It's for the children <insert dramatic hand to forehead>
I had a story. A novel. Maybe even a series. What a wonderful idea! But for almost five years I let my biggest enemy – self-doubt – win. (If you haven’t read my previous blog post, feel free to do so!).
Then, for reasons still unknown to me, I took a chance and reached out to a friend of mine (yes that is you Terri) because I knew her sister had wrote some non-fiction books and self-published. (This sister has consequently become my mentor and “Book Sherpa” and is none other than Jennifer Sparks). Over wine and some relaxed conversation, I had the courage to tell them about the story. They were so incredibly supportive and excited, I couldn’t believe it. Shortly after Jennifer nudged me towards an online Masterclass led by James Patterson and I felt the inexplicable pull continue to grow for writing a novel, although my self-doubt continued to grind in its stubborn, spiky heels.
This inward battle continued until I suddenly thought of all the things I say to my children:
“Explore who you are and don’t put limits on your potential.”
“Do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.”
“Do not be afraid to fail. Those are opportunities to learn and improve.”
Gobsmacked. Hypocrite with a capital H. Hypocrite Numero Uno. That was me.
Then I realized something. I have been writing all along and I write ALL the time at work – emails, briefs, reports, articles, you name it. I could no longer say I did not have any education, training or experience. So I took a leap and enrolled into the “University of Learn-It-On-Your-Own” and I took online classes, webinars, read books, blogs, articles – whatever I could get my hands on. I delved into outlining my book, developing Severyn and all the other characters, scenes, settings.
However, when I attended Jennifer’s Your Words l Your Way Self-Publishing, Marketing and Writing Retreat in November 2017, I still hid it and didn’t really tell anyone that I was going or why. For most of those that did inquire about my weekend plans, I vaguely said I was going to “a retreat” and then quickly changed the subject. At the retreat though, Jennifer continued to gently push and prod (okay, let’s be honest – she was like the mama bird pushing the hesitant baby bird out of the nest) to come out and declare I was an author. She ‘outed me’ there on social media – the nerve! But it has been so amazing since then. I received waves of excitement and enthusiasm from my family and friends beyond anything I had ever expected.
Five months since then, I am still way more comfortable calling myself a writer and still get butterflies of anxiety, flare-ups of doubt and can feel myself pulling away from any association with the noun “author”. But here goes. I am coming out of my shell to live by example for my two beautiful children.
My heart is filled with gratitude for your listening (well, for your reading),
Cora Janzen, Author