“No more daydreams about Prince Charming. If you want something, you have to go after it yourself.” – Gala Darling, blogger and author of Radical Self Love.

Recently, Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon gave an inspiring speech while taking home awards from the Emmy’s. Watch it here if you haven’t seen it yet.

It was Witherspoon’s words that struck me: “…Bringing women to the front of their own stories and making them the hero of their own stories…”

We all live out our own stories, don’t we? Some shine as success stories and others plod along in the background, supporting or being completely overlooked. So what does it take to be the hero of your own story? Maybe it all lies in the telling – because if you do not tell it, how will it ever be heard?

I have my own story to tell – the lifelong dream to be an author – and I take Reese’s words to heart. If you’ve been following (for the past 6 years), I finally took step one to follow this dream and wrote a book. Yes, yes, that book that I kept talking about hoping to publish, hoping to release a sequel, hoping to dive into different stories and different characters…but nothing materialized. Not that nothing was happening. I finished the manuscript, edited it (over and over and over), submitted to publishers numerous times, had a few bites that went nowhere, faced rejection and dusted myself off for the next round. I kept working on it, perfecting it, editing it…but then somewhere over the years it got lost. One day the most exciting project in my life, the next a collection of words swept under the carpet.

The truth is I lost sight of my dream and lost faith in myself along the way. Enough rejection letters (and even worse, the publishers who didn’t bother to reply at all) kept me from believing in my book, and ultimately in myself. I am no Jane Austin. I am no JK Rowling. Heck, I’m not even EL James! It was so soul-destroying sitting in line on the bench, waiting and waiting to be picked, only to be looked over time and again.

Of course I know that I can’t expect a miracle. I knew that I couldn’t just arrive on that bench, dressed how I want, reading what I want, chewing gum and ignoring the game, and still expect to be picked. So I put in the time. I put hours into editing my work, enrolled in a creative writing program at the university, spent literally years working on a ‘skill’ I was born with, because I realized that’s not enough. It’s what you do with it and how you grow it that counts. Like holding on to a handful of seeds and expecting an orchid when you refuse to plant or nurture them. I knew I had to dig and water and shelter and expose my work. I knew I had to write – keep writing – blogs, articles, even a collection of short stories for children. I began to develop an online presence for my ‘author’ persona, no matter how much of an imposter I felt. Because I knew the muddy, dark days would be needed for anything to sprout. And the manure had to come. The rejection was part of it all. I needed to read and learn, discuss and accept criticism. I kept at it and worked and wrote and edited and on-lined (and hope that over the years have been getting better at it all). I have certainly learned a few things!

So I didn’t just sit there on that bench. I spent my time doing warm ups, strengthening my skill – but still never being picked.

1-1

Then one day it hit me. Why sit around forever waiting to be picked? Why not choose myself? Why not be the hero of my own story?

I was completely inspired by an author and blogger, Gala Darling, who wrote this article. It came at a time when I was contemplating self-publishing, but still grappling with the stigma attached to it. I had read some truly spectacular self-published novels and would sing those authors praises to the moon and back, but for some reason just couldn’t stop belittling my own project. Thinking ‘if I self-publish, it’s because it’s not good enough to be traditionally published.’ How is it that I find it so easy to have faith in others, but not in myself? Why couldn’t I see that in traditional publishing, the tides are changing and as one door closes, another opens? Much like streaming has changed the way we view TV programs, indie publishing has changed the way we consume books. Which means I have to change the way I write and put mine out there if I want to have a chance at being a part of the new era.

After I read Gala’s article, it was exactly what I needed to push me through that new door.

“The days of waiting for a publisher, an agent, a record label, or a talent scout to pluck you out of obscurity are over. No more waiting. No more daydreams about Prince Charming. If you want something, you have to go after it yourself.”

Pretty inspiring words, right? And if that wasn’t enough, she went on to follow it up with a kick in the tail feathers.

“The world has changed. There are no gatekeepers anymore. There is nothing stopping you from publishing that book, releasing that album, starting that business. Nothing but yourself.”

That’s when I decided to believe in myself again. I know I’m putting in the time and effort, I also know this book won’t ever be perfect. But it deserves to see the light of day and is the one thing that will open the gates to my career as an author. Rather than allowing it to sit in a state of limbo forever, I need to choose myself, set it free via the new world of indie publishing, and allow myself to move on to the next book, and the next. Because I may never be JK Rowling, but a lifelong love affair with writing began in me when I first learnt about words and books and stories – and I intend to live out that romance, the teller of my own story, till the day I die.

Pami-sign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

IMAGES: 1. Via WALLDEVIL /