Today is Day 1. The day I decided to start writing a book. Or a blog. Or a journal. Or morning pages. Who knows what this will turn out to be. My idea is to write one entry every day for a year. Three hundred and sixty-five thoughts about words that hold such power over my life. Three hundred and sixty-five deep dives into the essence of each word.
Language is our way of communicating, but it’s also our way of labelling. Ourselves and others. I want to stop and take a closer look at the words that define my world and see if they still serve me. If so, I want to know what they really mean. And if not, I want to discard it from my vocabulary and perhaps find a replacement.
Almost every word has more than one meaning. I will only include one definition with each word, the one that speaks to me or the one that I want to write about. If you use the word differently, you can always google the other definitions.
Alright, without any further rambling, let’s leap in.
Yesterday, I was listening to the audiobook of Motherhood by Sheila Heti for the second time. Thanks Britt for the recommendation. And I was so moved by how open and honest she was about her own relationship, fears and insecurities. In sharing some of her less-than-stellar moments, it made me feel less alone. To know that someone else has experienced the same things as me.
I was suddenly inspired to share my own stories. I am a feature film director. I recently (only two years ago) started writing screenplays. And I always thought I was sharing my truths through the medium of film. But there is a safety net when you put yourself into your characters. They are still not you.
This book / blog / whatever this is, really tapped into my self-doubt and I talked myself out of doing it in less than an hour. I started thinking about writing under a pseudonym so that people couldn’t really connect it to me. But isn’t that the whole point, to put myself out there? Then I started thinking, instead of a book, maybe I should release an entry everyday. I think they call that a blog. I’ve never blogged before, is blogging even still a thing? Do people really care to read my journal entries? I always judged that to be such a narcissistic assumption that people would care about my thoughts. So now I’m judging myself, but also thinking about marketing. People in the film industry say to start a podcast and people have been discovered that way. Maybe I should record this diary and make a podcast out of it? But that’s a whole thing to set it up on iTunes and I have no idea how to do that.
The doubt quickly kicks in. Maybe I shouldn’t do this. I’m nobody. If I tried to publish a book, how would it stand a chance in the oversaturated marketplace? Who would want to read my thoughts? There’s no story or characters, like in my screenplays. It’s crazy how fast the questions come flying in to prove that it’s not going to work and a balloon that once filled up with hope and excitement quickly deflates. There’s no evidence to suggest that any of this will be true.
Why don’t I think, if I publish this book, it will speak so deeply to an audience that it will shine in an oversaturated marketplace? Why don’t I assume that my thoughts are worthy of being read? I think the reason why doubt is the overpowering feeling is because it gives me an excuse not to do the work. Not to try. I could go on living life the same way as I always have. And no one would ever know me. That would be safe.
Some antonyms of doubt are assurance, confidence, conviction, trust. All of these words point to a belief. In something that isn’t there yet. Like standing at the edge of a cliff and not knowing what is over the border. Doubt will keep me on the ground. It’s antonyms will push me over the precipice.
If I show up again tomorrow, you’ll know which one won.