Self-Doubt and Your Dreams (My Story by guest blogger Lorna Faith)

*Hello my fellow readers!  I have an awesome treat for you today!  I have a very special guest who will share with you her story of how she struggled and overcame self-doubt to achieve her creative dreams: Lorna Faith.

 

I grew up the youngest of 11 children in a family that homesteaded a little more than a section of land in Northern British Columbia, Canada.

Our family started out on that farm living in a two-room house, with curtains between the rooms. We dubbed that house ‘the white house’ because we had painted it white on the outside 😉

We lived a very simple life. Dad saved every penny so he could buy more cattle, seeds and machinery that would expand the farming operation.

We grew up telling stories around the supper table and before bed almost every night.

My friends were mostly my family and my animal friends. I would tell stories as I rode the horse and as I gathered the cows from the pasture for milking just before supper time every day.

My dad and six brothers chopped down trees in order to clear more land to grow more crops. Each year we would clear more land, pick more rocks and roots and plant more seed for harvest. In those first years, we would stook the hay until we could afford a baler to pull behind the tractor.

We lived off the land. My mom grew a large garden and we butchered our animals for meat in the winter. Each fall, we would butcher pigs, a couple of cows and a few chickens with close friends of my parents so we would all have meat for winter.

When I was given free time, I would play with my friend Skippy who lived 3 miles down the road from us. She and I had a lot of fun dancing to Beatles records at her house, and riding the calves when she came to visit our farm.

My brothers made their own go-carts with dad’s help and we would drive them around the yard. I really wanted to learn to ride the motorbike, but my older brother and sister told me I first needed to learn to milk the cow before they would teach me. So I learned to milk the cow at six years of age, and by the next day was learning how ride the motorbike before my feet could touch the ground.

We built tree forts in the large populars around our yard, and made our own stilts to walk in across the yard.

I would often have the most fun riding the horses or just sitting with them out in the pasture. I remember often resting beside one of the horses in the pasture, it was a safe and soothing place to be. I did it so often that my mare would nudge me to sit on her back or lay down beside her, like I was one of her ‘offspring.’

It was fun to grow up on a farm. We learned to work as hard as we played together as a family.

Although there was a lot of fun, my dad was a strict disciplinarian. And when he would get really angry, he would just throw stuff at us… whatever was handy at the time.

So as a little girl, I lived in a lot of fear as to what would happen next and whether the next mistake I made would mean a black and blue bottom. Because of many days spent in fear, I also wet the bed every night until I was twelve years old.

My mom would soothe my fears and encourage me in my creativity, which really helped. She encouraged me to play the piano and sing from early on… and later encouraged me to write.

Mom believed in me. When I was ten years old, she gave me a necklace with a tiny mustard seed in a glass box that hung on the end of the gold chain, and told me “Lorna Faith, you are going to encourage many people throughout your life.”

Her belief in me helped get me through many difficult days.

For example, in elementary school I had a tough time learning to write. I had a teacher who told me my writing was like chicken scratchings. Being a farm girl, I knew what that meant. The worst part was, I believed him and I was devastated.

I didn’t write stories again for over twenty years; not until I began homeschooling my own four children how to write their stories.

Learning to write has definitely been on-the-job training. I didn’t have any formal training, but it has been a lifelong passion.

It wasn’t until the dream to write stories was sparked – as I taught my kids how to tell stories – that I tried to write again. I resisted for weeks because of fear, but the dream only grew bigger.

So, I began to write. I scribbled down small stories with a pen and a small notebook for a few years before I got serious about it.

From the first words I put on the page until I finished the last sentence of my first novel, every single day I struggled to get the story on the page. Sure some days were easier than others, but every time I saw the blank page looming in front of me, I was consumed with intimidation and fear of failure.

Fear of rejection showed up in my writing days resulting in perfectionism and procrastination that slowed me down.

Self-doubt became my constant companion and brought questions like: What if I really am a bad writer and end up failing? What if no one wants to read my books?

Insecurity mocked me, resulting in more self-doubt.

I didn’t realize there was a truth I was struggling to accept. That inside, I was already a writer.

