We reached a huge milestone in our family this week. My daughter decided to get her ears pierced!

New Pierced Ears!
New Pierced Ears!

Hubby and I told princess when she turned five (last August) that it was up to her when she was ready to get her ears pierced. It was a process thanks to our decision to take her to a piercing studio instead of the mall because of this article. We knew we were doing the right thing for her, but it was also a bit of a hassle. Not only did we have to get a signed letter from her doctor (state law requires physician approval) but we also had to do one ear at a time – not easy with a nervous five year old.

But she did it. It was scary and it hurt, but she did awesome. I was a very proud mommy.

And yeah, I learned something from her about bravery.

For years I loved reading and writing, but never saw anything with it as a potential career. I know a part of me was scared, just like my daughter sitting in that chair on Tuesday afternoon.

Over the last few months I’ve been writing like crazy. I’ve felt called to be a writer. It might sound strange to think God was telling me I should write romance novels, but I really do feel that way. It’s odd and a little uncomfortable to imagine him reading over my shoulder, but hey, why not!

Bravery is something we all have to have at some point in our lives. For my daughter bravery came when she sat in that chair and not once, but twice, had to be ready for her ear to be pierced. For me bravery comes every time I hit publish. I love writing and think I’m good (let’s face it, I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t believe in myself), but it’s easier to believe in your talents when you’re getting justification in the way of sales!

Being brave is hard. Matt, the man who pierced princess’s ears, said, “Bravery is not not being scared. Bravery is being scared but doing it anyway.” I know I’ve heard that before, but it rang true with me this week.

Playing By The Rules finally went free last week on Amazon. I was excited, but also terrified. I was really putting my work out there. I knew it would get in more hands and I would be opening myself up to bigger rewards but also bigger let downs. Still, it had to be done if I was going to move forward.

As I write this Rules has been downloaded hundreds of times. It is top 1000 on Amazon’s free books and top 50 in two women’s fiction categories. I’m thrilled by that. But it has one review on Amazon and  one on Smashwords (both are five star reviews so that made me incredibly happy).

I sit back and worry that hundreds of people now have my book in their library and only two of them decided to write anything about it. Does that mean it sucked? Does that mean no one else had anything nice to say about it? Or does that mean nothing?

I have no idea.

What I do know is I have to be brave.

So I sit down at my computer day after day and I keep writing. I’m working on my next book. I’m planning out the ones that will come after that. I develop ideas and social media posts and blog posts and push forward.

Because maybe, just maybe, of those hundreds of people who have my newest book, there are some who loved it and just don’t like leaving reviews. Maybe they’re thrilled with what I’ve written but don’t realize how important reviews are for a writer.

Who knows?

But being brave is my only option. If I love my work (which I do) I need to keep writing and believe in myself. I’ve gotten lots of great feedback from readers and it keeps me going. I have no reason to doubt it.

I might sound like a spoiled child looking for her parents’ approval. In a way I guess I am! Honestly, I crave positive feedback, just like everyone else. One of my favorite authors, Gretchen Rubin, writes all the time that she wants “gold stars” for the things she does. We all do. We want to know that what we say and what we do has made a difference to someone.

So I sit back and I think about the people who’ve downloaded my books and I thank them for taking a chance on me. Then I think about the people who leave a review for me and thank them for their kind words and their belief in me. Then I think about the people who’ve signed up to be on my mailing list and thank them for liking my work enough to want to follow me.

And I know I’m on the right path.

But I still have fears. I worry about the first negative review (because I know I’ll get some). I worry I won’t be able to focus on the great words I’ve gotten and will instead focus on the bad ones. But the truth is, if someone doesn’t like my work, they are just not my ideal client. And that’s okay. I still need to push forward.

So I’m going to be brave, just like my princess.

What inspires you to be brave?

Mary