It’s Not Who You Are

We can choose to be identified by our past or we can have faith to move beyond it.

As I commit myself to working on my novel again, I am having to deal with demons of the past. “You won’t follow through.” “You’ve failed before.” “What makes you think you can do it this time?”

If you’ve ever tried to change a pattern in your life, you will have run into similar taunts and fears. But there are numerous testimonials to the contrary, examples of how people prevailed against odds. You can be one of those people.

I have a large bookshelf and sometimes I look at my books and ask why my novel is not yet published. What am I missing that the other published authors have?

First of all, my worth is not defined by whether I am a published author or not. Secondly, my life is not over yet and the potential for publication is still there. I just have to persevere and acquire a few skills. This may still add up to publication. I will also have to do the hard work.

Doing the hard work is probably the most important part.

I once surprised a lot of people who never gave any thought to my capabilities. You see, I attended college when I was young, but I didn’t graduate. In fact, I dropped out of two classes during my final year in college.

Then I went back to college after our children left home. I had no confidence in my ability. A friend was working to finish her degree and my attitude was, “Good for her.” But I could never do that.

The truth is that I again dropped out of two classes. History was repeating itself. But the following year something changed and for two years I took a full course load, even more than a full course load, and I graduated with my degree, with highest honors.

That voice you hear in your head, telling you that you will fail, don’t listen to it. It does not know you. It does not acknowledge all of your capabilities.

We all have an accuser that tries to keep us from getting up and trying again, trying harder, and succeeding.

The first year I took a full coarse load in college I was extremely stressed but I set a daily goal of how much reading I needed to do. I scheduled a time to work on my assignments. I attended classes faithfully. All of these added up to eventually completing my degree.

That year our school went on our annual weekend retreat and while there I climbed a small mountain. It was challenging. I didn’t know if I could make it. But I did. Whenever I didn’t know if I could succeed in my studies, I reminded myself that if I was able to climb that mountain, I could do this.

Look at a success in your life. Remind yourself of your ability. Persevere. Prevail. Don’t allow that voice in your head to define you. It’s not who you are.

The pain passes but the beauty remains

I have been in a lot of pain recently. For some reason my neck is giving me trouble.

Today I thought about the artist, who, crippled by arthritis continued to paint the great cathedrals in Europe. When someone asked him why, he responded, “The pain passes, but the beauty remains.”

Writing requires discipline, persistence, all of the elements that go into completing any worthy project. If we persevere, then one day we will see that completed manuscript.

In an art class, a wise instructor told us, An artist is someone who completes his painting. It’s about practicing, but, more importantly, it’s about completing.

I felt the elation of success when for the first time I held in my hands the completed manuscript of my novel. I had persevered to the end. It was the same feeling I’ve had when I’ve climbed to the top of a mountain. I can scarcely believe what I’ve done. I keep being amazed at what can happen if I simply refuse to give up along the way.

Success builds confidence and one success can lead to another success. I now know what goes into the process and I’ve acquired some skills along the way. It may even be easier the second time around.