In The Fear Of Writing

Budleigh Salterton, Devon (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Budleigh Salterton, Devon
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

My dream is slipping away from me.  I thought I owned my dream, that I could do what it takes to fulfill my dream.  But now it is fading away.

Why? because I am full of fear.

My fear has paralyzed me like a deer frozen by the glare of headlights of the car heading straight for me.

What has happened?  The words used to flow, I felt free when I wrote, pure and alive.  I gained the confidence last year to start writing my first book. I’ve shared often and enough about why I feel I need to write this book, a memoir of a time kept alive only in my heart and mind.

Yet, as I bash away on my laptop in the telling of it another story emerges, weaving its way non-stop through the original storyline.  It doesn’t change the premise of my book but it brings up more than I bargained for.

In response to Charli’s excellent post: When the Wolves give Chase, we shared a running dialogue with Irene in her just as excellent follow-up post: Writing Tips: Starting the Flow during which I discovered what is known as ‘writing into truth’.

In other words, as we excavate deeper into our writing the more it ‘writes back’ to us, revealing hidden truths, telling its own story.

This is not always easy, but it now seems plainly obvious that in the telling of my story I must tell it all because if I don’t then I am writing fearfully.  And If I write with fear, then I am not writing at all.  In this way, I still own my story and it won’t run away from me leaving me stranded in a crumpled heap in its wake.

I wonder how many times a fisherman is struck down by fear when out at sea? Budleigh Salterton, Devon (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Stephen King is famously quoted as saying:

 ‘…fear is at the root of most bad writing. . . . Good writing is often about letting go of fear and affectation.’

Writing fearlessly is as liberating and as joyful as anything I’ve ever done.  Many of us know that incredible feeling when we’ve written something that we stand by, believe in as straight from our hearts, telling the true depth of that particular piece.  We gain confidence when we know that our work is well received and acknowledged as such. Pure validation.

But writing isn’t always so pretty.

quote-by-sarah-brentynBlogging gave me the confidence to recently submit six of my poems to a competition but none of them placed.  I know I’m not a literary poet, far from it, but I did at least try.  Did it knock me back?  Being totally honest, yes it did.  The rejection hurt.  Welcome to the world of writing, I hear you say!

There is no doubt, we have to be tough as writers.   Very tough.  We have to dig deep into that inner resolve to not give up, to keep going and not to become discouraged.  But stupidly, I allowed the disappointment to bring me down.

This is the thing though: I wrote those poems fearlessly.  They were written from a place of deep, abiding emotion, whether from grief, loss, despair or joy and love, written in the moment and shared here on my blog.  So I stand by them, good, bad or otherwise.

They are my creations and I have to believe in them.

Somebody must have enjoyed painting this creation... Budleigh Salterton, Devon (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Somebody must have enjoyed painting this creation… Budleigh Salterton, Devon
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

But – and it’s a big but – our creations are meant to be shared, our stories are meant to be told.  I struggled with this mightily in the beginning of writing my memoir, plagued as I was with thoughts of:

‘What if nobody wants to read my book, what if it’s a load of rubbish and irrelevant and meaningless to everyone except me and maybe one or two family members?’ 

In the months since I started writing it, I’ve read and learnt a great deal about the memoir writing process thanks to some excellent memoir writers here in the blogosphere and I am eternally thankful for their support, input and encouragement.

Sometimes I want to sqeeze through the gap and head out to the open sea just to clear my thoughts... (c) Sherri Matthews 2013

I just want to squeeze through the middle of my crowded thoughts and escape to breathe in the freedom of the salt-pressed air…
Budleigh Salterton, Devon (c) Sherri Matthews 2013

What speaks to me the loudest is this: it isn’t a case of how deep and dark the story is when told fearlessly and in truth, but that it’s written well and that it brings home a powerful message of redemption.

There has to be redemption. 

There also has to be a deep connection with the reader. As I progress through my story, I’m very aware I’m sharing a deeper, personal part of me than I’ve ever shared before and frankly, it scares the hell out of me.   As I battle for freedom from this dilemma, I can see how this has caused my recent writing fears to escalate as I’ve descended into a downward spiral of writing negativity which has all but paralysed me.

Writing can be a lonely and isolating business and our fears are magnified because of this.  For me, it is a constant battle to put these fears down and to carry on, well…fearlessly.

Won't you take a few moments and sit down next to me for a chat and a nice cup of tea? Budleigh Salterton, Devon (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Won’t you take a few moments and sit down next to me for a chat and a nice cup of tea?
Budleigh Salterton, Devon
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

This presents me with a problem because lurking deep within my writing process is my bitter enemy, commonly known as ‘Self-Doubt’.  I am my own worse enemy.  Yet wasn’t it acclaimed author Marianne Williamson who wrote:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure
.’

I could so easily sabotage myself but if I do I’ll despise myself.  What about all that talk of better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all? Did that go flying out of the window?  Meaningless hot air?  No.  Absolutely not.

But I don’t want to fail.

Owning your dream means having your belief in yourself
outweigh your fears.’
ucb

How then can we stop fear from holding us back, preventing us from achieving our goals and ultimately our dreams?  Is it possible to fear rejection and success all at the same time?  I wonder how many times we are forced to question our motives in our writing, especially when writing memoir.

I had to smile wryly when I came across this quote by Frank Sinatra:

 ‘The best revenge is massive success.’

Come on, be honest.  I’m sure there are one or two people who come to mind that you’d just love to prove that to…

Sometimes I ask myself this: “Are all successful authors depressed alcoholics who love cats?”  Surely not.  I’m no Hemingway but darn that Black Dog. I do enjoy a drink when the occasion calls for it and I love my cats.  So there it is then, but how often have we sold ourselves short?  Mark Twain once said:

‘Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear,
not absence of fear.’

So courage it is then.  That’s what we need, and not only for ourselves: my fears and raging insecurities keep my poor hubby up many a night.   Before embarking on a writing career, a warning should be issued not to the writer but to the writer’s partner and family for those days when things are really bad:

  ‘Warning!! Writer at Work. Keep Out But Be There To Pick Up The Pieces At The End.’

There’s only one other way to have the ‘Victory’ as a writer and that is to keep writing, and I don’t mean to preach to the choir here, but we can’t afford to ‘Take It Easy’…

Budleigh Salterton, Devon (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Take it Easy?  Not if we want the Victory! Budleigh Salterton, Devon (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

So then, in the writing of this and sharing my fears with you, dear friends, perhaps I can now see that my dream isn’t slipping away after all.

Budleigh Salterton, Devon (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Budleigh Salterton, Devon
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

And for that I thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri is a writer with work published in print magazines, anthologies and online. As a young British mum of three, she emigrated to California and stayed for twenty years. Today she lives in England's West Country, a full-time carer within her family. Her current WIP after completing her memoir is a psychological thriller.
This entry was posted in Memoir, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

145 Responses to In The Fear Of Writing

  1. Dylan Hearn says:

    Any writer can relate to your feelings, Sherri. We all worry about our writing, whether it is good enough, or ever will be good enough. The only advice I can give you is to write for yourself. Write as if you are the only person who will read your memoir. That way, you can free yourself from the fear of whether you can write, and concentrate on getting the full truth down on the page.
    I’ve just sent down a big hug from sunny Suffolk (the truth, for once) and just shout if you need any further moral support 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…thanks so much Dylan, that is great advice. I know that is the only way to press forward and be free of that all-consuming fear. I was okay until fairly recently but I’ve really started to doubt myself. Getting this down here and drawing my line in the sand has helped calm those fears. Thanks much, always great to see you here and I do appreciate your big hug and moral support. I’m going to need a lot more of that I’m sure…and say hi to sunny Suffolk for me from grey Somerset 😉

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  2. We must do it afraid Sherri! Sometimes we intend to write one thing but something else is staring back at us altogether when we are done. Be true to yourself and let the words flow, pain and all. You may end up with two different stories in the process but self editing in the writing process will bring nothing but frustration. I don’t view my writing “failures” as failures but instead as learning stones that will take me higher to where I want to go. What we do now, even as attached to it as we are is but preparation for the future. Much peace and love to you.

    Sometimes our writing demons will actually force us to go where we need to go instead of where we want to go with our writing… 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Yes, I can see that Lilka. That is the only way and I have found this to be a powerful revelation, when we ‘write into truth’ and the story we intended to write ends up being maybe not quite the same thing, or sometimes completely different. I don’t edit at all, just bashing out the draft and seeing what comes out until it’s all out. Then the edit. I know exactly the storyline but what is coming up beneath it has caught me off guard! I think my writing demons are doing just that and I’m realising that isn’t such a bad thing…the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, right? So be banished fear. Thanks so much Lilka for this great advice, much peace and love to you too… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As Dylan said, we all relate to what you’re feeling. You are not alone. This was such an overwhelming feeling for me about a year ago that I abandoned my then current project and began writing a fictional book about a character who struggles with the process of creating. If I may suggest something: listen to motivational tapes as often as possible. It may seem dumb at first, but listen every day, and write every day. Specific suggestions: Earl Nightingale, Dorothea Brand, and Zig Ziglar. They helped me enormously. And, as Dylan suggests, write for yourself. Or rather, write YOURSELF. Put your heart on the page. People like and love you, and if you’re on the pages, it stands to reason that they’ll like and love that too. Good luck!

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    • Sherri says:

      Hi Dan, many thanks for dropping by and leaving your kind message. I really appreciate your thoughts. I can only write from my heart, I honestly don’t know any other way and I also know that this means that sometimes it won’t be easy. I felt that by putting this post out I was marking out my fears, making them public and so diffusing them in some way. This seems to have worked as I feel that I can get back on track once more. Motivational tapes are something I’ve never listened to (I do read a daily devotional however which often helps) so thanks for the specifics. I’ve heard of Zig Ziglar 🙂 Great to meet you!

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  4. Sherri, I so wish we lived close to each other! I was just going through these same thoughts two nights ago as I worked on my memoirs!! I was reading through it the other day and started editing some things, and as I did so, I was thinking about the whole structure of it wanting to change it all around which feels like a daunting task at the moment!!!! I told my husband that night “why am I even bothering writing all of this when you and the kids will probably be the only ones who ever read it? And you guys probably won’t even want to read it, because you’ve heard most of this already!” He said, “I’ll read it!”
    So I totally understand where you are at and what you’re going through. I’ve been feeling the same way about the ideas I have for the children’s books, too. Writing is so frustrating at times, and in the midst of rejection, we can feel like giving up. Taking a break is always okay, but I agree with what Dylan said – “write for yourself.” That really is all that matters in writing a memoir.
    By the way, who are the other memoir bloggers you have found?

