Can you tell me what is my voice? Cause I for sure don’t know how I sound on paper!
Ah, meltdowns – Universe way of shaking us so we can find ourselves.
After a break, I took a deep breath and looked at what I wrote. My friend told me to not worry about my voice and to just focus on what I want the readers to get. I changed one sentence at a time to paint the picture I want them to see, so that they feel like they were there with me on my journey.
One breath at a time. One sentence at a time. And with each breath, all stress and anxiety disappeared and I finished my essay and actually liked it too!
Finishing the essay was amazing. But my biggest triumph was changing the voice in my mind that said “I can’t write” to “I CAN write”. In the process of writing this essay, I learned that I was scared of writing cause I was afraid of being judged. I was afraid that if my writing is crappy, people would think that I am crappy. I was also afraid to be judged by the content that I’m writing. I cared too much of what people think to the point that it limited my belief on what I can do.
THAT, my friend, is my biggest lesson in this lifetime. I have learned, and am continuously learning to not worry so much about what others think. My value doesn’t come from others, my value comes from myself.
I submitted my essay yesterday and It felt good. I may not win the scholarship, but I have won in changing my own limiting belief.
So, You, fear sucks. But don’t let it ever stop you from doing what you want to do. The world is too big for us to live in fear.
Be courageous and shine.
PS: You can read my essay in the previous post or just click here!