- Fail fast and often if you must, but JUST DO IT
- Be your authentic self and it will lead to success
Both of them have a bit of the "scary" in the proposed action!
I am one who tends not to try something rather than risk failing at it. At least I used to be that person. Recently, I've jumped into some things that I had been waiting on before, waiting for when I had more time or more money or more knowledge. I started a newsletter. I made a video. I promised to teach a class this summer called "Restart" that only exists in my head so far.
But the second piece that bit me hard and won't let go is this idea of being your authentic self. I've been very slowly working in that direction since I graduated from high school. I wasn't a big fan of "me" at the time. I figured when I went away to college, no one would know who I was so I could create a new and improved "me." I'd guess this is pretty common for young people. :)
I'm pretty happy with myself in general now, but I'm still a "good girl." I mostly stick to the rules, I look for ways to help others, even at my own expense, and I try to keep a lid on the things people say they don't want to know about.
But that isn't completely authentic, is it? I've compartmentalized myself to a degree, and I don't always like it. For one thing, it's hard to remember what I allow myself to say when I'm with this group of people versus that group. Some of that holding back is good because I prefer not to offend my friends. :) Other times, I'm not sure there is any benefit to following the crowd.
This past week I made a decision to stop trying to keep the spiritual side of myself out of my business, out of my web site, out of my social media presence. I'd been trying my best to follow the "don't talk about religion or politics" rule in my business (writing), but it wasn't working that well anyway. It was like telling me I can talk about any part of my body except my left foot. It's a part of me, necessary for normal living, and great for having fun (dancing, skipping, foot massages).
I followed that rule partly because I didn't want to offend anyone. I don't want my friends to think I'm a Jesus freak, afraid that I might try to baptize them when they aren't looking. Neither do I want them to think I'm just playing at being a Christian, that it's not real to me because I use bad language sometimes, and have sex and violence in some of my books.
For the last fifteen years, I've not entirely fit into the romance writers world, where I'm probably seen as a bit of a prude, nor the Christian fiction market, where I'm probably seen as too worldly and a bit shocking. The answer to why my books haven't sold to traditional publishing houses lies here. I've spent these years overcoming my worry that my writing is too diluted for any market. It's true that I don't have enough sex and steaminess for most of the popular romance lines and subgenres. And I don't have the right storytelling mix for the Christian market either.
But there is a market for my books. I'm just calling them Kitty books now. :) They are about women like me who live lives similar to mine, who worry about the things I worry about, and care about the things I care about.
On Monday, I posted to my blog that I am going to start being my real, authentic, whole self. The last part of me that has felt like it has to stay partly hidden is my spiritual side. So I'm going to stop trying to keep God out of the public side of my business life just because I don't want to offend anyone. I know my books will offend some of my Christian friends and some of my non-Christian friends. But I'm going to be real now, more so than I've ever been.
I'm not a shock-jock; I won't try to offend people just to make an impact. But I'm not going to be afraid to say, "I love Jesus! He rocks!" or "I love sex! It's the best thing God ever made!" (Well, I might still be nervous about it, but I'm going to do it anyway if I feel like it!) I'm going to be wholly me for a change.
And like the characters in my books, "me" will definitely change and grow with time. But I think the changes and growth are going to be more wonderful than they ever could've been before I made this decision. I'm a little scared of what mean things people will say (because we all know that happens). I'm a little nervous that I'll lose my nerve. But mostly I'm getting more excited every day!
The comments on my blog post are so encouraging and come from so many different kinds of people that I can't help but want to reach out and encourage others to take a step toward being their most authentic self. If you aren't yet the person you want to be, if you're holding something back, consider letting go! Integrate all the parts of yourself. Be real.
Be your authentic YOU!
Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her first novel, Little Miss Lovesick, is now available in print and ebook format. Her next novel, Unexpected Superhero, will be released March 28, followed by Love at the Fluff and Fold this summer. Her short stories can be found in the anthologies Romancing the Pages and Moonlit Encounters, available in both print and ebook formats.