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    • I meant to say I wish we lived close to each other so I could give you a big hug, and say “keep on going! You can do it!!”

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      • Sherri says:

        Ahh…Patsy, that is so kind of you, thank you so much for your lovely message and yes, wouldn’t that be so great? I felt that by putting my fears ‘out there’ I could somehow make better sense of all I’ve been feeling for weeks now. I was getting fed up with it. I hear you with the edits and wanting to change things. I had it all set out, beginning, middle and end with my memoir but then all this other ‘stuff’ started coming up and I am now thinking I want to change the order, the beginning, the intro and how to lead in, also some of the chapters. But…I’m revisiting with all my might not to edit anything until I’ve bashed out the full draft. Then my work will really be cut out for me…I’m about half way and I’ve written about 45,000 words so there’ll be a lot of editing o_O My hubby is the same as yours, so supportive and and I know he gets sad when he hears me talk as you describe (which I do often) and so that’s why I put that little ‘warning’ in there (he reads all my posts!). I need to stop doing that and just get on and WRITE.
        I will keep going for sure and I will write as I always do, from the heart as I can only do. I wanted to get out that whole disappointment about the poems to get it off my chest and actually I feel loads better for doing so. It was eating away at me and I had to do put it to bed, so to speak.
        As for the other memoir bloggers, Irene as mentioned in this post is one, Lisa is one (will link to her as I’ve done in the past, she does the memoir bites that I do weekly but she has been away for a few weeks and just coming back now so look out for it as you might want to take part, it’s open for everyone and a great support for memoir writers there). Also Luanne. I’ll FB you the links. There are others who I come across randomly, as you do, so can’t give specifics but it’s great that you and I can support one another Patsy. I understand exactly your frustration too but we are in this together my friend 🙂

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  5. Andy Oldham says:

    Fear does grab a hold of us hard doesn’t it? I don’t know if you have heard this or not, but rejected submissions are just one step closer to the one which will be accepted, YaY! I know, I know, it still hurts, believe me I really do know all about it. I still submit and get rejected constantly. I have rewritten many times trying to make it better. But with the life story you are writing decide what it is for. Is it for publication or is for the reward of knowing you did it! My memoirs will never be published but I am doing it for me and my grandchildren’s grandchildren. I while around all the time as my pea brain brings old memories to surface and you will find that there will be many more to surface. Isn’t it fun though? Even if old fear shows its ugly face? You beat every time you continue to write. Keep going my friend! Blessings!

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…hi dear Andy, how lovely to hear from you and yes fear really can grab us so hard. Rejections certainly are part and parcel of a writer’s life but I took it so hard on top of some other recent events and I felt I really needed to put it out here publicly to help me deal with it and I’m so glad I did as I feel better already 😉 Ha…! Too right, that is what we need to do, keep writing and not give up. I am writing for publication but also for myself, a story I need to get down on paper. Not so much for me actually but for the person I’m also writing about someone who died some 35 years ago when he was only 21. It’s as much his story… I feel that now is the time to do that and so here I am. But whoever said writing was easy? The writing itself isn’t so bad once we can get past our fears but the jumble in my mind as to how I want it to end up o_O I’m a perfectionist that’s the problem and so if something isn’t perfect, I’m in danger of not doing anything at all. That is what I really battle with…but I don’t want to forget the fun either. You are so wise 🙂
      Thank you so much for your lovely, encouraging message and blessings to you too my friend 🙂

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  6. Sherri, you expressed beautifully what every writer goes through at one time or another. I say, keep going and write what needs to come out, whether it leads to publication or not. I find writing is therapy for me, and I think you usually feel better after you write, too.

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    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Bev for your sweet message and yes, I would definitely agree, writing is the best therapy out there 🙂 I do feel better for putting out this post as I was able to express my fears publicly and so remove their power. Funny how that happens isn’t it? Have a great day my friend 🙂

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  7. Where to begin? Dear friend, I could tell you I am there with you, that is true. Fears are mounting, taking actual palpable form these days for me as well. I could also tell you this piece you shared here, this blog post, is one of the most powerful and rugged and real and elegant things I’ve ever read – it’s beautiful.

    And all these things are true, so true.

    But what honestly first came to my mind as a response to your grounding yet ethereal post is this: that f@%&ing fear filled ego monster!!!! I know him!! I know his breathing and his claws!! I promise, I know. And I can only believe what I once heard somewhere – probably from a writer light years more accomplished than I – that the closer we get to writing the words “The End” the closer we get to sticking the knife in the heart of the thing, finishing our work, the tougher fear battles with us. He pulls out all the stops, he gets more clever and more cunning. He can’t stand that you may get past him.

    You are close, my dear talented and brave friend. So close fear can smell you and he stirs. . . 🙂 But you will slay this beast. I know you will. Along the way, I’m here. And after the battle is won, I’ll still be here. Promise!

    Much big LOVE ~ Allison xxxxooooo

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh Allison…well, you have such an amazing way of writing and I have to say that as I started to read down and then read your bleep bleep sentence I laughed out loud at it because that’s it…in a nutshell!!! That demon of fear is sprouting wings and wreaking havoc. Wow, I love that…’sticking the knife in the heart of the thing…’ as we draw closer to the end, how it loves to rear up. I think that’s why I HAD to put this post out because I was having problems blogging, writing, thinking straight, getting depressed, feeling like an out and out total failure freak. Just couldn’t get my act together with anything. I sat at my laptop this morning and stared and felt the paralysis all over again. A cold sweat literally…OMG I can’t write, what the hell? Then I just started, thought of the photos, yes, I’ll use those, yes, I’ll just say how it is and yes, I’ll put this beast to bed once and for all because if I don’t I’m never going to succeed at anything and then I’ll despise myself more than I do already….phew!!!! Well, you get that my friend, I know you do…and when I read your last paragraph., I literally got chills. Now, I’m not too good today (got some kind of flu thing) but I’m telling you these are not those kind of chills. These words of yours strike a massive chord in my heart because I have been tasting THE END and that I want to do this and have to do this and so this beast is rising up bigger and stronger than ever. With you by my side I will slay this thing and you know I’m with you too my friend, and so sorry that you are going through the same thing ,but this makes for a writer and this is the journey as it is. So we embrace it and we will have the VICTORY!
      Amen 🙂 Wow, I feel like I just preached a sermon, lol 😉 Thank you so, so much for standing by my side with such encouragement, love, support and kindness…I will always remember it and I send you much BIG love to…and now to battle 😀 xoxoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  8. TBM says:

    You expressed it so well. I think many of us go through this. And you’re writing a memoir which adds a layer I’ve yet to deal with. I admire your courage and I say well done for not quitting and keep banging away on your laptop.

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    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much TB, I really appreciate your support as you have given me from day one. I am writing and I won’t quit. I think I can taste the end as I am making my way through the fear and the underbelly of this thing. I had to put this post out to put all this out in the open and so diffuse its power over me and I think it’s working. Suddenly, for the first time in ages I feel that I can really keep going with the same passion that I had before 🙂

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  9. Your story really resonates. Sometimes I get so excited at a piece I write I can’t wait to post it but when the time arrives I find myself hesitant on publishing it. Self doubt suddenly creeps in and the original elation is shared with fear. I end up asking myself, “Did I write it good enough to actually convey what I wanted? Have I exposed too much of myself and will anyone care?”

    Keep on writing.

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you very much for your great message Maria (I just came over to your blog!) All the questions you ask go through my mind every day as I write my memoir. Especially the last question – “Have I exposed too much of myself and will anyone care?” I’ve agonised over it for ages as I came to a part of my memoir that brought up some of this ‘writing into truth’ I wrote about and I have spent many long hours talking to my husband about it. I finally came to the conclusion, with his help and advice, that I do need to put in the parts I had initially not planned on putting in but to not do so would not give me the 100% honest and truthful story that I need to convey. In that way, I would be writing in fear and not letting my heart speak and so my writing would not work. It has to be authentic and that’s what I want more than anything…for this story, troubling though it might be in parts, to bring the reader through to the redemptive ending and so I can at last know I did what I’ve needed to do for over 30 years. It is so hard though…and I wish you every success in your writing too…and it’s great to meet you – Sherri 🙂

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  10. Write from the heart, my friend…just like you always have. You have a gift. Don’t let the devil steal the joy writing gives you.
    You’re stronger than this fear…I know it! xoxo

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh dear Jill, you know of my battles and I know you are always there, waiting to read this book when I finally do get there. I’m beginning to taste the ending in sight, although a ways to go, and it scares me. This morning I knew I had to break through this barrier that has plagued me for weeks and I literally sat at my laptop and felt sick as I couldn’t get a word out. I thought I was going crazy. Then I just started writing and used the photos I wanted to share anyway and now I’ve put it all ‘out there’ I feel so much better. I do feel that the devil has been on the rampage and I’m refusing to let him steal my joy any longer. I lost that for a while, my passion, and my writing has been plagued with angst and heaviness. I honestly started questioning if I could really do this. Thank you so much my dear friend for your wonderful encouragement and support that never fails…I won’t quit and now I feel I can really do this things. Phew. So glad to get this out of the way 🙂 xoxoxo

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  11. Sherri, so many have already said, you are a writer that writes from the heart and you know how to write. Those are the two ingredients needed the most for an outstanding memoir. Anything a writer writes is special to that author, but memoirs and poems too, I think, are often the two most difficult things for a person to share with the world, because they tend to be personal. But you can do it! You have what it takes to succeed. The question is, what do you consider as success? Is it finishing the memoir to completion and seeing it published? Or is it getting rich from the sales? The first you have total control of, the second you have little to no control. As writers, we have to learn to roll with the dice, so to speak, and still come up as winners and keep believing in ourselves and our work.

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…dear Donna, what sage advice and wisdom. You are absolutely right and yes, success would be to complete my memoir and see it published. Of course, making money from sales would be great, but publication is my goal and for those who read it to feel the story and be moved by it. The worst fear I think is that it will be received as lukewarm. It is hard with poetry and memoir writing. The poetry I never intended to be a poet, only for myself but I would like to self-publish a poetry/prose book after I’ve written my memoir, but my memoir is something I feel compelled to write. I have other ideas but I can’t do any of them until I’ve written this book. Now I’ve put my fears ‘out there’ I feel I can carry on with renewed strength and passion. I feel I’ve broken through a barrier by doing so and I’m amazed at the effect. I will take all you say on board, you inspire me my friend, as you have done ever since you came over to my blog over a year ago, and I hold your encouragement and support close to my heart. Thank you so much 🙂

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  12. Hi Sherri,
    When I wrote Worlds Without End I chose to write it as an autobiographical novel – didn’t even know that genre really existed anywhere other than in my own fear-based psyche, until recently! Some of the things I had to write about were so traumatic that the only way I could deal with them was to give them a fictional surround that would give me some joy whilst reliving them. It took three years to complete, but I knew it had to be finished by the time I turned forty. That was fourteen years ago, and I’ve only just managed to distance myself enough from it to really sell it now.

