In the summer of 2018, I made a list of all the books I wanted to write and realized there were 17 book concepts in my head. SEVENTEEN! They broke down to two children’s picture books, one nonfiction book about dream interpretation, and fourteen novels. After much encouragement and the support of my husband, I took a big leap and resigned from my job to start Alyssa Hennessy – STORYTELLER.
I was super excited to get started and intended to explore all avenues of storytelling - writing, speaking, and coaching. I’ve been honing these skills for as long as I can remember! Creative writing, public speaking, and coaching have been a major parts of every industry I’ve worked in. From copyediting as a 18-year-old in college, to speaking in front of thousands as a marketing expert, to the mentorship program I worked on last night. All these skills are nothing without the art of storytelling!
Immediately I began writing a coming-of-age novel loosely based on the year I had cancer. It’s a story of hope and healing. This novel has been carried in my heart since I was 19-years-old. I had every intention to promote speaking engagements and mentorship programs, but that isn’t exactly how things have gone over the last year.
Writing is hard. Did you know? Did you also know that writing a book based on your life – no matter how fictionalized it is – is a gut-wrenching and emotional process? I didn’t! I thought I had this all figured out. Stupid girl. Also, writing is lonely! 2018 Alyssa had some very romanticized notions about becoming an author. I pictured myself shuffling around our house in my fuzzy socks, looking out the window, my cardigan clutched around me, the aroma of coffee wafting up from a mug, rain falling softly on the windowsill. So fun!
So boring! But this is what I want, right? Forever? This is my dream job… right? Ugh.
On Monday, I made myself put on pants with a zipper and head downtown to a workshop organized by a few of my girlfriends at the Women's Business Center of Fayetteville. Let me be super transparent here. I did NOT want to go. I don’t believe I have social anxiety, but I was dreading this event. My stomach was churning just looking for a parking space (The enemy doesn’t need to ruin my life, he’s happy enough to see me ineffective. But that’s a different sermon.) So that morning as I was dawdling getting ready, I searched for a way out. I considered going to the gym. I considered reorganizing my closet – which I did last weekend. I considered detailing my van. I considered making a vet appointment… for my dog who gets carsick. Anything but dragging myself downtown to a room full of women all hyped up on empowerment and entrepreneurship.
Pass the whiskey.
But I promised my friend I’d save her a seat. And she was driving two hours to get there. So I went.
And THANK GOD!
I had many “A-ha!” moments during the workshop. The biggest one was the silent realization that I had turned writing this novel – the one nearest to my heart – into a chore. At some point I got this idea in my head that I had to write, edit, publish, and market “this dang book” before I could pursue anything else. My inner dialogue changed from “I get to write this book” to “I HAVE to write this book” and that had major consequences. That mentality has been like a cancer to my creativity.
So… I SMASHED IT.
I uprooted every slanderous thought I’ve told myself this year:
This book will never get finished so I should just quit now.
I have everyone fooled. I’m not an author. All those other writers are the real deal. I’m just a girl with a computer
I didn’t make any money today, so I didn’t really work. I’ve let down my family.
No one will buy this rubbish.
You’re such a disappointment.
Then, I covered over those lies with the TRUTH:
I can earn a living with my specialized skill set!
I will creative different avenues of income from that skill set!
I am NOT ALONE! There is a wonderful group of people cheering me on!
I am a firm believer in the idea that “where our thoughts go, so go our lives” and that has already proven true this week! I am already booked a for “Storytelling for Business” workshop at the end of February and I’m polishing up some creative writing curriculum I started working on last year. I’ve had several one-on-one opportunities to encourage people. Consequently, my writing is through the roof!
What areas of your life have you been believing some slanderous thoughts? Here's a challenge; search yourself, dig up those thoughts, smash them to smithereens, and cover them with TRUTH!
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