I Lost Faith in My Writing

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Be You BeachConfession time: I’ve been super depressed lately. As in considering medication because I’ve been vibing so low, feeling terrible, and couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. I put a lot of the blame on my job, because it’s been a really tough year at my workplace, and although I’m great at what I do, I don’t love it. It doesn’t light me up. It’s unfulfilling. And that’s a hard pill to swallow every day. I’ve even blamed some of my depression on the amazing group coaching program that I’ve been in since November (which sadly ends in a few weeks). Although I love it, have made amazing friends, and had some transformational breakthroughs, much of the work has been really deep, painful, and hard to face (Sidenote: Still, this program and work has still been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. Period.). Naturally, with all of this going on in my life, I blamed my depression and never-ending misery on those things. But–and here’s the kicker of a realization that I just had a few minutes ago–it’s not work or personal growth that have fueled my depression.

It’s me.

Over the last few months, somewhere along the line, I completely lost faith in the one thing that I hold most dear.

I lost faith in my writing.

At first, I made excuse after excuse on why I couldn’t write: I’m too tired after working all day. I’ll write on the weekend. And then the weekend would come, and I’d fill my days in other non-writing ways. The work week would start all over again, and while I’d hide away on a lunch break here and there to write a scene in my current novel-in-progress, anything I produced just seemed lackluster and like utter shit. Not exactly how you want to feel about your own work. So I blamed perfectionism, and although there is some truth to that, I knew that it wasn’t the entire story. 

Earlier today, I felt like I needed to journal. And not just normal journaling, but soul journaling (or channeling), because yes that’s a thing that I do. It may be too woo woo for some folks, but I consider myself a pretty intuitive person, and I’ve done a lot of work and experimentation over the past five years to really build a bond with my intuition and soul. Lately, however, as my depression has seeped in, I was beginning to get resentful toward spirit. All the time and prayer I put into begging for some sort of light at the end of the tunnel or clear-cut steps to take to improve my situation resulted in nothing. I just kept getting the same generic wisdom: my purpose revolves around writing and connecting with others through my words, but how I decided to actually execute that was my choice. Divine guidance, yet completely useless.

Or so I thought.

After today’s soul journaling session, I had yet another page of the aforementioned type of guidance. At first I was annoyed and disappointed, but then I set my notebook aside and really began to think about it and everything really. Me. Life. Purpose. Depression. Direction. My dreams and aspirations. All of those big questions that are at once empowering and absolutely terrifying.

What do I really want to do? If I could wake up tomorrow and my life and my career revolved around my work–work that made me happy and comfortably self-sufficient–what would that work be?

“Creative writing,” flooded my mind. It gave me chills and made all my hair stand on end. Because duh, I’ve wanted that since I was a kid. And when I started to think back on all of the things and moments and habits and stuff that people noticed about me or commented on or led me to experience really awesome soul-shaking moments throughout my life, all of it–literally all of it–related to some form of creative writing. 

  • When I was in first grade, the kids in my class called me “the dictionary” because I always knew what the hard words meant and could easily help others with spelling and writing assignments.
  • In middle school, I became notorious for having a new book to read every few days. Literally. I’d be excused at the beginning of Sustained Silent Reading a few days a week to go to the library to pick out a new book. In fact, the school librarian was one of my favorite people all throughout elementary and middle school.
  • My favorite book, to this day, remains the only book that I remember my parents reading and talking about and then later recommending to me. When I tweeted to the author last year to rave about said book, he responded, and I died (in a good way). 
  • When I was younger, think single digits, I used to write to my gram, because I dubbed us pen pals. And once I hit about 11-years-old, I began to keep daily journals. I still keep daily journals, and I still have all of the journals and notebooks from over the years.
  • My favorite college class was a Lord of the Rings independent study that I took with the head of the English department. I needed to keep asking for an extension on the detailed journal of analysis I was assigned to keep, because I didn’t realize that reading one of my favorite series would go so much slower when I was reading critically instead of for fun. I got an A in that class, by the way 🙂
  • It was around my college years that I started to write fanfiction. And I know that fanfiction gets a bad rap and elicits a lot of eye rolls, but speaking from experience – fanfiction was the thing that first gave me the confidence to share my stories with other people.
  • I’ve been a “nerd” slash “fangirl” my entire life. But what this really translates to is that I’ve been obsessed with stories–in the form of movies, TV shows, and books–since I was a kid. And when I say obsessed, I mean it, because these stories touched me, impacted me, left an impression, and inspired me to try my own hand at storytelling so that I could make others feel the way that I felt when I watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer and read the Harry Potter series. (Sidenote: I’m not just a pop culture addict, I also love the classics, like Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, Shakespeare, and Edgar Allan Poe. I have layers.)
  • Teaming up with my friend Jess five years ago to try this writing thing as a duo remains one of the best experiences of my life. We wrote a book! We eventually realized that our true niche lies in screenwriting and have since completed two screenplays. The ideas just keep coming, and working together feels like literal magic.

