A few weeks back, we received an email from Yvonne Mitchell expressing her interest to contribute to the See Girl Work blog. I asked what she wanted to write about and she suggested a few various topics including re-branding, health + wellness, and the importance of collaboration.
All great topics. But I decided to dig a little deeper and asked Yvonne to tell us a bit more about herself. She’s always wanted to become a published writer. Always curious about peoples’ motivations in life, I was interested in what she thought were some of the things holding her back from pursuing a career as a writer: “The main thing that has held me back thus far is fear. The fear of not being good enough, failing and just generally being completely out of my league.”
I challenged Yvonne to make this the topic of her first article for See Girl Work. We continued to go back and forth for a few weeks via email to refine and edit her story so we could share it with the community.
The article we’ve published today from Yvonne is a result of those email conversations. In a very candid and open way, she reveals her life journey, passions and creative pursuits. And, in an effort to keep herself accountable ─ Yvonne also shares the goals she has developed for herself which she hopes will help funnel her vision of becoming a writer.
I hope this is the first of many articles Yvonne will have the pleasure of writing. I hope one day in the near future, she can look back and say, “I had my first article published on See Girl Work.” Please enjoy the article below written by Yvonne Mitchell.
Conquering Fear to Chase a Dream
For about as long as I can remember I have always been a writer. As a child I would write to get ideas out of my head whenever I was sad, angry, upset, happy, excited or just in need of something to do. Writing was therapeutic and something I enjoyed. Writing also gave me confidence, a voice to tell a story the way that I wanted.
It was personal and since it was never being published ─ it was something that was for my eyes only. The only thing I loved more than writing was reading. Growing up in a household where TV time was limited, reading and writing were not only encouraged, they were essential. Writing was my release and I loved it. I dreamed of one day becoming published ─ articles, maybe a book or books. I wanted to move beyond the confines of my personal writing to share it with others.
At some point this changed. Life happened and writing didn’t seem to have a place in my world anymore. I just didn’t have the time, or so I would tell myself. Being a mother, wife and career woman, there are always things that need to get done, and those things often have nothing to do with me.
My own needs took a back seat to the immediate needs of others. I don’t regret any of it but there comes a time when you feel out of balance. Children grow into adults, no longer solely dependent on you. And the time that you didn’t have, begins to come back in increments. What to do? Suddenly in possession of more time I had no idea what to do with it. What did I do before? Write.
It has been years since I’ve written anything, and the main thing that has held me back thus far is fear. But I am now at a point where I feel increasingly unfulfilled, and so I’ve been feeling now more than ever that I should at least try.
I’m still scared, terrified really, but what scares me most is looking back years from now and saying, “I wonder what would have happened if I had tried?”
Feeling that I am not truly living my purpose has brought me to finally reach out to take a leap of faith and go for it. Why not? I don’t want to feel like I should, I want to do it. I don’t care what others think now because what I think matters more. I’m still scared, terrified really, but what scares me most is looking back years from now and saying, “I wonder what would have happened if I had tried?”
To ensure that I succeed, I need to make a plan and be accountable. There are 4 steps that I will take to begin my journey:
- Write a minimum of 500 words daily
In order to become a writer, I need to write. Rather than setting an unrealistic goal, I’d like to start with something manageable that I can do consistently. I will take the first part of my day in the morning to block about and hour and a half to get this done. I want to avoid the other distractions of the day that may creep up and affect my success. To measure my success, my goal is to consistently write a minimum of 500 words per day for five weeks. I understand that the beginning will likely be the hardest. I may only get to 250 words per day for first week. I am okay with that as long as I reach my goal of 500 words per day by the week five mark.
- Network in order to meet other writers (attend at least one networking event per month)
I believe that surrounding yourself with people who can push you outside of your comfort zone and inspire you to achieve more is important. By networking with other writers, I hope to improve my social skills as well as be in the know about opportunities for writing that may exists offline. I will attend a minimum of one networking event each month in order to fulfill this goal. I will also endeavour to connect with other writers via social media and build my online network. I will measure success by the networking events I attend initially. I will give this goal a 60-day timeline. After two months I will then measure my ability to connect with other writers as the next measure of success. This could mean being made aware of opportunities as a result of the relationships I’ve formed. If I have not met my goal in 60 days, but I have connected with other writers, and attended networking events, I will consider it a partial success.
- Find a mentor
I would like to find a mentor that I can learn from, pick their brain and also be of assistance to. I see mentorship as a reciprocal relationship where both parties benefit. I will need to do some research on how to go about it, thinking about whom or what type of person my ideal mentor would be. My measure of success for this goal will be my ability to formalize a relationship with a mentor in the next 75 days.
- Get published
My ultimate goal is to be a published writer. I would like to have my first piece published within the next 90 – 120 days (sooner if possible). Success will be measured on whether or not I got published in this case. From there my ability to continue to get my work published will be an ongoing goal. To achieve this I will need to write daily, network and find a mentor that can assist me along the way.
For about as long as I can remember I have always been a writer. I have gotten clear on exactly what it is that I want and need at this point in my life, and have determined the changes I will need to make in order to make this a reality. I have outlined the four steps that I will need to take in order to get on the path toward my goals, and achieving them but it doesn’t stop there. In order to attain my definition of success, I will need to be accountable.
Writing, networking, finding a mentor and getting published requires action. It will require me to go to places that are uncomfortable for me. It will require me to take risks and to cultivate a confidence that I do not yet possess.
This path that I will tread will be anything but easy and it will take time. This is the part that both intrigues and scares me. My motivation is the feeling I know that I will have once I meet and exceed my goals. I want to go beyond my vision of what I can do, achieve and become.
The best part of it all is that I know I can do it. I know that I am enough, and can and will do whatever I set my mind to. I have been and will always be a writer.
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