For a very large part of my life, I wanted to be a writer. I would always tell stories, to my families and friends for entertainment. Making up fantastical adventures that weren’t possible anywhere except my imagination.
I often heard the phrase, “Oh Jess, I wish I had your imagination.”
I would laugh and continue on, until one day I realised there was a way for me to give people a slice of my imagination. I could write down my stories and give them to people so they could experience some of what came so naturally to me.
That’s the day I decided to write my first novel.
I was so excited that I had to start right away and I loved every moment of it. I even loved the long days of editing, re-reading, re-writing. I had found my passion. As soon as I finished my first book I created a second.
I wrote this one even faster than the last I had finished writing it in a month. I wrote 300 pages in a month, the story just flowed from me, like it was already there. Like I already knew all the words that needed to be said. I spent the next two months editing and revising it, working with beta readers and checking for errors.
This was the first book I had decided to publish, and I wanted it to be the best work I could do. When I finished I was so proud, and at the same time absolutely terrified.
A finished book meant it was time for it to go out into the world.
A world that would judge it, and me.
That’s a lot of pressure.
After a lot of procrastination, I published my book and began marketing it. Within a month I had sold a few copies, got some good reviews, and one not so good one from total strangers.
The bad review got me down. Like seriously my mental state went from I’m doing well to shutting myself inside my house and not having the confidence to leave it.
Objectively I knew this person had a right to say how they felt, even if most of their review was a rant about how they don’t like self-publishing.
I knew some people would like my book, I just never expected to be confronted with it.
The effect was constant stress about whether or not my book was good enough and this lead to stress about whether or not I was good enough.
To cover my doubt I became obsessed with marketing strategies, trying to find ways to get my book out to more people, trying to get people to notice me.
I became so lost in wanting more and stressing about how to get it, that I forgot why I was doing it.
I forgot why I wrote books.
I forgot why I published in the first place.
I write books because I love it. Because I couldn’t stop telling stories if I tried.
I published so I could share with people my vivid imagination. So I could let people into the worlds and lives I had single-handedly brought into existence.
But fear of not achieving, fear of people not liking my books, and fear of not being good enough made me forget why I was doing it.
I learned from this experience that there are two kinds of people in life. Let’s look at it like this, you bake a tray of cookies and you share them.
One person takes a cookie and thanks you for the time and effort you put into sharing this with them.
The other person tells you the cookie is dry.
I had to learn the hard way to remind myself that I made the cookies because I enjoyed making them and sharing them. It didn’t matter if others didn’t respect or appreciate what I had done and that was their loss.
Lesson number one: I won’t be sharing any more cookies with them, I just don’t need that kind of negativity.
Lesson number two: Don’t let the people who tell you what is wrong with what you do. Don’t let them stop you from remembering why you do it in the first place.
I did and it almost made me lose sight of my passion.
I did and it almost made me give up on my dreams.
Don’t let that be you. Fight for that light inside you.
Nurture it, care for it and treasure it like I have learned to do.
Fight for your dream, because people without their own will try to destroy yours.
Fight for your dream, because you can’t imagine a regret-free future without it.
Fight for your dream, because you know in the deepest part of you, that it is your purpose. That it is what you are here to do.