Have you ever had trouble finding the courage to call yourself a writer? Do you feel the calling, but have no idea how to proceed? That’s exactly where I found myself about a year ago as I walked through the doors to attend Tribe Conference.
It was my very first writers conference. I looked inside at all those people milling around and felt like an imposter. Thoughts of all the things I didn’t have and all that I hadn’t done were racing through my mind.
- I had no background in writing.
- I had no written work anywhere other than my laptop and a personal journal.
- I knew nothing about book writing or blogging
- I had never enjoyed social media.
All I carried through those doors was a compelling desire to write and the idea that I needed to do it online. I walked in feeling overwhelmed from trying to figure out how to move forward.
I sat down at a table up front and quickly found myself drawn in. Speaker after speaker was encouraging and they all seemed to have confidence in me. I was inspired, and felt understood.
For the first time, I didn’t feel so alone with this unexpected call to write. Everyone else around me shared the same desire. Others who had already been down this road before told me I could do it, but the most impacting statement I heard that weekend was spoken by Jeff:
You are a writer. Now call yourself one!
That thought slowly began to take root in my mind. I understood that answering the calling to write was a step of obedience to what I felt God had called me to do.
That first step was finding the courage to call myself a writer.
At the end of the conference, I walked away still uncomfortable with the idea that I could be a writer, but calling myself one nevertheless. I went home, worked my way through the Tribe Writers course, prayed hard, and struggled through a huge learning curve.
On November 9th, 2016, I launched my blog.
Success can't be measured
Surprisingly, it worked! And here is what happened:
- Over 1,900 subscribers
- Over 1,300 followers on social media
- Top 4 articles receiving a total of more than 180,000 social shares
- Consistent averages of over 2 million monthly views on Pinterest
Some might define success by the things I just listed above, but what I’ve learned on this writing journey is that the things you can measure don’t make you successful. These are temporary and could fade away at any time.
The things you can measure don't make you successful.
Real success is made up of the things that can't be measured by any standard. They are the things of lasting impact.
Real success is courage. Without the courage to call ourselves writers, the difference we could make, the things that God can do through us, would forever remain a closed book.
Real success is sharing your story. Sharing my story of my struggle with perfectionism was the hardest thing I think I’ve ever done. Being that transparent in front of the whole world? No thank you! But because of it, others have been encouraged. Through the writing of a far away friend, they begin to see that someone else understands, too.
Real success is generosity. How many times did I hear that at Tribe Conference? “Be as generous as you can be.” Generosity draws people in. It makes them feel connected. Generosity is powerful because it speaks of love and there’s a world of people out there that need to know someone cares. Pay it forward. Give all that you can give. In the process, you will end up inspiring and helping others in ways you can’t even begin to imagine.
Real success is making a difference. Social shares are nice because they are an indicator that what we are doing is striking a chord somewhere, but the real reward comes in other ways. When a reader tells me they have been touched by something they’ve read or received when they visited the blog, that’s priceless! Making a difference? Having an impact in some positive way on another person? What could be better than that?
When I think about all that has come to pass between then and now, I’m amazed. When I left Tribe Conference I was not prepared for what God could do with that first step of obedience. I was also not prepared to truly believe what Jeff told me when I said, “You are a writer.”
But I was determined.
There were days I wanted to slam my computer shut in frustration. I couldn’t find the words, and learning the technology was driving me crazy.
The transparency and digging things out from deep in my soul felt like more than I could handle. Sharing the things I struggled with was embarrassing.
But on those days I remembered, “I am a writer.” I knew deep inside that this was something that was not about me at all. It was meant for someone else.
I couldn't quit now.
Determination matters because you will want to quit.
Action is your best defense against fear
I am a writer, and you are, too. So take a take a deep look inside yourself. There are words there waiting to be born. There’s a book or a blog that’s waiting to be written.
Most importantly, don't be afraid to reach out with your words and take the hand of the one walking behind you. Your story will make a difference to someone who desperately needs to hear what you have to say.
Don't be afraid to reach out with your words and take the hand of the one walking behind you.
Find the courage to act on your calling and take that monumental first step. Without it, those immeasurable things that could touch another life and mark true success in your writing journey will never have the opportunity to come about.
Be determined, have confidence in yourself, and remember what Jeff always says, “You are a writer. Now call yourself one!”
Do you find yourself in a place of fear like I was? Is taking that first step in believing you are a writer feel scary? You aren’t alone! Let’s encourage each other in the comments.