    Now that you’ve written this post I think you’ll surprise yourself by having more courage than you know because the fear is in turning round and confronting that which we fear the most, and you’ve just done that! You’ve smacked him in the face and delivered yourself from his rough clutches already. So instead of looking up, up, and into the clouds to try to glimpse Mr Fear’s ugly mug, you’re now looking down at a rather diminutive puddling mess on the floor by your feet and realising that this aspect of fear doesn’t have a face any more. And for that you deserve a round of applause from all of us in the blogosphere who love you, love your words, and have a vested interest in your continued success as a writer and a blogger, because we need to read what you have to say, and enjoy every minute of doing so.

    Sending you a whole host of memoir and blogging angels to make the memories, with their pain and their joy, even more beautiful this time around,
    Tally 🙂

    PS: Once it’s complete, a memoir is something you will take great joy in reading again and again, secure in the knowledge that you don’t have to hold every threadbare memory in your head, that you’ve created a perfect receptacle for them that you’ll always cherish. And gods only know, we need to free up every bit of memory we can for defence against the dark arts of the demon senility 8O.

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    • Sherri says:

      Well dear Tally, my goodness, you write so eloquently and beautifully and as I read every word I am nodding furiously in agreement. It is the next day and I’m already feeling so much better. Absolutely, I now realise that in writing this post I have confronted my fears by putting them ‘out there’ and so diminishing their power over me. What I felt was so strong is in actual fact a mere weakling and I am now able to continue on. I hadn’t realised how long and how deep my wilderness was, stretching out before me as it did. I’m fascinated to learn that you wrote your memoir as an autobiographical novel (and btw we are the same age, although today is my birthday so now I’m one year older 😉 and I can see how that worked so well for you. Although I have only been writing my book for several months, the actual story itself was written over 30 years ago in my heart. Lord knows I’ve waited long enough but something happened last spring, in California, that enabled me at long last to leap up off those starting blocks.
      You are a very wise woman my friend and I think you so much for your kindness and encouragement, really means so much. Although my head is spinning with so many writing ideas and projects, I know without a doubt that I can’t do any of them until I’ve written my memoir and then put some distance between me and it, and of course all that it brings up – the good, the bad and the ugly! I relish the writing of it but I know it isn’t going to be easy but with the support of everyone here and my family and friends I know I’ll do it 🙂 And yes, then at last, those memories can at last be free…for the rest to come forth 😉

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      • Sherri says:

        PS Keep sending those memoir and blogging angels…oh wait, they’re already here 😀 x

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      • Oh Sherri, I’ve only just got this post coz I forgot to tick the notifications box, again. Just as well I checked in … Happy Happy Happy Birthday for yesterday … I’m sure you had a wonderful time … haha you’re older than me now 😛 I’m remembering how important it was to be older than our friends at school, and how, now that I don’t feel any older than I was then, how it’s the opposite way around. What a funny bunch of conundrums we humans are.

        So glad the angels are working – I’m sure their boss sends the same ones each time with different hats on, but as long as they keep doing the work I don’t mind … many more blessings too,

        Tally 🙂

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      • Sherri says:

        Ahh…that’s so sweet, thank so much Tally, I had a lovely day 🙂 Good timing eh, after writing this post, ha! Yes, I remember those days, I was the first one of my friends at school to have a birthday and always right after school started…a bit different now, haha 😉 My Granny, when she was in her 80s, once told me that she still felt like an 18 year old on the inside. I couldn’t understand that when I was a kid, but I do now, lol! I’m grabbing those blessings and sending blessings right back to you too…and these angels must be busy ❤

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  13. TanGental says:

    You do pop some powerful stuff out there, don’t you Sherri? As all your correspondents have said, every single writer has the feelings you have so coherently expressed. I wrote masses for years – as a lawyer – a lot of it was based on my original draft but at no stage did I consider it ‘mine’ in any sense; too many others had a say in it, drafted and changed it, ripped it up. Even the ‘story’ behind it wasn’t mine but the clients and the legal framework we were working within. So turning to writing a novel was the shit scariest thing I’d done. It was/is all my own work – no one else to blame but me. If no one wants it, likes it, reads it is is all down to me. That’s why rejection sucks. But I’ve come to terms with it – I haven’t accepted it, just I have to live with it. I’m not sure if you know Lori Shaffer’s blog? If not here’s a link (http://lorilschafer.com/2014/09/08/why-i-write/t) to a recent post you many find interesting on the ‘why I write’ – one comment she made stayed with me. It’s not that there are obstacles in my road – they are my road’. You have to battle over every rock because, at root, that’s what you have to do. When Dylan (smart man) say write for yourself, he’s expressing the writer’s essence – we write because, damn it, we have to. It’s an urge, a need, like breathing and shitting, that we cannot do without. It’s the same for you; so when you pick up the pen, address the key board, you aren’t in any conscious way deciding to write – it is now hardwired into like some glorious, bloody irritating instinct. And it’s also no surprise when your story, or in my novel, my characters take over and lead me to places I wasn’t expecting and didn’t really want to go – to relationships I didn’t want them to have, to decisions I didn’t want them to take, to violence or despair I didn’t want them to suffer from. It’s all taking over at a subconscious level again. There are times when even breathing hurts and you don’t want to do carry on. But you just have to. Take some medicine – whatever your tipple of choice may be – and on you go. Like a bad headache, or constipation – these negative thoughts will pass in glorious relief because they have to, because you have to write. You see, like it or lump it, you are now a writer. And as for your fear no one will read your work; just lo at the touching and affectionate comments you have already generated. Coupled with family and those friends who aren’t wired in, you have a wiling and waiting readership for you. Go gettem girl!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      So now at last I can reply to your great comment Geoff…since posting this I’ve struggled to keep up (and yesterday was my birthday, so good excuse there, ha) but I also wanted to be able to take my time to read it through and also to go to Lori’s link, which thank you for sharing. Coincidentally, I recently came across her blog via another blogger but yes, she makes a great point. It’s ‘my’ road. Yes, I bet that was shit-scary when you started writing for yourself but how empowering is that? That’s flying, and solo…
      And yes, talk about hard-wired! We really have no choice but to write do we? That’s the thing about this business. I love all you write here because if we were having this conversation in the flesh, so to speak, I would be nodding furiously and interrupting you and grabbing your arm annoyingly and saying “Yes!! I get it now!!” It’s innate , and we don’t have a choice. I just wonder how on earth I’ll be able to reign it all in. I know there will be many more roadblocks in the way but I hope that this time I can jump right over them and not let them derail me. But they probably will…
      My answer to my fears and self-doubt was to write out this post. I was just going to post the photos as a nice day out at a delightful seaside town hubby and I discovered recently of an afternoon, but I found that they helped me ‘write out’ my angst and I thought to hell with it, I’ve got to get this stuff out there because I only know how to write like this truth be told. Writing about the hard stuff of life is where I fit, where I belong, where I feel most called to delve deeper and that’s when I can truly write without fear. And yes, as Dylan said, for ourselves. ( By the way, check out Dylan’s site if you haven’t done already, he lives in Suffolk and has just self-published his book Second Chance. He’s got some great posts over there about the process that you might find helpful and interesting.)
      I am so grateful for all you share here Geoff and for your encouragement, thanks so much…now how about we both go get ’em 😉

      Like

      • TanGental says:

        I’m with you cowboy! We’ll head for the pass and damn them injuns! I was going to add that writing it down as you have done, brave as it is, also has the effect of making us part of keeping you honest. We are now part of Team Sherri and while you have the prime responsibility to your writing, you have now given us a responsibility, like witnesses at a Christening, to ensure your development as a writer. The thing is, we are now empowered to ask ‘How’s it going?’ and prick you conscience little. You are a cunning little minx!

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        Well Geoff…maybe I am, haha! But I certainly didn’t write it for that reason, honestly! I felt pretty wretched and have done for a while now. When I set out to write this post on Tuesday morning I was writing to myself as much as anyone else. One thing I do now, I feel tons better since doing so…and if that ensures my development as a writer then I’m eternally grateful. I’m realising that this is definitely not something for the faint hearted and we need all the help and support we can get here. Time to saddle up….yee haa!!

        Like

  14. Don’t we all have doubts and beat ourselves up? Don’t worry about the masses. You will never please everyone no matter how good your writing is. Someone’s going to make a negative remark and if you listen, you’re done for. Write for yourself. You have failed yet. You must write it all out first, then edit and edit again. When it’s the best you can do, you have NOT failed. Write for you. I await your publication ❤ ❤

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh yes Tess, we certainly do. You are so right and I know that i need to press in as I feel is true to my heart and how I need to do this. As I’ve shared with you on and off blog, I’ve really struggled lately and when I sat down to write yesterday I was in a very different place than I am today. But I had to write it out, as my way of facing my fears and so rendering them powerless. I had no idea what I was going to say and I could feel myself sinking lower and lower. Now, today I feel as if a huge weight has dropped off (if only I could say that from a physical standing too, haha). I feel like a different person. I will bash out the draft and then yes, will edit, which I understand is where the fun begins o_O. But I look forward to it now, knowing more clearly the direction I need to follow. You have always been in my corner dear friend and I can’t thank you enough for that…so then, here’s to publication…*she says with renewed confidence* 😛 ❤ ❤ ❤

      Like

  15. cardamone5 says:

    Dearest Sherri:

    I too am struggling with my writing. Specifically, whether to continue it or to give it up. Repeated comments that I do too much telling and not enough describing/dialogue/etc are what has caused this most recent confusion. I do not know what to do. I feel blocked. When I sit down to write, I don’t feel that same excitement. It feels like a chore. I can’t tell if that’s because my confidence is shaken or because of a realistic take on things.

    I encourage you to continue in your writing. Thinking of you.

