The best protection any woman can have … is courage—Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a contemporary of Susan B. Anthony, and although less well-known, she still has a lot to say to modern women.
This quote resonates with me, especially because I am scared of everything. I’m not an adrenaline junkie, storms terrify me, and if I could wrap my car in bubble wrap for all forays out of the house, I’d be much happier.
However, that just won’t do.
Life is about taking chances, especially in my chosen career—writing and publishing. While I can happily live my life never getting on another airplane or motorcycle, I can’t not write.
And that requires courage of a different sort.
Good writing involves putting the characters in situations where they will grow. Finding some hidden truth inside themselves. Not only that, but it’s necessary to take risks with plot and conflict, and that can be scary as an author. The heroine is already in trouble? Let’s throw something else in the mix to make it worse! Depending on the trouble and the wrenches we throw into the mix, the characters we have birthed will suffer much more at our hands. As much as we laugh and joke about that, it’s still guilt-inducing for me. And readers get angry. That’s a risk we have to take.
The entire act of indie publishing is a brave thing, as well. I’ve already been rejected by the publishing houses who are supposed to know everything, right? When I first began this journey, I felt like I was going over their head, so to speak, and publishing anyway, after they’d essentially told me I wasn’t worth it. That’s ballsy too.
It took courage. Courage I didn’t have.
And throughout this process, I have learned so much about myself. I’ve learned I can truly do anything I set my mind to, something I assumed my parents just told me to make me feel better. I’ve learned I can support my family through creative efforts. I’ve learned I CAN touch people’s lives and make them better. I’ve learned how to push through my failures.
And these things have made me even stronger. And in that strength, I am protected by my courage to take risks. Risks with my characters, the situations they find themselves in, and the other characters who help them discover their own inner strength.
So I project my insecurities on my characters in different ways—either by making them fraidy cats, like myself, or the fearless woman I wish I was.
And it’s cathartic in a way I can’t even explain. But through this journey of writing and exploring different characters’ faults and foibles and helping them grow, I have found myself.
And I am a strong woman.
And so are you. Just find your courage, and you’ll be protected.
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