What if I told you I want to write a book. That I was finally ready to share my story as only I know it. Maybe you think I’ve done that already, but I’ve kept a lot of the intimate details to myself. All of the memories that shaped my life from what it was before to what it is now, keep pulling at me—telling me to sort through them, string them together and create something that resembles a coherent retelling. And I want to answer that call. I want to write a book. In fact, I started writing it months ago hoping that one day I could add it to my bookshelf next to my constantly growing collection of memoirs.
But self-doubt is a fickle little thing and procrastination comes naturally to me. I mean, instead of writing the pages, I’m writing about how I want to write the pages. Because I’m stuck. After many hours with my computer, spilling more than 20,000 words onto the screen, I’m scared to go further.
I’m scared to write it all down and have nobody want to read it. I’m scared someone might actually want to read it. I’m scared I don’t have the talent, the follow-through or, really, the first clue how to actually structure a book. I compare myself with other writers who share themselves honestly on the page and wonder if I could be as compelling. I’ve spent hours reading memoirs—telling myself just one more page before bed, hoping that one day, someone will be as unable to put my book down as I am unable to put down the books of these wonderful authors. But nobody will ever be able to turn the pages I don’t write.
I go to bed telling myself that I’m the only one that can tell my story. I promise myself that tomorrow, I will open up the folder on my desktop titled Memoir and go back to work. But then I wake up and make excuses, falling into bed again at night without ever having opened the document.
But never writing it down, never finishing, would be failing myself. I know it doesn’t matter if I get published or if I’m the only one who ever reads it. And yet, I stop the words from coming, out of fear that they won’t be good enough. Still, the call to write gets louder by the day. I see it and feel it in every moment—the blue Memoir folder from my desktop is permanently stamped inside my mind.
Going back to the story now, after spending so much time avoiding it, is daunting. It’s tough to know where to start. Most people might tell me to start at the beginning, but while I know exactly where the story starts, I haven’t been able to go there yet. Until recently, I tried to pretend it wasn’t the beginning at all. Because the true beginning is before any of the chaos happened. When we were hopeful and unsuspecting. Revisiting those memories and tapping in to the people we were before, is almost more painful than the accident itself.
So why am I sharing this? Part of me is afraid to because now, if I fail, anyone who stumbles to my little blog will know that I tried. But my hope in writing this post is to release the fear and write it anyway. There were so many moments in this journey—beautiful, raw, heartbreaking, life-affirming moments—that give context to the life I’ve found myself in. And when I momentarily manage to block-out all of the doubt and comparison, I think I can do those moments justice on the page. I owe it to myself to see if I’m right.
I gave my son a journal for Christmas. I had the front engraved with the words “You’ll never see it come to life if you don’t write it down”. It’s about time I took my own advice. Enough procrastinating. It’s time to write it. (If you all could hold me accountable, that’d be great).