    Fondly,
    Elizabeth

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      I am so sorry to read this dearest Elizabeth but you know I understand. This post was my line in the sand, my battle cry, my call to arms I think. I sat down at my laptop yesterday morning and felt sick to my stomach as I seriously thought my writing days were over. I had no idea what to write. Now, another day forward, and I feel like a different person. I still don’t know if I have enough show and too much tell (my beta readers will help me on that…and thank you dear Elizabeth for your kindly offer) but I’m prepared for it mentally if that be the case. But as with you, it is a huge block and can shake us to the core. What to do? As you urge me my dear, sweet friend, all I can do is to urge you on in just the same way. Not being trite, but yes, just keep writing and you will break through. We are in this together but I can’t give you better advice being a newbie writer such as I am. I’m learning the hard way that the only way to write is to, well….write. I hope that you get your break-through and that your writing joy returns in full flow Elizabeth, I really, really do. I think you are a beautiful writer, concise, clear, eloquent and very, very readable. Now if we can get over this darn show/tell thing…grrrrrrrr……
      PS I’ve taken some parts of this reply out and emailed you instead…

      Like

  16. jenniferkmarsh says:

    What an earnest post, Sherri. Writing is a cruel, cruel mistress – truly it is. But you have to learn to get the better of it. It’s all an attitude. There’s no secret formula as to how to write an amazing book/story, and all these ‘rules’ and ‘things to do’ are just a waste of time, if you ask me, and do nothing but stress people out needlessly. Your dream is not slipping away from you. To have this dream in the first place, and to act upon, is a clear indication that you are more than capable. Keep on shooing that black dog away, Sherri – we’ll all be cheering you on via WordPress!
    Of course the point of a book is for it to be read, but you should never write a book for the SOLE purpose of it to be read. It has to come from the heart, it has to be something for you foremost, and I’m sure that’s the case for you, so you’re good to go 😉

    Keep holding onto it, ’cause I know you can ❤

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh..yes, a cruel mistress indeed, and that my friend is written from the heart. You are so right about all the rules. My head was starting to explode with all of them and I had to get back to basics…write as I know how, from my heart as I simply can’t do it any other way. The only time I feel the words truly flow is when I do this. Your loving encouragement and support spurs me on dear Jenny Jen Jen and for that I thank you so much. I will keep going..and actually by writing out this post I already feel so much better as if I’ve slain those demons of fear and that, at long last, my writing joy is returning. Although I know it is a long, long road ahead….
      Have a beautiful day… 🙂 ❤

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      • jenniferkmarsh says:

        I’m glad you’re feeling better about it all 🙂 Indeed it is a very long road, but is it not the most difficult journeys that turn out to be the best ones?

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        Thank you…and perhaps. Living the difficult journeys is one thing but writing about them so many years later is quite another. Who knew? Time to find out… 😉

        Like

  17. Heyjude says:

    I’m no writer, my ‘book’ has been on hold for a year because I don’t know where to go with it, so my comments are pretty meaningless and I give you permission to ignore what I say 😉

    If I was in your summerhouse right now with a cup of coffee and a cream scone, I would say to you “simply write for yourself, get your story written, edit it, and edit again, don’t even think about whether it is good enough or whether anyone else will read it – does it matter? Ask yourself, what is important, why is it important? Who are you writing it for? For yourself? For others? For fame? For riches? Or to get your story told. To release what is inside.”

    Take a break, put it to one side, do something else for a while – it is your story and it isn’t going anywhere. It’s in your head and in your heart, and one day it will all come together…
    Jude xx

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    • Sherri says:

      Well Jude, sitting in my summerhouse with you, chatting over a cup of coffee (for you) and tea (for me) and a scone each sounds like heaven. I can picture it now and your calm, wise voice of reason saying just what you’ve said here. I was fine until I started doubting myself and then I started getting confused over the actual writing process (this is what happens when I read too many blogs and start thinking ‘well they are all so much better than me and I don’t stand a chance’. You would think that writing something I’ve wanted to write for over 30 years would be done and dusted by now wouldn’t you? After all, it’s not like I’m writing some epic trilogy…Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones comes to mind here o_O Stripping all that away you are absolutely right…the answer is simple: just keep writing. Thanks so much for popping over, I always enjoy your visits very much, do me the world of good they do… 😉 xx

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  18. Do you know the quote from Marianne Williamson, Sherri: ‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.’ I think writing memoir is the most difficult of all, because it does involve delving into areas we’d rather forget. I remember re-reading some of my younger diaries and giving up, because I found them so depressing – I didn’t want to face the person I was then / the feelings I had then – the point of memoir is, unfortunately, to bring all those things up, which I can imagine is terribly difficult. But don’t fear Sherri, I hope you know from the comments you receive that there is an audience out here waiting for your words – that connect with your memories on a weekly basis. And you are in print, don’t forget that either – so you’ve had some success. I know exactly those feelings – when writing and submitting is such a slog, without any palpable success – and being successful once doesn’t help, because it gives you an expectation that you’ll be successful again. But actually, I think this post, all about fear and self-doubt as it is, is one of your most powerful ever.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Andrea, I used that very same Marianne Williamson’s quote in this post but it wasn’t until I read your comment that I was so annoyed to realise that it had disappeared (thanks to cutting and pasting!) so thank you for mentioning it as I’ve now put it back in! ( I hope that isn’t cheating having already published? I feel like a right twit…) So yes! I do resonate deeply with what she said and you are right about memoir, it is so difficult in all that it brings up. Yet, the story I’m telling is as much about someone else as about myself (my first husband who died) but as I write and tell the story of what happened during those three years in the late 70s, it is the ‘other’ story as it emerges, the one about what happened to me and how I dealt with it that is starting to ‘write back’ to me and that is where the fear came in. But…I know I have to write in total truth, not only the full story as I know needs to be told but in the only way I know how…from the heart. As I wrote out this post I felt I was coming face to face with these fears and so better able to defeat them. I know the road ahead won’t be easy but the writing journey isn’t an easy one for any of us is it? You make such a valid point about having tasted publication success once doesn’t mean that it makes rejection the next time around any easier. You give me a great deal of strength Andrea with your fine, strong words and I love how you get right to the nub of a writer’s heart. Incidentally, I hold your final words especially close to my heart because I had originally intended to post these photographs as a separate post in their own right, about a nice stroll along the seaside hubby and I had last a couple of weekends ago but then they seemed to help me as I wrote this using them for illustration. I always feel at my most creative by the sea for some reason. And I know you understand that. Talking of which, as much as you are in my corner, and I am eternally grateful for your support, please know that I am also here for you with mine as you await news from own writing journey…. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Rachel M says:

    This is the best kind of writing, Sherri – it’s straight from your heart. Keep going, don’t give up! You’ve already got a big fan base here and you haven’t even completed your book yet. We want to read it!

    Regarding your poems, why not publish them on your blog instead?

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh Rachel, I love how perceptive you are. There is no doubt that when I write as I’m ‘meant to’ I don’t have any fear. In the writing of this post I felt that fear drift away because you are right, there is only one true way to write and that is from the heart. You’ve always been such a great support to me and my writing and I thank you so much for that. As for my poems, I never thought of myself as a poet but I was encouraged when a couple of them were published in an anthology recently and so thought I would try for this competition. Never mind. I’m thinking of self-publishing a book with some of my poems and prose and maybe some photos at some point (no idea how to go about this…yet!). I have published some of my poems here and might still do from time to time but I’m going to focus on my other writing which I think is much more my cup of tea 😉

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  20. Pat says:

    Sherri – to that, my friend, I’d say that your dream of writing isn’t slipping away only that your fears are helping you realize how important it is to you. It’s up to you what you do with it and I think you already know and we’re here to encourage and help you along the way.

    I think writing and the reasons are different for everyone. For me, what I’m discovering is I’m writing to myself. I’m learning something every time I put words to things I’ve felt or noticed and tell myself about them that turns out I didn’t know. Does that make sense? It’s like an exchange of dialogues between what I see on the outside and what I feel on the inside. It seems to have more depth and meaning for me.

    But, I find if I write with a focus of validation I seem to miss out on something and become disappointed. It’s frustrating because who doesn’t like approval and acceptance — been there many times and still there but not as often.

    I think you’re on the right path wanting your story to be real and meaningful. It just takes time to sort it all out and when it does the words will be there and flow. It’s like they say, “Don’t push the river”, all in perfect time in allowing it to show up just when you need it. 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Dear Pat, I thank you as always for your ongoing amazing support. We have shared our writing journeys for some time now and I hope to continue to do so for a long time to come. I think what you just described in your writing process is what I was trying to explain as ‘writing into truth’. I find just this too as I write my memoir: not only am I writing a true story that took place over a three year period over 30 years ago but in the process, I’m finding out things about myself that are helping me get a clearer picture of the person I am today. Writing from the heart is the only way to go and you are right, the minute we write seeing validation, then we lose so much. That, I believe, is writing with fear and it is paralysing. It is having the freedom and confidence and inner justification to be able to say put into words just what we need to express, without worry of what others might think, that gives us that very writing flow that is so pure and meaningful. I do believe now is the right time to write my memoir as I press on with it but I felt I needed to get this post out to help me see my way clear and a couple of days later I feel a lot better about it all. Putting my fears out there helped me see that actually I’m on the right path and just need to carry on. I know I can’t even think of writing any other books until this one is finished and published. But I now that the journey ahead won’t be an easy one….and I thank you from the bottom of my heart my friend because I know that you’ll be there every step of the way, as I will also be standing by your side 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Pat says:

        I can feel your struggle and pain, Sherri. In some ways, I feel like I’m on a similar journey — an alchemy of the heart. Your process is through writing and is transforming. Mine, too, is through writing but not completely. Once we’ve begun on these paths, there’s no turning back and we wouldn’t want to for it seems to be something bigger than us and what we could ever imagine.

        I’m excited for you, Sherri. It won’t be easy but so worthwhile. You’ve accepted the challenge in writing your memoir and I suspect it will be life changing. I can’t wait to hear what twists and turns it will take you on — like this first curve you’ve taken in this post. What choices will you make? Will you want to go where it might be difficult to get out? It can be scary and, you’re right, downright paralyzing. I am feeling it, too.

        I’m there with you on my own journey asking the same questions and wondering if I have the courage to follow through. I don’t know. We’ll take each other’s hand and take one step at a time, my friend, and see each other to the other side.

