Writing has given me many unexpected benefits, in addition to the actual writing, that is. It’s allowed me to share the stories that tumble around in my head. It’s allowed me to tap into deeper parts of myself and become more confident in my purpose on this earth, and it has introduced me to many wonderful people via in-person and on-line networking efforts I’ve engaged in.
Once my first book, In The Spirit Of Love, was released back in November, 2012 (Echelon Press), I knew I was going to have to step even further outside my comfort zone. I was going to have to go public with my book and do book signings and talks. I’d always been terrified of speaking in public – who isn’t? The thing is, I knew I was going to have to get over myself and my fears and just go do it. After all, writers have to be comfortable talking about their books, and themselves, in order to promote the work they’ve just spent countless hours, months and yes, years, creating. Whew! This was going to be a challenge.
When I first started writing, I never gave a thought to actually publishing the book. I just wanted to write a cool story I had come up with about a ghost who falls in love with a modern-day woman. I didn’t look too far down the path, but rather, I learned as I went. It didn’t occur to me that I’d be required to stand up in front of a bunch of strangers and talk. I didn’t think I’d get that far. I did though, and so I gathered my courage and stepped into a local library, copies of my book tucked into a pretty little book bag, prepared to do my best. I figured if I crashed and burned, at least no one really knew who I was anyway. I also brought my husband along for moral support. He turned out to be an invaluable ally, since I could see him nod his head in approval when I hit my mark, or shake it slowly when I was veering off course. He also handled the monetary transactions for the few books I sold – I think it was 2 or 3, and took a few photos. When we left the library, I was pretty proud of myself. I’d faced and conquered one of my deepest fears; looking like an incompetent idiot.
Next time I went to a book signing, I took my mother. She’s one of my biggest fans, and again, having her there really boosted my confidence. During the Q & A portion of my talk, she spoke up and asked some questions she knew others in the small group were also wondering about. She also handled the financial transactions for the few books I sold, again maybe 2 or 3. On the way home, I was giddy with relief for having gotten through the talk, but surprised at how comfortable I felt once I was up there and got going. I had reminded myself before I began the talk that there was absolutely nothing anyone in my small audience could ask me about my writing, publishing, or my journey thus far that I couldn’t answer. I had this one. I’m passionate about my writing and the whole business of publishing, so once I get started talking about it, I could go on for hours. That’s why I write out, in point form, my entire talk. I have a limited time period in which to engage, entertain, and hopefully, inform my audience. I realized I could do that.
Looking out into the audiences I’ve spoken to over the past few years, I recognize myself in the faces staring back at me. I’ve come to understand that these people are there because they’re interested in what I have to say, and welcome any tid bits of info or insights I can impart. I’ve come a long way since that first talk. I’m proud of my ability to connect with others and address several issues besides writing.
After the release of my second book, In The Spirit Of Forgiveness, I began speaking to groups about something new. I call it my Step Up and Step In To Your Life talk. You see writing also opened up new insights for me. I began to realize just how many times I’d held back from pursuing a dream, or from approaching a problem head on. I’d side-step it, I’d waffle, and sometimes, I’d out and out run from it. My life hasn’t always been easy – not by a long shot – but I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes along the way. I know I still have a lot to learn. When I began speaking publicly, it became apparent that just about everyone struggles with how to take control of their lives. They’re not sure how to make serious, lasting changes in their life. Changes they’ve always wanted to make, but have been afraid to.
Let’s face it, writing isn’t a solid career choice if you’re looking for a regular pay check, or regular anything. It’s the most difficult, challenging, frustrating, flat out ridiculous career move I could have made, but I love it. I’m caught, hook line and sinker. Because of the many challenges a writer faces, and the numerous rejections we receive over, and over, and over again, we develop a deep sense of conviction about who we are and what we want from life. We willingly step up to the plate day after day and pitch/hit our best. We face our fears head on every time we sit down to the task of writing. When it comes time to actually publish, market, and promote our work, we tackle a whole new set of obstacles and fears.
That’s why I felt that I had something of value to share with others who are likewise struggling with elements of their life. Sometimes it really is all about being willing to do the hard work, and stepping up, and into, our lives. It’s about taking responsibility for the choices we make. It’s about owning who we are as human beings, and as individuals. It’s about claiming our truth and being proud of it. It’s about facing fears, accepting our failures, and moving through them to get where we want to go. It’s also about accepting and respecting others for who they are.
It’s about dealing with a whole lot of things we all face. That’s why I talk about it openly. I’m not the only one struggling to come to terms with what to do with the years I have to live on this planet, and neither are you. My goal is to motivate even one person at each speaking engagement to examine their life and where they want to go with it. By hearing me talk, maybe that one person will move closer to their goals and dreams. I won’t necessarily ever know it, but for me, that possibility is awesome. I’m not a doctor, and I certainly can’t claim a whole bunch of letters after my name, but I’ll continue to talk publicly about things that matter to us all. I’ll do my best to impart what bits of wisdom and experience I’ve collected along the way.
What would you like to achieve in your life?
If you’d like me to speak at your business or organization’s next meeting/event, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com, or visit my website at www.damcclure.net for more information. If you’re outside Ontario, Canada, feel free to contact me, as I am able to periodically travel to worth-while events. Thank you.