Zora Neale Hurston once said, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” I can already tell that 2021 will be a year of answers. Here are 3 things I learned this month.

Be the heroine of your life.

If I’m going to tell you to be the author of your own life, which is part of the mission statement of See Jane Write, I have to lead by example.

Earlier this month, I found myself lamenting in my journal that I wished I could exercise first thing in the morning. Then I heard a voice whisper, “Why can’t you?” I’m not sure if that was the Holy Spirit, the ancestors, or both, but I instantly realized how I was being ridiculous and wasting a great privilege.

Now that I’m a full-time freelance writer (who’s no longer in active cancer treatment) I can set my own schedule each and every day. Yet, I’ve been letting the notion that I needed to put work before my self-care keep me from designing my day in the way that serves me best.

Most of the women of the See Jane Write community don’t have this privilege. They’re jugging writing and wellness with a day job, not to mention family obligations. Yet, I encourage them to try to devote at least five hours a week to working on their dreams. I managed to do this when I was still balancing writing with my teaching career. But now I must continue to lead by example in a different way. I must show that being the author of your life is first and foremost about self-care.

A part of me began to wonder if we really can be the authors of our own lives since things beyond our control happen all the time. Cancer and COVID certainly showed me that in 2020. And as a Bible-reading babe, I also asked myself, “Isn’t God supposed to be the author of your life?’

Well, yes. Hebrews 12:2 calls Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. But James 2 also says faith without works is dead. So, I’ve still got to do my part to make this life feel like it’s worth living.

And while I can’t control every circumstance that comes my way, I can control how I respond.

Nora Ephron once said, “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”

So perhaps being the author of your own life is about shifting your attitude from “God, why is this happening to me” to “God, what is this trying to teach me.”

You are not the work you do; you are the person you are.

This quote from the literary Queen Mother Toni Morrison can be hard to accept — especially for writers. For years, I declared that writing isn’t just what I do but it’s who I am. But perhaps that’s why I’ve neglected self-care for so long in the first place. Perhaps I didn’t give myself a break because I tied my work to my worth.

Maybe you’re doing the same and maybe it’s holding you back from working at all. Let me explain.

Earlier this year I asked the folks on my email list what was the biggest obstacle they face as they try to go after their writing goals. The overwhelming answer was FEAR, specifically the fear of rejection.

I think a lot of this fear comes from seeing the rejection of your work as a rejection of you as a person. But when you feel whole and complete outside of your work, you can handle rejection. You can keep facing noes until you hear a yes. Or, better yet, you can stop asking for a seat and build your own table.

You are your best thing.

Yep, I’m hitting you with another Morrison mantra. This is one of my favorite quotes, though I honestly struggle with believing it for myself.

There are so many wonderful people, places, and things that have helped me to become the person I am and to create the life I live — my family, my friends, my husband, the See Jane Write community, my education and opportunities, and, of course, my God.

But, believe it or not, it’s been my faith in God that has finally helped me believe that I am my best thing. God loves me and blesses me just because, not because of my bylines, my business, or my blog.

Isaiah 30:15 says “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” Last year, cancer treatments forced me to rest more than I ever have in my adult life and yet 2020 was my most financially successful year ever. Last year taught me that I don’t have to live a life of constant striving.

I am my best thing because God is within me. So, I will not fail.

The Confident Writer Challenge

I want you to believe you are your best thing, too. But first, we need to talk about that fear that’s holding you back from going after your writing dreams.

I can’t do or say anything to take away your fear. But I do believe I can help boost your confidence so you’ll have the courage to feel the fear and do it anyway.

That’s why I’m hosting the Confident Writer Challenge. The challenge is set for March 8-14 and will include daily inspiration, writing prompts and live Q&A sessions via Facebook. You’ll have the chance to participate in a virtual write-in session and you’ll have the chance to get feedback on your work from others.

Sign up today!