Fear of Success and How it Almost Kept Me from Making an Impact
I have always been impressed by people who have written a book. It was a mystery to me how the process worked, yet I knew it could not be that difficult. Many of my friends had written books. I decided that in general, I am a smart person. If they could do it, so could I. How hard could it be, really?
In 2010 I attended a workshop hosted by two author friends on how to self-publish. Both of these guys had written multiple books by this point. They were having an impact on people through their writing and I wanted that. I had things to say. I wanted to make an impact, too.
During the two hour workshop, I took copious notes. I had even purchased a special bound notebook for the occasion. Step by step, my friends outlined the process of self-publication. They shared their mistakes and successes, for which I was grateful. Not knowing how to do something brings out a fear of failure in me. These guys had been there and were willing to help others through the process so we would not allow fear to stop us from a finished product. They assured us that if they could do it, we could too.
It seemed there were two parts to self-publishing; the process of publishing, and the writing itself. Publishing, as it turned out, involved a myriad of steps, including font, style, layout, page size, cover art, publisher choice, fees, copy writing, and more. I began to get nervous. The last thing I wanted was to be taken advantage of or to make poor choices in publisher and end up paying for it; literally and figuratively. Mike and Steve, our hosts, assured the group that it is perfectly normal to be nervous through the process.
The second part, Mike told us, was the hardest; sitting down and writing the book. I remember thinking, “Are you kidding me? I have a lot to say! I doubt this will be a problem for me.” I later found out that Mike was right. Knowing what I wanted to write about was not difficult. The challenge came in the form of commitment. Deciding that I would set aside time every day to write something became an overwhelming source of stress. I caved to the pressure and put the goal of writing a book on the shelf.
A couple years later, I was putting my four year old son to bed. He wanted me to make up a new story rather than read books. I wanted to make it relatable so it would keep his attention. The lesson in the story was easy to formulate. What makes you different is what makes you special. It is what every child and adult wants to hear and believe.
I wove together a story about a turtle named Largo who hated being slow. He finds a friend, Shelby, another turtle, who has the same problem. They walk home together. They come to the conclusion that there must be a reason why they were made that way, even though it did not make sense to them. As they approach their houses, they see a beautiful sunset that all their friends missed because they were in a hurry.
After putting my son to bed, I sat down at my computer and wrote out the story. There it sat for nearly five years. Finally, in 2017, I made the decision to publish “The Adventures of Largo and Shelby”, all the while remembering the advice of my author friends years before. I was apprehensive about how the final product would turn out, but after working with a professional Illustrator who had also been through the publishing process, I knew the book would be amazing. And it was.
This week marks the one year anniversary of the publication of my children’s book. Last Saturday I attended the Monarch Festival at Petals in the Pines in Canterbury, New Hampshire, as a vendor. I read my book quite a few times and sold some copies. But something happened to me that day for the first time and I will never forget it. As families were coming in, I heard a child exclaim, “There’s that book! The one with the turtle! My school library has that book!” I could not believe what I was hearing. Someone recognized Largo.
I had finally made an impact.
Joanne Randall, Author