Has something ever chosen you instead of you choosing it? Were you ever surprised to find yourself doing something you’d never dreamed of? That’s exactly how I felt about becoming a fiction writer.
You see, I was not that person with a story burning inside since childhood waiting to come out. Or the one who wrote journals that turned into a perfectly cohesive novel. Nope. That was not me.
I’m not saying I’m not happy about becoming a fiction writer because I’m thrilled! I just never expected it.
At the age of 51, after praying about something to do after retirement, a story idea appeared out of nowhere! And I started writing it.
It took me two years to finish the manuscript. I’ve had it professionally edited and I’m currently pursuing publication.
I’ve sent out approximately sixty query letters and pitched to literary agents at three writers’ conferences.
So far, I haven’t landed that lucrative contract or awesome 3-book deal. Haha! In all seriousness, this process has been somewhat discouraging at times.
But as I continue to learn and grow from my experiences as a writer, there are a few important lessons I’ve learned along the way. I’d like to share 5 of them with you.
Lesson # 1: As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to try something new.
I believe in the old adage, you’re as young as you feel. And I think you’re never too old to try something new. Doing things that interest and challenge us is what keeps us fulfilled.
When the Bible speaks of “having life more abundantly” I think perhaps it meant not only having a nice sum of money, but also living a life that is satisfying and filled with activities that bring us joy.
So I would say, if you are not doing the thing that brings you joy, do it! And if you don’t know what it is, do what I did, pray about it.
Watch and see if your prayer isn’t answered and you’re doing the thing you’ve always wanted to do, or like me, you’re doing something you never would have imagined.
Lesson # 2: Ignore the Nay-Sayers.
In Bruce Wilkinson’s book The Dream Giver, he calls nay-sayers border bullies. You may also have heard them called dream killers or dream stealers.
No matter what they are called, their job is the same, to discourage you and keep you from accomplishing your dream.
For some it’s intentional. That’s what they do. They tell you all the reasons you’re going to fail so you don’t pass them on your way up!
For others, it may be well-intentioned. They can’t see you accomplishing your dream or vision. The problem is, it’s not their vision, so why should they see it?
If you’re going to achieve your dream or God-given purpose in life, you must ignore the bullies in your life. Whether they are friends or family members, you must keep your focus and don’t let them steal or kill your dream.
Lesson # 3: When your journey becomes difficult, focus on the “Why.”
Whenever you attempt something new it’s going to be difficult because there is a learning curve involved.
It’s going to be uncomfortable because oftentimes you’re thrown into a new environment and you’re required to engage with people you’ve never met before.
All of this is very uncomfortable and downright frightening, especially if you’re an introvert, like most writers.
If you’re going to become successful doing something you’ve never done before understand that there will be challenges and setbacks.
But know that while you’re experiencing these challenges and setbacks you are learning and becoming stronger in the thing you’re trying to accomplish.
Everyone experience challenges, setbacks, and even failures when trying to attempt something new.
If you don’t believe me, Google Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Edison or President Lincoln and see how many times they failed before they became successful.
And if you want to check out a few writers who struggled before becoming successful authors, Google John Grisham, J.K. Rowling or even Stephen King.
So, keep your focus on “why” you’re doing what you are doing. If it wasn’t important, you never would have started.
Lesson# 4: Never envy someone else’s success.
When you’re trying to do something that you’ve never done before and you’re experiencing challenges and setbacks, it’s easy to look at those who are achieving success and become envious.
This is never good. Been there, done that, got the shirt to prove it! When you take your eyes off what you’re doing to look “with envy” how well someone else is doing, this only hinders your own success.
It’s like runners in a race. If one runner looks back or over to the side to see where the other runner is, he loses ground.
Keep your eyes on your goal and your purpose. Understand that while it may seem like success came easy for the other person, you really have no idea what he/she actually went through to gain success.
Also, if God has given them success, He’s the same God who made you. He will give you success as well as long as you maintain integrity and not harbor envy in your heart.
Rejoice with those who rejoice! Or at the very least, don’t hate and see if success doesn’t come knocking at your door.
Lesson # 5: Never give up!
As a new writer or someone on a new path, your journey may be difficult, but the key to success is never give up. If you give up, that’s the sure way to experience defeat.
Remember the wise words of Harriet Beecher Stowe “Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”
PS – Drop me a line and tell me about an obstacle you had to overcome to achieve your dream.