I didn’t understand that before I could really find my voice as a writer, I needed to own that identity. Activity would follow.

My aha moment came when I read Jeff Goin’s book, You are a Writer and these words were highlighted to me: Don’t wait for someone to pick you. Pick yourself.

I finally realized that all those years of struggle, I had been waiting for permission. Somewhere deep inside, those negative voices had expanded into something bigger. I had been waiting for that unknown someone to pick me and confirm that I was a writer.

Pick Yourself.  I let those words sink in. I didn’t need a big publishing house contract, literary agent or editor to confirm what I already knew.

I am a writer.

Since that defining moment, I’ve chosen to own that identity. I’ve started to come out of my self-imposed cave of fear, and have decided to choose myself.

So if you’ve been struggling with fear of failure or self-doubt, I hope you will also give yourself the freedom to own your identity.

Be brave. Take a risk. Step toward your dream.

It’s time for you to choose yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

Lorna Faith pic

 

 

 

 

 

Lorna Faith has fun writing historical romances, and has her eye on writing some contemporary romance in the near future. Recently she released Book #2 in her historical romantic suspense series called, Anchoring Annaveta and is hard at work writing a new stand-alone novel in the Western Historical Romance genre set in the early 1900s around Calgary, Alberta. Lorna also loves to reach out to struggling and first-time writers. She has published a writing book called Write and Publish Your First Book and now has an online course by the same name. You can find out more about what she’s up to by going to http://www.lornafaith.com. Lorna would also love to chat with you on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

lorna faith book

Click on this image to purchase the book

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My Struggles to Achieving My Creative Dreams (Special Guest Post by Lidy Wilks PLUS a Cover Reveal of Her Chapbook AND Giveaways!)

can you catch my flow blog tour

*I have a special treat for you all today!  It is my honor to introduce to you Lidy Wilks who will be talking about her passion as a writer and poet, and how she came through her struggles to achieve her dreams.  The cover reveal above is for her poetry chapbook, Can You Catch My Flow?  Be sure to check out the special giveaways at the end of this post Lidy is promoting! 

 

 

I’ve taken a few detours on this creative journey. I’ve stumbled and detoured away from it.  Funny, when I think about it.  As I’d always known, from the moment I read Little Women and Moby Dick, that I wanted a future involved with books.  I didn’t know then what kind of job it’d be.  But I never doubted for a minute, that whatever that job entailed, I would find where I belong.

Yet, I’ve had my highs and lows in trying to achieve my creative dreams.  My first fan was my friend and classmate.  Her excited response supported my interest to become a writer and write more stories.  I held those aspirations all the way through high school; until a teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I got older.  Naturally I said “I want to be an author.”

Well, imagine my utter shock when I was told that writing was just a hobby.  Making money from writing wasn’t a high priority.  I wanted to write and have readers enjoy my stories.  To my teacher, becoming a published author was unrealistic.  Writing could not feed you, clothe you or pay the bills. That was the reality of things.

Despite her quick and crushing, pessimistic assessment, I couldn’t let go of my dreams.  But it still affected me so much that I changed my intended major on my college applications.  I’d decided to major in Mass Communications instead of my favorite subject English.  At least with a Mass Comm degree I can get a job in print media/publishing that’ll pay well.  Fortunately, this little detour didn’t last long.

What happened? I was reminded of what I really wanted after my first semester.  I only majored in communications because I was afraid of a future that hadn’t even happened yet.  I let that fear guide me on a different path.  A dream of becoming a magazine editor/writer as a way to hold onto my creative dream; but that fell apart because of an elective creative writing class, and the professor who encouraged me.

So I spent the next four years writing to my heart’s content.  Studied and read British and American poetry, and Shakespeare’s plays in Old English.  Taking non-fiction creative writing, and poetry workshops.  All the while minoring in Mass Comm because I might as well finish what I started.  Plus, it could come in handy (and it did a bit now that I’m a blogger). Point is, I was never happier.  And then I graduated.

