In my last post, I introduced the idea of seeing your obstacles as challenges to overcome in order to improve yourself. Now I want to go into more detail about how I used that perspective to overcome my fears and make myself stronger.
A couple weeks ago, I went to the Wild Writers Festival in KW. As I’m a writer, I knew that it was important for me to start attending these kinds of events. Writers need to go to writers’ conventions and festivals. Despite the fact writers spend many hours alone, meeting other writers helps them immensely. During the cons and festivals, writers share stories, give writing and publishing advice, network, and offer encouragement.
I need to familiarize myself with this atmosphere. In several ways, these events are similar to university, but they are also very different too. For instance, I’m used to being the student, listening to the advice from people who have much more information than I do. I can relax knowing that I don’t have to be the person who has all this knowledge to give to other people.
But at writers’ events, all writers are each other’s peers regardless of how many times their work has been published. So, the only way that they can distinguish themselves is by talking about their work.
Such an atmosphere makes me nervous. Don’t get me wrong — I love talking about my writing, but I haven’t been published much, and those pieces have all either been self-published or published for free by Imprint. I’m inexperienced with the marketing side of my profession. In short, I have yet to master the skill to explain my work without making my listener’s eyes glaze over. And this skill can only be improved by experience, so the obstacle that I knew I needed to overcome was my uneasiness with pitching my work.
Which is why when the opportunity to go to the festival arose, I knew that this was a chance to gain that much-needed experience. So, my advice to you, Gentle Readers, is that the best time to beat an obstacle is when you’re nervous about challenging it. In that moment when you do go over the thing that inspires that negative feeling inside of you, that’s when you discover how brave you really are. And that’s when you become stronger.
But before I finish up here, I want to stress that it’s important to remember that overcoming the obstacle in question isn’t a simple thing to do. Every fiber in your being will beg you to turn away. I made up so many excuses when I signed up for the festival: I’m spending too much money unnecessarily; my work really isn’t strong enough yet to talk to other writers about it; this festival really isn’t worth my time; and so on and so on.