Friday, July 21, 2017

Learning to Live a Writers Life

{For those of you following from the start, today's blog is a recap of my awakening. I still love to hear your comments on your journey too.}  

I have always wanted to be a writer, ever since I was a little girl. I would make up stories and draw pictures to go along with them. I had dreams and desires to be a writer in life and only that. When I was in my early twenties, and still unsure of my skills, someone told me that I should give it up. I wasn't very good, and I would never amount to anything - so why waste my time? This crushed my soul. I remember running to the bathroom and crying.

In the early 90’s, before computers, I had no one to consult, other than those closest to me. I didn’t even know where to turn for “writing” advice. I still found myself writing but no longer sharing it with anyone - I was a closet writer. Then life got busy with work, and kids, and I wrote less and less until I stopped writing altogether.

Twenty-five years later, I meet Lisa Alexandra who, in the midst of her busy life, wrote and published her own biography as a transgender woman. When I read her book and saw the life she led and the journey she took to become the woman she is today, I thought that I could change too! I wasn't sharing any life altering secrets, I just wanted to tell tales.

So, in Dec of 2015, I began writing again, and I took it as a serious challenge.

Of course, once the stories are written, I must do something with them. This is where the terror begins anew. The self-doubt creeps in, and the voice in my head tells me; “You are not good enough.”  I shut them out and reinforced in my mind, that writing, regardless of what others think, has made me more content than I have ever been in my life. So, I bit the bullet and I self-published my first novel, on both, Amazon and Smashwords.

Little did I know that the Indie-publishing world is vast. I am talking thousands of books being uploaded daily. I also did not know that I was making the biggest mistake an Indie can make, which is not paying for an editor. I joined a few writer’s groups on Google-plus and was lucky enough to meet someone who, not only read my book but offered to help me edit it for free. Had I not met him, my demise may have soon followed - the book was terrible. So, while that is in the editing stages, I published a couple of kids’ picture books, my poetry and starting writing a novella.

I also began to blog and document my journey to help others that are climbing into the same rocky boat as me. If I stumble and fall, I tell the world what not to do; don’t follow me, learn from me. I also now offer a “writer's spotlight” on my blog to feature other Indie Authors and help them reach different audiences as well. 

I had been on this journey for a little over a year when I got a lead on a magazine that was looking for ‘non-paid’ contributors. I came up with an idea for a weekly story, and with shaking hands, I filled out the application. I almost didn’t do it, though, because, once again, that voice popped up: “They don’t want to hear what you have to say!” I forced myself to ignore it. The worst that can happen is they say no thanks, the best that can happen is I get accepted.

I got accepted!

Life is changing daily now that I have opened my heart to my dreams. Every day may not be perfect, and I am not rolling in cash, but the joy is uncontainable. I laugh louder and longer, I always have a smile on my face (well more often than not), and I am ready to lend a helping hand to others.

I feel twenty years younger.

I still work 40 hours a week and write an additional 40 at home, but now I have accomplishments that I am eager to share. I have written books that I want people to read, and I have goals for my future. I am no longer afraid of the rejection or bad reviews because I am living my dream and that is all that matters to me.

The icing on the cake is that recently I wrote a blog about how I changed my life, having dreams, and working to achieve them. On occasion, my father reads my blogs. Of course, I have always known that my dad writes songs and sings at home, having grown up listening to him. What I am only learning now is that he’s always wanted to try and sell his songs and perhaps share his own talents with the world. But fear held him back, fear of the theft of his work and possibly the fear of rejection.

Then I received a text from him with a heart-warming message that in essence reads; “In your desire to change your life, and you being brave enough to put yourself out to the world, has given me the strength to do likewise. You are a great inspiration, and I love you very much. Keep up the excellent work.”

Of course, that made me cry. I, at age 45, managed to inspire my father to live a dream that he had been carrying around with him his entire life.

On Thursday, Feb 8th, 2017 my dad played one of his original songs, at an Open Mic night for the first time in his life.  He gave an outstanding performance and didn’t appear nervous at all. I was so proud of him to take such a scary step and follow through with it.

In 14 ½ months, I went from being an after-work couch potato to publishing 6 anthology stories, 2 children’s books, and 3 novellas’. I am also writing the Biography of a sports figure and a Science fiction novel, simultaneously. I have entered countless contests and written 2 additional kids books. I write articles for a magazine, plus my blog, on a weekly basis, and am writing some flash fiction as a guest on another author's blog.

Stop letting fear get in the way of your own happiness. If you go for it, you never know who you may inspire as well, so step out of the comfort zone and let the doors open to a whole new you.

Happy Writing Folks.
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