The Creative’s Guide to Letting Go of the Past

The Creative’s Guide to Letting Go of the Past

This is a short post.

A rant, if you will.

Not a rage-fest, exactly. More … invective? Pogrom, even? I just really, really, really want everyone to know how much I hate This One Thing.

So I’m going to tell you. No keywords. No carefully formatted subheadings. Nothing. Just feelings, which I’m betting you share.

I’ve talked to several frustrated people in the last few days. They report the same thing, if in different words: They’re afraid to create because, in their past, they didn’t succeed.


To be clear, I am not ugh-ing at those people. I AM those people. I feel their pain.

I am ugh-ing at our very human but very lame tendency to assume that all past pain and failure will automatically crop up in the future as well.

Have suffered? Will suffer! Broken trust? No trust ever! Was embarrassed that one time? Life is humiliation!! Woo!!

This isn’t true, but our tendency to believe that it is has stopped many a bright, cheerful, smart and talented creative from really trying. Those painful feelings seem always to be lurking in the wings, waiting for you to give them just the tiniest reason to explode onto the scene, to your eternal shame and despair.

Cue bathtub/Kleenex/chocolates/Cindy Lauper.

Rinse. Repeat. For life.

My friends, that is no way to live. I know from personal experience because my entire 20s was a series of unfortunate events. (Self-made, all of them, but nevertheless unfortunate.)

However, while you’re assuming that the misfortunes were the events themselves, that’s not so: The real crime of most of my failed creative life was not the shitty things that happened (of which there were many) but the fact that every time I experienced A Shitty Thing, I quit what I was doing and walked away.

This is an exhausting way to live life, and I know you’ve been there.

In the last week, I’ve spoken to people who have quit on their novels. Who feel despair when they think of ever starting a writing business. Who crave connection on #bookstagram, but don’t know how to talk with others. In each case, by the time I spoke to them, they were already upset – convinced they could never make it happen. Because it hadn’t yet.

My friends.


Just because something hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Just because you have failed once doesn’t mean you’ll fail again. Just because your dreams didn’t take the shape you wanted last time, doesn’t mean they won’t this time, or that their new shape isn’t a better one.

Believe in yourself.

The only ONLY ticket to success is never to stop.

I know, trust me. Today I’m a professional freelance writer, living in Belize with my hubs and two kids. I’ve published several books myself, and it has made me happier than I ever thought possible. I have five international vacations planned in the next two years. Five!

My life is my dream, and my secret is simple:

Not quitting.

That means, though, that you have to let go of the past. So just let it go. Whenever you think of that one time, just stop thinking. Whenever you see that bitchy face in your head, the one of the friend who isn’t your friend anymore and is judging your (supposed lack of) success, just bid that head adieu. That head isn’t helpful.

See what I’m saying? I’m making a very important point about heads here!

Kidding. I think you get where I’m going with this.

And hey, if you need an ear, always feel free to email me. I’m here for you!

In the meantime, if you want some help jumpstarting your writing career, go ahead and check out the Free Resource Library. Just like me, it’s here for you. Click the pic below. 🙂

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