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PERMISSION TO FREE YOUR INNER CREATIVE
If you're here, you are a writer at heart. You want to write and maybe publish, but it feels lofty and frivolous when you should be doing laundry, mowing the lawn, or working a 9 to 5 job.
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HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU’RE AUTHOR MATERIAL?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve been a reader and/or a writer most of your life. You might’ve written your first book in Third Grade about birds. Or chipped away at a full-on manuscript in high school to escape troubles at home (to then save it on a floppy disk, thinking it would never see the light of day). And yes, I am using myself as an example in these cases. I wanted more than anything to be a writer but I never thought I could do it. Until I did. And that floppy disk later became one of my books!
Please know, when I say you, I really mean we. Me. You. Us. Fellow creatives. Writers, specifically. Because I’ve been where you are, and I had so many doubts and even more fears. Now, though, I am not only living my dream of being an author, I’m a...business owner? I didn’t see that one coming. Honestly. That was never on my radar. It’s strange how one ripple sets so many other things in motion. But I’ll come back to this ripple effect later.
Maybe in your situation, you struggle to find books that really sate your inner bookworm and you find yourself pondering, “What if I wrote the book I want to read myself?” Hell, maybe you’ve sat down a hundred times to write, but you talk yourself out of it, telling yourself you have no idea what you’re doing, that you have more important things you should be doing, and on top of that, what would people say if you told them you wanted to write a book anyway? And what if you failed doing it?
“Failure is not the outcome - failure is not trying. Don’t be afraid to fail.” - Sara Blakely
Fast forward to my first book signing in 2013 when I was terrified and in awe that I’d actually did the ONE thing I’d always dreamed of doing…
Here’s the thing - you only live once. ONE TIME. ONE SINGLE LIFE and then your journey is over. So if writing is something you’ve always wanted to do, why can’t you carve out a little time for yourself to be creative - something that makes you happy and maybe a little giddy inside? You carve out time for your binge-worthy show right? So, go close yourself in a room or sit on the porch with a cocktail and work on a writing project instead.
If it’s “failing” you’re afraid of, well, that’s a stupid word anyway (look at me using my amazing vocabulary). Failing is a word society deems negative and shameful, but screw that crap. You make a goal and you either reach it or you don’t, and when that happens, you pivot. You learn from it.
In fact, some people love to fail fast because they learn more quickly and can dive into the next thing (I envy their fearlessness).
Just like success means something different to everyone (reading 100 books in a year, getting into college, making $1,000 a month, passing a class, spending time with family), so does failure.
What’s the worst than could happen if you sat down to write a book?
So what if it never sees the light of day? So what if it’s complete crap when you’re finished because you have no idea what you’re doing? You don’t know where to start? That’s okay too, there are books, courses, and online resources to help you with that.
Just like every book starts with the first page, every adventure starts with a first step and every muscles strengthens the more it’s used. All of this is to say, you have to start somewhere. I have dozens of floppy disks with stories on them. They are probably in a landfill somewhere, as horrible as that is to realize.
But deep down, you know all of this already. So what’s really holding you back?
Time? Then jot ideas into your phone when you’re in a waiting room, or while you’re having coffee in the morning before the kids wake up.
What fear is stopping you? Maybe you worry you’ll tell someone you are writing a book, but worry you’ll never finish it and they will think less of you - that you will think less of yourself? Do you need someone to give you permission to focus on your own dreams instead of focusing on everyone else first?
Life is too short to deny yourself your dreams.
Start small if you’re scared. Sit down to brainstorm story ideas. Maybe you’ll eventually draft an outline or start writing the first words of the epic scene you can’t get out of your head. It doesn’t matter how you do it, not really. This is about giving yourself permission to be your full self and embrace your creative side, in whatever way you can.
If you find a community of like-minded creatives, I promise you, the noise and self-doubt clear a little, and it all starts to feel a little more doable, a little less scary.
Having someone to share my “failures” with and celebrate the successes with was the game changer for me. It gave me permission to dream a little bigger.
Remember that ripple effect I mentioned? I didn’t start writing to be a full-time author. I didn’t start out with a mindset to be a boss babe and run my own publishing press. NONE of that was in my plan. I’d had dozens of jobs I hated (I even majored in journalism and English, thinking it would scratch the itch, but it never did). It wasn’t until I took a chance that I started to feel empowered, and yes terrified, but in a way that made me feel freer.
Over a decade later, with nearly 30 books under my belt, I am working for myself, doing what I love. Is it stressful and terrifying at times? UNDOUBTABLY. But it’s my passion. My business. My dream come true, and though I’ve never worked harder in my life, I can’t imagine my life being any different.
This is a long-winded way of giving you permission - as someone who thought it wasn’t possible, that it could never be, and writing was only a daydream.
Now, more than ever, it’s easy to start writing. Once you accept your fears and doubts, there are resources everywhere. Whether it’s joining my writing community or someone else’s, there is a place for you here with us.
You are the only one holding you back.
Sorry if that hurts, but again, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know deep down.
Your first step...
If you are feeling inspired or hopeful about anything I’ve said, I challenge you to envision yourself sitting in your favorite room, nook, or coffee shop. Are you with a notebook or your computer? What are you sipping on as the words start to flow. What sort of story are you writing?
If anything about this scene makes you a little bit giddy, or a teensy bit excited, then why aren’t you doing it? There’s no harm in grabbing a coffee and sitting down to doodle on a note page, right? It’s time to let the daydreams flow!
“Don’t wait for the stars to be aligned. Reach up and rearrange them in the way you want. Create your own constellation.” -Pharrell
P.S. In this day and age, nothing is holding you back from writing and/or publishing, except for yourself. You have the digital industry at your fingertips and a gazillion resources. It’s hard and exhausting, but if you want it, it’s there for the taking and it’s a kick-ass ride. Oh, and I’m here to help too. :)
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