It’s hard to believe so much time has passed since I decided to write my first novel. Two years. I’ll never forget how I felt. I was terrified and I had no faith in myself. I didn’t trust that I knew what I was doing, but I was willing to try anyway. I didn’t want anyone to know what I had decided to do. I didn’t even tell my husband for fear of judgment. I would hide in our home office and only work on my book when no one else was around. If my husband walked in to the office, I would quickly minimize the file I was working on and pretend I was doing something else. That’s how little I trusted myself and my ability.

It’s ridiculously silly now to think about how I acted. There was no reason for it, not really. I was scared and I let my fear hold me back from being true to myself and honest with others. I laugh now about how hard it was to say, “I am a writer.” Now I fully own it and will tell everyone I am an author.

Change is a scary thing. And what I had decided to do was change. And it was hard change. Writing a book is easy. Anybody can put words down on paper and call it a book. But writing a GOOD book is hard. My first draft of my first novel was crap. The story was good and worth telling, but my first attempt left a lot to be desired. My first draft of my second book was crap. I am getting ready start my fifth rewrite of that book. But with every rewrite it gets better and better.

I have grown so much as an author over the past two years. I have read every ‘how to’ book on writing novels that I can get my hands on. And I keep reading more. I even attended my first author/book focused conference last week. It’s so invigorating to meet and network with others who have the same dream as me. Like minded individuals who also trusted themselves and listened to that inner voice screaming to write a book. I have now written drafts to four novels and several short stories. With every word I write I get better and better. As with any skill, it takes time to develop and grow. Writing novels is no different.

Man am I glad I worked through my fear and continued to write that first draft. I am even more thankful that I found the courage to finally be open with family and friends that I was writing a novel. A few people judged me (it’s always going to happen), but most were extremely supportive and proud that I followed my dreams.

People come and go. Someone who is your friend today may be a distant acquaintance in five years. But you have to live with yourself for your entire life. You had better be happy with you and your decisions. If you find you are struggling with making a life changing decision to do something like write a book, ask yourself why you are struggling. Is it fear of judgement from others? Lack of confidence? Lack of knowledge? Whatever the reason for not starting, I ask you to look deep inside your soul and trust yourself. Listen to your inner voice and trust it. Do not listen to others or stop yourself out of fear of what they may say. The world is a blank canvas. It could stay blank or be painted by others. But wouldn’t it be so much fun to add your own paint!