Once, I was shrunk down to thumb-size and married off to a frog against my will. I also walked through a hot desert after losing my magic lamp to a devious old man. I’ve even danced with princesses in the middle of the night, and swam underwater with mermaids.
Once upon a time, I lived in books.
Sometimes when all of those incredible things weren’t happening, I wondered about the people who wrote those books, and felt certain I could do the same when I grew up. So I practiced in my many, many notebooks without worrying about whether anyone would like my stories, because they weren’t for anyone but me.
But now it has been a long time since I swam with a mermaid, or danced with a princess, or traded my magic lamp without also worrying whether not having a regular job was hurting my family financially, or whether an editor would like my writing, or if my books would sell. I worry over every word, wonder if anyone will care, stare anxiously at the page. That doubt really hampers the certainty I once had.
With fear, it’s hard to hold on to faith.
My mother is a woman who is filled with faith. She had faith when I was three and said that I would be a writer someday. She has faith now even while she watches me struggle. She advised me to pray. “You have to believe it,” she says, or it’s useless. Doubt for her, is the devil. Not a metaphorical devil, but actually The Devil. And it works for her. And as much as I resist it, I know that in the past it has worked for me too, when I just believed. It’s how my first novel was written. I had no idea that I could fail, so I didn’t. I just believed.
It seems ridiculous because it’s so simple. But I think it’s simple because it’s true.