Guest Blog by Sharilee Today

26 Sep

I have a treat for all of you today, a guest blog posting by my friend Sharilee Swaity. I’ve known Sharilee for a number of years now and I greatly admire her as a quality human being, my highest praise of anyone.

Without further delay, here is Sharilee!

Pursuing Impossible Dreams

Have you ever had a big goal? So big it seemed like an impossible dream? Maybe writing a book or changing careers? Or moving to a big farm in the middle of nowhere and living off the land?

I have friends with impossible dreams, too. One of them has an absolutely amazing voice that touches people every time she sings. She writes passionate, intense songs with perfect cadence and depth but she thinks the goal of becoming a professional singer is unrealistic.

One of my teacher friends is incredibly talented as an artist. Her bulletin boards are outstanding and she once had a small business drawing unique cards that no one else was making. She thinks that making money from her art is completely unreachable. I understand these friends because for many years, I thought my dream was impossible, too.

I have always loved books and the thought of having my name on a book was the coolest thing I could imagine. It also seemed like the silly fantasy of a young girl. Authors were another breed of individuals. Like C.S. Lewis and Shakespeare, they were disciplined, talented, prolific, even wise. I was just a girl who wrote in her journal, sharing stuff about my depressing life that no one would ever see.

Eddie the Eagle’s Big Goal

One guy who had an seeming unreasonable target was Eddie the Eagle. He wanted to be an Olympic athlete. The only problem was that he was short-sighted and poor, without the elite background that most athletes in his position enjoyed.

During the 1988 Calgary Olympics, he gained both popularity and notoriety for showing up to compete when he really wasn’t that good at it. In fact, he placed last, far behind the other athletes in his events. As an Albertan who lived close to Calgary at that time, I remember seeing his story in the local papers. Some of the writers criticized him for making a mockery of the sport while others applauded him for showing up and trying.

Eddie first tried to get to the Olympics through the sport of ski racing, and managed to place well enough to get on the team. He wasn’t part of the elites, however, and the authorities found a loophole to disqualify him from competing.

Discouraged but undaunted, Eddie switched gears and decided he would learn ski jumping. Yes, that sport! Where crazy daredevils jump off ramps as high as skyscrapers. The sport where athletes have to train from the age of three to have a hope of even placing.

Eddie traipsed all over Europe looking for places where he could get some jumping time in. He slept in his vehicle in -25 C weather and even lived in a mental institution for a while because it the only housing he could afford.

When the tryouts for the event came along, his time was just on the cusp of not qualifying. He made it to the Olympics and no one from his team wanted him there. He was an embarrassment to the dignified British sports establishment. Yet, in spite of all these obstacles, he still managed to add “Olympic athlete” to his resume.

My Impossible Dream

Eddie was criticized and stonewalled from all sides. Sometimes we can feel like this with our dreams, too. We may hear, “Why are you wasting your time?”  Sometimes the criticism comes more from our own heads.

Whether it’s writing a book, a blog or copy for businesses, the publishing field is not easy to explain or justify but we dream anyway.  We may write a blog but dream of writing a book. Or write books on the side and dream of living off the royalties. Perhaps like me, we write in a journal but dream of impacting thousands with our words.

Four years ago, I took a small article I had written and thought about expanding it into a book. I kept going until it reached 12,000 words. Seeing that many words altogether on one topic made me hungry to finish it. The impossible had become a possibility and the journey from that first little article to a printed book in my hand taught me some valuable lessons.

Life Lesson One: Big goals are possible

The most important thing I learned was that the impossible was actually possible. Growing up, I struggled with confidence. I was the timid kid on the playground reading a book in the corner. I had many ideas but almost zero confidence to pursue them. The most common comment on my report card was “not working up to potential.”

 

When I decided to write a book, years later, it was difficult to tell anyone what I was doing. I was sure that people would scoff at me for pursuing something so lofty. Somehow, though, in spite of my fears, I kept to it and in April of 2017, my first book went live on Amazon.

 

Three months later, I held the print book in my hand. I put author on my resume and the most impossible dream I could imagine – becoming an author – had come true. So-called impossible dreams become possible for people every day.

 

Life Lesson Two: Big Goals Take Patience

If I had $10 for every person who told me, “everyone always tells me I should write a book,” I would be able to afford a very nice dinner. When I tell people I have written a book some of them indicate that they, too, would have written a book if only they wanted to. The point is, though, is that they haven’t written a book – because writing a book takes a long time, months, sometimes even years. Like any big goal, it requires sticking to it through the obstacles, both external and internal.
The lesson I learned in writing my first book was that a big goal takes patience. Just when you think you are almost done, you realize there is something else to do. Another chapter is needed to complete your ideas. Your editor sees a load of mistakes after you think a piece is almost perfect. You search for research details that you can’t find anywhere. It seems endless but you grow in patience.  If your dream is big, it is guaranteed to require patience to complete.

 

Life Lesson Three: Big Goals Require Learning

For years, one of the things that stopped me from writing and publishing my own book was formatting. I had read articles about how technical and complicated formatting was to learn.

Gradually, though, through talking to other self-publishers and joining author Facebook groups, I started to see through the veil. Formatting took some time to learn but others were doing it.

So, I learned how to format an eBook. And then a paperback for Createspace, all without buying any programs or paying any experts.