True to form and I don’t want to admit it even now, I did not find a job with my English degree.  I started temping and found a job at a non-profit.  I got married, had kids and before I knew it, writing-wise I had nothing to show for it.  Life had taken me on another detour until a company move to a new city gave me the kick-in-the-butt I needed.  Dust off the story ideas I’ve filed away throughout the years, and exercise my writing muscles.  And not just write again; but, write more poetry and submit them to literary journals, magazines, etc.

Looking back, all these detours served as lessons.  To never again let my doubts, lack of confidence, or the opinions of others take me away from what I love doing.  And believe me, I almost completely turned my back from it especially after receiving a nasty rejection letter from a poetry editor.  But as much the support I’ve received helped validate my writing dreams, I should believe in myself more especially against those whose opinions would deter me from it.

After all, I will always question myself and whether I have the talent and determination to continue on this journey.  Questions like what is this poem about? Who is the poem for?  How could I ever had written this?  Or, being filled with writing envy and asking why didn’t I write that?  But these are questions I deal with whenever I pick up a pen to write, or read a poem.  And that’s not something that will ever go away.  It’s one of the things that’s part of a writer’s life. And it’s a writer’s life for me.

arrival of monarch

exultation

 

 

 

 

 

 

giveaway lidy wilks

Click on above image to enter for the giveaway!

 

 

lidy wilksAbout the Author:

Ever since she was young, Lidy Wilks was often found completely submerged in the worlds of Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, Sweet Valley High and Nancy Drew. She later went on to earn a Bachelor degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from Franklin Pierce University where she spent four years knee-deep in fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction workshops.

Lidy is the author of Can You Catch My Flow? a poetry chapbook, and is a member of Write by the Rails.  She currently resides in Virginia with her husband and two children; and an anime, book and manga library which she’s looking to expand, one day by adding an Asian drama DVD collection.  Lidy continues her pursuit in writing more poetry collections and fantasy novels all the while eating milk chocolate and sipping a glass of Cabernet, or Riesling wine.

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Are There Too Many Books Out There?

too many books

I posted a poll to both here and on Twitter to garner how many thought if there were too many writers and not enough readers.  Majority of those who responded (around 74%) believed that there were more than enough readers for all the books now out there.

Okay, let’s delve a bit deeper and look at some of the statistics that I’ve managed to find.

According to one article, in 2013 at least 28 million books were published in English.  It looks like this included both traditional and self-published “print” titles.  The article went on to state that in 2003 the number of books in print were only around one million titles.  Kind of put things in perspective on just how much things have exploded since the early 2000’s.

I pulled up the Worldometers’ site, its clocking the world population at around 7.4 billion.  North America has 360 million, Europe at 738 million, Africa 1.2 billion; but Asia takes the crown at well over 4.4 billion.

Of the 7.4 billion, nearly 1 billion are illiterate.

Another sobering number to look at is that at least 3 billion of the world population lives in poverty; many of these may not have access to books because of the condition they live in.

This still leaves a good chunk of people as readers, right?

How many of the remaining population actually spends the time reading books in all honesty?  With people working more hours each week, and with various technology distractions, the number of people reading seems to be on the decline.

It seems that the challenge facing writers these days is trying to get people to read their work.  With so many published titles out there (and mind you, these numbers do not include digital ones), how does a writer go about doing that?

Any thoughts?

 

 

How Many Wrimos Actually Get Published?

For those who have participated (or have considered but never did) in the November’s National Novel Writing Month, some must have wondered if it’s even worth doing.  Do Wrimos really get their novels published?

Can it even be done?

According to Nanowrimo.org (Published Wrimos)many have actually done it.

In fact, since 2006, over 230 NaNo books have been traditionally published.  Included in this list are publishing houses such as Penguin Books, HarperCollins, Scholastic Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Ballantine Books, and others.

Additionally, over 150 Wrimos have self-published their novels.

With hard work and courage, it is possible to have that crazy thing called a “novel” published.

 

“Write while the heat is in you. … The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.”
—Henry David Thoreau

Books: Man’s Greatest Achievement (Short Story)

dean land

Gray clouds hung low in the sky as a group of teenagers clambered down the street littered with rusted and mangled vehicular bodies.   Houses on both sides of the disintegrating asphalt stood in various wretched shapes.   Woods warped.  Windows smashed or missing. Vinyl sidings bent like painful hang-nails.

