Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

A Pivotal Step to Get Past Your Fear of Writing

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.

The Most Important Step to Get Past Your Fear of Writing

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.

Finding community

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:

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.

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.

Determination matters

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.

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.

There’s help for you, too. Jeff has some great resources for you right here. I was also encouraged by Jeff’s reminder that our words make a difference in this post.

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.

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.

About Leslie Newman

Leslie is a wife, mother, writer, friend, and recovering perfectionist. She spends her days home educating, reading, writing, and hunting wildflowers on her farm in rural Kentucky. Drop by and visit her blog, where she talks about faith, prayer, and letting go of perfect.

Ever Wonder If Your Blog Post Is Good Enough?

We built a free tool so you don’t have to worry about that ever again.

1. Pick your goal of the post
2. Answer 5 basic questions
3. It tells you if it’s good enough and how to make it better

Click here to use the tool.

  • Sarah Geringer

    Such an inspiring post, Leslie! Yes, we need to call ourselves writers, and also reach out to others. We often don’t realize how many others we inspire by moving forward in our writing. So happy for you, friend!

    • Sarah, thank you for being one of my biggest encouragers in person and through your blog as well! It’s so true that the inspiration often remains unseen. That’s one reason why we need to be determined to keep going! Thank you for stopping by today! Blessings!

  • Judy Watters

    Thanks, Leslie. After publishing two books, teaching an ongoing memoir writing class for 4 years, leading a critique group for three years and 15 years of teaching high school English, I still feel as if I am an impostor at times. I feel as though I will never measure up to the “big boys” of writing. But then I trudge on and decide if God is for me in my writing, then who can ever stop me. The joy is in the writing. So let’s write on, sister. WE ARE WRITERS! I look forward to reading your blog.

    • Judy, I can’t tell you the times I have felt like I didn’t have what it takes and that I just didn’t measure up. I’ve learned to root out those lies, but it’s a daily effort sometimes! The impact that can happen through our writing often remains unseen, but God holds the big picture in His hands! You are so right that the joy is in the writing. And it’s such a joy to agree with you that yes, we are writers! Thank you so much for visiting today!

  • LeahandJoe Martinson

    Great encouragement to other writers. I find just getting started usually helps stop any voices of doubt or resistance.

    • Thank you! And that is so true. Getting started and taking that first step is very powerful! I appreciate you stopping by today!

  • Frank McKinley

    Leslie, I’m so proud of what you’ve been able to accomplish. You are a living testament to the power of determination. I believe when you follow the call God has given you, you’ll be more effective than you ever could be doing anything else. Congratulations!

    • Frank, thank you so much for that encouragement! I appreciate your support and all the helpful things you teach me through your writing blog! I appreciate you stopping by to read today! Blessings!

    • I feel the same. Thanks for sharing this, Frank!

      • Thank you, Jeff! Your encouragement has made a world of difference! Thank you so much for hosting me here today and for all that you do for us as beginning writers to help get us going in the right direction!

  • Daniel Adams

    Way to speak your truth Leslie, your authenticity really shines in your writing! I love that God is so much a part of you and weaved throughout your content. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Daniel, thank you for those encouraging words. When I write, I just try to relate what I’ve learned and been given. It’s the least I can do after all He’s done for me. I really appreciate your visit here today!

  • Christine

    Well done Leslie! I love reading about your success and also really love your statement that some parts of success are not the things we can measure. Real impact on real people – that’s what motivates me, and I loved reading your reminder that this is really what matters.

    • Christine, thank you for reading today! I appreciate your comments!

  • super encouraging, Leslie. to go forward while afraid is faith.

    • So true, Sue! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Fear can be paralyzing. I’m glad you overcame your fears to share your thoughts with the world.

    • Thank you, Lauren! It was hard. For me, it took God’s help and the help of encouraging people like Jeff because you are right, I was paralyzed. It’s still hard at times, but when we are determined and keep dong the work, things happen! I really appreciate your visit here today!

  • Danielle Bernock

    Thank you so much for sharing Leslie. Your words are encouraging to me. I’m going to Tribe Conference this year and like you, it’s my first one. I’m both excited and nervous. I’ve come a long way, but still have so far to go that I feel so far behind – but we are constantly reminded in Tribe Writers to not compare so it’s something I remind myself of over and over. Progress over perfection. Determination and the grace of God will help me just like it helped you. Thanks again.

