Guest Blogger Victoria Zackheim writes:
How many of us are beset by that nagging voice that tells us we’re not good enough, not thin enough, not smart, tall, educated, talented enough? I don’t know about you, but I face this every day. It used to run my life . . . now it’s a tiny slice of annoyance that I can easily push away. It took years—decades, to be honest—but those demons are silenced. When they try to reappear, they’re quickly vanquished. Not dead and gone, but shoved aside where they can do no harm.
It wasn’t always like that . . . and for many women, and those of us who spend our lives not only writing, but putting our words into the world for everyone to read . . . and judge . . . fear is often the rule, whereas a sense of security is the exception.
Girls are too often told to behave, not to rock the boat, but if we want to live full and creative lives, we must take risks. I have a friend with ten novels published, including at least one on the NY Times bestseller list, and she still worries herself sick with every publication. I have another friend who’s got nearly thirty million books in print, yet she battles the same self doubt suffered by first-time authors. Why do we do this to ourselves?
It’s about trust. Trusting ourselves. Trusting the universe to treat us kindly. Trusting our friends and family to be there for us, sharing the celebration when all goes well, sharing the pain when it doesn’t. And we have to trust time, that finite thing that can be friend or foe. A support system is golden. For me, it’s what keeps me breathing, writing, and taking risks. When I hit 60, I was NOT happy with my body of work, so I decided to act on every creative thought that crossed my brain. I promised myself to view a no-go idea not as a failure, but as an idea that had no legs. And I created a new definition of “failure”: the idea we’re too afraid to pursue,
The result? Since I made that promise to myself, I’ve sold six books, have two plays in development, signed an option with Identity Films for my first feature screenplay, wrote a documentary that ran nationwide on PBS, and am teaching writing workshops for UCLA online, and at writers’ conferences here, as well as in Canada, France and Mexico.
You are never too old to follow your dreams. You want to write a memoir, but you’re convinced that your mother’s ghost will haunt you? Make it a novel! Got an idea for a play, short story, anthology . . . just do it!
Whatever you read in the beauty magazines, whatever the television commercials promise, you ARE getting older . . . and it’s a good thing. Every day gives you one more shot of maturity, confidence, and fodder for your writing . . .or for living a fuller and more satisfying life. As for me . . . I can’t wait to see what my seventies bring!
Victoria Zackheim is the author of the novel, The Bone Weaver, and editor of six anthologies, the most recent being FAITH: Believers, Agnostics, and Atheists Confront the Big Questions (working title, Simon & Schuster/Beyond Words, March 2015 publication). Her screenplay, Maidstone, a feature film, is in development with Identity Films. Her plays The Other Woman and Entangled are in development, with the latter having its staged reading at San Francisco’s Z Space Theater in April. Victoria writes documentary films for On the Road Productions. Their latest, Where Birds Never Sang, appeared nationwide on PBS. She teaches Personal Essay in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and is a 2010 San Francisco Library Laureate.