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      • Sherri says:

        Ahh Pat, you share your heart and your journey so eloquently my friend. I do believe this journey is indeed transforming and yes, you are absolutely right, I can’t give up because I am compelled to keep writing no matter what and there is no turning back. It is unthinkable in fact. So when I struggled for so many weeks I was in a bit of a bad way. When I sat down to write this post I can honestly that the way I felt at the start was completely different to how I felt when I finished it. I needed to get this process of thoughts ‘out there’ and express my fears and insecurities even though at first I didn’t even think I could do that!!
        I feel your struggles too Pat but we are holding one another’s hands as we walk along the paths before us and yes, let’s see where it takes us shall we? We will be changed, that’s for certain, but as scary as it is at the unknowns we face, we battle on and meet our challenges head-on and we can then embrace them with excitement because we are doing what we know we simply must do. There is no turning back!! By facing our fears we also gain the courage needed to come out the other side and gain the victory…and what a victory it will be!

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        • Pat says:

          Indeed, Sherri, transforming to say the least but, oh, so worthwhile. I’m happy to journey along with you on some the twists and turns even though it may be a little different. It’s nice to have company along the way. See you on the path, my friend. Hope you have a great weekend. 🙂

          Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…bless you my friend and the same to you Pat…and here’s to a good week ahead. See you on the path ahead 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Mabel Kwong says:

    “If write with fear, then I am not writing at all.” I love this line, Sherri. As a writer, I agree with this completely. If we write with fear, there’s a part of us that is reluctant to share our stories out there. Maybe we fear being judged. Or our story going on and on and not staying on point. Or being stuck. Which is a bit silly…it does take time to write and achieve things, after all 🙂 So true that writing or doing something creative (like painting or making music too) affects not only us, but those closest around us. They have to deal with our manic episodes of free-flowing writing and writer’s block. Our relationships with them sometimes make up the stories we writ too, so that can be hard on them as well.

    Thanks for writing this, Sherri. I’m planning my first book and this post spoke volumes to me. Definitely agree with you the deeper we connect and believe in our stories, the more it will “write back to us”, or as I like to think of it, “sing to us” 🙂 Good luck, can’t wait to read your book.

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    • Sherri says:

      Dear Mabel, you know that I always love to read your thoughts and insight as I always come away with so much to think about when I do, and this time is no exception. I am so glad to know that by sharing my fears and expressing my discouragements as I stand at this particular road block that I am also able to encourage you too. The writing community here is a wonderful place to share our lows and highs and ongoing struggles. Yes, what a beautiful way of putting it…the more we write and the deeper we connect, the more our writing will ‘sing to us’. That is it in a nutshell. When in that pure place and we can at last hear our song ring out, then we know that we have not written with fear but with the true flow of our hearts! Your ongoing support and encouragement means the world to me Mabel and I thank you so much for it. I also will be standing with you as you begin to write your book…isn’t it wonderful to know that we are not alone in our writing journeys?
      Have a lovely day…I’m smiling now… 🙂

      Like

      • Mabel Kwong says:

        “…as I stand at this particular road block.” I prefer to think of frustrating times like these as being stuck at an intersection and unsure of which path to go down 🙂

        Thanks for the support too, Sherri. Not only do you always write such meaningful posts, but you’re so gracious in responding to everyone’s comments. And responding so thoughtfully too. You have an exceptionally good day, now 🙂

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        Yes…and whether making sure that next time to jump over the next road block rather than being forced to stop or deciding which path to choose at the next intersection, I hope that we both will go with the true flow and write accordingly…with our ears open to the sweet song playing through the story we tell 🙂 Bless you dear Mabel…and I would wish for you the very same kind of a day 🙂 ❤

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  22. Life and Other Turbulence says:

    I don’t think failure is defined by the unfinished manuscript, but in the belief that you aren’t good enough to see it through. Whether you get it done this year, or next…it’s not the timeline that matters. Once you type that final page, it still may never see the light of day, but you’ll have completed your memoir and will be emotionally free to move on to a new project. You write so beautifully, and have so many followers who love to read your words…so you’re ALREADY a writer and need no further validation! And all these writing contests…winning doesn’t always mean skill…it means what appealed to the judge on that particular day. NOT winning doesn’t mean failure…it means you took the time to write and submit, which equals ACCOMPLISHMENT. So, I’d say you are doing everything that ONLY a good writer does…ta da!! You GO girl 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      What a beautifully encouraging message, bless you and so lovely to hear from you again! You are so right. That is what I fear the most I think, that I will let self-doubt destroy me and I know that I can’t let that happen. This is my biggest battle and why I needed to put this post up as I couldn’t go any further without doing so. It helped me draw my line in the sand and now, surprise surprise, those fears have dissipated because it’s helped me see that I’m on the right path and I can carry on. I have found my self-belief once more and this time I’m grabbing it by the horns. The only way to write is from the heart and it has to be 100% truth otherwise forget it.
      Thank you so much for your wise words about writing competitions and I agree totally with you. I know that my poems weren’t what that particular judge was looking for on the day and fair enough. I’m still glad I went for it though. What I don’t want to do is become so discouraged that I give up and I was beginning to feel as if I’d failed after a trail of let-downs in one form or another…
      But today is a new day and I feel ready to press on 😀 You’ve given me great hope in your words today…and I think of you as you write your memoir and wonder how it is going for you? Keep in touch…and I am going to keep writing…I will GO 🙂

      Like

  23. jennypellett says:

    Hi Sherri. I think most of your commenters here have said it all so I’m not going to labour the point or be lengthy! I’d go with Jude’s very sensible words, put it aside, turn to other ways to release your creativity and don’t fret about it. Sometimes we can write too much and experience burn out. Take a break, take some good long walks in our wonderful autumn weather and recharge. Read Andrea’s post on the cycles of creativity – so eloquently done and so true. Also, I’d turn to reading anything that isn’t memoir based. Have a complete holiday from it all! Good luck 😉

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Jenny. You always have such wise and encouraging ways of putting things and yes, nothing like some good walks in our wonderful autumn is there? Not to mention a nice sit down with a cuppa afterwards in my summerhouse where you, Jude and I can put the world to rights 😉 I do love this time of year. Yes I agree, Andrea writes beautifully about the cycles of creativity, I resonate deeply with what she says. I find I can write better when the days are darker and shorter. Still, as you so rightly say, it’s all about recharging isn’t it? So important. Since putting this post out, I’ve felt much better. It’s helped clear the jumbled mess that was crowding out my mind and getting me confused, depressed and downright discouraged. That old fear and self-doubt which plagues me has been particularly bad lately and I had to deal with it but I didn’t know how. Getting it down in writing help tremendously. I feel I’m back on the right path again now and can carry on. No doubt the road ahead contains a few more roadblocks but hopefully next time I’ll be ready to jump clear over them rather than let them stand in my way. Perhaps they will also be a warning that I need to take a breather….meanwhile, thanks so much as always Jenny for being in my corner, I love it when you pop over to my summerhouse 🙂

      Like

  24. Sherri, in my world, the art world, rejection is so common. Not that we do’t hurt from it. but we have a saying (oh no, you say, another one): “Have another application to mail in, so that if you are rejected from the current one, you have not lost hope.” Because it is harder to work once you have been rejected. To have that other application ready, you are not operating out of as much fear. Don’t be disheartened. The darkest hour is just before the dawn. Really!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      That is a great saying Hollis and so very wise. And I don’t mind how many sayings there are, they are all good and meant to encourage so thank you for sharing it 🙂 To have an application already in the mail certainly does keep the hope alive and that is so very important isn’t it? This is great advice for all of us. Ahh… you are so very kind and I thank you so much for your wonderful encouragement. I shall remember your last sentence and hold onto it in the days ahead… 🙂

      Like

  25. Steve Rebus says:

    Awww Sherri this post deeply moved me, and pulled at my heart strings to hear you fearful and discouraged! I’m a huge fan of your writings in every form and i just want to encourage you to keep going and keep writing! Your loving brother Steve x 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh dear Steve, bless you my brother. Yes, you have always been there, supporting and encouraging me every step of the way ever since I started my writing/blogging journey and I never take that for granted. I felt I needed to get this post out to help me find my way clear and it has helped so much. I feel a lot better a couple of days later (and it helped with it being my birthday yesterday… 😉 ) and know that I can carry on. That old devil does like to try and steal our joy doesn’t he? Not to mention fill us with fear and discouragement. But…the victory is ours! Your encouragement means the world to me my dear friend, thank you so very much, and I will keep writing … 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Ste J says:

    You’re spot on here, I think writing is such a disciplined way of life, it’s akin to a game of Tennis, you can have your coach helping you but when t comes to doing it for real, it is all on you and your ability to keep going in the face of self doubt and insurmountable odds.

    I would say that the only true failure is not writing what you wish…anything you write can be recycled if you wish and you will write something good. I know this for your blog is always a great read with loads of comments and likes and I know you will succeed.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, I’ve often thought of writing as a game of tennis so I find this so interesting. Sometimes we smash it, the ball goes just where we want it to go and we get that point. Other times, no matter what we do that darn ball keeps going out and before we know it we are having an argument with the referee and wondering where our coach has disappeared off to, ha. But yes, in the end we are on our own when it comes to facing up to our self-doubt. The self-discipline it takes just to keep it at bay can become overwhelming at times can’t it? I felt I had to put out my fears and insecurities down in this post and it helped a lot. I feel better that I can carry on now and keep writing as I set to from the beginning…from the heart and in the only way I know how. It has to be, as you say, what I wish. It’s got to be…and Ste, my lovely friend, you have given me such wonderful encouragement and for that I thank you so much 🙂

      Like

  27. Thanks for sharing your fears Sherri. Even though the mind knows that fellow writers all go through the same struggles, when it happens it feels so intensely personal, like sinking slowly through quicksand with no rope in sight. And, yes it is absolutely possible to fear both rejection and success at the same time. What strange creatures we writers are?! I always simply come back to the plain truth that if I stopped writing, I would stop being me. Whether anybody reads the work or likes it, at least you have shared yourself with the world, which I believe is one of our life purposes. Here’s to forging ahead through our fears!!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh boy, you hit the nail on the head…like quicksand with no rope in sight. I felt just like that but look what happened…someone threw me a rope and pulled me out! Oh we are so strange and complicated too. My poor hubby…he is a saint, I know he is. I don’t know how he puts up with all my writing angst, I honestly don’t… o_O And that is the very thing…I come back to that ‘simple truth’ time and time again…if I stopped writing then who would I be? I understand that completely. We have to keep writing and sharing and putting it out there and chasing our dreams. In essence, we have to keep our writing hopes alive and that is the only way to do it…not to give up, to face our fears and insecurities and doubts and keep going no matter what. So we won’t fail, right? Thanks so much BT for sharing your thoughts and wonderful encouragement….it’s great knowing that we are not in this alone and that we are part of this amazing writing community isn’t it? So absolutely…let’s push past those fears and forge ahead knowing that we are doing what we are compelled to do, and be secure in that 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  28. thirdhandart says:

