I doubt I will actually ever publish this.
But I suppose if you’re reading this right now, and you’re not me, then apparently I decided to publish it anyway. Knowing me, I wrote this weeks ago and scheduled it so far in advance that I’d (almost) forget I even wrote it at all.
It’s not well-written. It’s honest. And sometimes speaking or writing with honesty means you have to give up the facade of professionalism or perfection or whatever long enough to get out what you feel needs to be said.
I don’t make an effort to hide the fact that I am a tiny trembling mass of anxious energy. Sometimes I talk about it like I don’t take it seriously, because humor is my go-to coping mechanism.
The reality is, I struggle with anxiety on a daily basis, and most of the time I wish I didn’t have to be as honest about that as I actually am.
There’s a reason I’m more open about it than many would argue I need to be. And that’s because there are other tiny trembling masses of anxious energy out there who have the potential to create beautiful things, but never do, because their barriers are too big and they’re just barely hanging in there.
If I can hold my head up high and press on despite my barriers, I don’t know, maybe someone out there who’s too afraid to do the same might decide they’re going to try anyway, despite their fears.
I write a lot of things. I do my job very well, at least considering the fact that 85 percent of the time, I am so afraid of being judged or disliked or ignored that it takes all the energy I have to sit at my desk and face the fact that I am a person who creates things on the internet professionally, and I do not get to hide from people anymore.
I’m not the only writer who struggles with this. I’m not saying I’m anything special. But if you only knew how much I’ve struggled to keep posting on this blog the past month …
Then what? I don’t know. I expect nothing from you. You’re a gift. I’m grateful you’re here, that’s more important than anything to me.
Everything I’ve written here, I’ve hated. I’ve dreaded the moment it would go out into the world. I’ve convinced myself none of it was good or even worthy of your eyes. It’s not that I don’t want to do this or that I think I’m bad at it. Not at all.
But my anxiety constantly tells me that I am lying to myself, that I don’t really want to keep writing, that I think I’m better at it than I actually am.
You can know something is a lie and still struggle to accept the truth.
At least, that’s how it is for me.
Anxiety, as a writer, is feeling like nothing you do is ever “good enough.”
It’s knowing you shouldn’t base your self-worth on whether or not your work gets read, but doing it anyway. Feeling like if people don’t like or care about what you write, than they must not like or care about you.
It’s desperately wanting to write and interact with your audience even on days when you’d rather distract yourself instead of open yourself up to the world.
It’s seeing the value of a writer’s willingness to be vulnerable even when the thought leaves you nauseated.
And sometimes we can’t help but let it hold us back.
Sometimes we can overcome it or push through it for a little while.
But we’re never free of it. It’s always here. It’s the challenge we never asked for, but are expected to beat anyway.
Why am I telling you all this?
Because even in the worst of these moments, I know I can’t just stop trying. Writing is this thing I like to do, and whether I’m confident or not, good or not, influential enough or not, if I stopped, I’d lose something that makes me feel fulfilled and purposeful and happy.
Anxiety does not want you to be happy. It wants you to suffer.
I don’t have time for that, man. I have GOALS.
Everyone struggles with something. Every writer has their own reasons for not being able to accomplish everything they want to accomplish.
You’re not me, and I’m not pretending to know what things might be like for you.
But whatever’s holding you back, I believe you can thrive creatively despite it.
How? I can’t give you that answer. You’re an individual human with very specific needs. Chances are, I’ve never met you, and that means there’s no way I could tell you how to excel despite this hard to handle, harder to explain thing that’s blocking your way forward.
But as always, all I can hope is that my transparency reminds you of a few things.
One, that you’re not alone.
Two, that you’re not weak or dumb or somehow less than because some things are harder for you.
And three, that writing means something different to everyone, and everyone’s journey is made up of different stepping stones leading in all different directions.
All you need to worry about today is you. If that means you need to take time away from your work-in-progress to make sure you’re okay, then THAT is okay.
Tomorrow is another day. Today is not a waste. What you didn’t get done today, you will probably do even better tomorrow, once you give yourself the room you need to breathe.
I don’t know if any of these words mean anything to you. But they mean a lot to me.
Write on, friends. Never stop believing in yourself. Always remember that your words are important, whether the world whispers that truth to you or not.
You are enough. You always have been. You always will be.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.