Jackie, be kind to yourself. Writing is a long, arduous, difficult, but rewarding process, and almost nothing comes to you easily. You have to fight for it all, and you do that by showing up, day after day, sitting down, and doing hard work. You eat an elephant one bite at a time, and to be honest, it’s probably irrelevant where you start: toes, ears, tail. Bring salt.
But really, salt is prayer, friends, and courage that looks an awful lot like fear. It’s easy to confuse the two, but courage is fear that keeps showing up to work.
You can do that. It will look different on different days, and that is perfectly fine.
Please remember that you love this. The writing life is a mysterious amalgam of your choosing it and its choosing you. That feels almost holy.
This process necessitates many steps backward. It’s an inherent part of the journey, and that means that even steps backward are steps forward. And that fits with your worldview too, you know: all things working for good.
Keep your hands and heart and mind open to grace, which is more abundant than you ever seem to realize.
And find the joy in this journey. Please. There is so much there, and sometimes you let fears and doubts scream so loudly that you can’t hear the laughter. Listen for it.
Be gentle with yourself. You’re not alone. Not ever.
Image credit: I think the image of the giant elephant in the sea is from the cover of an Explosions in the Sky album. It was so perfect that I had to use it.