    Did you know that J. K. Rowling’s first book, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” was rejected by twelve publishing houses before Bloomsbury agreed to publish it? I know there are millions of talented, creative people in the world today, but you are an outstanding author with many faithful, supportive followers Sherri. So, don’t give up! All my love and support. -Theresa

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Funnily enough Theresa, I only read that recently and I was amazed! Oh to be like JK…ha!! I still find it amazing that she managed to write such stories…
      I feel much better after writing this post, I felt I had to because I was ‘stuck’. Now I feel ‘unstuck’ and can go from here…and your love and support means the world. Thank you so much my friend 🙂 ❤

      Like

  29. Charli Mills says:

    Beautiful ,deep, truthful post. You got the gumption, Sherri! Your post is like an artistic rendering of what fear and courage look like–without fear you can’t be courageous. It’s a dualistic dance we take as writers. And here we were, so confident in our dialogs about kicking wolves and the Black Dog to the curb, yet this week has me all a-jitter–my manuscript is due next Monday and I’m frozen! I’m terrified to put it out there. I’m terrified of that first novel. But you know what? You’re reminding me right here, right now that we have to have a first. Working on the third I realize I know so much more than I did two years ago! Yet, I’m clueless as to how much more I’ll know in two more years. I have to keep writing to find out. If I stop, I’ll never know. The book is part of a greater journey, writing is like our vehicle of choice. Wonderful, wonderful post. Thank you!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      I love that word – ‘gumption’!! But I haven’t felt that I’ve had much lately, as you know, and after our chats and so much going on in my head, I felt that I had to put it all down here, as if this was my way of summarising all that we’ve talked about, and with Irene too who has also been putting up with my endless conversation about all of this. And so this is it and now I’ve done this I feel so much better, I really do.
      Ahh…yes, here we are and those darn wolves and that black dog and we did indeed kick them to the curb…and then…look at what I write here and then for you…oh no! Charli, you must unfreeze my friend! Or should I say defrost? But you know what I mean 😉 Get out of those headlights…now! Yes, you have to keep writing and our journey is into the unknown. Goodness knows you’ve encouraged me enough times… how can I do the same for you? If you say that by reading this post it’s helped you in some small way then I’m thrilled! I realise more and more how little we know about this journey when we set out. We think we know but we don’t know anything…unless we keep writing. This is what propels you, me, all us writers to keep writing and keep going. The fear of quitting outweighs my fear of carrying on. What else is there for us as creators? As Geoff said, we are compelled to write, we have no choice. It is who we are. We are not playing at writing, this is a serious business.
      Charli, this is your choice and you will do it. I’m proud to be a part of your journey and I’m so thankful to have you as part of mine. What a fabulous ‘dualistic dance’ indeed and here’s to your Monday 😉

      Like

      • Charli Mills says:

        The pack closed in and I responded with action. I contacted my editor and asked for (another) extension even though it made me feel such a fine failure to do so. But I was so worked up over Monday’s deadline that I wasn’t defrosting! She was so kind and understanding, I felt the fear melt. This is supposed to be fun (Sarah Brentyn reminded me) so I pulled out colored pens and drew on my storyboard and walls (paper taped over walls) and the fixes I needed came to me, just flowing out in greens and blues and even red! My timeline is improved, I know better how to strengthen a few gaps and the words are flowing. I messed up my last revision by making the changes and saving the in Word (so I can’t go back to Scrivener which would have been easier), but I feel that I got this even if it will take extra work with my format. I also messed up a few other projects so I’m really working on forgiving myself for those mistakes. I’ll fix what I can and not become wolf food. 🙂 Your openness and inquisitiveness is refreshing and helps me figure stuff out too! Thanks, Sherri!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sherri says:

          Ahh….so glad you got your extension and didn’t become wolf food…that would not do at all. These things are sent to try us, or so they say, and it seems that the pressures mount in bucket loads – and I’m not just talking about wolf poop here. It is supposed to be fun but let’s not forget, there’s a reason why sometimes we can’t leap through the daises in our cotton nighties…oh how I wish!! Why are we so hard on ourselves? Must be ingrained…but…you are winning my friend and you will get there. I’m thrilled to know that we can support one another in the writing fray…
          Catch up with you soon Charli, have a great weekend and we will still kick those wolves and that black dog to the curb… 😉

          Like

  30. You just keep blowing me away with your gift and loved the photos you posted so poignant and apt for your journey. Can’t help but think of The Hobbit and the perils that Frodo faced & he triumphed as will you my friend! Thank you for letting us in and sharing your heart & soul. Never give in or give up Sherri! xoxoxoxo

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh..dearest friend. Did I just hear your voice? Yes, I thought so… 😉 Remember the journey? Legolas and Frodo…and you know my heart. I won’t give up…much love to you from my heart… ❤ xoxoxoxo ❤

      Like

  31. I love how you share your fears so bravely and openly; thank you for letting us know it’s not always easy (that romp through the meadow in a gauzy gown). Know that you are not alone in having fears, or in facing them. Look at the community of supportive, encouraging people here to cheer you on. You will write your memoir, at your own pace and time. And remember, periods of struggle are often followed by breakthroughs in creativity. And may I also say, the photos in this post are wonderful. I was drawn to them all.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Dear Marlene, thank you so much for your lovely message, it is indeed so good to know that we are all in this together isn’t it? The community here is truly amazing, I never fail to be truly grateful for each and every person and the way we can all support one another in our creative journeys. I do feel so much better after putting out my fears, knowing that I’m not the only one experiencing them. I will certainly remember your wise reminder that breakthroughs in creativity often follow periods of struggle and will keep pressing on towards that goal with renewed vigour with that very much in mind 😉 And I’m so glad too that you enjoyed the photographs…I was going to post them in their own right as a reminder of a delightful afternoon ‘escape’ hubby and I had recently by the sea not too far away from us but somehow they seemed to help me express my struggles as I posted them and wrote on. So in essence, my own ‘photograph challenge’ 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Imelda says:

    Write, Sherri, write. If you are not ready to share your piece with the world, keep it to yourself. But at least, put the words down on paper so that they do not retreat and get lost. 🙂 And, you are a good writer, regardless what your doubts tell you. I, for one, can tell you that I enjoy reading your work. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Imelda, your ongoing support and encouragement does help me greatly. It’s just a question of me doing battle with my inner demons as it were and making sure they don’t win the day…I felt I had to put my fears down on paper and it has helped greatly. I know that I’m not the only one who struggles in this way but I just needed to clear the jumbled mess in my head that was causing me to panic and freeze. As you say, at least in this way, the words are written and aren’t lost but I will press on to my goal…I have to! I really appreciate that you enjoy reading my work – as I do yours, so very much – and here’s to another day of writing 🙂

      Like

  33. mariekeates says:

    Fear and self doubt along with a fragile ego. Sounds very familiar to me. Keep writing. I know I am.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…thanks so much Marie. Just got to keep writing haven’t we? I’ve been so held up that I’ve sort of frozen but feeling better again now to be able to keep on keeping on…it’s the only way it has to be…and we are not alone…. 🙂

      Like

  34. Oh boy, can I relate! My latest mentor says when we are in fear, we are close to the beauty of the truth. He says it more eloquently, but that is the condensed version. You’ll work through it and the result will be true art!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      I love that Renee…what a wonderful truth to take to heart and I thank you so much for sharing it. Perhaps that is why I have been filled with so much fear…I can taste the dream yet I know that the power of my self-doubt could kill it. It is that battle that I must win 🙂

      Like

  35. Mahesh Nair says:

    Hi, Sherri:

    I’m back to blogging after two months and the first post I wanted to read and have read, is yours, and I’m glad I did.

    This post is a certain reflection that you’re treading the desired path. Now isn’t it beautiful that you are not aware if the path is desired or not? Be unaware as much as you’re aware, my friend.

    I love how you plunge deep to understand your struggle with yourself, and what does the mirror you look in tell you? That “Hang On, Sherri! You’re going through a process that all ‘very successful’ writers go through. Don’t you ever give up.”

    And if you don’t hang on, people like me will suffer a great deal.

    There will be stops called Rejection and Dejection, but there’ll also be Acceptance – which is not a destination (never!) but a part of your journey.

    All the best, my friend!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Mahesh! I’m honoured to know that you read my blog so quickly upon your return, welcome back, you have been missed my friend!
      Goodness…I can only say that I had to read your message a few times for it all to sink in, the measure of your words and how they spoke to my heart. I’m truly humbled and don’t know what to say other than thank you so much. I hesitated for a long time about expressing my struggles here because I was crippled with self-doubt but yes, although derailed by these roadblocks, for a time, I now know that I can not only jump over them but also clear them…and I won’t give up 🙂

      Like

  36. Considering the amount of responses, the topic of fear associated with the writing of a memoir is common to anyone who embarks on this route. This is the exact same reason that still keeps me away from telling it all. Let’s talk about it more, Sherri. Love your questions and doubt. It’s good to question your will to write about you and how to write about you. The other way would be worrisome.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes Evelyne, let’s talk! You can see from this post how much I’ve questioned about my journey along this memoir-writing path. It isn’t easy, that’s for sure, but I do believe that it will be liberating when all is said and done. Not because it’s about airing the dirty laundry but because it will set down the story I’ve felt driven to tell for so long and because I feel I owe to someone else. The other emerging story has been a bit of a shock and it is this that is causing me this recent plague of self-doubt. But by writing about it and putting it out here, I feel much clearer in my head and how to push through, albeit only for the time being. I can fully understand your reticence. Yet, I think I’m also beginning to understand why, when called to write such a book, it becomes not something we might do but something we feel compelled to do. And we can only do that without fear. Complicated isn’t it?

