Taking the Next Step

Some of you have already read this because I wrote it as a guest post for Andrew Hines. However, after having published Midnight Abyss and looking in hindsight, I wouldn’t change anything about the post and I’d like to encourage you all to reach for your dreams by taking them a step at a time.

Taking the Next Step

There’s that look. The one when you say you’re a writer and whoever you’re talking to doesn’t respond except to look at you like you’re nuts.

I’m intimately familiar with that look. Ever since the seventh grade, I’ve wanted to be a writer and while growing up, I’d say so. I always got the, ‘okay, and what else do you want to do?’

So I dabbled in writing for years but never branched out to do anything with it, afraid that, by sharing my writing, I’d only confirm I wasn’t capable of making it my career. I graduated high school, went to college, got married. You know, followed the respectable ‘life plan.’

I like to think my creator hit me upside the head with a two-by-four. He created me with this passion to write. And he used my husband to get me back on track.

About a year ago we moved and my husband suggested I focus on my writing instead of searching for a full time job.

God, did that thought scare me. But it also thrilled the daylights out of me. Tentatively, I started a blog with the idea that I’d use it to ‘thicken’ my skin to the experience of others reading my stories. I’d heard this was the thing to do to build an ‘author platform,’ whatever that meant.

Well, you have to tell people you have a blog. You have to interact. Great-leaping frogs! You mean I have to use Twitter? Well, yes, that’s what needed to happen. So, after working up my nerve, I started posting on Facebook and Twitter. Small beans, baby steps. Whatever you’d like to call it.

Ultimately this lead me to joining a writing site that started talking with me on Twitter. A site called Writer’s Carnival.

That was back in March, I think. Anyway, one thing led to another, in a series of steps I’m not even sure I could outline now, until I was invited to join eight others from the site in publishing a short story anthology.

I personally never would have thought of attempting to self publish. I never thought I had it in me, but now we’re published as of the end of October. It’s my first publication ever.

And none of this would have happened if I hadn’t started the blog. I’ve never even met the other authors of this anthology beyond the internet, yet the interaction with them is what made publication possible for me.

When I started, I couldn’t see past the next post. For the most part, I still can’t. I know many writers who don’t feel like they’re getting anywhere or who think starting a ‘platform’ is a waste of time.

I might have agreed with you a year ago, maybe even a few months ago. I’m not one of those who built a following in a couple months and even now, I don’t have a large following. Many times it simply feels like you’re trudging on. Throwing something into the void with little response.

It’s not true though. The smallest step, posting on Twitter, talking to a complete stranger, whatever the step may be, can lead you to achieving your dream. Whether that dream’s writing like me or singing like Andrew or something else, you probably won’t see the outcome from the next step, but take the step anyway. You never know where it’ll lead.

So I’ll leave you with this one challenge. Think about what you want, what dream really makes your heart beat in excitement, and take one step toward achieving it, even if that step’s only saying hello to someone.



10 thoughts on “Taking the Next Step”

  1. Thank you for posting again as we never read this one. This was an inspiration Jennifer that will encourage anyone second guessing or thinking of pulling back to follow their dream. And although we have spent time getting to know you over the past few years. Now we know why your such a strong, amazing writer. You have an incredible support system. Your husband helped you to reach that dream. And seeing how we’ve read Midnight Abyss, let us be the first to say….thank goodness you followed your heart! Because writing is your gift, calling & rightful place among the literary world! And we’re so happy for you.

  2. beautifully said, Jennifer, and so true! So sorry I’m just getting to your last 2 posts…was out of town, but just wanted to hop on here and say I love this post and you’re so right. Every little bit counts, and you never know what connection you might make, or what you might learn, or where the trail may take you.
    Funny, it’s my husband that encouraged me to follow the writing path, too. We picked good ones, eh? 🙂

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