I did the hardest thing this week and reached out to a fellow author to ask for help.
What I’m asking for help with is a really small thing, in the grand scheme of things. It’s something I do for other people all the time. It’s something the author community is famous for. Feedback. Encouragement. I’ve shied away from communities of all kinds, largely because of that, but being a lone wolf isn’t getting me anywhere. Not lately.
I’m a giver. An over-giver, many times. It makes me a target for being used. I make myself a target for that. Part of that is because I just can’t ask for help when I need it. There are some previous traumas there, I know. At the risk of oversharing, my hesitation involves thinking I don’t deserve help. That if I can’t do it myself, I should just accept I’m not any good and give up. I’m possibly (definitely) afraid that by asking for any small thing, I’m “too much.” I’ve always been afraid of being too much. Digging out the why of that would involve going pretty deep. So instead, I just give and give and give until I have nothing left. Does that sound familiar?
I haven’t been writing, not like I should be. Not like I want to be. And I miss it. Despite my meetings with my accountability partner who has been patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) waiting for me to get my act together, I just haven’t had the inspiration or confidence. And what a crock of sh*t that is. I’d be the first person to tell you that, if I was on my A game. But I’m not. I’m fluttering around and blaming the universe & my nonexistent muse for my lack of focus and motivation. It’s part of the reason I shut down this blog a month ago. Once you lose your hold on one thing, it’s easy to slide all the way down, isn’t it? It’s easy to tell yourself you’re no good at something in order to avoid trying. It’s easy to quit and say you failed. But I didn’t fail. I stopped. And those are two very different things.
I thought – hoped – that starting again would mean just sitting back at my laptop and typing away, but there’s more to writing than words. At least for me. No one else can write a book for me, but I think, in my absence, I absolutely had to learn how to accept help. How to ask for it. Writing, for me, is more than just a hobby. It’s my life. The problem with that overlap is that a snarl in one area can led to self-isolation, both personally & professionally, which gums up my self confidence and self esteem. Those are both pretty important things. Not just when it comes to writing, but when it comes to being alive and being human. Being creative. Thinking that I deserve to be here and I have value to add.
Those are some big issues, I know. They’re not going to be solved by reaching out to an old writing pal to ask her opinion on my book, or even to ask her to keep me accountable. But it’s a step. And it’s a big step for me. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to put me back together. Or at least a few good friends I can trust.