      Like

  37. Luanne says:

    It’s good to get it out. You should know that so many of us support you in your dream of writing your memoir. I, for one, can’t WAIT to read it. Maybe if you isolate the real causes of your fears, you can trick yourself, and write around them. Haha, just speaking as one who does trick herself on purpose! xoxo

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Luanne, I’m always so thrilled to read your thoughts on memoir, you inspire me greatly! I wonder how I can trick myself but I get that…it must be the way around it, ha! In writing some of these things already it feels like the most natural thing in the world, yet when I stop to think about it I second-guess myself and so invite the fears. Isolating the causes of them seems logical to me. I think I can do that but that’s why this is such a personal battle…for once in my life I’m going for broke and I have to learn that it’s okay to do this. It’s the only way to write fearlessly isn’t it? Your support means the world Luanne, thank you so much for that and for your great advice, it helps!!! 🙂 xoxo

      Like

  38. We all have these pangs, Sherri, the worries and throat-tightening fears about writing. But when I look at the photos you take–especially on this post!–I’m swamped by images and creativity and the desire to write. There are wonderful and inspiring…and a promise that the words are just below the surface and will give you a nudge to pick up the pen.
    This is a superb post.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Marylin, ever since we first met here your mentoring and encouragement has spurred me on. I take away life and writing affirming messages from each and every of your blog posts as well as the beautiful messages you leave here in your considered comments, so full of kindness and wisdom. The desire to write is an all-consuming thing isn’t it? I get so frustrated when I can’t just get down to it but life can’t stop just because I want to write and there is so much living to do and so many dear ones to spend time with. This past couple of weeks has shown me that even more importantly than usual as I’ve been thoroughly spoiled and showered with love for my birthday. You certainly picked up on the photographs enabling me to better express my thoughts for this post – that’s why I love the photographic challenges so much so I suppose this was my own ‘theme’ – and I’m glad they spoke to you too. Dear Marylin, all I can say as always is thank you so much, your visits mean a great deal to me and I always look forward so much to them 🙂

      Like

  39. Such amazing images, Sherri. I particularly love the last one. It reminds me of how much I ‘heart’ the beach which we’ve just left behind. Your writing here on your blog is always so enjoyable. Discard those fears my dear friend, and carry on writing. Your posts are always super inspiring. xx 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…yes, you certainly left a beautiful beach behind. There were several of these images along the beach at Budleigh Salterton made out of coloured stones and pebbles and they were so creative and unique, I’ll have to post some more. Thank you so much Sylvia for your kindness and friendship, I always look forward to your visits here as well as my visits to your blog…love our ‘chats’ about all sorts of things! I really appreciate your encouragement, means a great deal to me.. 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  40. Ah Sherri – you said what so many think but can’t articulate as well. So glad to get the feeling that the loathsome “Self-doubt” has been sent packing its bags by the end of you thinking things through ‘aloud.’ And if IT had the audacity to leave some spare underwear behind “in case it wants to return,” the wonderful support shown here should be sufficient to have you tossing any such remainders out the window so if SD ever reappears it can just gather its belongings from the yard and keep moving!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Shel! How lovely to see you again, although we do keep tabs on one another don’t we? I love ‘reading’ you here and there, love your sense of humour and the way you turn a phrase. Your comment here is no exception, I just love it 🙂 And yes, you are quite right, by writing out my fears and insecurities, I was indeed able to loosen their grip and felt much better by the end of it. I’m so glad that you picked up on that 🙂
      When I sat down to write this post, I already knew which photos I wanted to used because I intended it to be merely that, a photo post about a nice little stroll down by the sea that hubby and I took a couple of weekends ago, but something happened…all the weeks/months of freezing came to a head and I felt that I couldn’t write another word. I felt awful and I knew that if I didn’t write there and then about it I wouldn’t be able to go any further. Sounds very dramatic, I know, but it’s the only way I know how to explain it! I should have done that a lot sooner…! I’ve been able to gather my thoughts more clearly since then and feel I can carry on. And I do thank you so much for your lovely encouragement Shel, and although I’ve checked the drawers which appear to be empty of any spare underwear, I’m not so sure that some isn’t lurking right at the back that I can’t quite see, but should I come across it again I will indeed take your advice and be sure to fling it straight out of the window and send it and its owner packing 😛

      Like

      • I have found that amazing, too, Sherri, that with the gazillions of blogs and people running around the internet we have overlapped in several different venues. Maybe I’m s’pose to go hang out on that really cool beach with you!!

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        It is isn’t it Shel? I love it and I think you’re right…so pack your thongs (sorry, meant flip-flops) and let’s head out to the beach right now 🙂

        Like

  41. Sherri, I don’t think any of us followers or friends or family would ever let you “stop” writing. Not without one hell of a fight! You have such a beautiful gift that needs to be shared with the world. I am glad you shared your feelings and fears with us because we all understand and are here for you, always! xo

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…dear Maria, you bless and encourage me so much as you always do and thank you so very much for your kindness. It’s great knowing we can all support one another here in these battles and struggles of ours. I do feel better since sharing my fears publicly, something has definitely lifted and shifted, so to speak, ha! and I feel I can move ahead while keeping those old ‘demons’ at bay…and it’s great knowing you’re in my corner…as I am also in yours… 🙂 xo

      Like

  42. Oh Sherri, I think all writers have that monkey on their shoulder, wolves at the heels or the need for alcohol in the cupboard at some point in their writing lives. In fact many succumb totally but instead you have written about it and it is no longer an internal fullstop but a shared feeling which no longer has the power to harm you and stop you doing what you do best and that is write. So you have been rejected. I know how that feels and it isn’t nice but don’t let it stop you. Onwards and upwards. You can tell from the number of comments just how many people appreciate reading your work. I would hazard a guess that at least half those people will read your finished memoir and even if they don’t – you have done it and that is a huge task which takes perseverance and dedication. I agree with something that one of your earlier commenters said – don’t write your first draft for an audience, write your first draft for yourself. Don’t hold anything back. Let it all come out. If something is too painful write it in third person. It gives you distance from the event as though it isn’t happening to you. Just be totally honest. Don’t hold anything back. When you do your first edit you can make decisions as to what you want to leave in or take out. It is amazing the freedom just putting it down on paper gives you.
    Finally on fear you can look at it in two ways. Fear meaning false evidence appearing real. This is a debilitating Fear. Instead turn fear into being a positive Feeling excited and ready.
    Well Sherri – are you ready for that walk? <3:) and lots of hugs.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Dear Irene, I had to read your comment a couple of times for the depth of all you share here to sink in. The time you’ve spent with me in conversations over these many months, and especially these past few weeks, have been eye-opening, educational and inspiring for me. Your knowledge and wisdom never fails to encourage me to see the ‘bigger picture’ and exhorts me not to let the stuff of everyday challenges beat me down. Since writing this post earlier in the week and letting it sit as I continue on sorting out in my head where I’m going with all of this – and keeping those wolves, monkeys and the black dog down and at heel – I feel so much better about it all. I felt I had to put it down in a post as it was my way of confronting my fears and insecurities head-on, my battle cry I suppose. Amazingly, the power of them dissipated and their hold over me seemed to evaporate. That isn’t to say they won’t return, as I’m sure they will, but next time I’ll be better prepared and resolved to be stronger. I now feel that I can give permission to myself to write as I really need to in my memoir and not hold back. Fearless writing is the only way isn’t it? Otherwise we don’t ‘own’ it and therefore we can’t be honest as we write and words just don’t flow. I take on board your advice about getting the first draft written first and then dealing with the rest later on. It is the best way, I can see that now.
      Yes, the fear that I truly thought was debilitating me is now turning into that familiar and what I had thought long-lost excitement once again…that knowledge that I’m on the right path and there is no going back. I’m in too deep now!
      Thank you so much my friend, I value all you share with me, you inspire and and encourage me greatly and it means so much that you take the time to do so. I am definitely ready for that walk, time to blow off some steam and put the world to rights. Have a great weekend my friend and I hope you soon get some peace and quiet… 🙂 ❤

      Like

      • I/m so glad you feel better about getting on and writing our memoir. 45,000 words is way up there. I’m at about 62,000 and seemed to have hit a brick wall at full speed. I thought my other writing was just more important but writing to you have realised that I had put my self in hospital (metaphorically) and it was time to rise, take my own advice and write some events without censureship. They will have to be censured on an edit but to keep the flow going they have to be written. Thanks Sherri. You have helped me as much as I may have helped you. Cheers my friend, ❤

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        Ahh…this makes me smile Irene to read this, and I ‘m so glad that during our long chats and putting our thoughts out in front like this that you have now risen from your hospital bed to write what is truly on your mind and heart. That is it isn’t it? To write and keep the flow going it HAS to be uncensored…and then comes the edit. I’m getting this now and it really helps. It’s great to know that I’ve been able to help you too, so happy about that and I hope that now you are out of hospital you are feeling stronger and more energised than ever. Here’s to both our writings…and let’s make sure we keep healthy and keep writing is truly most important. Cheers to you too my friend 🙂 ❤

        Like

  43. It’s all a bit overwhelming, isn’t it? Dealing with real life and your past life? There are a handful of bloggers that I am trying to follow because their posts are worth the time that I don’t have. You can do this. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Diane, it is always such a pleasure to hear from you…and I thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog, means a great deal to me, really does. Yes, it is overwhelming sometimes but I feel a bit better after getting this post out. So I can keep going…and will do my very best. I hope you have a lovely weekend my friend… 🙂

      Like

  44. olganm says:

    I’ve been conversing with a fellow writer (through e-mail mostly) for a while, about our difficulties, the hard moments, the uncertainty, the marketing, the bad reviews, the technical challenges, life interfering with writing, being an author…And our motto has become ‘Keep going’. In our case we’re talking about fiction. I take my hat off to you for writing about your life. But I’ll also tell you ‘Keep going’. Good luck!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hello Olga! Thank you very much for stopping by and reading my post and sharing your thoughts. It is so good that you have a fellow writer to share your journey with in this way. I’ve found some wonderful writing ‘mentors’ and friends here through blogging and we agree just the same as you and your friend…it is vital to keep going and not give up. But you are right, there are so many challenges. Your encouragement is very much appreciated and I wish the very same for you in your writing too 🙂

      Like

  45. Lyn Buckley says:

    Sherri, whatever you do, please keep writing! Though I don’t understand why someone so talented would have so much fear and doubt (FYI your pictures put mine to SHAME) but I know that’s how you feel and I’m praying for you. For peace that surpasses all understanding. You must keep writing, it is your gift !! xo

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…Lyn, you know of my struggles and how I can so easily sabotage myself but by writing all this down (after months of feeling unsettled in my writing) I felt a lot better about things again. I’ve felt able to keep pushing through and so glad to be able to put it all ‘out there’. It turned out to be a good thing to do that. You prayers, encouragement and support mean so much to me…so here I go!!! 🙂 xo

