Go Do it Now.

My favorite author crafts her posts on Instagram like a sculptor. Her captions paint the same pictures as her books, always telling a story that grabs you like a vise. This time she was telling a story that took place four years ago, when she was developing one of her most successful books. She sat down in her parents’ garden with her best friend and expressed fears of writing and rejection — ever present more than 20 books in — before telling the whole story, to the finest details. 

When she finished, her friend looked at her over empty cups of coffee and said, “Go write it now.”

Four years later, the day before this particular post, she sat down in a bar with her best friend, expressed the same old fears, and told a new story. 

When she was finished over empty cups, her friend said once again, “Go write it now.” 

This stuck with me for a number of reasons. 

1. Her best friend just listened, without question. 

2. She has fears just like everyone else, even though she is world renowned for her job.

3. It happened twice within four years. And her best friend said the very same thing both times. Go write it now. 

Human nature demands second guessing and underestimating yourself. It says, you may be good at your job, but maybe that is an illusion. 

It says, stop trying. 

You will not succeed.

It’s not good enough. You are not good enough.

Depression and anxiety creep in like a monster under your bed, lurking at the fringes of your consciousness, telling you to give up.

But the book that my favorite author feared writing four years ago is on shelves today. It reached number one on the New York Times bestsellers list and stayed there for a total of 37 consecutive weeks. She took words spoken with love and let them replace the hatred in her  head; So that’s what I’ll do, she said. And because of that, she was incredibly successful. Her words have lived on, saved lives and hearts, and her characters have comforted the lost and lonely.

That is the value of breaking through the crowds in your head. You reach the clearing where everything is quiet and still, where all you have done has been done for a reason. Your words, music, art, what have you; they changed someone irrevocably. There is a little kid out there, a sad teenager, a lonely adult, who took your creation and made something new within themselves, well on their way to change someone else’s life.

The butterfly effect. Or as I like to call it, the V.E. Schwab effect, after the author who changed my life.

Fear is the master of underestimation. It whispers into ears and creeps up spines, poisoning the mind. It’s like a virus, invisible and unexpected, infecting all that which it comes in contact with. It is the number one reason things do not get done. The constant turmoil of thoughts tells you that whatever you are working on could not possibly be any good. 

The thing about this master dubbed fear, is that it is, most often, completely wrong. It tells you tales of hatred when people love you. It tells you to give up when nothing could be more important than for you to keep going. It tells you to pretend when you cannot truly be loved until you are yourself. It’s a bully. And all bullies get what is coming to them. 

“It stinks in the moment, for sure, but finding people that will eventually listen to you…” said Chloe Norton, a Masuk junior, pausing. “I would say getting through bullying [of any kind] is, basically, you realizing if you’re gonna stay in a crappy headspace for a while or if you’re gonna persevere and end up getting help from true friends.”

V.E. Schwab gets up every morning in good old Edinburgh and brings her dog to her favorite cafe. With tea, cake, and a pen in her hand she sits down to bring more joy to the gloomy sky before her. And the bullies in her head are silent as the ink starts to flow.

My advice to you is this: go do it now. That beloved hobby your “friend” told you was worthless: go do it now. The career path everyone told you would never work out: go do it now. Take all the doubts floating around in your mind like germs and lock them in a box, throw away the key. You are more than their perceptions of you. You are the result of your own perceptions.

More than anything else, V.E. Schwab has taught me to remain ever yourself; all the insecurities and anxieties right at the forefront. Because the people that need you are waiting for you to tell them it is okay to feel what they feel. Waiting for you to tell them they can make a difference, too.

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