The majority of people who say they want to be an author never become one (97% to be exact). And while the list is endless of all the excuses why that is so, I pose the following question to anyone who is procrastinating when it comes to publishing their first (or next) book:
What if your book could SAVE a life?
Now before you respond, let me say this: books literally saved my life. Here’s my story:
I grew up in a two-parent Christian household filled with love, abuse, mental illness, and alcoholism. Today I blame no one because these ingredients were handed down from multiple generations. But that truth didn’t matter to the short fat girl who always wore a painted-on smile.
I didn’t fit in anywhere: church, school, or home. Where do you go when you don’t fit in anywhere, and there is no peace, joy, or security anywhere? The library.
My mother, a former schoolteacher, made education a priority, right next to Christianity. The neighborhood library was across the street from the end of our block, just a two-minute walk from door to door. And while it may sound “nerdy,” I LOVED the library like kids love a candy store. (By the way, there was one next door to the library, which I frequented often.)
I never saw a more magical place filled with adventure and fantasy land, story after story. With simply the flip of a page or a new book, I could go anywhere. I was able to escape pain, rejection, anger, taunting, screaming, arguments, and all undesirable things. There was nothing but magic, warmth, and excitement as I devoured every word as you do with your favorite meal or food.
Somehow, as I copiously read everything I could put my hands on, I stumbled upon the life stories of two women that gave me the hope I needed not to commit suicide. No one wants to die or commit suicide: they just see it as the only solution to end the pain and suffering. I remember praying to God for the courage to take my life and trying to convince Him that this would be a mercy killing. I thought He would answer me since He seemed not to answer my other prayers to stop my father’s abuse.
I read the survivor stories of Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey. I was mortified to hear the story of their abusive pasts and life challenges. I reasoned that if they could be successful after the horrific abuse they survived, perhaps I could too. Although the thought of committing suicide did not immediately go away, it lessened over time with prayer and reading the stories of other survivors.
I was reminded of this over 20 years later when it was time for me to stop procrastinating and finally become a published author. Believe me, I had plenty of material since I had journaled and started books for over two decades by that time. You know, you have scraps of paper with ideas sketched here and there. I had it all, from topics and titles to taglines and visions of book covers. And then it was time to put my money where my mouth was. I almost became a part of the majority that dream of being a published author and NEVER become one.
Why? Because I had all the material, concepts, knowledge to start, etc., but I made my fears more of a priority. You know, things like:
- Do you really want to tell everyone your business? What will people think?
- Do not air your dirty laundry. What goes on in your house stays in your house.
- What will your family say? What will your friends and co-workers say? What will strangers say? What if no one believes?
- What if no one reads your book? What if it makes you look like a novice?
- What if your book is a flop, and you make little to no money? Who wants to be an EPIC failure?!!
- I can’t afford to publish a book!
I will stop there, but if you are reading this and think I’m talking about you, I am. All the reasons you have for not releasing your fears and writing the book that you know you need to are absolute rubbish. They do not matter. And although you are cradling them and using them as a warm blanket of comfortability and mediocrity, your procrastination is almost criminal. Criminal? Yes and I say so as a result of what God told me.
Sure, your objections have validity, but all that matters is the bottom line, and here is where the criminal part comes in. We allow ourselves to get so wrapped up in our justification that we miss our criminal act. I told you that my life was literally saved through the books I read of other child abuse survivors. Their stories gave hope when there was no hope to be found. I searched for just one reason not to leave this earth, not end my life, and I found it on written pages. I never met these survivors and could not read their minds or be a fly on the wall of their lives. All I had was their stories found in books in the library. And it was FREE!
As wonderful as this sounds is as selfish as I was for procrastinating and not publishing my story. I simply did not understand the paradox of my situation at the time. The same life that I was given, the invaluable gift of my life being saved, the medium used to save it is the very one I refused to use to pay it forward. I never thought of it that way until I was praying to God and giving Him all my reasons, fears, and justifications for not following through when it posed this question to me:
So you’re saying that the same way they conquered their fears and published their stories that saved your life, you are not willing to do the same to save someone else’s? So your life was so precious that they needed to publish their stories to save your life, but someone else’s life is not as important as yours for you to do the same?
Ouch. What logical, reasonable objection can you give to that? None, because that was the raw truth, although it was layered with good intentions. When I tell you that it was as if someone stabbed me through the heart, that thought broke me. It was no longer about the fear, the excuses, or the logistics: I had to get it done.
You can Google “Alesha Brown, The Joy Guru” to learn more about my journey, but I ask you if your book could change just one life, would it be worth it? And, peradventure, if your book could save one person’s life, would it be worth it?
If this resonates with you, if you know your book has the power to transform lives, click here to schedule your author strategy session with me today. Oh, and if needed, just remind me that I owe you a box of Kleenex.