Following Her Dream: Publishing a Children’s Book
Who do you know who’s following her dream? For the longest time, I would say, “Not me!” I only recently in the last several years began writing about my life and grief and faith in this blog and could truly say that I had finally begun to follow my dream. Are you following yours?
My sister, Lori, dealt with many of the same struggles I always had. And one thing held her back from pursuing her dreams – FEAR. I’m sure many of you can relate to that as well. What have you been afraid of? What has been holding you back? Have you ever thought, I’m not good enough. I’m not smart enough. I. Can’t. Do. It.? I sure have, and Lori did, too.
I asked her recently to write about her thought process and experience working through those doubts and fears to successfully write, publish, and sell her book Brown Bear & Twinkle Star: A Far-Out Friendship
From Lori Vaughn:
Me? … Write a book? I can honestly say, prior to a couple of years ago, that goal was not on my radar. My sister was a writer, my friend was a writer, but I never considered myself in that category. Oh yes, I’ve been a secretary for many, many years. With that comes the requirement of writing all kinds of things. But not the creative type of writing that people would really be interested in reading for leisure.
And then came the day when that seed was planted in my mind. You know those seeds. The ones you aren’t sure if they are some crazy notion you should dismiss. Or, if they are a nudge from God encouraging you to do something outside of your comfort zone to help you grow.
My son is a Marine and was recently stationed overseas. As I was trying to think of a unique gift for his birthday, a thought came to mind. Maybe I could write a book about a bedtime story I made up for him when he was young. At first the idea came through as a book for toddlers. There wouldn’t be many words and there would be amazing illustrations to tell the story.
Then my major insecurities tried to convince me that I couldn’t do it. They whispered (and, at times, screamed) in my ear, “You can’t write a book. You’ve never done anything like that before. What makes you think you can do that?” At first, I listened and obeyed. I told myself to forget about it and I went about my regular routine. But I kept feeling that tug so I put a simple note in my phone that said, “Brown Bear & Twinkle Star.” I would come across that note periodically and it would remind me of my plan. And then my lack of confidence would take over again.
One day, when my internal fears were focused on something else, I took that opportunity to share my idea with my sister. We have always been very close and feel more like twins even though I’m her elder by almost eight years and have the gray hair to prove it. She inspires me and her insight on the facets of ‘life’ is as deep and wide as the song we used to sing at church camp. “You can do it. Go for it Lori!”, I shockingly heard her say to me. Wow! Was she really telling me just the opposite of what the voice of my insecurities was trying to make me believe?
Eventually, with the emotional encouragement and technical support of both my sister and my friend, I started writing. As I became emotionally able to give myself permission to attempt this God-given project, my creativity intensified and words flowed out. That idea of a toddler book with few words turned into a two-book set geared toward early elementary-aged children. Allowing those floodgates to be opened provided the opportunity for other treasures to be made. I brought in some of my son’s family history into the story. That gives him a way to share with his future children a little bit about his life.
And what an amazing gift God gave to me during this process. My sweet sister convinced me that I should self-publish and then she was my driving force to accomplish that goal. That’s not to say that I never felt ‘unable’ again. Those feelings come naturally to me. When I started feeling overwhelmed and wondered what in the world I was doing, I tried to keep my focus on the purpose of this venture. It was a special gift for my son that came from my heart. And I would text my sister and my friend constantly to express any concerns or joys I was feeling at the time. They were my rock during this experience. It is essential to have a support system to help overcome those challenges that try to block you from doing what God has put in your heart to do. I am extremely grateful for mine.
I love what Lori writes about having a support system to help overcome challenges that keep you from God’s call. It’s wonderful, too, that she realized that as she gave in to God and began creating, more creativity flowed. She truly was blessed by following His nudge. Another important aspect she touched on was that she didn’t all of a sudden have total confidence. Instead, she continued to deal with insecurities and fears but rather than let those stop her, she focused on her purpose and continued on. I love that!
You all can do this, too! Have you wanted to start a blog? Write a book? Take more classes? What dreams do you have? What’s holding you back? Give those fears to God and move forward towards your goal! It’s so worth it!