All It Takes Is Courage

Feet aching after a long day of walking, I stood nonetheless as I watched fireworks burst in colorful arcs atop Cinderella’s castle.  I’ve been to Disney many times, seen the parade and fireworks, but this time was different. This time, I did more than just watch and marvel.

This time, I listened.

Magic Kingdom has a beautiful show at the end of the night, music and lasers and fireworks accompanied by snippets of movies and inspirational quotes. On this night, one quote in particular stuck out and recharged my writing energy after a particularly trying year:

“Any wish is possible. All it takes is a little courage to set it free.”

Courage. The courage to have your wish, to speak it out loud, to reach for it. So, I’ll start by having the courage to admit my wish out loud, one I’ve never actually said in this way because I typically like to play my career off as, whatever happens, happens. Disney2

My wish, my dream, is to be able to support myself, and my family, solely with my novels, and anything that comes with them.

Seems simple, right? But, it’s not. Yes, I have another job. Actually, I have three other jobs, though two are more for “fun” money at events. These jobs cover the big bills, make sure my husband and I always have health insurance, and keep money in savings. Because, even though I make money off my books, I’ve seen trends and patterns change all too often, heard stories of sales slowing down and authors having to go back to work, and I like the security of knowing money is always coming in.

I’m not alone in this battle of day job versus writing wish. It is a dream so many authors share, and it’s one that takes courage to believe in, because there are so many people ready to tear you down and remind you that you are merely a small fish swimming upstream amid a sea of sharks.

But courage … courage gives you the power to face all those chomping jaws.

“Any wish is possible. All it takes is a little courage to set it free.”

I’ve spoken this quote to myself every day since my Disney trip. A reminder to have faith and keep my head up and not listen to the can’ts and won’ts. About a week ago, I had a meeting with my PR agent. He asked me the title of my latest novel, and I replied, “The Silent Sounds of Chaos. It’s a kick-ass book title, I know.” To which he responded, “Your ego is really quite amazing.”

Now, my PR agent and I are friends and he’s one of the few people who actually “gets” me, so his response made me laugh and, well, say a few more cocky things because, why not? Might as well talk myself up a little and have fun with it! But it also got me thinking even more about courage, and how our ego as authors plays into it. Where do we draw the line between the two? When do we hold our heads up high, and when do we give in?

I think we could all stand to have a little bit of ego. Because with ego, comes the courage we all need to make those wishes possible. No one wants to read a book that’s been half-assed, or listen to a song, watch a movie, by an artist who doubts themselves every step of the way. No, we have to stand tall and let the world know how awesome we are. After all, if we don’t believe in ourselves, why should we expect anyone else to?

“Any wish is possible. All it takes is a little courage to set it free.”

Courage to believe in yourself, in what you can accomplish, even when others laugh at you for reaching too high.

Courage to stand up for your work, even when readers, editors, publishers, or even other authors, tell you it’s crap.

Courage to step out of the protective shell you’ve crafted around yourself, connecting with readers and networking with professionals, while building your career.

Courage to accept criticism even when it stings, and learn from it in order to make your work the best it can be.

And courage to tell people that something you wrote is goddamn fantastic, because you know you put everything you had into that book, and no one can ever take away your pride in it.

We all could use a little courage, make the wish we’ve been too afraid to speak out loud, take hold of a future we know is possible. And I, for one, am ready to set those wishes free.

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