*Hello my fellow readers! I have an awesome treat for you today! I have a very special guest who will share with you her story of how she struggled and overcame self-doubt to achieve her creative dreams: Lorna Faith.
I grew up the youngest of 11 children in a family that homesteaded a little more than a section of land in Northern British Columbia, Canada.
Our family started out on that farm living in a two-room house, with curtains between the rooms. We dubbed that house ‘the white house’ because we had painted it white on the outside 😉
We lived a very simple life. Dad saved every penny so he could buy more cattle, seeds and machinery that would expand the farming operation.
We grew up telling stories around the supper table and before bed almost every night.
My friends were mostly my family and my animal friends. I would tell stories as I rode the horse and as I gathered the cows from the pasture for milking just before supper time every day.
My dad and six brothers chopped down trees in order to clear more land to grow more crops. Each year we would clear more land, pick more rocks and roots and plant more seed for harvest. In those first years, we would stook the hay until we could afford a baler to pull behind the tractor.
We lived off the land. My mom grew a large garden and we butchered our animals for meat in the winter. Each fall, we would butcher pigs, a couple of cows and a few chickens with close friends of my parents so we would all have meat for winter.
When I was given free time, I would play with my friend Skippy who lived 3 miles down the road from us. She and I had a lot of fun dancing to Beatles records at her house, and riding the calves when she came to visit our farm.
My brothers made their own go-carts with dad’s help and we would drive them around the yard. I really wanted to learn to ride the motorbike, but my older brother and sister told me I first needed to learn to milk the cow before they would teach me. So I learned to milk the cow at six years of age, and by the next day was learning how ride the motorbike before my feet could touch the ground.
We built tree forts in the large populars around our yard, and made our own stilts to walk in across the yard.
I would often have the most fun riding the horses or just sitting with them out in the pasture. I remember often resting beside one of the horses in the pasture, it was a safe and soothing place to be. I did it so often that my mare would nudge me to sit on her back or lay down beside her, like I was one of her ‘offspring.’
It was fun to grow up on a farm. We learned to work as hard as we played together as a family.
Although there was a lot of fun, my dad was a strict disciplinarian. And when he would get really angry, he would just throw stuff at us… whatever was handy at the time.
So as a little girl, I lived in a lot of fear as to what would happen next and whether the next mistake I made would mean a black and blue bottom. Because of many days spent in fear, I also wet the bed every night until I was twelve years old.
My mom would soothe my fears and encourage me in my creativity, which really helped. She encouraged me to play the piano and sing from early on… and later encouraged me to write.
Mom believed in me. When I was ten years old, she gave me a necklace with a tiny mustard seed in a glass box that hung on the end of the gold chain, and told me “Lorna Faith, you are going to encourage many people throughout your life.”
Her belief in me helped get me through many difficult days.
For example, in elementary school I had a tough time learning to write. I had a teacher who told me my writing was like chicken scratchings. Being a farm girl, I knew what that meant. The worst part was, I believed him and I was devastated.
I didn’t write stories again for over twenty years; not until I began homeschooling my own four children how to write their stories.
Learning to write has definitely been on-the-job training. I didn’t have any formal training, but it has been a lifelong passion.
It wasn’t until the dream to write stories was sparked – as I taught my kids how to tell stories – that I tried to write again. I resisted for weeks because of fear, but the dream only grew bigger.
So, I began to write. I scribbled down small stories with a pen and a small notebook for a few years before I got serious about it.
From the first words I put on the page until I finished the last sentence of my first novel, every single day I struggled to get the story on the page. Sure some days were easier than others, but every time I saw the blank page looming in front of me, I was consumed with intimidation and fear of failure.
Fear of rejection showed up in my writing days resulting in perfectionism and procrastination that slowed me down.
Self-doubt became my constant companion and brought questions like: What if I really am a bad writer and end up failing? What if no one wants to read my books?
Insecurity mocked me, resulting in more self-doubt.
I didn’t realize there was a truth I was struggling to accept. That inside, I was already a writer.
I didn’t understand that before I could really find my voice as a writer, I needed to own that identity. Activity would follow.
My aha moment came when I read Jeff Goin’s book, You are a Writer and these words were highlighted to me: Don’t wait for someone to pick you. Pick yourself.
I finally realized that all those years of struggle, I had been waiting for permission. Somewhere deep inside, those negative voices had expanded into something bigger. I had been waiting for that unknown someone to pick me and confirm that I was a writer.
Pick Yourself. I let those words sink in. I didn’t need a big publishing house contract, literary agent or editor to confirm what I already knew.
I am a writer.
Since that defining moment, I’ve chosen to own that identity. I’ve started to come out of my self-imposed cave of fear, and have decided to choose myself.
So if you’ve been struggling with fear of failure or self-doubt, I hope you will also give yourself the freedom to own your identity.
Be brave. Take a risk. Step toward your dream.
It’s time for you to choose yourself.
Lorna Faith has fun writing historical romances, and has her eye on writing some contemporary romance in the near future. Recently she released Book #2 in her historical romantic suspense series called, Anchoring Annaveta and is hard at work writing a new stand-alone novel in the Western Historical Romance genre set in the early 1900s around Calgary, Alberta. Lorna also loves to reach out to struggling and first-time writers. She has published a writing book called Write and Publish Your First Book and now has an online course by the same name. You can find out more about what she’s up to by going to http://www.lornafaith.com. Lorna would also love to chat with you on Facebook or Twitter.