Change slapped me in the face a few weeks ago. More accurately, it slugged me so hard it knocked me down.
Has that ever happened to you?
For most of us life ushers in change. Getting married, having a baby, a child heads off to college. Or losing a loved one, a devastating illness, getting laid off.
When you’re in business for yourself—and yes, writers fit into that category—changes often include finding new strategies for business growth or tools to help you become more efficient.
When Change Comes Knocking
Change produces stress in all of us, even when that change is positive. What author isn’t thrilled to have his/her book published? But that brings the stress of proofing, creating a marketing strategy, live book events, etc.
As writers we are entrepreneurs, even if our books are traditionally published. We write and sell those books. Many writers maintain a full time job and have family responsibilities as well. We make changes in our lives in order to squeeze writing time (and marketing time) into an already jammed schedule.
In the Boxing Ring with Change
In order to make our production process more efficient, save time, and avoid the back and forth of pdf proofs, my boss at CrossRiver subscribed to Adobe Creative Cloud so I could proof book layouts directly in InDesign. That meant learning to use InDesign (read change).
To gain awareness for CrossRiver’s name and mine, I sought out opportunities to teach at writer’s conferences around the country. Traveling creates major stress on my body. A good change, a needed change, but stressful!
I taught at 4 conferences between April and September. A 5th engagement I had to cancel due to illness. I’ll be transparent here. My own fears and stress about that 5th conference induced my physical illness.
To help my business grow—or face going back to the 9-5 grind—I had to make major changes in my business strategy and marketing. I invested in Shelley Hitz’s Author Audience Academy (best business decision I’ve ever made).
These business decisions ushered in a lot of change, including learning more software. Changes in the business environment (Facebook being one of them) delivered the punch that knocked me down—but not out.
Did I really need to do webinars? Did I need to do Facebook Live? Did I need to have access to my Outlook calendar and email on my phone? Did I need to make changes on my website to help grow my email list?
What I realized as I sat in my desk chair stunned and staring at my computer was that my own fears were making me resistant to changes I knew I needed to make.
Either I dealt with my fears and embraced necessary changes or said hello to a job search. I’ve come too far to let fear stop me.
To Embrace Change or Not
I’m not saying we have to embrace every change society throws at us—there’s no rule that says you have to have a Facebook account. What I am saying is that if we are not learning and growing in positive ways, our lives become stagnant.
So how do we figure it out?
Critical to knowing what changes to make in our lives is to determine our priorities, e.g. my spouse and children. Then when a new activity/opportunity/change faces you, ask yourself how it impacts your priorities. Would that city-to-city book signing tour mean missing Christmas with your first grandchild? Yes, the decisions can be tough.
Summon the courage to step into new realms. When I struggle with something I often quote Philippians 4:13.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (NKJV)
Make a commitment to yourself: “I can and I will do this.” When doubt plagues you, remind yourself of previous successes—no matter how small they might be.
Conquer the obstacles (software, hardware, fears, financial limitations, etc.). Determine the obstacles and do what you can to overcome them. Conquer them one at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed.
I am excited about the changes in my life, even though I spent the majority of the year living waaaay outside my comfort zone.
I give the glory to God because He’s the one orchestrating the events in my life. He’s the one who has given me the strength to face my fears and overcome them, or in one case, to let go of something from my past that had me bound.
God’s direct work in my life through my Bible reading and prayer time, His work through others like my boss Tamara Clymer at CrossRiver, Shelley Hitz, Steven Campbell’s book Making Your Mind Magnificent, and my church family have wrought the changes in my life. All I did was make the decision to change.
How about you? Are there changes needed in your life you’re afraid to embrace? Will those changes move you toward being successful in your writing, in your relationships, in your day job?
Will you summon the courage to step into change?
Shelley Hitz offers free resources here: www.shelleyhitz.com/free
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
Making Your Mind Magnificent: Flourishing at Any Age by Steven Campbell