Updated: Oct 9, 2018
I took a month off. Well, not really.
I took a month of blogging off. They say to be relevant, you must be consistent. And so, I broke the first rule of being a writer. The truth is, I have been eye-high with trying to get my editing and marketing for book two in my series completed, and today...today I turned it in. It was the last step before my cover designer can enter the exact page count for dimensions of the spine, allowing me to release it for print. The. last. step.
I broke down as I hit "accept". Completely lost it as tears flooded down my face, knowing that it was over. No longer was I to fret over the promised deadlines of a release date or rush to get the second–no third–ending of the book to my editor. I was free. But I'm not.
I've been lying to myself. I am afraid that we do that far too often. These are just three of mine that I had to examine after one season has ended and another begun.
Lie #1. You don't care what people think.
I had always dreamt of being a writer. So I started a blog. I've written books. Plural. I can say that now. But dreaming of writing, actually doing the WORK of writing, and accomplishing that goal, left me with a feeling of emptiness. Why? Because I am so scared that no one will like it. That I've wasted my time.
But I had to stop myself and ask a few questions. What is it that makes me a writer? Writing? I don't think so. I think it's you. The fact that you read the words I pen. The dream isn't enough, and I'd dare say that the hard work isn't enough either. The people who share it–that's the real deal. I don't want to lose sight of that. So my dream may not be enough, the work to pull it off might make me lose sight of some sense of accomplishment I expect to feel, but what draws me back to the keyboard? Believing that people are out there who want to share in this journey. I care about that.
It's a two-edged sword, I get it. Thinking that someone could hate the very essence of who I am at the core of my being (because let's face it, that's how anyone feels when sharing a creation) really could cripple me. And I've let it in the past. But the fact is that I MUST care what people think, because we are in this together. Maybe some people will hate it, and others will love it. I will write for those who want to read, and not for those who don't. It can be as simple as that, even though sometimes painful to swallow when the haters gonna hate.
So, you care what people think. Me too. Someone out there cares too and wants to see you thrive. Those are your people.
Lie #2. Anything is possible.
Ouch. That one hurt to write. I'm a big-time lover of fantasy and glamour. If I can dream it, I think Disney should create it. But...the other lie I had been telling myself is that I can do anything.
In January, I sat in a room with about 14 people around a long table in the loft space of an adorable coffee house in Franklin, Tennessee. At the head of said table sat our writing coach, Jeff Goins, and Ray Edwards, copyrighting guru. He was there to teach. I was there to learn. Like, for real, give me all your wisdom lest I die, kind of learn. I wanted all the info.
But he started talking philosophy and intention. I was desperate for practical. Funny, he thought the two went hand in hand. So he challenged me. My response: "I can't tell you what I really want to do with my life because you'd all think it was stupid. I just need to make money at this point." Quite literally. That's what I said, challenging his theory of how you can't separate what you believe in from what you do. *face palm*
He pushed back. Then I opened a can of worms. Can open, worms...everywhere. I spoke a dream that I hadn't uttered since high school. But no one in the room thought it was stupid. They were like, "yeah, live out your dream," but here's the deal. They don't really know me. While I've been working on other skills for the past twenty-five years, the skill that it would take to pull of that high school dream has been sadly neglected. I literally can't do that now. I have made zero progress in my skill during that time. So, how does that dream fit into my today? That has to be my question.
What's your dream? The deep-down, no one can see it, big fat, undying dream? Movie star? Rock star? Celebrity artist?
How does that dream fit into today?
Wanna know mine? I think I've mentioned it on here before, so I wasn't trying to be elusive. Well, maybe a little because it's fun. I have a full-blown Disney musical version of a story all up in my head. Today, it rests on the pages of my computer as I bring little bits of it to life in order to hopefully release one day to you in a children's book. For now, that's the dream.
Lie #3. No one will ever want to buy anything from me.
Well, this one is shallow, right? But really, it's not. It's the third lie I've been telling myself. If everything I ever wrote only appeared here, it would be pretty decent therapy for me, but not fully the goal of what I want my life's work to become. And if someone puts value on you and your time, your creation, your input, they pay you, plain and simple. Your boss hired you for your ability. And if you have a product you sell that helps people, then you have a duty to get it to them. The gesture that they understand the worth of your item or service is the card that they swipe. Why do we understand that in commerce and not in life sometimes?
I have a friend who is CRUSHING IT in the Facebook fashion space. Jules and James Boutique, you should check her out. I'm literally wearing a breezy summer dress from her as I type. But she tells a story about showing up to her first venue and losing money–the feeling of defeat nearly overwhelming. But she picked up, moved on, and continued to search for those people who would need her products, believing in her dream. We've all heard those stories, right? There are a bunch of people grabbing the entrepreneurial bull by the horns and going for it these days. They're everywhere, right?
Well...I'd say not quite as many as you'd think. I don't know how many times I've heard lately, "I could never make a living doing that" or "I could never do sales", whatever it might be, there's an excuse of some sort. But I would argue that if you're not working for yourself, you're just selling for someone else anyway. So, why not go for it?
I don't think everyone on the planet is meant to start their own business or take a crazy leap into the world of business, but this is for those of you who were meant to. I think you know who you are. Do it. In the day and age of technology in which we live, my friends, you have so much free online training to follow your passion and make a living off of what you love, that I think NOW is your time. It's worth it. Create. Sing. Write. Teach. Sell. Whatever it is, put in the work, and go for it. If you build it, they will come.