Positive Writer

Writing through doubt and fear, and you can, too!

What I Am Most Scared About In Publishing my Writing (JUMP!)

Today I am presenting the 2nd place winner of the Writers Crushing Doubt Writing Contest, “Jump” by Jay Amour. This is a brilliant essay in the most real way. You’ll have to read it to “get it.” It’s worth it. Join me in congratulating Jay in the comments. Stay tuned for the next winner.

On to the winning essay…

jump

At this moment, I have literally achieved everything I set out to. Nothing has slipped through the cracks.

I graduated from the best public university in the world, was the first student to complete a simultaneous JD/PhD degree in my graduate school, and I even bought and sold a house (with no money down and financed through roommates) to pay off all of my student loans, exactly how I planned. I passed two bar exams in a row, had a wedding from the movies, took a two-month vacation eating and collecting art in Mexico, and now I work at the exact law firm, in the exact position, doing the exact work that I had envisioned.

And… I hate it.

I am incredibly unhappy. Coming to terms with the fact that everything I dreamed of is not what I want has been a real struggle for me lately—in all areas of my life.  I am not quite sure what to do about it. I need to do something.  But, the advice I receive makes me feel like there may not be a solution for me.

Successful people say that true success comes from picking one thing you are passionate about and mastering it. But I am not a lawyer, I am not a writer, I am not a business woman or politician. I may or may not be all of those things, but certainly don’t know how to pick, and I am afraid that dabbling in a little of everything will ensure me a life of struggle and mediocre success in anything I do.

In fact, I don’t even know how to talk about it. I feel incredibly guilty, all the time, and angry with myself about being dissatisfied with my success.

I was listening to Lena Dunham’s podcast today at 5 am on my way to the airport (she is perhaps my first case of fandom, I love her).  This particular episode was about work. She decided to talk about work because one of the criticisms of her book was that she didn’t talk about it enough.  She said that when she thought about why she didn’t talk about work, which is actually her favorite thing, was because she was scared. That somehow it felt more appropriate to talk about sex in a public space than her success as a woman in the workplace.

For me though, it isn’t a question of being afraid to talk about workplace success or sex; feminine power or feminine emotion—it’s and. It’s like there always has to be two sides to a working woman, and each has her separate place.

I am sure this is true in the arts, but I think it is especially true as a lawyer / doctor / corporate-whatever where any indication of feeling or emotional reaction is not only taboo, but also counterproductive. I wonder if it is possible for us, as woman, to be all parts of ourselves in the workplace and still maintain professional legitimacy.

Honestly, that is what I am most scared about in publishing my writing. Being both, or all of it together—sexual, professional, emotional, cold, wanting wealth and power, starving for art and obsessed with ideas, while also wanting to give away everything and move to a farm or take up arms and join the revolution.

I am afraid that by revealing more parts of myself, besides the professional stoic woman with a husband and goals of conventional success, will reveal my fraud in all of it. This is not just about being a person and interacting socially, but also in terms of how I spend my days. What my work is.

The truth is that I am impatient. I am easily bored, rarely satisfied, and I want all of the things all of the time. Sometimes I cause problems in my life just see which of the scenarios I have already played out in my mind turns out to be true, and then I push even harder in hopes it turns out to be something I haven’t already thought of.

So the thought of doing only one thing, for an indefinite period of time, terrifies me. I am afraid I will destroy myself and everything around me just so I can keep interested in waking up in the morning. I periodically google one or all of these issues, and what pops up are the myriad of mental health problems I probably have.

Maybe I do. But I guess I still have some hope that there can be a way for crazy woman, like me, to have it all. Do all of the things and feel all of the things and still be successful at one or all of them.

Feeling that scares me, writing about it publicly worries me even more. I am petrified that by sharing the other sides of myself will somehow preclude me from a respected career in case I do choose just one. I am fairly certain it will preclude me from any public office. But that is not the only thing that makes me scared to write.

I am afraid of hurting people. I am afraid that by destroying the vision my peers and loved ones have of me, I will also destroy the part of me in them that they kept close. I am afraid of hurting my family who support me, like if they actually knew all the fucked up things I do and feel they will give up on me, loose respect for me.

My family was surprised to find out that I had smoked pot when I was in high school. Honestly, what is going to happen when they find out that there are almost no drugs I haven’t tried, that I wrote my dissertation on mushrooms, that I have slept with two different lovers in one night, or that I think about death almost every day? I am afraid of hurting my partner, and his entire family if they read any of this. But in writing this now, I think maybe what I am most afraid of, is for me to see my whole self; to let anybody else see that I am hurting too.

