One of the issues I’ve had with starting my writing, is feeling like a phony. I started the whole thing as a hobby, and once it took off I wasn’t sure where to go with it. Honestly, I didn’t even tell anyone but my closest family and friends that I was even writing a book. I don’t know if I felt like it would add more pressure, or if I felt like I had no business pretending to be a writer. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, and I felt like I needed to reach some sort of milestone before I felt comfortable telling people about my writing. First it was reaching fifty pages, then it was 100 pages, and then it was being more than half way done. In my mind, reaching these milestones would make me that much more of a “writer”.
Once I finally starting telling people what I’d been up to, I was so surprised by their reactions. Everyone was so supportive and wanted to know more about what I was writing. Instead of putting pressure on me to write more, or write better, it made me more excited to share what I was creating. It made me realize that these milestones I was aiming for didn’t make me more of a writer. I was a writer because I was sitting down at my computer and writing down the words that popped into my head. They don’t have to be good, and there doesn’t have to be a certain amount of them, they just had to be there.
I’ve come to realize it’s the same with my kids. I still feel like I don’t know what the hell I’m doing half the time. With Tootsie, my four-year-old daughter, I felt such an insane amount of pressure to make sure she hit every milestone, not just on time, but early. She needed to be walking, talking, reciting her alphabet earlier than all the books and articles said. I’m a stay-at-home mom, and that was my job. I needed to excel at my job, which meant Toots needed to excel as well. And she did. She was, and still is, one of the smartest little girls I’ve ever met. But who the hell really cares? I don’t mean who cares that she’s smart. She would be just as smart if I hadn’t been the crazy mom setting up tot school for her when she was 18 months, but who cares how early those things happened? I know who, no one!
So why all the pressure? Why do we drive ourselves crazy by setting such high expectations for ourselves? I’m convinced that no one really knows what they’re doing. Most of us are just making it up as we go along. But the best part of that is, making stuff up as I go along just might end up giving me one hell of a career.