One of the questions I often ask aspiring authors when I speak at writers’ conferences is “What is holding you back from taking the next step?”
This question is an important question not just for writing, producing, and promoting a book or expanding your publishing business, but for any area of your life. What is holding you back? What is keeping you from taking that next step toward your goal or dream?
Whether it is penning a first book, publishing a first or next book, writing another book, or engaging in marketing and promoting a book, I have found that the answers most aspiring and published authors give fall into one of the following five categories.
Fear is a powerful emotion that can hold you hostage. This can be fear of failure, fear of looking ridiculous, fear of ridicule, or fear of not measuring up. Often aspiring authors feel like there are numerous people more talented than they are or better able to complete the job; so they stay stuck.
Most people don’t feel up to a task that God calls them to do. After all, when God told Moses that he was to go to Egypt and free the Israelites, Moses asked God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt?” When God insisted he was the man, Moses told God that he could not do the job since he was “slow of speech and tongue.”
God sees the bigger picture. If he has called you to do something, he has already uniquely gifted or prepared you for the task. If God has placed it on your heart to write a book, then you are the person he has chosen for that task. Don’t let fear hold you back from experiencing God’s best.
“If only I had more time.” I hear this phrase a lot. I think I even say this more than I should. We all lead busy lives. Many authors and aspiring authors are waiting for things to slow down or for a day in the future when they will have the time to work toward their goal.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but reality is that such a day is not coming. There will always be urgent and pressing matters that need to be taken care of. We are all given the same amount of time to spend. We can’t save time up in a bank to spend on an activity to reach our goal.
Instead, we have to make the next step in our goal or dream a priority. We must schedule time into our day for it. Maybe this means that you get up thirty minutes or an hour earlier each day to spend time writing. Maybe it means you give up watching a TV show a couple times a week to work on promotional activities for your book. Don’t wait to have the time. It won’t happen. You must carve the time out of your existing schedule.
Sometimes the lack of knowledge holds us back from obtaining our dream. Fortunately, this is the easiest of all the impediments to overcome. The antidote for lack of knowledge is to educate yourself. There is so much information available to help you become a better writer, to teach you how to publish a book, or to provide you with the steps you need to take to promote and market the book you have published. Don’t let lack of knowledge get in your way. Read a book, become involved in a writers group, attend a conference, watch a webinar, or listen to podcasts. The information you need to grow your knowledge is at your fingertips.
Money is another common obstacle people cite for not moving forward to take the next step toward their goal. Money is similar to time. We fritter time away, and we squander our money. If God is calling you to take the next step toward your dream, then pray that he will provide you the finances for it. After all, God is the ultimate owner of the money of this world. Then, think about your spending habits and find ways that you might be able to cut back to begin saving money for your goal.
Sometimes, authors think they need more money to accomplish their dream than is really needed. There are very affordable ways to publish and market books. Again, a little education in this area can save you a lot of money.
A vision is a picture of the end result, or where you want to be. When you lack a clear vision for your dream or goal, you can’t move toward it. If my vision is to be an author, that is not clear. To have a clear vision, I must make a decision about what type of book I want to write. When the vision becomes clear, the steps to reaching your goal also become clear. Without clear steps, you can’t move toward your dream. With clear steps, your actions become congruent with your goal, leading you to attain it.
What’s hold you back? Identify it; and then take action to rectify it. A parked car doesn’t go anywhere. The same is true for inaction. At the heart of all personal or business development strategies is the idea that to realize a goal you have to do something.
Did any of these obstacles ring true for you?
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