My guest today is Catherine Banks. We may do an interview later, but today I’m handing over the platform to her. Catherine has touched on something that is near and dear to my heart – motivation. Encouraging words that build you up not tear you down, words that inspire, words that lift you out of the miry muck – words of excellence! Dare to dream!
Leave her a comment at the end – let her know what you think!
Step out of your Comfort Zone
and Achieve your Goals
Since I was four years old I have been a storyteller. My first recorded short story was when I was five and I told my grandmother a story as she typed it out for me. That desire never left and I continued to write stories or daydream a story throughout the day. As a freshman I was introduced to the world of fantasy via The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien and since then I have been obsessed with fantasy. At the end of my sophomore year I finished my first full length young adult fantasy novel. I had never felt more accomplished. After rewriting the novel a few years later it was suggested that I try to get an agent for publishing. I sent out one query which I received a generic rejection email from one day later. I was crushed and I decided that I would no longer try to get an agent.
In 2010 I discovered Createspace and Smashwords, which are free online self-publishing websites. The fear of rejection was almost overpowering. Most especially the thought of putting my work out there for the world to see, but despite my fear, and with a lot of convincing from my husband who offered to draw my book covers, I self-published my first novel. I set a modest book sales goal and not only did I meet my goal, I crushed it. It was amazing! Since then I have published six other novels and one short story. It still hurts when I receive a 1/5 star rating, but what I’ve learned from this extremely out of my comfort zone adventure is that you cannot please everyone and despite those one stars I also have many five stars and I even have fans! That is still so weird to say.
Never give up on your dreams. I talk with so many people who tell me that they wish they could write a novel. My advice to them: DO IT! Write a novel or poem or play. It doesn’t matter if it’s short, silly, or serious. What matters is that you take the time to do something that you want to do. Writing is your choice and it is complete and total freedom. One thing I recommend to everyone is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It takes place annually in November and is a free online event. You are challenged to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Sounds insane, right? If you break it down that comes out to 1,667 words a day. I went into my first NaNoWriMo thinking there was absolutely no possible way that I could finish it. You know what? I did it in 6 days. Even with my self-doubt and negative thoughts in those first few days I was still able to accomplish something I had previously thought unachievable.
Writing and self-publishing novels has given me more confidence in my writing and personally that has helped me even in my professional life. Now I know that if I receive a negative comment, there are still those positive comments and events at work that out shadow it. My advice is to constantly work on improving yourself. Step outside of your comfort zone and take on new and challenging tasks! Before gaining this confidence I would not have asked for new or challenging work. Step outside of the box you put yourself in and strive to improve yourself in ways seemingly beyond your reach.
If you try and fail, know that at least you tried because that is more than most can say. Set goals and write them somewhere you can see them every day. Once you achieve one, cross it off and then set a new one. It’s a fantastic feeling to see the goals you have achieved and to see the new ones that you want to push yourself to do. If you have questions about writing or the free services that I use please feel free to contact me and I will gladly help you.
I’m just your average nerdy bibliophile. I love books, video games, music and movies. I spend my days off work writing one of my novels or with my husband and children. I love writing stories and they seem to flow out of me constantly. I just want people to read my stories and enjoy them.
Connect with Catherine
To participate in NaNoWriMo go to: www.nanowrimo.org this is absolutely free and really is fun to participate in! Once you’re signed up be sure to add me as a buddy http://nanowrimo.org/participants/cbanks/
Write on my friends, write on!