If you have abandoned your big goal because it seems like too much to learn, know that almost everything is learnable. In today’s age, especially, with YouTube videos and websites, you can learn almost anything. Whether it’s life skills, marketing or better grammar, you can develop expertise in the areas where you struggle. The old saying that a teacher appears when the student is ready is even more true in today’s Internet age.

 

So, what about you? Do you have a supposed impossible dream? Are you willing to revisit it? Or are you busy making one come true right now? What lessons have you learned along the way? Tell me below!

 

 

 

Sharilee Swaity met Bill Holland through Hubpages (where she was known as prairieprincess) and has admired him ever since as a person and a writer. She blogs at Second Chance Love, and has recently finished her book, Second Marriage: An Insider’s Guide to Hope, Healing & Love. She has an audiobook version of her book coming out soon. To get her free mini eBook on connecting with your spouse when you have no time, sign up here.

 

 

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18 Responses to “Guest Blog by Sharilee Today”

  1. Janine Huldie September 26, 2017 at 2:42 pm #

    Loved getting to catch up with Sharilee Swaity and do remember her from my own Hubpages days. Also, loved her advice here as sometimes we just have to reach for those stars and more. Thanks for the inspiration and the awesome guest post today 🙂

    • Billybuc September 26, 2017 at 2:49 pm #

      Reach for the stars and the be wiling to put in the hard work, something you know all about, Janine! Thank you!

    • Sharilee Swaity September 27, 2017 at 4:55 am #

      Janine, I remember you, too! Nice to know you are still going strong on the writing. Have a great night!

  2. Sarah Potter Writes September 26, 2017 at 3:05 pm #

    Lovely to meet you Sharilee, and to read your inspiring words. I can see why you and Bill gelled online, as you are kindred spirits with much the same approach to your creativity, at the same time being encouragers of others. Wishing you all the best with your publication 🙂

    • Billybuc September 26, 2017 at 4:04 pm #

      Thank you Sarah! I appreciate you taking the time to meet a friend of mine.

    • Sharilee Swaity September 27, 2017 at 4:55 am #

      Thanks so much, Sarah! Bill and I had in common that we are both former teachers and I have always respected his work so much. Have a great night.

  3. 1authorcygnetbrown September 27, 2017 at 11:21 am #

    Great article and I agree with everything you said. I think that today, it is easier than it was a few years ago to self-publish a QUALITY book. It also helps to get involved with individuals who have been down that path like our friend Bill Holland

    • Billybuc September 27, 2017 at 1:38 pm #

      Thank you Donna, and I agree about the “quality” qualifier. 🙂

    • Sharilee Swaity October 3, 2017 at 3:50 pm #

      Hi Donna, thanks so much. One of the things that helps so much is the author community, who are willing to help newbies like myself and many others.

  4. Eyes Straight Ahead (Shell Vera) September 27, 2017 at 2:08 pm #

    Great post Sherilee! I have been a ghostwriter for years, writing books for others to publish, and an editor for the past few years. I have had poems, articles, and short stories published in collected works, newsletters, and online magazines, but my goal is to publish my own book with my name on the cover and help folks understand they aren’t alone in their thoughts and struggles. Your post helped me with one of my hurdles: self-publishing. I have always felt like it must be hard to learn based upon the time designers have taken to publish books after I am done with editing. It is good to know that perhaps it isn’t that difficult to learn! Thanks for sharing your insight and experience!

    • Billybuc September 28, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

      Thank you for sharing, Shell! The hardest part of self-publishing is the marketing, and unfortunately it is crucial for success.

    • Sharilee Swaity October 3, 2017 at 3:52 pm #

      Shell, I am happy if this inspired you to consider trying it! I was intimidated by it for many years, too, but was surprised to find out how possible it really is. Amazon really couldn’t make it much easier for us. A learning curve, for sure, but very do-able.

  5. Sageleaf September 28, 2017 at 2:19 am #

    How inspiring to read about Sharilee here. I love her words and even the storytelling present here – a feat with non-fiction. Sometimes reading stuff like this comes just at the right time: just when an errant thought comes into a person’s head and they wonder about going on, all one has to do is stop and read something like this. 🙂 Then all the inspiration comes flooding in and next thing we know, someone’s TAKING OFF and headed for the stars! So great to see “prairieprincess” here. 🙂

    • Billybuc September 28, 2017 at 1:43 pm #

      Glad you enjoyed it, Lil Sis, and I’m glad I got a break for one week. Hugs to you on this busy Thursday, and thank you.

    • Sharilee Swaity October 3, 2017 at 3:54 pm #

      Hi SageLeaf, I am so happy this inspired you. That makes my heart glad and thanks so much for your kind words — nice to reconnect with some Hubpages readers, too!

  6. MartieCoetser September 28, 2017 at 2:55 pm #

    What an inspiring post by Sharilee! This is the kind of kind of post I should read daily until I finally get myself so far to publish a book, or at least an anthology of short stories.

    Eddie’s story is absolutely heart-touching!

    • Billybuc September 28, 2017 at 4:38 pm #

      So glad you found it inspiring, Martie! You are a good writer and it would be a shame if that book off yours wasn’t published.

    • Sharilee Swaity October 3, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

      Martie, thanks so much for the comment! Yes, if you ever get a chance to watch the movie about him, I highly recommend it. Writing a book is definitely do-able!

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