Yesterday was a fascinating day (for me). On the heels of a stressful string of events, I received a little surprise in my inbox. I was invited to travel to a number of exclusive travel destinations with my family on a freelance writing assignment. My job would be to blog about the chosen destinations and the merits (or lack thereof) for families with children. Up until eighteen months ago, I was going on a lot of trips like this, but over the course of the last year, I’ve had to turn many of them down. So, when the offer came through yesterday, I was touched. Blinking back a tear or two, I read the email a few times through.
I don’t tell you this story to brag. I tell it to make a point, and that point being there is no substitute for hard work and a competitive nature. I have been blogging and writing online since 2010. I started up shop with a free website on wordpress [dot] com, often getting up early and working late to write and maintain my website. I wrote several times a week on women––moms mostly––and balance, creating new opportunities, and recreating notions of what moms can and can’t do (nothing). I not only researched my topics, but how to grow my writing business since I loved the topic I was writing about, and I grew my brand.
NONE of this was handed to me or given to me. Each tiny step or milestone was marked with grueling work on my part. I traveled to trade conferences and networked always putting the relationship first. I never asked what can you do for me? Rather I built a genuine foundation between other bloggers and myself while continuing to blog, consult, invent and license a product (I did this concurrently). What did I give up? Sleep, a few school performances, and lunches with friends. Not always, but sometimes.
I looked up to women who were doing more and steamrolling ahead of me. I admired them. I wasn’t covetous, and I didn’t want their secret sauce. I knew I needed to create my own spicy mayo with siracha, and I needed to find that deep within my soul. These were amazing women, and I didn’t begrudge them success. To this this day, Liz Gumbinner & Kristen Chase, Erica Diamond, Kathy Buckworth, and Isabel Kallman are women I look up to, and consider to be role models.
As I garnered a following here on this blog, I was able to move it to a new platform, redesign it’s look and opportunities started to filter in…T-Mobile, Four Seasons, CorpNet, and Huffington Post to name a few. Other bloggers recommended me and I referred brands to them, and I very slowly built my writing business. All of a sudden, people were asking: How can I start a blog? I started a blog a few months ago, and nothing is happening? Can you introduce me to so-and-so?
—>>> My answer was always the same. Blogging is not as easy as it looks. It is hard work, and you have to be tenacious and self-motivated. Most of all, you need to be competitive within yourself and keep pushing forward.
Most of the time, they wanted the easy way, the hand-out, the “gimme’s.” If you grew up when I grew up, gimme’s didn’t exist. Not everyone was given a trophy, they weren’t afraid to cut kids from the school play or call someone the Most Valuable Player. Now, that is all damaging to self-esteem. Bull.
Flash forward to 2014 when I decided to take a step back from blogging and conquer another long time goal…PUBLISH a book. I have since written and released three books and have a fourth on its way. ALL in the name of working my fingers to the bone. THERE are huge names out there publishing romance and romantic suspense like me. Again, they deserve it and I don’t want to take that away from them. I am only moving forward with making my own name, and doing it in my own way.
More hard work and entrepreneurial and creative spirit.
Which brings me to my most recent blogging offer. It was so sentimental to receive this offer, to know my reputation still exists, and it meant everything in a world where everyone keeps looking for the easy way. My self-esteem (as an adult) skyrocketed. I worked for that offer whether I accept it or not.
I always try to teach this lesson to my kids. My younger one was given a minimal part in the play and he wanted to quit. Did I let him? No way! You need to work up to be the lead, buddy. NO ONE is going to ever give it to you. My oldest tackles his hobby 3+ hours a day, looking to be better every single day. When he rode the bench back in the 4th grade, he learned it was either be one of the hardest working or be passed over. That’s life.
So, please I implore you, take what you love and do it was passion and fervent hard work because to expect it will be handed out…is never going to happen. Ever.
GIF credit: Hello Giggles.