A few things happened this week.
On Monday, we flew back to the Netherlands with a little girl who had a temperature. She lay in bed for twelve or more hours, listening to Charlie & The Chocolate Factory and generally feeling horrible.
A day later, the other little girl lay in bed, waking up every couple of hours to vomit. I sat next to her writing, and building a website for a new writing business.
When not look after sickly children, I ran through the forest, and around the forest. Running, I felt good. My mood lifted and inspiring thoughts flooded my mind.
I think I was trying to run something off. An icky feeling. It wasn’t a temperature, and it wasn’t a vomit bug. It was a sort of… insecurity… bred from being out of my comfort zone, living in a foreign country. Bred also from lack of consistent work, and a general vague feeling of uncertainty.
I wrote last week about self-doubt, and how self-doubt is a regular friend of mine. I think, in truth, this self-doubt, and ongoing insecurity has been manifesting since my book came out last year.
And it’s not that the book hasn’t done well. It has. It was well-reviewed, and I have received so many lovely messages about it. I know that mostly people who buy the book like it, and that’s such a lovely feeling.
But there is an unexpected feeling that comes with sending a book, or any major creative project into the world.
It’s like everything you’ve been working towards, and dreaming about has happened, and… life goes on.
As you know, I made as big a song and dance about my book launch as possible. I tried to avoid the feeling of a slow fizzle by making my own bang. But the month of the book launch took a lot out of me, and I definitely experienced a comedown, coming home to a quiet little sunshine house.
I filled the gap with new manuscripts, booking tickets for overseas and a fantasy search for real estate in rural north coast. But the vague feeling lingered.
Earlier in the week, I read an article by my bloggy friend, Jodi Gibson on Huff Post about the other side of living your passions. Life goes on, Jodi says. Kids still fight. Laundry still piles up. Nothing major changes internally or externally. Yes you are living your dreams, but that doesn’t necessarily make you feel different.
I chatted over email with a friend about this recently. She too has a book out, and hers has done really, really well. And yet…that insecurity chases her too.
Is this the payoff for living a creative life?
The trouble with insecurity is that it seeps into other corners of my life. In school, I worried so much about whether people liked me or not. It’s something I grew out of, on the whole, feeling confident and secure in my adult friendships. Taking things less personally if a slight does occur. Having more perspective.
When generalised book insecurity seeps in, though, I start doubting all aspects of myself. Suddenly, I am reading too much into Facebook interactions, or lack of. I am suddenly worried when a person or two drops off my author page in search of better things. Have I said something wrong?
I leap out of bed every morning to consult my email, because news comes in from Australia overnight, and if I am going to get an exciting, newsy email it will be in the morning. When my inbox is quiet, I am trawling Facebook, looking for something to feel that particular gap.
Life is funny, isn’t it? I am living overseas. Living a sunshine gypsy dream, and here I am complaining about things; running around forests in a hope to run away from myself.
In the last few days, I have been building a website for a copywriting business. I told my friend about it, and I told her her about my insecurities.
‘Build your website. Put it out there. Act. God’s Dumb Waiters,’ she said.
God’s Dumb Waiters. Standing around you are people holding the things you need to make the next move. They can’t hear you though. They don’t know what you want until you get up, and start moving around. They don’t know what you want until you act.
Running around the forest is one solution. Getting on with it, putting insecurity and doubt aside is another. Launch that website. Submit that manuscript. Enjoy the time you’ve got here, not working. Make the most of every second. Be grateful. And act.