Self-help

J. Frances De La Rosa

I am writing this as a way of self- improvement. I often do this. It’s how I think things through, how I process most mental dilemmas. I start by writing out what the problem is, work towards understanding where it stems from, and then figure out ways in which to resolve the issue.

When I think about what it will take for me to be a truly successful writer, I know where my biggest fault lies. It’s not what I write or how I write. It’s not my bad grammar or my constant bounce from past to present to future tense. I know that as far as the writing goes… I can do it. My fault lies in follow-through. But, where does this fault come from?

For most of my life I have been a quitter. (Here lies one of my strengths—humility. I am not afraid to admit my faults, to face my fears.) No one wants to be called a quitter. No one wants to be a quitter. We all want to have the virtues of consistency, of follow-through, of courage and perseverance. But, whether we like to admit it or not, we all quit sometimes. There are plenty of things that I finish. But when it comes to my writing, I never seem to get it all the way done. Even if the piece is polished, you have to find a place to submit it and go through the process of doing so. I know it stems from some fear. Most likely just the fear of failure. This is something I work on constantly. I cannot quit before I’ve ever truly begun.

I write something out. I revise it. I edit it. I get frustrated with the constant need to go back over it. Over and over and over. That is the part that makes me throw up my hands and walk away. But even when I do go back and I do finish, then I need to give it away. To be an author, you must publish. And this is the ultimate goal for me, to be a successful author! So, obviously, the need to submit my work is extremely important.

What is it that makes me stop? What is it that keeps me from following through?  It’s not the fear of the solitude it will require or the time needed to get it done, the amount of effort. I’m not afraid of the work. Or am I? Do I think that it will be too hard? Is this what makes me quit before I have even begun.

So, what’s the thing to do? How do I go about conquering this problem? For every problem there is a solution. Right?

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

Think of it like going to the gym and eating healthy. Find a fitness buddy, make a plan and force yourself to do it. Yell at yourself; fight with yourself; force yourself to face your fears by whatever means necessary. It’s like meal prep. Get everything together ahead of time, organize it, schedule it, and then find someone or something to help yourself stay accountable.

So, what am I doing today that will make a difference for me in the future? How will I go about with the follow-thru? I have found friends who will help edit my work and are constantly motivating me. I have given myself deadlines, assignments that must be finished- turned in. I have learned that the only thing that will truly make me feel better is doing the work. And here I am.

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