I’ve published fifteen books nationally under the name “Mette Ivie Harrison.” My 2014 adult mystery The Bishop’s Wife was a national bestseller and I wrote many young adult fantasies that were quietly, well-reviewed. You may never have heard of me. Or you may be here because you’ve read one of my novels or one of my many essays on Huffington, RNS, or Medium. I’m still writing. I have plenty of my own projects that you’ll hear about in coming months. But the further I get along in my career, the more I find myself wanting to help other people not make the mistakes I made, not have to struggle alone with the anxiety and brain lies that held me back for so long.
I’m also an All-American triathlete and I hold a PhD in German Literature from Princeton University. I’m a mother of five amazing kids. I knit and crochet like there are chariots chasing me. This is just me saying that I’m a get-it-done kind of person. I decided I wanted to be a writer when I was five years old and I kept telling everyone that I was going to be a writer when I grew up–despite my family all telling me loudly that wasn’t a “real career.” But I did become a writer. I’ve published 15 books nationally. And I still struggle every day to put my hands on my damn keyboard. Because I’m afraid it won’t be good enough. I’m always afraid and my brain keeps telling me it’s better to quit than fail. I succeed in so many areas of life without a second thought. I know how to take tests and ace them. I know how to get things done. And yet, writing is different. Maybe this sounds familiar to you?
I work with clients from every walk of life, and they’re all successful. Some are teachers; some are therapists; some are business leaders. They all know how to get things done. They all watch as other people make excuses that make no sense, like quitting before failing, like giving up because they care about something too much. They all try to talk other people out of doing these kinds of things. And yet all of them make the same kinds of mistakes in writing, sometimes without being able to see what they are doing because our brains are very, very tricky at telling us lies that sound like the truth.
I’m here to tell you that I believe in your book. I don’t care what anyone has told you, an editor at a conference, or a teacher in high school, or your parents. You are a writer. You are going to finish this book. You are going to get published. I never lie to people. Really, I never do. I find it impossible to lie, even when it would be in my best interest to do so. So when I tell you these things, I’m not trying to butter you up or get you to sign up to be my client. I’m telling you these things because they are true. And also because you are the one who can make them come true. You are the only one. I can’t write your book for you (well, I could try, but it wouldn’t be your book). You have to do the work. I can’t change that. But I can make sure you don’t tell yourself lies that keep you from your work, and I have never met a writer who doesn’t struggle with anxiety. I’ve never met an aspiring writer whose biggest problem isn’t the psychological game.
Look, you may lack writing skills. I can teach you those. I have plenty of videos on this site that will teach you grammar and punctuation and dialogue and scenes and worldbuilding and emotion. I’ve got you there. But that’s the easy part of becoming a writer. The hard part, and the part that I know so intimately well because I deal with it on a daily, hourly basis, is the voice in your head that tells you that you’re never going to succeed, that this time the project is over your head, that all your past successes were flukes, that you should work on something easier, something that’s more commercial, something that doesn’t expose your true self quite so clearly. And I’m here to hold your hand and push you to write the best, truest thing you’ve ever imagined in your life. I’m going to ask you to throw large chunks of pages away, not because you’re not good enough, but because you’re holding yourself back. And then, you’re going to be amazed at what you write. It’s going to be so good that it will be impossible it won’t be published.