      Like

  46. I will sit next to you my friend, chat, listen and read your stories, share a cup of tea or coffee, go through life’s many dreams whether happy, sad, or heart breaking. Yes, there will be obstacles along the way in your writing and there will be times when words seemed to have dried up but no matter what never give up on your dreams. Just like what you said, our stories are meant to be shared. You readers will relate to your journey in a deep meaningful way because you write with your heart. In makes a difference when we connect in a more personal way with our readers. It makes them walk with us as much as we walk with them. I believe that your book will be a success. It will be a celebration of everything that inspires us all. Your friends and family are with you. They will walk with you. They will face with you each and every fear. They will win each battle with you and celebrate every victory won. God bless and wishing you and your family all the best.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Wouldn’t that be so great my friend? There are those two chairs by the sea, waiting to be filled with two friends sharing their sorrows and their joys, their failures and their victories, encouraging and supporting and making one another laugh and find the ‘funny’ in life’s more serious moments…and you have warmed my heart greatly with your wonderfully encouraging words. It’s so good to read all that you say here because it shows me the power of connecting with one another here, as we all share our hearts, our stories, our journeys, our trials and tribulations. It shows how we can urge one another on in the journey and never give up on each other. For that I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I feel much better after getting this post ‘out there’, my line in the sand, my battle cry. Now I feel that I can face those fears and my writing struggles and can press on with a renewed confidence. Thank you so much my friend, We stand together…God bless you now and always… 🙂

      Like

  47. prior says:

    Sherri – I read this a couple days ago but had to come back to comment. anyhow, after I read it – I had like 3 other things come my way about fear – including an article about Tchaikovsky and how he shut his eyes when he led the music – not to feel the music as some have suggested – but I guess later he admitted that he was gripped with fear to be up there. anyhow, the theme kept coming up and I REALLY enjoyed your share.

    the flow of the piece and the pictures you gave us were seamless. and I will take you up on that tea – and I call the yellow chair!! ❤

    anyhow, just this post itself highlights your gift as a writer – so cheers to that too

    but what I wanted to share was just two thoughts. First – I think poetry – and some writing – is a lot like other art – and it is SO subjective. And sometimes if our work is not appreciated it can be a layered thing – which I think you touch upon too. But a great example comes with an artist I know who had a painting rejected to be hung in a few art shows. One place even gave some negative critical remarks. But he liked the piece – a lot – and one day – it was hung in a show and ended up winning an award – I do not recall all the details to his story – but I used to share it with my art students because when work gets affirmed overtly it is infusing – and vice versa. and I would remind them of the subjectivity and also of maybe the comparative nature of what was occurring at the time. For example, sometimes art pieces are selected as a winner only because of content – like everyone did mixed media but this person used foil as a media – and won first place with because and it came alive in comparison to the bland feel of the other works at the time. But that same foil piece may not have placed at all if it were in a different art show. and so in my head, I wonder what was going on when you submitted your poems – like what other "similar" pieces came in – or the one or two people who pre-screened the selections – well what was in their subjective mind. and like Dr. Seuss – who had at least 27 rejections that we know of – well he kept at it and probably had to encourage himself and remind himself of not taking it personal when rejections come.

    anyhow, the second thing to remind us all about is that sometimes less is more. Yes, our writing is meant to be shared – but it does not always have to win an Emmy or become a best seller to be a success. It comes down to how we define success. and in 1992 I heard Bonnie Raitt in an interview and they asked her "how do you feel that you are now successful?" and she said (something like) "you mean how do I feel now that I am getting recognized and making some bigger money – well that is great – but I was successful long ago – to be a musician and to enjoy my guitar…"

    and emily dickinson's work was rejected at the time – and the pieces she did publish were tweaked to be "acceptable" – which is wrong – but had to be done I guess with the way social things are – but I also once heard someone say that to not be so easily accepted may be a good sign.

    last thought on the less is more- you see – there once was a sunday school teacher who only had a small class of 7. But those seven kids turned out to each have huge ministries and touched millions of lives – but if that teacher did not work in such small roll – those kids would have missed out on years of being fed by her. and so maybe your memoir will be a family treasure that will be built upon later by family members. or maybe you are meant to touch lives through cool blog posts like this because maybe the angst is what fuels your better works. I heard someone say that if van Gogh sold more than one painting – it may have changed his output – and it was likely a gift that he worked from a wrestling stance. Not that big fame and success messes everyone up – cos for some it can be a catalyst to more and better – but not for all. and sometimes the rejections we get indirectly keep us humble or keep us refocusing in ways that keep us fresh and viable and fertile. h'm.
    sorry if this is long – but how could I not chime in on such an awesome post.

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    • Sherri says:

      Well, now you are settled in the yellow chair and I’m in the other one, we can chat and put the world to rights my friend! I love your comment and had to read it more than once to take on board all you share here. I love how you use these examples of people who struggled, had numerous rejections and how they were viewed in their day but how they became successful in their work. Yet, the quote by Bonnie Raitt says so much about being comfortable and happy in our ‘success’ when we find we are doing what we are called to do. i will remember that, it is a great thing to hold on to.. So far as the poems, I believe you hit the nail on the head because in reading my rejection letter, it seemed that the judge was looking for a sort of collection with poems about bereavement and children and although my poems, like all poems (and I’ve shared them here as you know) deal with a lot of pain and angst, grief and loss, they are probably too subjective and didn’t meet the criteria of the judge that day. I’ve been thinking I’ll maybe submit them elsewhere but I’ve wanted to self-publish my own book of poetry/prose at some point so will probably do that. What I’ve come to realise since writing this post, I needed to put out my fears and insecurities as I’ve been feeling this way for months and surprisingly, by doing so, I feel so much better. It’s like a weight has dropped off me. I’ve since come to understand so much and also which path I need to stay on and which I need to turn away from. I will keep on with my memoir and even though I had to just write a difficult part, I was able to do so without constantly questioning…’should I? Shouldn’t I?’ Now I know that I should and I will and won’t hold back.
      Thank you so much Yvette, it means so much that you would share all this here and you’ve greatly encouraged me and spurred me on. You are a super-sweet star, I hope you know that… 🙂 ❤ 😀

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      • prior says:

        oh thanks so much mon amie ❤ ❤ – comfy chairs I must say!

        and real quick – have one more thought to chime in with – last year I had to make a phone call to help a teen take a certain test. Long story – but they would not let him take this test and the mom was kinda mad cos it felt like red tape having him take practice tests and whatnot – so I was trying to get things moving for them…

        when I spoke to he lady in charge – she told me something that stayed with me. She summed up how devastating a "fail" can be for a person – and in their experience – the practice test was not red tape it was more for emotional fortification and morale for the student. hm! Then she also shared some stats about how students that fail that test – well they may never come back for a retake and how devastating it can then be in other areas. She was so spot on and I was surprised that an institution was so in tune with the feelings side of things – and the impact it had on morale. well this county also boasts about their high passing right of those who take the real tests – and so I think that forcing the practice test factored in – cos if you make people take the practice test it just helps the passing rate -and well – they were smart and they knew people and they knew how raw and gritty things can get.

        anyhow – this really reminded me about how it is not always a weakness or an "unusual" state of insecurity that gets impacted by rejection or not making the grade or not being selected. It is a human thing – and while we do toughen up and develop more security over the years – it takes steps (and experience) to get there – it takes experience to wrap our head around the other details that need to be remembered (i.e. – they were looking for something else- or God just did not want that for my life at this time, etc.)

        anyhow, I love your humility!

        more tea?

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      • Sherri says:

        Love this, really demonstrates the power of keeping up morale and how devastating rejection and the perceived sense of failure can be for anyone. Encouragement and validation certainly do go a long way but we also want it to be for the right reasons and not just to hear the words. We want it because of the quality of the work and that it met the criteria, whatever it might have been, at that particular time. It has been great sitting and chatting with you by the sea in our cosy chairs Yvette. And why yes, I’d love more tea please…with a splash of milk and one sugar ❤

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  48. Writing fiction can be scary enough, but laying your life and self out there for all to see in a memoir must be terrifying. I know you’ll do it though my lovely Sherri – you’re strong, and brave, and your soul is a real deal scribbler. I boot intrusive fearful thoughts out the door while I’m writing, and refuse to allow any thoughts on what anyone else would think about my story in at all. If you can, don’t even think about the ten minutes after you whack that old publish button – scariest minutes of my life those! I know that “write for yourself” is cliche, but if you can manage that during the actual process then you won’t be as fearful. HUGS ❤ XXX

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, lovely Jo, you are always the voice of scribbling wisdom and strength to me and so many others. I need to take a page out of your book my friend and do just the same….and I do believe that after writing this post I’m at last beginning to do just that. I’ve felt so much better since I wrote this and I wasn’t expecting that….I was struggling and just couldn’t get past it so by writing about I was able to put it behind me…for now! But I can see that I need to have the right mental attitude and maybe by putting all this down like this I’m able to see that more clearly. Thanks you so much my lovely friend, it’s so great having you here… and hugs right back, they help so much 🙂 ❤ xxxxxxxx

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  49. If you didn’t doubt yourself Sherri you’d never learn anything, never improve. Just keep on doubting BUT when someone you trust praises you, please listen to them and accept it. Praise from someone who knows what they’re talking about is worth a million pats on the back from sychophants. Let it give you the courage to carry on carrying on.

    Like

  50. Lisa Reiter says:

    Courageous post Sherri – I’m sorry I don’t have time to read the comments but I am sure I can echo many if I say there’s no quality found in ignorant bliss. Balancing my perfectionist traits such that I get anything on the page that makes me feel good about myself, is a very tricky business indeed. In terms of quantity of output I am therefore very slow but learning not to look behind me at the wolves as I trudge up Sarah’s hill! I have also accepted that I am still learning a lot about writing and the many pages I have yet to write will be better and easier for that leaning. I actually wrote a scene last week that I am still buzzing about but despite my recent declarations still finding blogligations a huge draw on time available – consequently I haven’t written for my memoir for 3 working days now.
    That in itself is a constant behavioural WIP and down to my perfectionist approach to constructing posts. Hey ho – I’ll ultimately have to do less of them but have some I am committed to finishing first.
    Good Luck with it all, Lisa xx

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Lisa, I am nodding furiously in agreement at your comment here because I so understand! I feel that I too am learning a great deal as I write and blog which can only be a good thing for our memoirs.Those blogligations are ever present…look at me freaking out having just spent three days in the hospital with my daughter having planned so much for Friday and the first free weekend in ages. As with you, I go days sometimes and not write on my memoir then the perfectionist in me starts with the berating and so it goes.
      The battle will be ongoing I think and as we’ve said before, there’s no easy answer. And here I am saying sorry for not being able to take part in your bite this week so I’ll have to start over for your next prompt, which I do so enjoy. I really thought I was on a roll, managing, keeping it all under control…and then, wham! Still, life does that and we just have to go with it.
      Thanks so much Lisa, and I wish for you the very same…at least we know we are not alone 🙂 xx

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