When we are willing to let go of the stress, let go of the doubt and just be…amazing things can happen.
When you’re a writer, anything is possible and I have the life to prove it. In my last article, Creating Fantasy Books For Kindle, part 3, I shared the importance of ignoring the nay-sayers and dream killers. The opinions of others only matter as much as we allow them to. To get closer to our goals and dreams and create that best selling fantasy series, it’s critical to take an honest inventory of our experiences and use them to shape current and future events.
For the longest time, all I could think about was that I had failed. It saturated my life until it stank. My goal was to create a best selling fantasy series, one that kids would love all around the world–but for whatever reason, the Universe took the use of my hands away. All I ever wanted to do was create comics. Now that the dream was crushed, I was traumatized and simply gave up.
When we are truly meant to do something, the Universe tends to give us some room to struggle, to kick and scream, until we’re ready and willing to listen. Until then, we work ourselves into frenzies and run round in circles–while we have experiences thrown in our paths to hone us, help us and wear away the dross.
I entered another field to feed my family and excelled. The job forced me to learn about people, about technology and how to use it effectively. Much of my success came about because of my skills developed through Wanted Hero.
When the housing bubble burst, I lost everything. It’s a common story. My family and I had the hardest challenges of our lives and eventually found ourselves homeless. That’s me, Kathi, ten children and Kathi’s aged father. Many nights were spent comforting children who couldn’t understand what was happening…by parents who weren’t altogether sure themselves. Yet through those struggles I learned resolve, patience, mercy, kindness, love and best of all…faith.
Not wishing for better or hoping for better and waiting isn’t faith. Faith means ACTION! Knowing that I had been allowed a taste of success before, I knew if it could happen once, it could happen again (God willing). Plus it made sense in my mind. I was a better person when entertaining and encouraging others, happier too…and so was my family. Yet at each and every turn, walls were thrown up. I could not find work anywhere. The six figure income I had made before was replaced by scraping together $350-$400 a month wherever I could…and I took any job I could find.
Then, in the midst of all the struggles and pain and fear and anguish–my darling wife and children approached me.
If we were going to struggle, they said, why not struggle for something we believed in? Kathi and the children said they knew in their hearts that Wanted Hero was our family’s future. They told me that no matter what it took, they wanted to work together to bring that success about and encouraged me to pray on it also. It was humbling to have my own children showing far more faith and confidence in me than I had in myself. It shook me to the core. When I prayed…all I felt was overwhelming, all consuming peace through my soul.
I still hadn’t gained the belief that I could write, I just knew that Wanted Hero was the path–but Kathi and my oldest daughter Cesilea kept on me. One day, my daughter wanted to go to Barnes and Noble. She asked me to buy a small box of books. I scoffed, having under $70 to my name and many mouths to feed–and the price tag on the box was $50! But she insisted, begging me trust her. Reluctantly, I agreed and bought the books.
She had me read those books that night, which were some of the most entertaining I’d read in a long while. The books were called SPIDERWICK. Yeah…and Cesilea told me that I wrote stories like that.
“No I don’t,” I protested.
“Yes,” Kathi insisted, “you do. That’s what we’ve been trying to tell you. You can share the Wanted Hero story without the comic art…and we want you to try.”
The struggle I had was that a picture tells a thousand words…and my family was asking me to use a thousand words to make a picture. The thought was daunting at best and many weeks were laden with stress and night sweats. It was also hard to write with the constant worry about my family and providing the most basic of needs. Doubt was my constant companion. To battle the negative, I researched and learned new skills–refreshing my web tools and reading about those trying to do the same thing I wanted to do.
At the time, Amanda Hocking was growing on the Indie/Self-Publishing scene. It was Amanda’s story that refocused my attention on Amazon and the Kindle. I didn’t focus on her results so much as how she persevered and pursued what she felt she was meant to do. It’s what I admire most about her, even today. Besides, I knew how to self-publish digitally and now that Amazon introduced the KDP program–I could gain access to what I’d seen in 2007 with the Kindle. Amazon was also in more countries, with a device more readily available than, say, the Nook.
To make it even sweeter, multiple platforms were popping up all over the landscape, creating further opportunities for self-publishing, including better and more economic resources to print than a vanity press.
I was introduced to New York Times Best Selling Author, David Farland through a mutual friend, Roger Anthony. Maybe I’ll share my full experience with David in another post–but suffice it to say, that meeting changed my perspective for good.
Suddenly all my struggles made sense. The pieces fell into place as I looked at my own life. All the heartache and frustration didn’t seem a waste or hardship anymore, because each and every event had left valuable skills in their wake. I had become a self-sufficient machine, empowered with all the skills I needed to run and not stop for anyone! Now I just needed the right publishing tools.
Other things in my life had changed as well. I soon found a small part-time job as a freelance writer. Not enough to support my family, but I could work remotely, which was helpful, because I was still homeless. My two oldest still at home stepped up to assist me. They found jobs at a local factory within walking distance.
A year later, we were able pool our resources to rent a small house. We’re stilling living there as of this post. We’re still working together, from day to day and pooling resources to survive—but we’re safe, together and happy. No state assistance, no excuses, just a loving family, facing life—backs together.
I had many other experiences during this process, but I want to express to you that I learned something priceless. When you pursue what you are meant to do, everything takes you forward. It may seem like a certain challenge is encumbering you, but does it hold a gem of knowledge? A specific skill or experience to give you the right perspective to catapult you forward even faster towards your goal? Maybe your focus is askew and the universe knows it needs adjusting…
Regardless of what happens to you, know that it is for your good and if you take a close inventory, you may learn that your dreams and goals are much closer than you realize!
Have you ever been homeless or close to it? Experienced challenges that threw your family together for the sake of survival? I'd love to hear your story if you're willing to share.