Facing Up To Some Very Old Demons

Monday 2 March 2020 14:00

At noon New York time yesterday, I finally hit the “Launch” button in Patreon. I expected all sorts of interim screens: “Are you sure?” “Absolutely sure?” “Don’t want to phone a friend?” “OK, then first you need to…”. None of that happened, it just burst onto my screen throwing handfuls of confetti and cheering, “Congratulations!! Celebrations are in order!!”.

And a huge weight lifted.

I’d done it. No biggie.

I’d spent the day – several days in truth – listening to a growing crescendo of every negative voice that has ever told me: I’m useless, will never amount to anything, that whatever I do is pointless, that I’m wasting my time, etc etc, By Sunday morning the whispers had become a cacophony that I just couldn’t block out; and I believed them, every single one.

School teachers. Family. ‘Friends’. Lovers. All I could hear were the voices of every person who had had a negative impact on my life (some of whom have been dead for decades!) telling me that no-one – NO-ONE – was ever going to pay one single penny to read anything I had to write.

By yesterday lunchtime I was quite literally pacing the floor. I was getting myself more and more stressed – more than stressed, I was in a full blown panic, over something that I had chosen to do, and knew I could equally choose not to do.

I went for a walk in the woods and along the canal. I was sure that would clear my head and calm me down, but it didn’t really seem to help much, I just got back completely exhausted. Too exhausted, I thought, to make any decisions. I was ready to delay the whole thing, but knew 24 hours wouldn’t of itself assuage the doubts and fears. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, a thought came to me that changed everything.

This year. This blog. Everything that I am doing, is geared towards seeing if I can make a living from writing and drawing. The whole year – of which ten months still remain – is about doing my darndest to make that happen. If I am saying now, that I believe those voices when they say no-one will ever pay to read anything I write – well then I need to get myself down to the Job Centre, because this all stops here. If I really believed that the very thing I’m aiming for is impossible, then I’d never have started this…

It was as if I’d been shaken awake from a troubled dream!

Why would I give up when I’ve barely begun. It’s too early to know whether anyone will ever want to buy anything that I’ve written. It’s up to me to work at my craft until I produce something that they will.

In the meantime, why would I give any power over my life to anyone who doesn’t have my best interests at heart, far less people who aren’t even around now to say, “Hey you know what, we might have been wrong.”?

So I launched my Patreon page yesterday – at noon New York time, in honour of my American friends who celebrate success, not failure; and all those disapproving voices were gone.

What will be will be, but I realised at a minute past noon NY time, that I’d already succeeded when I hit that button. What’s that old saying? Ah yes. “The only real failure, is if you fail to try.”

And as for what happens next, well, we’ll see…

Join 61 Not Out on Patreon.com.

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