Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
I don't have any statistics to back this up, but based on personal experience, lots of reading, and many conversations with other women, I think many women have a hard time believing in themselves. Some of the women I've found most inspiring because of their accomplishments or apparent confidence have confided to me their own struggles with self-doubt. So often, it seems, women hesitate to pursue their dreams because they lack the confidence that they can achieve them or, worse, question whether they deserve the right to try. Many times we keep our dreams secret, afraid of how other people might react if we admit that we dream of accomplishing great things.
Or maybe it's just me.
Since I was a little girl, I've wanted to write–to write lots of things, but especially to write novels. As a girl I spent hours at the public library, poring over back issues of Writer's Digest and The Writer, studying the craft. Over the course of my adult life I've spent hundreds of dollars to amass what I'm sure my husband believes is the world's largest private library of writing books. I collected notebooks full of ideas for characters and plots. But I didn't write a novel. And I seldom spoke to anyone about my dream of being a novelist.
A year or so ago I finally admitted the answer to myself: fear.
Fear that I didn't have the talent or skill or creativity required to do this thing I've dreamed of since I was a little girl. I was paralyzed by it. It was safer not to write. Because as long as I didn't try, I could continue to hope that maybe I could do it. But if I tried and failed, that dream would die forever.
Last year, though, I decided I'd let the fear paralyze me long enough, and I finally started writing my first novel. As I write this blog post, the first draft is nearly complete. Is it any good? I don't know. I can't let myself think about that until I've finished it. The goal this time around wasn't to write a masterpiece, or even to get it published. It was just to finish.
Here's the funny thing, though–even after I started writing the novel, I still didn't talk about it to anyone. I was embarrassed to tell anyone I was trying to write a novel. Afraid, I guess, that they'd secretly laugh at me. Who is she, to write a book?
But you know, if you don't believe in yourself, who will? (My husband does, God bless him.) If you can't call yourself a writer (or whatever it is you want to be), why should anybody else?
So recently I took a step that, for me, was a huge leap of faith. I launched a website, which is now the home of this blog. It's part of my decision to allow myself to say out loud that, along with the other things I am (wife, mother, lawyer, . . .), I also am a writer.
So welcome to LauraMcClellan.me. It just launched last week (as of the date I'm writing this). I hope you'll take time to click on the link and explore the site, and then maybe come back here and leave a comment telling me what you think.
Even as I launched the website, I found myself feeling embarrassed to tell anyone I'd done so. (Old habits die hard.) Who in the world does she think she is, to have a website?! She's not an author. She hasn't published a single book yet. Maybe she can't even write!
Yes, I worry about things like that. What am I going to do with a website? But I felt like it was time to take that step, so even though I have no idea where this staircase will lead, I've climbed up onto the first step. And we'll just see where it all comes out, hmm?
In the meantime, what dream have you been hiding in your heart? Are you ready to give yourself permission to pursue it, or at least to admit it's there? I'd love to encourage you. Leave a comment below, or if you want to share it with me without making it public, send me a note through the contact form on my website. I'd be happy to cheer you on or hold your hand as you start the climb on your own staircase of dreams.
I would love to hear from you.
A couple of notes for you to consider:
- If you like the design of my website, all the credit and thanks go to Tekeme Studios. If you're a writer who's considering launching (or redesigning) your own author website, I highly recommend them. Check out their website for the various services they offer. If you decide to work with them, use the code LAURAMC20 for a 20% discount on their services.
- Special thanks to Jodie Westfall Photography for the photos of me that appear on my site. I don't like being photographed, but Jodie made it fun.