I saw this sign on the side of a road that I drove past every day for months. Every time I would see it, I would tell myself that I would do the one thing that scared me more than anything else: Telling people that I was writing The Auctor Trilogy series and then publishing it. By the time I got home, my bravery would disappear, and I would quickly return to my fear.
I started writing The Auctor Trilogy in June of 2011. I finished the first draft by July of 2011. I told my husband what I was doing a few months later. And then proceeded to spend the next five years writing the first four books without speaking a word of it to anyone.
If you know me, you know how insane this is that I kept this to myself for over five years. I’m an over-sharer of my own secrets. I do not know how to keep my own secrets. I love to tell stories, confess to mistakes that I have made, and engage in some self-deprecating humor. These traits mean that I basically spill my secrets the second that I see a family member or friend.
But this I kept to myself. When I finally told my family and friends, it was November of 2016. And I only told everyone because I was publishing The Auctor Trilogy on November 28, 2016 and didn’t want them to find out via an invite to “like” the page on Facebook.
I think a few people genuinely felt like I didn’t tell them because I didn’t want to tell them. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Every time I saw a family member or friend, I wanted to blurt it out, to tell them I was writing a young adult fantasy series that I was SO EXCITED about. But every time I opened my mouth to finally say the words, everything would shut down and I would talk about literally anything else. I kept trying to figure out how to say the words without having to worry that people would judge me.
I worried my parents would think that I wasn’t as devoted to my career as I should be because I was writing books at night and on the weekends. I worried my siblings would think that I was being silly. I worried that my friends would think that I was full of myself, thinking that I could write a book at all.
Their reactions were all wonderful and way better than I deserve. My family and friends told me they were proud of me. Proud. Of. Me. These were not the words that I was expecting them to say. But they did. All of them. And they’ve been so incredibly supportive that I can’t help but smile every time I get one of their texts or Tweets or Facebook messages.
If I had known how wonderful it feels to tell people, I would have told them years ago. That sign couldn’t have been more accurate. Happiness is on the other side of fear. And I want happiness more than I am willing to let myself be afraid anymore.