Are You Letting “What If” Hold You Back?

Are You Letting "What If" Hold You Back? by Diana Anderson-Tyler

Happy July! 

I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer of fun, family, fitness, fellowship, and letting your light shine!

This month, I wanted to offer you a glimpse into my writing life (many of you know I’m pursuing a full-time career as a fiction author) in hopes you’ll be able to find a take-away for whatever it is you are passionate about.

A few weeks ago, I typed “The End” in the final book of my very first trilogy(#feelz) and am now trying to psych up for the long road of editing that awaits me! The first installment is currently in the publication phase and will release on August 9th.

Along with gearing up for the loathsome editing phase (I know that many authors enjoy editing, but this one definitely does not! I would rather spend eight hours writing copy for the backs of shampoo bottles than edit a single paragraph. But I digress…), I am also working on the next three books of The Orchid Series. 

This part of the writing life – that is to say, the awkward lull in between book releases – can be quite daunting. Inevitably, questions of doubt and fear arise, such as What if my next idea sucks? Or, if you’re planning to write a sequel, like I am, What if the sequel isn’t as good as the first one?

And those questions only pertain to my next novel, still only an embryo in my imagination.

Regarding my finished books, an entirely separate set of demoralizing questions throw their own special toxins into this mix: What if no one reads your series? What if no one reviews it? What if it only gets one-star reviews? What if the cover’s all wrong? What if I just wasted months of your life, not to mention money I could’ve spent buying hardcovers?

Tolerate questions like that for too long, and any writer will soon find themselves in writer’s hell, that Dantean circle of the underworld reserved for writers slain by their own angst and trepidation. As punishment, they’re sentenced to live out their unenviable eternity asking themselves what-if questions:

What if I hadn’t listened to those voices that held me back?

What if I had written courageously, for the sheer love of writing?

What if I’d approached every project like a summer day meant to bless me rather than an icy lake meant to swallow me hole when I least expected it?

What if….
What if…
What if…

It’s amazing how powerful those two little words can be. Depending on their context, they can shape or shatter our lives.

When asked out of fear, “What if” has the potential to utterly paralyze us and prevent us from achieving our goals.

When asked out of boldness, of unstoppable conviction, “What if” can help us think bigger, aim higher, and fly farther than we ever could have imagined.

How “What if” will operate for us depends solely on our attitude.

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.” – Zig Ziglar

I admitted to you earlier that I don’t like editing and that the thought of starting a new story from scratch after writing in the same fantasy world for roughly a year is a bit intimidating. Unstoppable people, no matter their vocation, aren’t in denial about their feelings. They don’t pretend to love every aspect of their passion. They are human, after all – vulnerable, fragile, imperfect and complex, with unique proclivities and tastes that affect how they view and interact with their art. What makes them unstoppable is not the absence of negative thoughts and emotions, but their attitude, their unwavering resolve, which overcomes them.

Unstoppable people take action when negative “What if’s” spring up like weeds between their ears. They pull them out and throw them to the wind, knowing that they are nothing but pernicious assailants, mischievous minions of ResistanceThey have power only when we allow them to linger and choke out the healthy, life-giving blooms of perseverance and purpose around them.

I’m choosing to reject Resistance. I’m choosing to ask the positive what-if questions: What if I write about this? What if I set the novel here? What if readers really love my trilogy? What if the next cover is the best of all my books thus far?

Will editing still be dull at times? Yes.

Will the road to publication still be a long and tedious one? Yes.

Will marketing the books still be frustrating as this introvert dons her saleswoman hat? Heck. Yes.

Will drafting new books be challenging? Without a doubt.

But I can do it. And so can you do whatever goal is pulling at your heart like a magnet because unstoppable people don’t let uncertainty or discomfort erect walls between them and their dreams. The unknown excites us and piques our curiosity. We see it as a sparkling new chapter, and we just can’t wait to turn the page…

I hope you enjoyed this month’s post! What are you doing today to become more on fire in your spiritual and physical walks? Tweet me @dandersontyler or reply to this email and let me know!

Now for the Exercise of the Month!: 

Bulgarian Split Squats!

If you’re in the market for a lower-body exercise that targets all the muscles in your legs and can be done just about anywhere, with or without equipment, look no further than the Bulgarian split squat! This movement is excellent for those for whom squatting is nearly impossible do to poor flexibility and prior injury. 

Here’s how it’s done:

1.) Stand in front of a bench with your arms at your sides. If you are using dumbbells, you should hold one in each hand or one between your hands at your chest (as I do in the photos below).

2.) Reach your right leg behind you and rest the top of the foot on the bench.

3.) Bend at your knee and slowly squat down until the right knee is just above the ground.

4.) Return to the starting position and repeat. Perform the same number of repetitions on each leg. I recommend 3 sets of 6-8 reps for beginners and 4-6 sets of 10-15 reps for those more advanced.



Bulgarian Split Squat - Diana Anderson-Tyler