By Danielle Bernock
September 29th, 2012, is the day I started. I sat down and started writing my story. It’s the story of my journey from lies to truth, trauma to healing, and bondage to freedom. Before that day, I‘d thought about writing many times but never did.
Writing your own story is scary. Sharing your heart, your secrets, your pain and even your victories is scary. You ask yourself questions like: What if I sound stupid? What if no one cares? What if someone actually reads it and laughs?
Fear is the biggest wall a writer must scale to write.
While the What ifs intimidated my mind, another word encouraged me; the word a man once used to describe my writing. He called me a wordsmith. I’d never heard the word before. It sounded so beautiful. It arrested me. His comment was regarding an email – of all the uncreative things? I was in awe and disbelief. But he insisted it wasn’t a passing compliment.
His encouragement pushed back the fear, but I still didn’t write.
It continued to burn in me. The need to write. The need to share. The need to tell my story.
Fear held me back, until that day. That day in September, as I read a devotional Dare To Decide, I did it—I dared to decide.
I decided to write. I drew a line in the sand, saying, another day wouldn’t go by without action. I started. I started because I had to. I had a story to tell.
And even though I had no clue how to go about doing it, I knew it needed to be done.
I am not an English major by any stretch of the imagination. I got B’s in school, and my mother wondered how I even got those because of how poorly I used the language. She had been the valedictorian of her graduating class (back when they had just one). She knew all about prepositions and conjunctions and how to use commas and splitting infinitives and run on sentences. I know how to use run on sentences and misuse commas.
So what gave me the gall to move forward and write anyway?
I had a story to tell.
During the Christmas season, television networks run special holiday movies. Most are not considered the industries best, or what is called an “A” movie. While watching one this last season, my husband asked why a certain actor, one he considered to be famous, would choose to play in this “B” movie. That got me wondering also.
Why would this actor risk his reputation on something ordinary?
Some movies are so cheesy, or badly written, I can’t continue to watch. But we finished watching this one. Even though the dialogue was lame. The acting was just ok. It wasn’t a bad movie. It just wasn’t exceptional in its quality or worthy of an Emmy. Why did we watch the entire thing?
Because the story was worthy.
It was a story worth telling. It made a very good point. I’m glad they told the story.
Do you have a story to tell?
Are you afraid you can’t do it well?
Perfection and good are overrated.
They are subjective to who is doing the reading or watching. The question is: Do you have a story that needs to be told?
A story that needs to be told will change someone’s life. Potentially many people.
Writing my story changed my life in many ways. While writing, I started going to counseling. This uncovered things I hadn’t seen in my life, and that gave me the courage to confront them. When I was done with the writing part, I was a different person.
Yet the story does not end there.
It was just words on a screen. For it to become an actual book, it needed to be published. I wanted full ownership of my story, so I didn’t pursue a traditional publisher. Instead, I explored other options.
Self-publishing is a journey subsequent to writing. There’s a plethora of information available on the subject. There are so many ways, and places, to publish, it is easy to get lost. I almost did.
Once again I had to just start.
I had to make a decision because no decision is a decision, and I’d decided I was writing a book, not just a story on a screen. It had to become published to complete what I had begun.
Self-publishing using a printing company was more costly and took more courage than I had to offer. I decided to go with Print On Demand (aka POD). I chose Createspace and learned an entirely new language that goes with the publishing industry. Things like front matter, back matter, gutter position, and page bleed. Before this, I rarely read the dedications, acknowledgments, or introductions. I didn’t know what editors or graphic designers really did. I’d never heard of first readers.
It took completing my book to understand all the blood sweat and tears the process takes. I see books very differently now.
I held many proof copies in my hand before I felt it was ready enough. I somehow understood if I didn’t make the decision to be done, I never would be. It took me nineteen months and eight days to get from start to publish.
May 7th, 2014, I sat down at my laptop, and with trembling hands, I pushed the button, the publish button, and I made my book, my story, available to the world. I was absolutely terrified.
Even though I believed I needed to tell my story, my greatest fear was that someone would actually read it. I felt so naked.
But as people read it, something else started.
I got feedback. It changed people’s lives. People could relate. People felt validated. I discovered memes of my words online.
This quote resonates with many:
“Trauma is personal. It does not disappear if it is not validated. When it is ignored or invalidated, the silent screams continue internally, heard only by the one held captive. When someone enters the pain and hears the screams, healing can begin.”
― Danielle Bernock, Emerging with Wings: A True Story of Lies, Pain, and the Love That Heals
My first book was not perfect. Far from it. Five months later, October 22nd, 2014, I released a second edition retiring the first because I discovered a potential copyright violation and other errors.
Even imperfect, my story changes people’s lives.
Because my story helps others, fear no longer holds me back. Instead, I’m motivated to get it out there.
This requires more learning and another start.
I started blogging. I devoured all the free resources I could find online.
To my benefit, I discovered Jeff Goins who understands the value of making a decision and starting. I learned and applied what he taught. I became a member of his Tribe Writers. It has revolutionized my life and writing. He taught me how to practice in public.
Jeff’s passion is to encourage people to write. He does it well. My passion is to change people’s lives, help them heal on the inside and grow on the outside.
I found the two go hand in hand.
Writing my story not only changed other people’s lives, but it also changed mine. When I started, I didn’t expect that. I focused on the starting and imperfectly took one step in front of the other.
Writing your story may change your life.
My book is still not perfect. I’m sure I would change parts if I were to rewrite it. I discovered I use the word that a lot. But, on the other hand, I’ve been told many times my book is easy to read. I like that. I don’t enjoy reading things that require a dictionary to understand.
I write to share, inspire, encourage, and change people’s lives. That is a story worth telling.
I encourage you to write your story, memoir, or fiction. Even if you’re afraid. Even if the grammar isn’t perfect. Even if the vocabulary is simple.
Learn and grow and change along the way, but don’t allow imperfection and fear to keep you from it.
Someone’s life might just depend on it.
Danielle Bernock is a published author and writer. Her first book Emerging With Wings: A True Story of Lies, Pain, And The LOVE that Heals takes you on her journey of personal transformation. It is available around the world. Danielle is passionate about helping others discover the personal freedom and happiness she has found. Her blog daniellebernock.com addresses issues of the heart encouraging readers in personal growth and validating their value. Danielle is dedicated to her own learning and growing, taking courses and reading continually. She is a member of Tribe Writers, Rochester Writers’ Group, and the owner of 4F Media (a writing, publishing, and marketing company).
Danielle was born and raised in Michigan, the granddaughter of European immigrants. She has traveled around most of the United States and visited 3 countries. Due to the economy and the hand of God, Danielle lived in Arizona for 5 life changing years but is happy to be back in Michigan near her family. She has been happily married since 1980, has two married children, and four living grandchildren she adores, and who call her Mima. Danielle is forever young at heart, loves nature and new adventures (like zip lining). She loves spending time with family and friends, playing games, going for walks, having bonfires, heart to heart talks, and laughing. Lots and lots of laughing.
Get a copy of Danielle’s book here
Subscribe to her blog and get a free ebook: http://www.daniellebernock.com
Like her author page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/daniellebernock/
Follow her on Twitter @dbernock https://twitter.com/DBernock
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