It’s the beginning of a whole new year; what time could possibly be better to become more motivated and inspired? You have a whole 365 days ahead of you, and now is the time to start making them count, so we're asking authors what they've got planned for the year ahead!
Julian Winters tells us how being brave and pushing out of your comfort zone can inspire and propel you forward.
2018 has been a year.
As a debut author, 2018 was filled with joys and highs. New faces and new friends. Hugs and tears. Brand new ideas. Success!
But it also was filled with anxiety and nerves. Bad reviews to counter good ones. Struggles to start new projects. Failures, and an uncontrollable need to replicate the joys and highs.
That’s the thing about starting something new: failures happen. Memories are created. We can choose to hold onto them as mementos to look fondly on or spend our time trying to replicate them to fill a spot we believe is vacant. Or we can take those failures and turn them into motivation.
2019 is about motivation. Inspiration.
I’m driven to spend the next 365 days taking myself to another level. I want to take the ideas in my head that I’m most scared of—the ones that I know will challenge me mentally and emotionally—and make them a reality. To create the kind of books I will fall in love with. The ones where queer characters live without the extra expectation to be greater than anyone else. Where marginalized voices are heard. Where they get to be the hero or the love interest or just the amazing student, athlete, friend, president… Whatever they want!
To write more stories that will inspire and motivate the next generation.
Sometimes that means being a little uncomfortable. Facing reality head-on.
Stepping outside of my comfort zone is always intimidating. But it’s also one of the best things I did in 2018. As an author, I was offered a few opportunities to speak in front of readers. To lead discussions on panels. To moderate other author’s book launches. I’m comfortable casually talking in groups or one-on-one with strangers. The pressure to be perfect doesn’t exist when you have someone else to carry a conversation if you’re unsure what or how to say something. But the mere idea of leading a discussion where an audience will listen to me and possibly judge my every hiccup or misstep terrifies me.
I had to find the confidence in myself.
I had to be… Myself.
Of course, that never comes easy. Being yourself, flaws and all, in front of a room of strangers? Peers? Important figures? But I knew I had to take that step. And there were encouraging voices behind me, telling me I could.
My first try as a moderator was… Good? Maybe a little painful for the audience but people loved that I was myself. It opened doors for me to be part of more events, to meet more authors I admired and respected. It allowed more people to know me, flaws and everything.
That’s what I hope to achieve with my writing in 2019—to recognize all the characters we love the most are the ones that are themselves for us between the pages, flaws included. I want my writing to be in a constant shape of improvement. To move away from limiting myself as a writer. To take away the “I can’t write this” or “Am I good enough to take on this?” and replace it with: “I am writing this.”
To recognize the power in “I am.”
I am an author.
I am good enough.
I am better than I was before.
It starts with identifying those highs and joys were a moment in your past. That fresh starts do exist. To write down those goals and, eventually, turn them into achievements. And then to begin again.
In 2019, it’s time to begin again.
Julian's latest release, Running with Lions, is out now. For more information about him and his writing check out his website, and follow him on Instagram and Twitter.