• J. Alleyn

Always a Student

If there is one thing I have learned in this journey as a writer, you never stop learning new things. I don't just mean honing my skills with storytelling and sentence structure either. Since I decided to make my passion in life writing, I have had to go outside of my personal bubble many times.

I have had to learn how to talk to people about my stories because for a long time I thought my family was just humoring me. I didn't think my writing was very good. I kept trying to compare to my favorite writers, but most of them were six feet under. Were they even relevant to modern readers? I knew I needed to get feedback from others, but it took a lot of courage to overcome my anxiety to even ask someone to read a chapter. It was a slow process. I had plenty of friends offer and cop out without reading a line. I understood that life was demanding, but this wasn't helping me.

This meant I needed to reach out to people I didn't know quite as well. Again, this got me some leads, but only one became an amazing resource for feedback. It also birthed some friendships I never would have made before, and I realized that people actually could enjoy my company outside of my nerd and other fandom groups. I gained some helpful advice as well, which led to discovering an editor that could work with my large word counts.

While I was gaining support, I realized that I still wasn't marketing myself or even networking with others that could help me. The way I saw things, I had two options: face-to-face and social networking. Both were nerve-wracking to think about, and my inner hermit was threatening to undo all my efforts up to that point. To overcome some of my anxiety, I made some business cards for my Inkitt account to give to people that were interested in reading a free book. I actually got some hits, and a few even got back to me that they really enjoyed my work. I still wasn't gaining much ground with just my small circle in the world

That was when a friend brought up asking my wife to help ease some of the social media stress. My wife is a social butterfly, and I'm more of a dragon that only leaves the cave to forage and stock up. More often than not, she is the only reason I go out and do anything not errand or work related. When I approached her about the idea, she immediately suggested making videos and posting pictures on social media. Many authors and writers do this to connect with their audience, so why not give it a try, together?

As of less than a week ago, I finally figure out how to post ten minute videos on my Instagram page, and my beta reader and dear friend says there is a lot more I can still learn. As frustrating as this whole process is, I keep reminding myself that everything has something to teach me. Whether that is a new skill, a new trick of the trade, or even a new experience to inspire future writing, nothing that happens in this journey is pointless. The successes and failures are all valuable, and I have to remind myself not to let myself forget to look for the lesson. My father and aunt called them 'teachable moments'.

Have you experienced some of these kinds of lessons? Are you going through some of those moments now? I hope my perspective has been of some help or even sparked an idea of your own to tackle the struggles in your neck of the woods. Life is tough enough as it is, but if we support one another, the day-to-day fights become easier to fight. We might be a race of humans, but we should all hope to see each other cross the finish line. As always, thank you for reading today. Until next post, be blessed my friends. -J

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