Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone

I’ve been taking some time to think about my life a bit and what direction I want to go in. I have a loving wife and 4 great kids but I feel that maybe I’m not living up to my full potential. I feel that maybe I need to do a bit more with my life and give it a bit more meaning. I don’t know exactly what that entails, but it’s been keeping my brain active for the last week or so.

As a child, and into my adult years, I loved to draw. I wanted to be a cartoonist for a while. Maybe not a newspaper comic strip kind of cartoonist, but something. I looked into doing greeting cards or magazine illustrations. I always doubted myself even though I was voted “Most Artistic” in high school. But that was a long time ago. Β  πŸ™‚ Β  As with most things in my life, I let fear and doubt take over and I chickened out. I still draw from time to time, mostly for fun or to get a laugh from my kids. I know it’s technically not too late to try something in that field as I’m just beginning my 40’s, but I haven’t got the guts to put myself out there. I keep hearing that voice telling me that I’m not good enough.

My other passion is writing. I’m not the best writer or even close. I don’t have any degrees or even one college credit for writing, but I haven’t let that stop me from sharing here on my blog. I wasn’t sure about what kind of writing I wanted to do, but since religion was the biggest part of my life, it seemed logical to share about that. I have found that since leaving religion, I’ve had so much more to talk about. I’ve had my eyes opened wide and have had a lot more inspiration as a nonbeliever than I ever did as a believer. So a blogger I became.

Recently a blogger (whom I respect a great deal) made the suggestion that I gather up my writings from past posts and put them into book form. Now, writing a book has never crossed my mind before. I felt compelled to share my thoughts on a blog; at first believing it was a higher calling and then, after losing faith, believing it was my civic responsibility to share my story. But writing a book? That never even came close to being something I thought of doing. But once the seed of writing a book was planted in my brain, I got to thinking, “Could I do it? Do I have enough to fill a book? Would a publisher be interested? Who would read it? Am I foolish to think that I have what it takes to succeed if I tried?” All of these questions swirl in my head and I have a hard time answering them. I still give in to the fear and the self-doubt. I let my self-conscious mind take over and belittle me from within. It’s hard to explain if you yourself have never wrestled with low self-esteem.

So tonight I have decided to at least make an effort. If I don’t try to do something, how will I know if I will succeed or if I will fail? I have started to write down some of my thoughts and ideas for a book. I want to figure out how I want to lay things out. I’m still working on that, but I am going to try to do it. Even if no one is interested in reading my thoughts or heeding my advice, at least I will know that I did my best and I won’t have to add one more regret to my list. So I think I’m going to take a break from my usual blogging for a while to see what I can do with this new venture. I will still read posts on here and may add some of my own, but I will be devoting most of my time elsewhere.

I appreciate the support I have received here with my writing and I hope to still be an active member of this community. I think that maybe the chronicling of my journey from believer to nonbeliever might just be helpful to someone else who isn’t sure what to do. Maybe someone else is listening to the negative voices in their head and giving in to the fear and peer pressure around them. Who knows? Again, at the very least, I can say I tried to do something different and something meaningful in my life. We’ll see how things go.

elephant

25 thoughts on “Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone

  1. YES!

    Write, draw, do whatever you feel the urge to do!

    A very dear friend of mine once told me that the reasons most artists do what they do isn’t to get an end result. What they are left with at the end of the process isn’t the important part. It is the act of creativity itself that is the most important part, that is the most fulfilling, and the most satisfying. It is through that act of creativity, giving voice to your imagination, that you learn the most about yourself and the world around you.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for your encouragement. It’s still a bit scary, but I need to try. I won’t know if I can do it if I listen to my fears and hide myself away. I’ve missed many opportunities in life by not trying. Maybe I would have failed anyway in those instances, but I’ll never know. We’ll see how this turns out.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I think the most important part of writing is to address something you love. Do it for you and your kids. Immortalized yourself and self publishing is a breeze now. As far as the gift card idea, I really like that. You could even set up a store on Etsy and do hand-drawn cards or custom cards. Super easy to get started too.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks Jim. Still not sure how it’ll turn out. I won’t know until I do it. That’s been the hardest part of anything I’ve done in my life…taking that first step.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I need to do a bit more with my life and give it a bit more meaning.

    You could start a church? After all, you have tons of experience!

    Or rewrite the bible and only include the bits you like. Granted, it will probably be a very thin book, but it will at least give you a chance to crucify your demons, and kick-start your writing ventures in a meaningful way.

    Let’s be frank, if Lee Strobel can publish a book then even my kid’s old pet hamster would have had a chance. And while you might not be as good as the hamster, I’m reasonably sure you could knock spots off Strobel.

    πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Starting a church would be a great way to give your life more money, whoops I meant meaning. I’m sure your pet Bert could publish a bible with all the choice bits (The Bert Bible?). Add a bit of sci-fi and Greek mythology in, make it mandatory for your followers to purchase and whammo! Bestseller.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I think you are talented in art and writing – go for it! The Etsy shop is a great idea, btw. πŸ™‚
    All the best in your endeavours and I predict success!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Ben … so very happy to read that you’re going forward with my suggestion!

    Just a couple of thoughts related to the book idea — I would seriously consider self-publishing. And the reason for this is based on your comments related to your confidence level. The publishing world is dog eat dog and unless you “know” someone in the industry, getting a book published by a reputable company is very difficult. You would have to have a pretty thick skin to handle any rejections that might come your way … which, in most cases, would not be related to your talents.

    And your drawing on this post demonstrates you most definitely have a talent for that as well!

    Artists (in any field) rarely get rich dollar-wise. The rewards come from those who appreciate their work .. and you most definitely have a few of them in your corner!

    One more thing … don’t hurry the process. Take your time. It will all come together at the right moment.

    (Stepping off my soapbox.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Nan. I’ve been busy today with putting some thoughts down and trying to incorporate my posts into some form of cohesive creation. It’ll take some time as I am going to probably write it all down first and reorganize it later.

      I did look into self-publishing a bit last night. Amazon seems to have a fairly easy and straightforward program set up. We’ll see how it goes when I get done with this.

      Thanks again for your kind words of encouragement. I may ask you questions along the way about getting this out there but for now, I am busy wearing out the keyboard on my laptop. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I’m in the process of writing a book now. Not sure how long it will take or of I’ll see it all the way through. I had the suggestion to collect my blog posts and incorporate them. I like that idea but it takes a long time to go through everything I’ve written and piece them together with some new writing added. We’ll see how creative I can get with it. I’m a bit nervous but excited to try something new.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Take your time, Ben. There’s no rush. Potential readers will be there whenever you get ready to publish. And DON’T GET FRUSTRATED! It took me close to 7 years to put my book together. Of course, I was starting from scratch — you at least have your blog posts to draw from.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Frustration is something I feel will probably happen, even if I don’t want it to. Luckily, with my long-winded blog posts, I do have a lot of pre-written pages done already. It’s just taking the time to place them in the right places so that it makes sense and doesn’t sound like it was lazily thrown together. I have a fairly large range of topics I’d like to cover. Some I’ve written about and some I haven’t yet. I just need to actually do it. But you’ve lit a flame under me and I think I’m actually up for the challenge. Not sure how long it will take, but when it’s done, it’s done. Rushing anything will create unnecessary regrets later on. Thanks again Nan for your help and encouragement.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. As Yoda said, “do not try, DO.”

    More poets and writers fail because they write a lousy first line, and walk away. Annie Lennox has a great line on that: everyone writes a shitty first draft. You start there and work out.

    Like

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