    • Danielle, one thing I didn’t bring out in the article that I didn’t have when I walked through those doors is youth! At 50 I felt like I was too old to start anything new so I, too, was feeling really behind! I’ve been at home 20 years raising my kids with just part time jobs here and there. To think about starting over with something totally outside my comfort zone felt overwhelming. Comparison tries to beat me over the head, too, and I have to remind myself often not to go there. I am looking forward to meeting you in person at Tribe! Here’s to progress over perfection!!!! Thanks for visiting today!

      • Danielle Bernock

        Yay! I look forward to meeting you too!

  • Congratulations Leslie and thank you for sharing. At a different time and a different place I was there too. It wasn’t so much that I was a perfectionist, I felt that I fell short of the mark, that I could never write or be as good as the authors I admired! In short that I had no talent. That to call myself a writer was tantamount to being a fraud. One day that changed. I’ll never be a Hemingway, get the Pulitizer Prize Award … heck, I may not even become a best seller, but I have become a writer.

    • Hi Valentina, I can totally relate to those feelings. I’m so happy we’re walking this writer’s journey together! Thank you for visiting today!

  • Her Devotion

    I love your story, Leslie! Congratulations on taking that monumental step into your calling. I’ve been a writer since a little girl, and began writing professionally as a journalist in college. But starting my spiritual blog this year was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. That Resistance, as Steven Pressfield calls it, is indeed paralyzing. I’m still combatting those fears, but I always keep John 10:10 in mind; that, through Jesus, I’m given a life that is full and worthwhile. Because of that, I’ve nothing to fear. Keep up the great work! ~ Emily

    • Emily, thank you for sharing this! Yes, there is a lot of resistance when we begin a journey to write on spiritual topics. I have felt that many times. It is always beyond hard to press through, but as you point out, we have nothing to fear! John 10:10 is so true and I’ve found that in answering God’s callings and in knowing Jesus we do have the rich and full life that He speaks of. Thank you for sharing this encouragement and much needed reminders for us today! Blessings!

      • Her Devotion

        Blessings to you, too! 🙂

  • Chelsy Jordan

    This is so great. I am just starting out, sharing my work online and even with people I know, & I still find it difficult to call myself a writer out loud to other people. But I know this is what I want to do, what I was meant to do. Hearing from other writers about their early process and struggles helps me to confront my anxiety and to see that no one starts out perfect. We’re all learning, constantly. It’s just a matter of keeping up our work and sticking together as the writers we are. Thank you for sharing! -Chelsy

    • Hi, Chelsy! You are on the right track. Oh my, I could tell you lots of stories about how uncomfortable I was at the beginning with calling myself a writer. Even yesterday, I had a big let down, and wondered if I was doing the right thing. But we keep going, anxiety and all. (Believe me, I understand that one!) I think your writing is going to make an impact because you have determination and your willingness to share shows you have a heart for others! Thank you so much for being here today!

  • Ricardo Ortiz

    It’s great to hear that people are succeeding with Jeff Goins program and more. I am in the intentional blogging course and struggling but not giving up. Much success to you all.

    • Hi Ricardo, don’t give up! The great thing about Jeff’s courses is that they can be done at your own pace. It took me awhile to get through them as well and now I am going back to review parts of the course as I enter a new phase in my writing journey. The Intentional Blog course was really informative and helpful for me as was Tribe Writers. Thank you for stopping by today and all the best to you!

  • DiAnne P. Phillips

    WoW…needed this reminder and actual affirmation again! Each time I open up to the possibilities of writing beyond my current ways and means, I find encouragement. Some from revisiting and refreshing my memory of what others I already have heard/read from who offer encouragement. Some from new folk such as yourself Leslie, via those previous connections and some from entirely new sources. Thank you for putting your stamp of encouragement on my writer’s soul and for sharing your story and gift of writing with us.

    • DiAnne, those are such kind words and greatly appreciated. I found help in lots of places, too! The writing journey can be difficult. It’s great to be waking this road with you! I’m so glad you stopped by today!

