January 23

Dealing with writing self-doubt?

    Last week, I wrote about the lonely path of being an author, a scholar, and an entrepreneur. I think we all feel these moments of doubt and uncertainty, which manifest themselves, annoyingly in our words. In our writing self-doubt bubbles to the surface. We press on because we don’t really know what else to do.

    But I think there is something else we can do. There is a way to reconnect with the enthusiasm we had we started this crazy book, research, or business.

    We have to remember our “WHY”

    It was really Michael Hyatt who ignited this route of thinking in me. In his advice to entrepreneurs who are setting goals, he always suggests that you write out 5-10 reasons why this particular goal is important to you.

    So, I tried it out myself this last week. I sat down with my 10 goals for 2014, and I began to write out short reasons why this particular goal is important to me. I’ll give you an example from my own list.

    (Just so you know, this is a little unsettling for me to even share here, but I’m learning to grow beyond my comfort zone, so – *deep breath* – here we go.)

    Goal: Have 1,000 subscribers to my Paper Raven Editing email list by September 30, 2014.

    Even now, just reading those words again, those maniacal little voices creep in, “Who do you think you are? You need that number just to feed your ego? That’s not even possible. People don’t care that much about writing.”

    But, then I read my list of reasons:

    1. Through the email list, I will be able to start conversations with smart, dedicated, talented writers – to inspire each other in their writing pursuits and connect with each other.
    2. Once I know who my audience is, I’ll be able to know them better and to figure out how to best serve them.
    3. Once I have a larger list, I’ll be able to build community with other larger blogs, for the benefit of my readers and theirs.
    4. My email list will be my bedrock for my business’ continued growth.
    5. With each weekly email, I could cause ripples of change in each writer’s life.
    6. Heck, those ripples of change could spread much farther than I could ever imagine.

    All of these reasons boil down to one crazy, awesome WHY: to change the world.

    But why wait to start changing the world?

    I could wait until my email list is “big enough,” or I could start right now, where I am.

    Connecting with your “WHY,” even in small ways


    And then inspiration hit me right in the chest, and I was prompted to immediate action.

    I’m on Nikki Elledge Brown’s email list (because she’s an amazing copywriter and a truly generous soul). Her newsletter and blog last week was about a new charity that her business will be donating to this year: Pencils of Promise, an organization that builds schools around the world.

    The beginning story of Pencils of Promise is mind-blowing. Adam Braun was walking the streets of India and saw a small boy begging on the streets. Adam stopped and asked, “What do you want most in the world?” The boy answered, “A pencil.

    My heart just about stopped. Here I am, wanting to help writers with their research projects and articles and books and whatnot, and this little boy could be the next influential writer for world peace, except for his lack of a pencil.

    Adam Braun of Pencils of Promise now builds schools in Laos, Ghana, and Guatemala. He affects the kind of world change that resonates with my own WHY.

    So, I’m jumping on board with Nikki’s goal of raising $25,000 to donate to Pencils of Promise, which will fund an entire school for a community. A portion of Paper Raven Editing’s profits every month for 2014 will go to Pencils of Promise. I’ll keep you updated on the progress of the goal throughout the year. It’s going to be phenomenal; I can feel it.

    If you want to learn more about Nikki’s goal of $25,000, read her blog post (Wanna build a school with me?), and if you want to read about Pencils of Promise, start here, and prepare to be amazed.

    What’s your WHY?

    This is my challenge to you. Write down (yes, literally, write down or type out) one goal for this year. Then, list 5-10 reasons why this goal is important to you. What will achieving this goal make possible for you? For others?

    These reasons will be your map, your warmth, and your best companions on the lonely path that is inevitable for the author, scholar, and entrepreneur.

    Would you share your WHY with me? Leave a comment below. Seriously, I would love to know your goal and your reasons why the goal is important to you. You don’t have to change the world, but maybe just changing yourself is a good place to start.


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