For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved to write. 

My earliest memories date back to writing and illustrating my own books about the California Raisins (don’t judge me) around the age of six or seven. From then on, I was captivated by the power of words and the introvert in me used writing to effectively express myself.

But in recent years, I’ve found myself in a slump. Though I wanted to write, the words just seemed to escape me every time I put fingers to keyboard. Despite the many stories and ideas running amuck in my brain, I just couldn’t piece the words together. And I had no clue why.

Can you relate?

I searched high and low for inspiration: talking to others; reading books, blogs and articles; reading about writing but to no avail. So … seeking a little motivational jolt, I attended a conference and left feeling all the feels! I felt excited and reignited, like I could really do this writing thing again. I was ready to take on the world through words and give life to the ideas that had been dancing in my head for the past days, weeks, months and even years. I couldn’t wait to get home and get started. I was ready!

But when it over and as I walked to my car, dread settled in the pit of my stomach. You see, I’d been here before: attend event, feel the feels (“You got this!”, “You go, girl!”, etc.), leave and find ways to talk myself out of doing what I came to do.

That Dude Named Doubt

As I got into my car, Doubt came lingering in my mind like a relentless, no-good ex-boyfriend, toying with my mind and emotions. Thoughts of why I couldn’t do this danced through my head. Questions of what, how and when began to poke holes in my motivation, trying to deflate and ultimately burst my bubble. I spent the rest of the car ride and even the night thinking, thinking and uh, more thinking.

But just when I thought Doubt would woo me back into inaction again, something strange happened. I woke up at 4:36 a.m. the next morning and felt the strongest urge to write. I’m not trying to look a gift horse in the mouth but really? Four in the morning on a Sunday? Couldn’t inspiration strike around 9:00 a.m. when I’d already be awake?

But try as I might to go back to sleep, the urge only became stronger. So I dragged my butt out of bed and went to write.

“Hindsight is 20/20.”

In hindsight, I can clearly see what’s been holding me back: the deviously sneaky, seemingly innocuous culprits of fear and doubt.

You see … somewhere along my path, I became a fearful writer. In a world where trolling has become the norm, my fear masked itself as writer’s block and I unknowingly became voiceless to avoid being judged. Talk about an Oprah-sized Ah-ha! moment. (Does this mean I’m #woke?)

But let’s be real … You. Can’t. Please. Them. All. And, nor should you try. There will always people who will love what you put out in the world, some will be indifferent and some will absolutely hate it … and that’s ok. Do it anyway! Your message, your gift, your whatever is not for everyone.

After snatching the mask off my phantom problem, I sat down and wrote … for me which I hadn’t done in much too long. Taking off the pressure of perfection and removing those suffocating self-imposed limits. Simply telling the stories that matter to me and hoping that my words find their way to those who need them most (even if that’s only me).

So, my friend, what’s holding you back?

What have you been dying to do but have yet to start in any area of your life? What’s getting in your way? Are you …

… dancing with doubt?

… falling into fear?

… obsessively overthinking?

… pursuing perfection?

… constantly comparing?

… feeling like a fraud?

… lingering in laziness?

… paralyzed by procrastination?

Ultimately, are YOU stopping YOU?

I encourage you to take time to really examine the matters of the mind that are holding you back. We all fall victim to them at many points throughout our lifetimes but until you learn to recognize the signs and cut them off at the chase, they will continue to resurface and rule your life.

Do that thing you’ve been wanting to do anyway. If you want to write, write. If you want to sing, sing. Take the pressure off yourself and do the thing you haven’t had the courage to do despite your fears. It doesn’t have to be perfect or a masterpiece … it just needs to get done (even if you only do it for yourself).