#FreshStart - Therese Beharrie
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!
Therese Beharrie reveals she plans to build on the small steps of 2018 to take bigger, braver steps in her 2019 writing career.
Bigger Steps in 2019
2018 was a year, wasn’t it? Although, to be fair, I tend to say this about every year. I think this is because I’m always looking for ways to push myself. Which sounds great in principle—growth, learning, blah, blah, blah ;-)—but is hard in reality.
In 2018, I wanted to be more courageous about my writing. I had some bad reviews when I started out, which affected me. I didn’t want to send my books out to reviewers in case they didn’t like it. There was an illogical part of me that didn’t want people to read my books for that same reason. But I didn’t want to take this with me in 2018. I realised not everyone is going to like my work, and that’s okay. In 2018, I was able to do this in small steps. I sent books out to reviewers I trusted to be fair. I gave away more books to readers.
2019? I want to take bigger steps.
Pushing myself to send books to more people wasn’t easy. Just because I wanted to be more courageous didn’t mean I suddenly was. Whenever I took a step, I would get incredible anxiety. The idea of people reading my books and judging them freaked me out (clearly, being an author is the best career for my personality type, right? *hahaha-sob*).
Smaller steps felt more doable though. And they were.
I believe they’ve prepared me to take bigger steps in 2019. Mostly because they’ve taught me coping mechanisms. The first one is that I no longer read reviews unless I’m tagged in them. This has done wonders for my mental health because I’m not fixating on negative reviews. I feel powerful in the face of people’s responses to my writing; not because I can control those responses, but because I can control mine. And in a career where you can’t control much, focusing on what you can control makes you feel less helpless.
Which brings me to my second coping mechanism: Focusing on what makes me feel good.
Okay, I get that this sounds weird since we’re talking about romance novels. But get your minds out of the gutter, people! I only mean that my small steps have taught me it’s okay to only step where you feel comfortable. If you don’t want to send a book to a reviewer, don’t. If you’d rather send a book to a reader, do. Too often, we force ourselves to do things we think we should do. This can drown out what we want to do, which honestly, is more important for the long haul.
My bigger steps in 2019 will be toward where I want to go, not where I think I should go. I don’t want my anxiety to control the steps I take; 2018 has taught me it’s okay to not be controlled by it. Since I didn’t step off any cliffs in 2018, I’m willing to be less cautious about moving forward in 2019. I can’t wait to see where that takes me!