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2020 Recap: From Fearful to Fearless

Updated: Jan 16, 2021

First things first...Happy New Year!!!

This might be the understatement of the year, but 2020 was full of surprises. Although it was rife with uncertainty and threw many unforeseen (and unprecedented) challenges our way, it had some bright spots, too. In many ways, 2020 brought us closer together and gave us time to reflect upon our lives, encouraging many of us to chart new paths or explore new passions. For me, this meant embarking on a new and exciting journey to self-publish my first children's book, The Train Rolls On (read description here).

The Train Rolls On Children's Book

As I reflect on the last year and my self-publishing journey thus far, one of the overriding emotions that comes to mind is fear: fear for the health and safety of my loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic, fear of the widespread social and political unrest that has taken root around us, and fear related to striving for an unprecedented personal goal. Then, I think about how freeing it has felt to face those fears head-on and overcome many of them, particularly the ones associated with self-publishing my first book. I am stronger and wiser because of these experiences, and I am more determined than ever going into 2021.

As we all prepare to move forward in the new year, many of us (myself included) will be setting new personal goals and resolutions. Some may be small, while others may transform our lives in ways that even we cannot yet imagine. Being on a life-changing journey right now, I want to use my experience to help others who are in the same position that I was at the beginning of last year. With that in mind, the goal of this three-part blog series is to inspire all of us to aim high with our 2021 personal goals and to offer some simple strategies for starting and achieving those goals...whatever they may be.

But first, let’s take a look at where I started one year ago and just how far I’ve come since then.

The Fear

When I initially decided to self-publish a children's book, it felt like I was stepping into unknown territory. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Although I believed in myself and my ability to learn about and navigate the self-publishing process, I faced two incredibly daunting fears: a fear of the unknown and a fear of failure.

Jodi Adams Children's Book Author Website

Both fears have surfaced multiple times throughout the course of this journey. For example, early on, I read several articles that stressed the importance of setting up an author website and building an audience for a book long before its release. Back then, however, it felt very strange (and a bit too official) to call myself a children's book author, let alone to announce it to the world. After all, I hadn't yet published a book. What would happen if it didn't work out? What if I designed a website and built an audience for my book, only to have the publishing fall through? Then what?

I was even more fearful when the time came to sign a contract with my illustrator. Here I was, about to enter into an agreement where I was legally responsible to pay someone thousands of dollars before the end of the year, and I had very little idea of what to expect from the relationship...not to mention zero personal income. It was a huge commitment, and it was terrifying. In many respects, for me, that was the point of no return. Once I signed the contract, there was no going back.

At that time, it seemed as if signing the illustration contract would be the most daunting part of the whole process. Then...I decided to run a Kickstarter campaign, and the fears resurfaced once again. In fact, both fears were perhaps most pronounced leading up to the launch of my campaign. I had worked incredibly hard and believed in my book and its message, but I still doubted that the campaign would be successful. My funding goal of $8,000 seemed like a stretch, and I genuinely feared what would become of the book if the campaign wasn’t funded.

It all came down to this: I had put myself out there, and I was afraid to fail.

The Response

As it turns out, fear can be a powerful motivator. Every time that I have faced a fear of the unknown or a fear of failure during this process, I have instinctively responded by working harder. I have read more books, conducted more research, done more soul-searching…whatever was necessary to quiet those fears as much as possible.

The Result

While the additional work hasn't always silenced my fears completely, it has quieted them enough that they have never prevented me from accepting the next challenge in the journey and moving forward with my dream. Plus, I've never regretted the additional time and effort put in. In every case (whether those efforts were ultimately successful or not), I’ve walked away having learned something valuable and having gained self-confidence and a sense of personal pride.

The Take-Aways

1. It has been exhilarating and empowering to accept new challenges over the last year and to face and overcome the fears associated with them.

Recently, I have found myself reflecting on the progress that I've made over the last 12 months and reminding myself that I didn't know ONE thing about publishing a book at the beginning of 2020. Looking back, this journey has forced me to learn about topics that I didn't even know I was interested in (like book design, metadata, and marketing) and to do things that I never expected to do (like organize a Kickstarter campaign). It has opened my mind and pushed me in ways unlike anything else ever has. I have come a long way in a relatively short amount of time, and I'm very proud of everything that I've learned and accomplished so far.

Yes, the journey has been difficult and, at times, full of fear and uncertainty, but that has made getting to this point surprisingly satisfying, especially considering that I have yet to actually publish a book. Simply accepting the challenges that it has presented and facing the associated fears head-on has proven to be incredibly rewarding. In fact, it makes me feel like I can rise to ANY challenge and achieve ANY personal goal or dream. In a word, I feel...unstoppable! As a result, I ended 2020 a different woman...a stronger woman…a better woman, and I can’t wait to see what new adventures 2021 has in store. BRING IT ON!

Accepting this journey's challenges and facing its fears makes me feel like I can rise to ANY challenge and achieve ANY personal goal or dream. In a word, I feel...unstoppable!

2. If I can do it, you can, too!

If I can face my fears and find the courage to take-on the self-publishing world despite starting from zero, just think of what you can do!

As you start to think about 2021 and all that it holds for you and your family, I encourage you to consider at least one dream or goal that you have. It could be anything: to learn a new language or skill, to run a marathon, to travel somewhere you've never been (when it's safe, of course), to start your own business, to buy a house, etc. Whatever your dream is, go for it! Commit to taking action on it in 2021! I will not regret it! I'll even help you get started...if you stay tuned for the remaining two articles in this series. 😊

The next article can be found here, and it offers some tips and techniques that I use to break down big projects and make them more manageable, especially at the start. The final article, which can be found here, shares my own personal and professional goals for 2021 and how I plan to achieve them. If, like me, you struggle with initiating a new project or goal, these articles might help you take the first step toward making your 2021 goals or dreams come true!

Otherwise, if you have any interest in publishing a book or learning more about the publishing process, check out my two-part blog series entitled Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing here. If you’d like to learn more about how I got started writing children's books, read My Road To Writing Children's Books here.

If I can face my fears and find the courage to take-on the self-publishing world despite starting from zero, just think of what you can do!



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