Since this is the 5th day of our A to Z Challenge and IWSG Day, I hope it’s okay that my blog post serves two purposes: It does have to do with Encouragement which is the premise behind IWSG. So here we go …
Back in 2008 I submitted a couple of devotionals to an anthology called Daily Devotions for Writers. I thought I’d reprint one here because there’s a lesson to be learned from the experience I wrote about. If any of you have the book, the devo is on page 177.
“My assignment was to interview women in Toastmasters, a nonprofit organization that helps develop public speaking and leadership skills. I’d pitched the idea to my editor with an ulterior motive. I wanted to learn for myself what Toastmasters was all about—with no commitment to stand up and speak.
While I talked with several ladies in the club, the president listened. Finally, he spoke. “Would you be interested in helping me start a commercial writer’s program through the continuing education department at my college?”
I immediately lapsed into I’m-not-smart-enough-I-know-nothing-you-can find-someone-better-than-me mode. The expression that crossed his face sickened me. Because I had such little confidence in myself, his opinion of me changed in a split second.
While writing the article, I read and reread how Toastmasters helped each woman gain confidence, and how that confidence had spilled over into her personal and professional life. I visited another meeting to take copies of the published article. When the club president asked me again to help create a commercial writing program at his college, I accepted with confidence.”
Dear Lord, thank you for being a God of second chances. Help me remember that you are my courage.
Okay, how many of you have turned down a writing assignment (or anything) because you didn’t think you could do the job?
You can do anything you set your mind to—though I don’t recommend surgery if you aren’t a doctor. Seriously, we have so many learning tools at our fingertips—just Google or go to YouTube. Ask friends in your writing groups. If you don’t know how to interview, then watch some podcasts or C-Span. Can’t write an article? Read and dissect some. There are also online writing classes–some of them FREE. There’s always a way to learn…how to paint, how to knit, how to speak.
(A few weeks ago I watched a Youtube video on spray paint art. Fascinating, and who knows how I’ll use this new found knowledge!)
I encourage you to say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. That’s how you learn, and it pays off in the long run. I started the writing program with the college: it consisted of nothing more than determining what I thought new writers would like to learn, finding other writers with the expertise to teach it and scheduling. I met some fine writers, had a lot of fun and taught my first online classes. I learned a lot too, but, if I had stuck with my pitiful I-can’t- attitude— I might still be an insecure whiney Jessy today.
So, tell me, are you going to do it? Take a step of faith and say YES to all those opportunities that come your way? I want to hear about it! And if I can help… holler at me!
Tabatha Morrow says
I feel that often. Thanks for some great advice!
Jessica Ferguson says
I’m sure we all do, Tabatha. Thanks for stopping in. 🙂
I really enjoyed reading this. I’m a big ol’ scaredy cat so I’m not sure what I would have said. I’m forcing myself to be stronger and view life as an opportunity and not an obstacle.
And toastmasters sound pretty nifty!
Jessica Ferguson says
C.G. Coppola, Toastmasters is fun and will definitely get you over being scared. Google to see if there’s a club in your town. They’ll let you visit a time or two. Thanks for visiting me!
Michelle Wallace says
A few months back, out of the blue, a guy who owns a local publishing company contacted me because he had stumbled upon my blog and was interested in what I was all about.
To cut a long story short, we met once or twice, and it seems that he wants to build a working relationship with me, whereby I assist in a mentorship capacity for a number of budding writers he has under his wing (details of the project yet to be determined…).
I’m waiting for him to contact me again.
So I may just give you a holler! LOL
Jessica Ferguson says
Michelle, that’s wonderful! Holler at me any time. My email is jessyferguson (at) gmail (dot) com. This could really turn into something great for you! If he doesn’t get back with you, email or call. Don’t let this opportunity get away.