  • Hello Leslie thanks to Jeff Goins, our paths have now crossed. Thanks for your encouraging story. I will not be able to make it to the Tribes Conference this year but looking forward to doing so next year and I’m looking forward to meeting you then. Hopefully, Jeff will consider staging the next Conference in Lagos.

    I met Jeff online about six months ago and I’ve been reading his posts now and then and now with your encouragement, I will redouble my effort as a writer. Though the author of four books, and the founder of a platform for encouraging friends to write, my writing has not really taken off. My guess is if I follow your footsteps and have the courage to call myself a writer I will surely succeed beyond my wildest dreams. Wishing you a great Conference.

    • Hi Paul! It sounds like you are already a writer to me. : ) I will tell you, I could not have imagined the things that would come about just because of a step of obedience to do what I felt called to do. And taking that step took finding the courage to call myself a writer. Courage sets things in motion. I’m really glad this post encouraged you and I wish you all the best in your writing journey!

      • Hello Leslie! I am a writer and I have been for years though I’ve always taken writing as a hobby and not a serious business. I created Book Writing Clinic about four years ago to encourage my friends to write. I wrote an article for them in July this year and a version of it was published on EzineArticles.Com. This is the article link, hope you like it: https://tinyurl.com/yap45et8. I will be visiting your blog regularly. Stay blessed.

        • Thank you Paul. I’ll take a look!

  • Leslie, it is so great to read more about your story here! This is so helpful to me right now as I am moving slower than I want to in blog-building and book-writing. I am so sharing this. I wish I could go to Tribe but maybe next time….it seems like the theme of my life is all about pacing myself and remaining grateful for the life I have been given rather than seethe through my teeth at what I don’t have. I seriously am so glad for you, and for your readers that they can relate well with you on your blog. That is my heart as well, though I may be a bit more transparent than some — I find it fulfilling to be real. God bless you!

    • Meghan, thank you for that encouraging note and I am so glad this helped you. I’m with you on the book writing. It’s such a slow go for me. But I try to remember that it’s not my timing that matters, but God’s. And like you say, pacing ourselves is so important. (I’m not very good at that sometimes!) You are gifted at what you do, Meghan. I’ve been on your blog and you have a unique and much needed message! The real-ness and transparency that is so much a part of you is a gift to your readers because not only does it show genuine friendship, but it shows them that you understand and they are not alone. I wish I could have read your words when I was in my Mommy years! Keep on going! You are making a difference!

  • Jamiel Cal-Pin

    Thanks for sharing a little piece of your story, Leslie. It’s definitely encouraging and at the same time challenging. It can be daunting to take that first monumental step forward.

    • Hi Jamiel. You are welcome! Those first steps are daunting for sure! Thank you for stopping by!

  • Steve Bennett

    Great post Leslie! Thanks a lot for sharing your story. I feel very encouraged on my writing journey.

    • Hey Steve, I’m glad this encouraged you, and thanks for stopping by!

  • Writers write. It’s such a basic idea. Yet, often we sit in the wings.. getting ready.. waiting like you said, “trying to figure out how to move forward.”

    We don’t really need permission. But sometimes we just need someone to move forward. And that may be the “four minute mile” nudge for the rest of us!

    • Hi John, so true! I’m an expert at sitting in the wings for sure! It usually takes a big nudge to get me going. : ) I’m glad I got one from Jeff! Thanks for reading today!

  • What an awesome story and perspective, Leslie! Thank you for encouraging all of us to hang in there and be faithful to write even when we feel overwhelmed by the obstacles before us!

    • Thank you, Beth! I’m so glad to see you here today! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  • Stanley Ehiarimwian

    Amazing amazing amazing!What a story!Enough to birth a life and resurrect the dead and buried in us.We have our struggles but with people like you around us,every struggle becomes an opportunity waiting to happen.Beyond your compelling and persuasive story,I like the prominence you gave to GOD and I want to believe you ‘d continue to give HIM due prominence.HE is the source from which all good things come or flow.
    I am inspired,and hope I have a friend and shoulder in you.I’ll be doing a lot of leaning until I can stand firmly.Action beckons.Thanks and GOD bless you Les!

    • Stanley, thank you for the encouraging words. It’s very true that God is the author of our stories. He turns our struggles into opportunities and I’ve seen that over and over again. I’m glad this story inspired you! Thank you for reading and commenting. Your friend on the writer’s journey – Leslie