Still, for some reason, I lost my faith in my writing. And it’s sucked. It completely zapped me of all happiness and energy over the past few months. Which makes total sense, because I was hiding from the one thing that truly lights me up and makes me feel vibrant. And you know why? Fear. The hiding and the suppression and the faithlessness – it’s all fear-based.

What if I’m not good enough? But what if I am?

What if nothing ever comes of this? I’ll never know until I actually, genuinely 100% try.

If it was meant to be, wouldn’t it have happened by now? I haven’t actually completed enough projects to pull the trigger on legit pitching to make anything happen.

It’s too hard. All of the best journeys are – that’s what makes a good story.

So, in this moment, I now dub my faith all sorts of restored. No more hiding. I’m going to temper my fear. I’m going to stop running from the unknown and my potential. I’m going to stop making excuses. I’m going to really, truly pour all of my heart and soul into my writing and stop phoning it in just so I can just check “writing” off of my to do list.

TLDR: I’m going to write until the day I die, and even then, you’ll need to pry my words from my cold, dead hands.

Daily Soul Searching

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lotusSoul searching is a daily practice of mine, not because something is missing from my life and I’m trying to find it, but because I love personal growth and self-discovery. I love peeling back the layers of the most authentic version of myself and uncovering what truly lights me up as well as the areas in my life that I could change, strengthen, or improve.

My soul searching journey began over five years ago when I reconnected with an old work acquaintance. We were both struggling with painful personal issues, and began to lean on each other for support and inspiration. From there, what had only been a friendly work relationship blossomed into a beautiful friendship that is still thriving and changing my life for the better every single day. Daily lunches turned into weekend girl nights, where we began to experiment with tarot cards and meditation. These activities combined with just being together created a bond and a sense of peace and happiness that we both desperately needed.

We practiced meditation consistently, even when apart, and we also began to collect various tarot card decks to share. We were curious about any form of spiritual practice and soul work that we could get our hands on, and this interest eventually led my friend to The Secret and The Magic by Rhonda Byrne. Both books revolve around the concept of the Law of Attraction (like attracts like), but The Magic was more of an activity book – a 30-day daily practice of gratitude. For me, The Magic  was…well, magical. That book changed my life and catapulted me to a completely different level of soul searching and self-discovery.

As I mentioned, I had been struggling with deeply negative and painful personal issues at the time, and practicing daily gratitude and learning more about and believing in the Law of Attraction greatly shifted my attitude and perspective. I began to see inspiration and joy in small, everyday things. I was able to acknowledge that although my life wasn’t perfect (who’s is?!), I had so much for which to be grateful. From there, my life significantly changed. I was able to distance myself from my personal struggles in a healthy way. I moved into a new apartment that I loved. I was able to quit a job that made me deeply unhappy and move on to a new position that offered more money. I accepted and celebrated my writing talent and began to actually aspire to hone it and share it with others. I am not exaggerating when I say that it felt like good thing after good thing just kept falling into my lap.

This shift was so uplifting and life changing that it prompted me to continue to seek out things, people, places, and whatever else affected me on a spiritual level. This practice of daily soul searching stuck with me, and I still, to this day, seek out experiences that touch my soul and leave a lasting impression. External things and possessions can be great and fun, but when you are impacted on an internal level, when you feel something in the core of your very being, those are the types of things that can change your life. Those are the moments that inspire you to be better, do more, and share your experiences with others who need inspiration or motivation.

Every single day, I find something that lights me up. It’s often something small and inconsequential – reconnecting with a friend, seeing a quote on social media that moves me, having some time to write and just getting absolutely lost in the flow of creativity. Daily soul searching has just become a part of who I am. I enjoy learning and personal development, and more so, conversation about all of the above. I enjoy sharing my experiences, and–hardly shocking, I’m sure–sharing my story and seeking the stories of others. I think that to some, soul searching may seem like an overwhelming, complicated (or never-ending?), or spiritually froo froo task, but I believe that at its core, soul searching is rather simple – it’s about connection. Connection with yourself, connection with others, and connection with new ideas that light you up from the inside out.