Small steps achieve big things

A FEW weeks ago I attended a couple of blogging and writing workshops. One was with an award-winning blogger, the other with a best-selling novelist. The workshops were very different, but both of the ladies gave me the same advice.

‘Be brave,’ they said.

‘That’s easy for them to say,’ I thought. With their amazingly successful blogs and six figure book deals, it was probably easy for them to be brave.

But the thing is, and the important thing, is that they had started out from a similar place to me. They started with a small blog, and an idea for a book. They achieved what they have through hard work and determination. It hasn’t been easy for either of them, but by being brave they managed to take their small blog/novel and achieve big things.

For me, that was really inspirational.

Be brave. The words stayed with me. I began to think about what being brave would mean for me.

In my running it would mean signing up for a marathon. In my blogging it would mean promoting my work locally. Since I started blogging, I’ve been happily blogging away picking up a few readers nationally, even internationally, but I’ve completely neglected the local audience, the people I run and race with. I’ve told a few friends, but I didn’t tell many. I didn’t spread the word.

Why? I think I was afraid of what people would think. Perhaps they might laugh, or say my bum looks big in my running shorts, or who does she think she is with her running and writing. Instead of being brave and being proud of my work, I didn’t tell anyone.

Be brave.

I decided it was time to stop the worrying about what people may or may not think. I had to be brave, and follow the advice of the two writers I admire. So, first thing yesterday morning I signed up to run the Florence Marathon. This was more difficult than it sounds. The computer conspired against me to make it a very testing thing to do. It would have been easy to say I’ll not bother filling in all the forms, and rebooting the computer when it gave in, and re-entering all my details when they were wiped out. I actually felt like throwing the laptop out of the window, but I didn’t. I stuck with it, and eventually I was successful. I now have a place in the Florence Marathon in November!

Feeling a bit faint from the exertion of completing a difficult online entry, I made myself a cup of tea.

Then it was time to be brave again. The next step was to promote my blog on my club’s Facebook page. This sounds a very simple thing to do, but it’s not. The members of the group aren’t just in my club. The group includes runners from the whole of South Yorkshire and beyond. Lots of runners.

I typed my post. I read my post. I attached a link to my blog. I read the post again and again and again. I got Chris to read it.

‘I’m not sure,’ I said.

‘Just do it.’ We’re on holiday this week. I think Chris was keen for me to stop faffing with the computer so we could go out for a run. ‘You can’t expect to be a blogger and writer, without promoting your work!’

He was right. I had to do it. My finger hovered over the enter button. Then I pressed it, and ran away and hid behind the sofa.

I’d taken a huge step – two actually! It was completely terrifying, but I felt great for doing something. Even if no-one liked my post, at least I’d done it.

It was early when I sent it, but comments started coming in straight away. In fact, I have been completely and utterly overwhelmed by the positive feedback I’ve received. A lady I’ve never met contacted me to say my blog post about the Lodge Moor road race had inspired her to get back into training after the birth of her child. People signed up to my blog. One runner/blogger emailed to offer some advice about promoting my blog far and wide.

I went into shock. I can’t believe I was so nervous about sharing. I’m part of such a wonderful and supportive running community. I wished I’d shared sooner.

Now that I’ve mastered the basics of promoting myself and my work, I’m going to be brave and do it again. Hopefully, it will be a bit easier next time.

Thanks for your support!

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