When I first conceived of the idea of writing a curriculum-supporting children’s novel, I has recently left the education world behind me. Making that decision to walk away from my single greatest focus and passion was gut-wrenching at the time, but I do not regret it for one second. Many people still ask me whether I will ever go back to teaching and I categorically reply, “No. Nope. No way.” The education system in Britain chewed me up again and again, that when I was eventually spat out, I was a nervous gibbering wreck who did not know where she was or what day it was – nightmarish! Surviving in the current environment takes a strength of will and character that I just can’t/couldn’t match up to. My admiration for former colleagues and anyone who teaches (many of whom struggle on with mental health issues in tow) is immeasurable. Anyone who has not had to endure teaching in the last ten or so years has no concept of understanding what they face.
Anyway, this post isn’t meant to be a soapbox rant.
Walking away from something which you have wanted for half your life and fought to achieve for ten years or more, is the most daunting thing in the world. Which was why my having a new focus and passion was (and still is) so important to me. I thrive on challenge and set exceedingly high expectations for myself (the major reason that everything spiraled away from me). A big part of my mental health journey over this last year has been to work on reducing those expectations to more manageable and realistic levels. On the whole, I feel I have achieved this and the strategies I have developed have helped me to manage many of my anxieties associated with “failure” and certainly my association of those failures with my self-worth.
This morning I was reflecting on my mood and I recognised that I am feeling many of the same emotions that I did before. Taking the decision to self-publish and everything that goes with that, means facing the concept of failure on a large, public scale once again. In wanting you, my dear readers, to love Osha and her family as much as I do and enjoy the world that I have created from the historical sources, I am very much placing myself in a position of potential disappointment and failure. Looking at it, there are two worst-case failing scenarios:
- No one buys the book.
- People buy it and hate it.
Now there are pros and cons to both. With the first scenario – I lose nothing but my time and energy. I will be immensely disappointed but also recognise the realities of these things – self publishing is easy, it’s getting sales that is hard. With the second – I face the criticism and negativity of people which I have also found difficult, but at least people bought it! The reality is that some will like it, some will not like it and some will not buy it…that’s the way things are.
The biggest thing about this whole process is that no one will get to read it if I never publish it. So there we go it all comes down to that old adage: You don’t know unless you try. The most important thing is that I face those fears, those anxieties, those negative thoughts and put them to the test.
…I now have the Pokemon cartoon theme tune in my head…!