Friday, September 9, 2016

Dropping the Devil's Bonds

It's been ages since I posted, and you'll never guess why! Ready? Here goes: No good reason. None. None at all. I just didn't know what to post and had that "deer in the headlights" look in my brain whenever I realized I hadn't posted in forever. So I just didn't do anything.

Not a very good reason, huh?

I know it's not, so I finally decided to simply blog about why I haven't blogged. I think this is a problem many of us face whether we're writers, moms, dads, employees, bosses, whatever. We don't know what to do next (because Heaven forbid we make a mistake), so we make the worst mistake of all and don't do anything. We're paralyzed by uncertainty, and instead of doing something--anything--we choose to do nothing.

And yes, it's a choice. I chose not writing because I was afraid I'd write something dumb (like this post, perhaps?) and make a fool of myself. How's that for dumb? In my not-so-gallant effort to avoid looking like a dolt, I spent months doing nothing and looking more doltish (doltisher?) by the minute.

But that's all behind me now. I've spent a lot of time lately evaluating why I do or don't do certain things. Most of it boils down to being afraid of looking bad/amateurish/dumb/ignorant/unkind and on and on. This applies to the rest of my life, by the way, not just my writing.

Uncertainty is a tool the devil uses to bind us so we don't do what God created us to do. And he's been binding his evil heart out around me.

That stops now.

Just because I'm not sure what to do about something doesn't mean that what I do choose to do will be wrong. Maybe it'll take me on a journey to what is right. Maybe it'll bomb. But in any event, I'll be actively seeking an answer rather than twiddling my thumbs and giving the devil something to grin about. Confusion, indecision, uncertainty, fear, prudence, whatever you choose to call it or whatever situation you find yourself in that causes any of the above will probably require some action on your part. Yes, some things resolve themselves without our assistance. There's nothing wrong with a "wait and see" attitude unless it's a "wait and see forever because I'm so darned afraid of doing something wrong that I'm tied in knots and basically useless." But if it's clear that action is needed, do your homework, make your best guess, and then take your best shot.

My most recent conundrum has been how to best market my latest novel. Because I couldn't come up with a sure-fire way to become an instant bestselling author, I came up with absolutely nothing. Oh, I tried lots of stuff all right, so much in fact that it all became useless. You can take all the shots you want, but if you don't have a clear target you're shooting blindly. Rather like using a water pistol to put out as forest fire. It doesn't do any harm, but it doesn't do any good either. My mind was filled with ideas and although none of them seemed perfect, some were not so bad. I immediately eliminated what I couldn't afford, which was a good start. But after that, I had no idea what idea was the best idea for me, so I did the worst possible thing. Nothing. If I'd tried some of them back when I first thought of them, I'd have a good idea by now which ones worked and which didn't. As it is, though, I'm left with a brain full of ideas and still no idea which ones will work. The only way to rectify that is to try them out--one at a time, two at a time, it doesn't matter. What matters is that I try. 

I can feel the devil grinding his ugly teeth. His hold on me is lessening; his ropes of indecision and insecurity are loosening. I am almost free of his grimy, slimy bonds, and it feels so good.

So very good.

Until the next time ...

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