I just published my first novel. But I am not a writer.
Says the nagging, self-doubting little devil that has been on my shoulder throughout the process of fulfilling my dream. 'Who do you think you are?!', he screams. In my native Scandinavia, the devil has a name. I grew up with the written law of Jante; these devastating ten rules put on paper by Axel Sandemose in 1933 that negatively portrays and criticises individual success and achievement as unworthy and inappropriate, according to Wikipedia.
My real accomplishment in publishing my novel, was my victory over the nagging inner voice who told me I could not do it.
Afraid to Create
Every third Swede would like to write a novel. (Source: Svenska Dagbladet, Ida Théren, 18th September 2016) and apparently only 5% of all submitted manuscripts in Norway will get published. Despite the brutal statistics, I embarked on my novel-writing project full of optimism. I rented a house on the beach on Mallorca for four weeks and left friends and family behind to immerse myself in another version of me. I loved it. When the occasional tourist asked what I was doing, I answered casually; I am a writer. Inside I beamed with pride and blushed of shame.
Why are we so afraid of running after our dreams? I have a successful international business career and I never felt ashamed of achieving success on my company's behalf. But when editing the first draft of my novel, the little devil arrived on the should the very moment at sat down at my desk. 'That sounds banal! They will all laugh at you. No one will take you seriously. Embarrassing.'
Stronger through Meditation
I started my writing adventure in response to an inner longing that I had ignored and ridiculed for years. Meditation became essential to me in preparing to follow my dream. Through the daily 20 minutes of sitting still, problems dissolved and a new reality emerged. It expanded my sense of self and a braver and brighter version of me emerged. The world around me appeared kinder and more generous.
My daily sanctuary gave me the strength to start writing. The world that I created in my mind became real over time. I kept telling myself that I was a writer, despite that my business card read "Marketing Director".
Getting Older is a Blessing
Getting older is wonderful. I lovingly embrace being 53 and find much truth in what Veronique Vienne writes in her book 'The Art of Growing Up': 'Could it be that each new stage and each new situation in life is an opportunity to shed youthful insecurities, reevaluate old habits, and get rid of obsolete constraints?".
Although I earned pocket money as a teen ager publishing poems in a weekly magazine, it is only with age that I have the life experience to write a novel. Throughout my writing process, I have remembered places, people and feelings that I cherish as my precious jewels.
Making the World a Richer Place
Our opportunities to create and be heard have never been greater. The internet and the digital world offers everyone the chance to find an audience. But even without wanting to be famous, the main obstacle in fulfilling our dreams, is the inner judge.
I believe the world is a richer place when there is room for creative abundance. I cheer everyone who goes out of their comfort zone to follow their inner voice to create. I salute the courage. Go create.