I can’t do this.
I stand on the edge of the cliff, looking down to the water. Wow, this is so high. Just standing here makes me dizzy. I can’t do this.
My sister waves at me from below, where she’s treading water. She’s already jumped and she jumped from the next highest section of the cliff. I wipe my sweating palms on my shorts. She’s fearless.
I, on the other hand, am afraid of heights. I take a couple of deep breaths. Each second that passes, makes it that much harder to take the next step. It’s not that I’m afraid of falling really. I love roller coasters, the more intense the better, but on a roller coaster you’re strapped in. This isn’t controlled. I’m not strapped in. This is freedom. This is terrifying.
This is what you came here to do, I argue with myself. You wanted to do this, plus you’re going to be really embarrassed if you jump from the low end. I stop looking down and instead look straight ahead. The flat surface of the water glistens in the mid-afternoon sunlight. Further out a lime green boat zips across the water pulling an inner tube behind it. Focusing out instead of down helps, a little. I clench my fists. I can do this, just one step, one little step.
I’m falling and I’m falling longer than what I thought I would be. I scream but it’s not from terror. This feeling, it’s amazing. I make sure my body stays straight right before I hit the water. It stings a little but I think my adrenaline has kicked in. When I surface my sister is right there.
“It was worth it, right?” She says with a grin.
I wipe the water from my face and laugh. “Totally worth it.”
Sometimes editing my book feels like I’m jumping off of that cliff all over again.
I put it off, afraid to take that next step, wondering if after all the effort I put into it, it still won’t be right. Suddenly I’m back on the edge, staring down into the water. The more I look at it, the scarier it becomes.
But then there are the times when I do take that leap and I dive into the work. Sometimes, it’s hard, seemingly impossible. But then there are the times when I’ll make progress, have a breakthrough, fall in love with the story all over again. Every time I take that leap, it’s worth it.
I want to remind myself of this every day. Don’t put things off. Don’t be afraid. Take the next step.
Have you ever felt like this? What does your cliff look like?
It’s not just the leap of faith that’s required of us but the fall of faith and the climb of faith then the leap of faith again.