The 1% Is A Liar

Yesterday was my last long run before the ‘Loop of the Lough’ Marathon which I am running for SHINE Charity (Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus) around Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland, next Saturday. The run went well and now it just a matter of keeping things ticking over and continuing my disciplined taper until the big day itself. The nerves are well and truly starting to kick in now for a number of reasons.

Although this will be my 7th marathon in total, it’s my first in over 18 months, and a sliver of icy self doubt remains lodged in my brain. Hard as I’ve tried I have been unable to budge it despite knowing deep down that I am capable of this. The target for my comeback at 26.2 miles is sub four hours and my training programme has been tailored specifically around this time. Everything has went exactly to plan. Yet still the sliver remains, burrowing deeper and deeper into my consciousness no matter how hard I try to ignore and repel it.

Doubt is the most sly and subtle of enemies. When all you want to do is build a wall of fact and certainty it drifts through the slightest of cracks like cannon smoke on a battlefield. You can be 99% certain of something and doubt will lob that 1% into the equation like a cluster grenade, exploding to create havoc and ruin within your carefully constructed defences. My OCD is fuelled by doubt; the ‘what ifs’ and ‘but maybes’ having a field day no matter how many times I attempt to drive them away. They thrive on uncertainty and relish hesitation. They sow the deepest of roots, so hard to dig out and destroy.

I fear the 1%. It batters me from all sides like the fiercest of hurricanes. I see it wherever I glance. The same applies to my writing. The 1% tells me I’m not good enough, I’m too old, it’s all a pipe dream and my chance is long gone. The more research I conduct into finding a literary agent and publishing a novel the more complicated and unlikely it seems. Even if I do complete it, even if it is half decent, the market is brutally competitive and the chances of being noticed seem remote. The 1% raises its battleaxe and screams in my face ready to cleave my hopes and dreams in two.

It is daunting but I cling to the shaky belief that the 1% is a liar. It whispers and it screams but I have to turn my back and walk away. The lies are a blizzard of darkness; jumbled memories, words, faces and images. Their timing is impeccable, their intent wholly malicious. But I choose different numbers. I choose the 500 plus training miles I have ground out since the summer. I choose the 30,000 words I have written to date. I choose the millions of words of love and encouragement from Fionnuala and the kids.

Freewill is a gift and I choose to wield it like a sword against my Goliath. To slay the dragon wrapped around my ambition, relentlessly squeezing the oxygen from my lungs. I choose the sword of truth, it’s blade so sharp that not even the toughest of armour or scales can withstand it. I stand on the ramparts of my mind and I watch my enemies flee, my defences strong and intact. The past will not overcome me, it will not sweep me away like it once used to. Believe in your own abilities. Believe in your inner circle.

Believe in the 99%.

How big a part does doubt play in your life?

How do you battle it?

What is your dream?

38 thoughts on “The 1% Is A Liar

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  1. I don’t know much about marathons or charities or books, but… Well, there’s this Emily Dickinson poem that begins, “If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain.” If you sell just one copy of your book, touch just one heart, I’d say that’s worth it. And the same goes for the marathon. You’re doing your best for a good cause. Whatever happens, it’s worth it.

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  2. We will all be back here cheering you on and looking forward to photos of you crossing the line. You can do it. God is in control of your abilities, He will guide you on the path that you should go. It’s inspiring to be a small part of your dreams. God Bless!

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  3. I wish you good luck for the run, though of course luck will have nothing to do with it and you will pull through with your own strength and willpower – and thank you for writing such an inspiring piece. Doubt plays quite a large part in my life. Sometimes I can overcome it and sometimes I can’t. But I believe that I am capable of achieving my dreams one day, and I hold onto that belief whenever doubt really gets me down. If I can’t do it right now, I will do it one day.

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  4. Make sure you know why your story needs to be told, this becomes your pitch and it becomes the fuel to further you as a writer. The beginning isn’t easy, the business daunting, but that doesn’t mean God cant help us. I believe if it is part of His hand, no matter how hard, He will make it happen.

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  5. I can deal with doubt when it comes to dreams/plans etc, but when the doubt wedges between myself and Jesus I start feeling like life is a complete waste. I’ve become quite hopeless when I feel our relationship falter

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      1. I have what I call a forgiveness shower. Cry, vent, argue with him, fall apart. Tell him all my woes and usually blame him for it all and then I apologise and it always goes like this ‘Im sorry and I don’t expect your forgivenes coz I know I’ve been mean but I need you. I’m feeling lost and can’t do this on my own’. He usually responds with something funny that he knows I can’t resist laughing at

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          1. No point in trying to hide from someone who knows all there is to know. It’s personal and intimate and I pray that kind of connection to God for everyone

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              1. I think with him it’s very much about testimonials. It sounds cliched but testimonials kinda help remind fellow Christ friends that the hand cannot function without the arm etc and besides having him in one’s life is a passionate thing and who doesn’t love sharing their passion??

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  6. Your best option may be to self publish on Amazon or another self publishing platform. As its not uncommon for a publisher to require a new writer to write what they want before publishing his/her first novel under the guise of building name recognition.

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