Recently we moved into a new house. We sorted through nine years of accumulated stuff, and it felt gratifying to finally throw out a lot of unnecessary junk.
It’s a good analogy for our emotions, too. Many of us have a habit of holding onto feelings we should’ve let go a long time ago. Too frequently, we allow the words of others and the discouragements of life to build up in our hearts and minds.
I’m struggling with this as I prepare for the release of the last book in my trilogy, 18 Thoughts, later this month (January 27th!!).
When I released my first book, 18 Things, I donated all of my opening day sales to charity, but I didn’t tell anyone at the time. Then last year when I released the sequel, 18 Truths, the only reason I announced it was to promote the charity I was donating to this time around (Mitochondrial Foundation) and help out the sales of a 9-yr-old girl who had written a book that was benefitting the same charity (her book released the same day–it was planned that way). Half of my sales were going to the charity and the other half was going to the media center at the middle school where I teach English Language Arts. Then all of a sudden, I had people calling me out, saying it wasn’t right for me to ‘guilt’ them into buying my book because of the charity aspect. That never even crossed my mind. And honestly, I think a person has to be pretty broken if that’s their first thought about why I must be doing something to give back to my community and promote literacy with adolescents. But ya know what? It still broke me. I was crying in my bathroom for days. I had serious doubts about finishing the trilogy. But then I went to two book festivals shortly after and had long lines of teens telling me how my novels changed their lives . . . even saved some of them.
Here’s the thing. We can’t wait nine years to clear out the crap we’ve been holding onto. If we don’t rid ourselves of emotional baggage on a daily basis, we’ll get so bogged down, we’ll barely be able to move.
Olga’s story (my heroine in my series) has been all about faith.
Walking in faith can be a difficult road. For whatever reason, it’s easier to remember the hurtful things of the past and start worrying about the future (at least for me). Author Ed Foreman says worry is “nothing less than the misuse of your imagination.” My 2015 wish for all of us is that we’ll doubt, worry, and fear less, and free up that space in our heads for our stories instead.
This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. We post our thoughts the first Wednesday of every month. Feel free to join us, or just add your own thoughts in the comment section below.