The group turned down a particular graveled pathway which led to a large, crumbling brick-laid building that stood three-stories tall.  A sign stretched across the middle of the structure with words etched in the marble slab: Esmond High

As soon as they crossed the threshold, they turned right and entered into a large room.  Inside the open room several long tables spread across the dusty tile flooring, each partnered with two deformed metallic chairs.   Large windows lined the far wall of the room, and like the others, many were either missing or broken.  They also provided the only source of lighting.

The younger version of adults sat at the three front tables, and waited in silence.

Moments later, a man shuffled into the room.  Long, wispy white hair hung long from his head.  White-black beard partially covered his face, its bottom touched his ragged red and black plaid shirt.

“Good morning, class.”  His hoarse voice crackled as he slowly hobbled to the front where a small wooden desk stood.

“Good morning, Mr. Pike.” The teens replied in unison.

He gingerly set down a plastic bag on top of the desk which wobbled with the weight being pressed on it.  Mr. Pike groaned as he forced himself to stand straight, and turned his cataract-riddled, hazel eyes to the classroom before him.

“It seems our number is ever growing smaller.” He sniffed.

“Marge’s parents have married her off to the Mableton’s clan so she won’t be coming back.” The only female in the room spoke in a quiet voice.

“Ethan, Sam, and Levi have been recruited to the front line.” The dark haired male in the center table said.

“Sal was killed with his parents last night by thieves.” The smallish boy next to the brunette female muttered.

“Madness.” The old man whispered as he rapped his arthritic knuckles on the wood.  “This is what we’ve been reduced to.  Constant warring with one another.  Servitude and slavery.  Mockery and misery all around us.  All due to stupidity.  Stupidity.”

“Mr. Pike?”  The girl’s voice drifted to his ears.  “Are you alright?”

He shook his head hard and blinked several times as he struggled to regain his focus on the remaining kids.

“Yes, yes of course I’m alright!” He snapped as his hands gripped the plastic bag.  “It’s a bit disconcerting when I see our future being ripped from us, that’s all.”

“What’s in the bag, Mr. Pike?” A petite oriental boy from the table directly in front of him asked.

The elder released his grip on the bag and began to pat it. “Ah, yes.  The bag.  I discovered the content last evening when I was rummaging through a building that was once a library.”

“What’s a library?” The girl asked.

“My dear Oona.” He smiled. “A library was used to house what we called books.  Books were once the foundation of which we built a great civilization. Books were what brought us out of the last Dark Ages.  They enabled us to become highly advanced and educated and enlightened.   They were the glue that held us together.”

“What happened?” The small boy next to Oona asked.

“Man grew stupid, Darrin. “He answered. “We grew so enamored with technology and all our wonderful advances, and decided to get rid of books, which contained everything, to rely solely on digital machines.”

He glanced across the room and saw that all eyes and ears were completely attuned to him, and continued. “Then the storm happened and wiped out all the technology, and with it our heart and soul as a specie.” He raised a hand into the air. “Hence, you see the result all around us.”

“So…” Mr. Pike reached a hand inside the bag. “For the next few weeks, we’ll be reading two of the greatest books ever written, in my humble opinion, by man.”  And pulled out two heavily worn hard-covered books. “Moby Dick and War and Peace.”

“Could we take turns reading them?” Oona breathlessly asked.

“I don’t read too well.”  The oriental boy moaned.

“Don’t worry, Mai, I’ll help you.” She smiled.

 

reading

 

Okay, questions for the reader:

1.  What message do you think this story is trying get across?

2. Would you want to read more of this particular story?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So Many Choices

day sixteen

Since my goals for both challenges (sixteen and seventeen) go hand-in-hand, I have combined them. day seventeen

I’ve contemplated on several ideas to run as a series, and then publish them in an ebook, for a long time.   Jeff Goins and his Intentional Blogging challenges have been instrumental in helping narrow down those multiple ideas to just two.  Now, I’m turning to my readers to help me decide which idea to take on.

Which series would you prefer to see?

 

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