I’ve been blogging for over 10 years, but my hands are trembling and shaking as I type these words. I have a story to tell and passions to pursue, but so do you, and my passions and dreams aren’t any more noteworthy than yours. It just so happens, my passion is to encourage people. That’s why I’m here. To encourage you, mama. I want to tell you to get out of your own way and chase your dreams. But I don’t feel worthy. I struggle with all the same common pitfalls of people, particularly women, such as shame, fear, imposter syndrome and self-doubt when it comes to following my dreams.
Can you follow your dreams perfectly? No. Do we all have limitations? Yes. Some women more than others.
I am a writer. I write to process my feelings. I write to communicate. Before blogs existed, I kept journals and wrote letters. My very first dream career was to be an author, before the world got a hold of me and my own insecurities got in the way. Eventually, I was able to make my dream come to life, and I’m here to tell you that you can too. Yes. You. Yes, you, mama.
Almost two years after deciding I would follow my dream of being an author, I self-published my first book. Aside from a few quotations, all the words in the book are mine. The cover art? Mine. The blurb? Mine. I wanted everything to reflect me and the message I felt compelled to share.
To that end, there may be formatting errors in the book. Despite my due diligence and professional editing, formatting issues arise unexpectedly and are easy to miss. Without a publishing professional behind me, there are bound to be mistakes.
Right now, I have two versions of my book available under two separate listings. Instead of seeing my book and choosing paperback or Kindle, each version has its own URL thanks to a mistake I made in uploading.
My book isn’t perfect.
Neither are my marketing efforts. When I say I do not have a marketing budget for this book, I mean I don’t have a dollar. Ideally, I would have been able to pay for professional formatting and promotion, but I don’t have the ideal circumstances. And if I sat around and waited for the ideal, I might never have published the book.
Do you have a goal, a dream, you aren’t pursuing? What has been with you since before the world started telling you that you couldn’t be whatever you wanted?
My dream has always been to be a writer. Since I can remember, I’ve wanted to write and have people read it. I’ve always written, but I didn’t always let people read it. I was scared. I’m still scared. Scared to tell my story. Scared to stand in my truth. Scared of judgement, rejection and ridicule.
I don’t want to be an influencer. I don’t want to be seen. But I don’t know how else to get my message across than to take the risk. And taking the risk feels as good as accomplishing my dream. I know this first hand.
As of today, I have sold eleven copies of my book. Those eleven books are enough for me to feel like a success. Sure, earning more money would be great, but if only eleven people read my book, mission accomplished. All I’ve ever wanted was to write and have people (I don’t care how many or few) read it.
My hands stopped shaking somewhere around the second paragraph of this post. I got into my flow and my nerves calmed. My mind relaxed. I am putting myself out there, raw and imperfect, trembling and shaking, to show others that it is okay to be scared, it is okay to make mistakes. It is okay to fail by the world’s standards. You don’t need to be renowned. You don’t need to be the best. You just need to do the thing you can’t stop thinking about doing. The thing that creeps into your life in other ways.
What do you want to do? How do you want to express yourself? Forget about money, status or appearances. What is that thing you would do if money weren’t an object and you had plenty of time? Would you dance? Draw? Design? Whatever it is, find a way to incorporate it into your life. Education is accessible and affordable through the internet, and sometimes free through platforms like YouTube.
Even if you are afraid, even if it isn’t perfect, even if it isn’t exactly what you envisioned, you can do some version of “it” no matter your limitations.
You don’t have to make money on your art or passion for it to be considered a success.
In following your dream, your passion, you will achieve the desire you expected only upon success. My book is not on target to be a best seller. The world may not know me as an author, but I do. I am chasing my dreams. My book may flop, yet I will still count it a high achievement, and I will still write and publish books. I will still share my message of encouragement. Next time, I may encourage you to love yourself or accept yourself, or maybe I’ll encourage you to hold space for your pain.