I know I don’t have to publish any of the things I write. But I will. Maybe because I am bored and want to push boundaries, maybe because it will mean something. I guess I don’t really care.

In this case, I truly do not know what the outcome will be. Most likely an awkwardly small number of friends and family will read this, we will all feel weird and maybe make some small talk about it once or twice, and then it will fizzle into another failed side project, proving of my fear that I need to pick one thing to do which isn’t what I actually like (writing). But maybe not…

I guess there is only one way to find out.

Writers Crushing Doubt Writing Course is now open. It’s an online course for anyone who has a sincere desire in becoming the accomplished writer they’re meant to be. The course will only be open for new students for a short period of time, so if you want to get in on the introductory price go check it out here and sign up today! Be sure to scroll down the main page to see all of the curriculum and the bonuses included.

About Bryan Hutchinson

I'm a positive writer and when that doesn't work, I eat chocolate. I help fellow writers overcome doubt and thrive! In my free time, I love visiting castles with my wife, Joan. Join me on Twitter and Facebook.

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Like a good friend, Bryan guides you through the process of facing your inner demons, conquering the craft, and creating work that matters. ―Jeff Goins
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  • Carrie Aulenbacher

    There IS only one way to find out things in this life – your essay hits the nail on the head. Much congrats, Jay, for your 2nd place win!! #GreatJob

  • Fearless and raw. Congrats on the win.

  • JT Early

    I totally get it Jay. I have some of these same struggles as a corporate lawyerish woman who found out I actually hate corporate lawyers, but thought it was the thing to do to make me successful. I am scared of what my family and friends will think when they read my work mostly because my life was more fucked up than they know, but I’m working my way through those fears now. I already moved out of the city and onto the farm, and I’m hoping to quit my job next, but that is a really, really big deal. I’m the only one in the family with the degree and there are many people looking to me for help. What on earth will they think of me when I throw it all away to write books, play on the farm and grow vegetables? I think it is weird that you manifested all those career successes that you thought you wanted, but can’t seem to manifest the thing that you really want. Which by the way, I wasn’t able to discern what that is in this piece. Perhaps that is the struggle you are having too. Not knowing what you want can make you feel groundless and perpetually unsatisfied. Getting to the bottom of the dissatisfaction will likely solve much of this anxiety for you. Best of wishes on your writing!

    • JayAmour

      I think you are right. Work in progress 😉

  • Sara Butler Zalesky

    Wow, Jay. As another legal professional woman and ADHD/caffeine junkie, nicely done. Inspirational.

  • Julie Mayerson Brown

    As a writer of fiction, I reveal myself in my stories. I’m cracking open my brain and spilling the contents onto the page, telling my readers: “This is how I think; this is where my imagination goes; these are my secrets.” Makes one quite vulnerable….

  • Congratulations on the win, Jay!

  • Molly DePue

    Hi, Jay! Congrats for the win. You sound like a multipotentialite to me. Google Emilie Wapnick. She has a TED talk and a great site puttylike.com that may help you see there is no mental disease at all. It is just how you are wired.

  • JayAmour

    Thanks for the support everyone!! And many thanks to Bryan for the opportunity. For sure. I honestly never thought anybody would enjoy or care about my writing. I just sort of started because I felt like I couldn’t not write anymore… turns out it feels amazing, and I am still going!! If you want to check out how the progress on all of this going, you can follow me on http://www.enamourme.com 🙂

  • Congratulations, Jay. Well done. I did follow you and read other pieces. Keep going. I am rooting for you. Grateful to this contest and Bryan for the opportunities to meet others with writing and so much more in common.

  • samcarter44

    Nice job, Jay! Your essay is very raw and honest.

  • Momo Wang

    thanks, you’re not alone.

  • N K

    Congrats Jay 🙂 Very honest and raw. Do your best in the course you have won!

  • Wow – this is great. Your willingness to be open is something to be admired, and I think it will attract people to your writing. Way to go! And way to go, dealing with your fear of publishing! 🙂

  • Rachael M Colby

    I wrote you a letter on my site:
    Dear Jay,
    Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a land far away, (really), I felt like you speak of in your brave and honest prize winning essay “Jump.” I achieved… Continued here: https://tattooitonyourheart.com/2016/06/28/jesus-is-not-a-ball-chain/
    Hope to see you there. 🙂 BTW, keep writing.