I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so anxious. I was anxious deciding whether or not to go to the San Francisco Writers Conference, spending so much money with no idea if it would be worth it. Once I signed up, I was anxious about meeting agents and trying to pitch my book, hoping to find someone who might represent me and help me get my book published.
When I say anxious, I mean that this was stomach ache anxiety, butterflies and sore muscles anxiety.
On the one hand, my confidence felt like it had flown out the window. Who am I to think I can be a writer? What in the world makes me think I can go and pretend I am one?
On the other hand, I am sure I am a writer. I’m not sure I’m a good writer yet, but I am a writer. I’m an entrepreneur who has started more than one successful business. I love meeting new people, making new friends, connecting left and right. I have people who support me and believe in me. I know all this is true, and yet for a few weeks, it didn’t feel true.
I had a post-it note of Lin Manuel Miranda’s recent tweet instructing me “may your determination outreach your fear today.” Okay, Lin, I’m trying! As a therapist and as a parent, I tell clients and my kids every day that you can’t be brave if you’re not scared. That confidence comes from doing hard things. That success only comes from pushing beyond what you think you can actually do. That if you don’t fail now and then, you’re not risking enough.
So here was where the rubber meets the road. Here is my moment to walk the walk.
I ask my good friend, who is an executive coach, to help me prep my pitch. I ask my writer friends (my Squaw Baes) for encouragement…I’m a writer, right? I ask my other friends not to let me back out. My son tells me I’ll be great, that talking to people is my jam, which is true.
I meditated. I should have exercised more, that would have helped, but oh well, next time! I relied on my friends and family and then I just made myself do it.
I was nervous all weekend. Not every moment, since I met great people and had fun. But still mostly nervous. We’ll see what results come in terms of moving my novel toward publication. But I already know it was worth it. I did something hard and I didn’t die, and I think that’s pretty much always worth it. I have that much more faith and trust in myself…and a few new friends to help me through the next risky move.