I’d like to present a scenario to you:
You sit at your desk and stare at a blank screen. The cursor blinks and taunts you. Piles of writing books encase the area, swallowing you and your imagination. Flash cards are strewn across the desk.
Stacks of journals spill out of your bookcase and onto the floor. On your hard drive sits several unfinished works-in-progress, waiting to be completed.
You run your hands through your hair, frustration thwarting further efforts and success. You say to yourself:
I can’t do this.
I’m getting it all wrong.
I’ll never be able to finish my first novel.
I don’t understand this.
These words sound awful.
I can’t… I can’t… I can’t.
I understand your frustration. You’re not alone.
The doubt slithers into your imagination, darkening the light that once shined and thrived there. When this occurs, many people find it hard to dethrone the voice.
It’s your inner voice. Or what I call your inner demons.
And the stronger the negative nature of this voice, the weaker our writing projects become. Or worse, the voices stop your creations from coming to fruition. The voices spread lies.
Then we’re smothered with self-doubt, which leads to other writing demons, like procrastination, a lack of inspiration, and sometimes writer’s block.
Fear. Self-doubt. Negativity.
I know these voices well, because I’ve been battling these demons my whole life.
As a child diagnosed with a learning disability at the age of nine, I struggled to learn in school, and I let these voices control my thoughts about my abilities, about my place in the world.
What can I offer? What talents do I have?
As a child, I could never find an answer to those questions, and I didn’t think I would ever find my way out of the dark—until I discovered writing and storytelling.
As children my friend and I would arm ourselves with flashlights and sit in a darkened room under a makeshift fort made out of sheets. Together, we’d spin tales using movies like The Goonies, Back to the Future, and The NeverEnding Story as guides. Our imagination was the key to unlock our creativity of fun, action and adventure.
Then, at twelve years old, I watched the film Romancing the Stone, and believe it or not, the movie helped me fall in love with the book genre. The film centers on Joan Wilder, a romance author, who must travel to Columbia to save her kidnapped sister. On the way, she acquires a treasure map, and meets up with Jack T. Colton, who reluctantly guides her through the jungle. Of course, love, and adventure soon follow.
I watched, transfixed as Joan Wilder typed away at her novel. I sat up, inspired by the thought of writing my own novel someday as tears of joy filled Joan Wilder’s eyes. The author had just typed “The End” on her manuscript, completing her story. “I want to do that,” I said.
At that age, we were the heroes of our own stories, and we could do anything.
We would also write in our diaries. I would fill my purple-and-white flowered fabric journal with details about the latest boy I’d been crushing on at camp (I believe his name was Carlos), and other entries about my day. We would also try to co-author stories together, sometimes writing them in a made up language.
Writing had been my answer, a way to extinguish the fire of critics burning through my mind.
As a result of these personal demons though, most of the time I let my inner negativity affect everything I set out to accomplish in my adult life, which eventually fractured my self-esteem.
When I graduated from college in the spring of 1999, I continued to listen to those voices, and pieces of me shattered. I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do, I just knew that I loved to write. I no longer had tutors though, people who could mentor me and offer advice, or helpers who could suggest a focus for me. As a result, I couldn’t find stability in any position or company that employed me.
Since then I’ve worked for eight companies, and each time I left feeling unhappy, uninspired and wondering if there was anything I was meant to do in my life.
Recently, I decided something had to change.
I couldn’t run from myself—from my own mind—anymore. My mind is the one tool I had to accomplish my writing aspirations. No. If I wanted to pursue my goals, I had to figure out ways to negotiate with myself. I had to find ways to work with what I had, or I was never going to achieve my dreams.
Why is my journey important to you?
Because I know what it’s like to battle these demons, but I also know what it’s like to vanquish them.
Now since defeating my demons, my ideas surge like a waterfall. The weight of self-doubt is no longer holding me down. My creativity is swift and powerful as it soars off that ledge with wings that help my writing fly.
Surfing the rush of this momentum, I’ve created a website and a message to the world. I’ve written blog posts and I’m working on both non-fiction and fiction e-books. I’m now offering written words to the world, and not just verbal promises I can’t keep. Now that the lens of self-doubt is no longer darkening my view, details about life and loss and love emerge. Plot and characters and setting become clear.
The writing journey shouldn’t—and doesn’t—have to be difficult.
I’m Callie Brady and it’s my mission to help you strengthen your mindset so you can make your writing dreams come true.
I’ve spent more than 10 years studying writing, and now I’m sharing my own creative struggles on my path to publication, so that other writers can learn from my journey.
My 40th birthday just passed, and now that my son attends kindergarten, it’s never been a better time to see life from a new angle. A new mindset.
I’ve found ways to use my gifts to enhance my writing instead of hindering it. I’ve found ways to leave my own writing breadcrumbs to follow. I’ve found ways to help find the path out of that dark, damp and cold place.
With my blog, I’m building a virtual community—a vortex—where together we can form enough positive energy to strengthen our mindsets. I want to spread the word that positive energy and mindset can influence your potential, and it also feels damn good to defeat that dark energy.
I can’t wait to get started on this journey with you.