Self-Publishing & Self-Conviction
It’s been a month since I’ve posted! I’m really trying to commit to posting every week. The week zooms by and I forget to keep track and also forget that every post doesn’t have to be super long. I recently read a post on a friend’s Instagram that said, “Do or don’t. Stop trying.” So here I am with another post and self-conviction, holding myself accountable for my own work.
This feeling of accountability follows me around every day, biting at my ankles with a, “Are you working hard enough?” And I try to not beat myself up in-between moments of rest and full on aggressive work ethic to understand that sometimes you need to just sit down. In doing this, I’ve been trying to figure out how to be more in touch with my consciousness and self again, because I’m sometimes knocked out of it like a punch to the stomach.
Whenever this happens, I feel like I’m drifting and simultaneously moving through the day like a robot in auto-mode. These attempts to center my self have been difficult in-between applying to full-time jobs, getting a temporary job, embracing new things, and self-publishing my first book as it seems easier to just move to the next thing instead of stopping to calm myself first.
I'm hoping that moving back into my writing again, despite the times when I don't even want to, brings a bit of the calm. I self-published a book! The first thing everyone asks when I announce this is, “How does it feel to be published?” and secondly, “Why did you choose to self-publish?”
Often in the creative writing community, we're told to wait and not rush. That our writing has so much time to mature and grow and maybe you should let that poem or story sit for a while and edit it later. A while turns from days to weeks to months to years, to a decade of not entertaining a thought you had and a world you'd given life to. In that time, the self-doubt, the creativity induced depression, and the emotional labor are beyond overwhelming. I don't think we value the creative enough. I don't think we truly acknowledge the core of that work as an incessant vulnerability.
So I decided to self-publish. It wasn't me rushing, but it is me not waiting. I will no longer wait to achieve my dreams. I decided to put it out there now because I don't need to wait to value my writing. I decided to put this out there because I don't need to wait to value myself, I value me now. I decided to put this out there because I don't need to wait to value my black life, most of the world doesn't as it is, so I value it now.
Despite the nights I spent criticizing myself and wondering if the truths I’d written were too harsh or too blatant, I am proud of my work and I feel that every minute spent on it was well worth it. If I can help someone put words to their feelings and let them know that they are not alone, then I am glad to do so. There are many things that go unspoken in the world, many of those things are unspoken, erased, or hushed experiences. These things exist both inside and outside of the black community, but their origins are all the same. I wanted to shed light on them. Bright white light. I wanted to show that blackness in this world may be perceived as a problem but it is truly a solace. Black culture and ancestry are real and alive and they are beautiful and they are love.
Thinking about my book and forward movements with it leads me to self-conviction. After talking with several other people on their publishing experiences, I realized that I needed and need to do more, as well as hold myself accountable for my own expectations of sharing the content in my book and engaging with readers. This is a process that takes time and patience as it is not at all easy to manage and market art.
And I am not a patient person! I am reminded of this daily. I have no patience in my DNA whatsoever and I think especially, after coming from college and doing so much, being in a place where I do anything less than that is supposed to be calming but its actually been more chaotic. I thrive on being busy and that level of productivity has in many ways transferred over to self-fulfillment. However, now I’m being faced with battling the cognitive dissonance of two facts: I AM THE SHIT and I AIN’T SHIT! I still have so much to learn and grow through and I aim to always humble myself in my processes, but still remain confident. As my confidence has wavered in my artistic endeavors and in what in the world I’m doing with my life, my productivity has too, and I float back into auto-mode, letting the days pass along with opportunities for self-betterment. So no, I’m not perfect, and I’m always working to make myself better. But yes, there are times when I have to take a break before starting again and times when I don’t want to start again at all. Yet, here I am.
While productivity, or the illusion of it, can be a mess, it can also be rewarding. Celebrate your small successes!! This goes back to being patient. As I harbor patience, I will also harbor ambition, and the two are not mutually exclusive. There are things I do every day that I should be proud of and I’m sure there are things you should be proud of too.
Click here for the link to purchase my first book Origins: Lamentations of the Blackbird