"Do one thing each day that scares you."
First Lady Eleanore Roosevelt said this quote, and I suspect she knew a thing or two about stepping out of one's comfort zone. I can' t image the pressure of being a First Lady of the United States. But, I do know what it means to step out of my comfort zone.
As an introvert, taking that first step towards a long-held dream was almost crippling. So much so, that I didn't dare attempt writing anything until my late forties. Looking back, I can't imagine not writing every day. It makes me incredibly happy to work my way through a fifty to eighty-five thousand word story and then type The End.
So, why did it take me so long to test out my dream? Fear. It's a great motivator, but only if you try to overcome your fears and concur them. Some fears keep us safe, but some keep us in a box. I decided to step out of my box four years ago, and although it has been scary, I've never looked back.
Next month I've been asked to speak to a group of high school student for the Love of Reading Week. I'm beyond honored, but I'm terrified of any sort of public speaking. I committed to doing it because I knew it was good for me to face my fears. Besides, I have a lot to offer in the way of advice concerning traditional publishing and Indie publishing. I've made every mistake in the books and have the scars to prove it.
I'm also the last person anyone would expect to write a book that actually sells, much less five more. In high school, I was a terrible student. I excelled in Art and boy watching. I've since figured out that I have Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD, which made learning and keeping up with the other students almost impossible.
I muddled my way through two years of college while working full time, but didn't apply myself. My spelling is terrible, and my grammar was bad enough to scare young children. It's still not where I want it to be. So why would someone like me ever try to be a writer?
I love to read, and I always thought that if I could choose, I'd want to be an author. Remembering that feeling you get after reading a book that took you to another world, made me think--how awesome would it be to give that feeling to people?
Reading is subjective. What one person loves, another person hates. I learned early on that not every story is written for every reader. And that's okay. Even Stephen King gets terrible reviews. It's laughable because the negative review is not reflective of King's ability to write, but rather how that person responded to his writing.
Once I figured this out, I was able to push forward with my stories because I came out of my box to write stories for the readers who enjoy the stories I have to tell and the way I tell them.
My advice? If you have a passion for doing something but fear is holding you back from even trying, break out of your box and take that first step. You never know where it might lead you.