Last year, I wrote a chapter in a book called ‘Women Let’s Rise”.
While I was writing it, I kept getting lost. I knew I wanted to share my experiences and the journey that has made me better but I didn’t know where to start. I must have re-wrote my chapter countless times before the one that’s on the shelves today.
But for a while, deep down, I felt like it wasn’t good enough.
Thus, the spiral began.
The next morning, I woke up feeling a slight pressure filling my chest.
I immediately recognized it. Hello, anxiety — my old friend. It’s been a while since I felt this way so I decided I would meditate. After a few moments, I had a small breakthrough: I’m feeling anxious because my work is published and I can’t delete it if I wanted to.
Now, hello to the perfectionist in my head.
With online posts, I can easily archive or delete them. I can’t ⎈⌘⌫ a printed book —and that lowkey freaks me TF out. But it’s not like that’s what I want. That’s just not an option for me. So if my work isn’t good enough, I can’t change it.
Right now, I have about 50 drafts on Medium. And while I write more than the average person, I think the fact that I always don’t share them, I’m struggling with the idea of my work is physically ✨ p u b l i s h e d ✨.
Do you understand what that means?
My words. My personal journey. P-R-I-N-T-E-D. In a book. With more than one copy. For thousands (if not, millions) of eyes to see.
As soon as I realized that, this is what I spiralled into:
- Did I share too much?
- Can the readers relate to it?
- What will the biggest takeaway be for the readers?
- Will my words have a positive impact?
- Am I qualified to write about personal growth?
- Does the chapter flow?
- What do people who know me IRL really think?
I know. I know. I KNOW. Spiralling doesn’t solve problems. It’s also hard to stop it once you’re on a roll. But there are ways to slow your thoughts down:
- Legit slow TF down.
- Reflect and release—doesn’t matter how you do it. I like to write them down like a letter to myself.
- Listen to feel good/meditative beats—or whatever makes you feel good. I help myself to a good serving of R&B/Soul.
- If this is a pattern, post kind reminders or keep a preventative routine for the next time that works for you. I’m still figuring this out. So far, I text/call a friend, vent and get it out of my system, and go back to #2.
I keep having to remind myself that there’s no right or wrong answer to any of the questions I obsessively asked myself.
Higher Me understands that it’s a matter of belief. Do I believe that my words will change someone’s life? Maybe eventually. Current Me believes a variety of things because nothing is certain and what is control? But taking a step back, I do believe that by owning my story, I’m taking my power back. I went through what I went through and that’s the truth.
I wrote this piece two weeks after the book published.
And as the year end nears, I really believe that writing how I feel in the moment makes things feel less scary and I can get more clarity. In my reflection, between the time I first wrote this to right now, I reacted the way I was because I was second-guessing if my story would live up to the expectations of readers everywhere.
But I am doing my best. I am doing my best. I AM DOING MY BEST.
I know there’s no end if I continuee to lament in what I can’t change (especially something that’s already been published) and even knowing that, it doesn’t automatically make negative thoughts and feelings easier to deal with. I felt how I felt when I lived what I lived. And I wrote what I wrote because it is what it is.
So, now I can only hope that my words will bring someone’s spark back to find what sets their soul on fire.
Until next time x
Ps. ‘Women Let’s Rise’ is now published and available in-stores and online everywhere.
Annie Ngu is the co-founder of the Women United Project, an author, a writer and a Lead UX designer at EnergyX. She lives in Toronto, ON spending so much money on streaming services that she doesn’t even remember the total number of subscriptions. She’s on Twitter @AnnieNgu