You don’t know me. I’ve been living in a cave.
A few years ago, I decided to write novels. I introverted myself further into a dark space to put words on the page and to become an independent publisher. When I put myself out into the light as an author, all I asked from readers was that they notice I was there.
I timidly asked other authors to accept me as one of their own while I squatted in my cave trying to learn the craft of storytelling. I joined mastermind groups. I stood and left my cave at least once a week and talked about goals. I was committed, but not exactly sure of what or who I was committed to.
What did I want to do? Write a series of books. That was on the top of the list. Earn a living as an author. A whisper no one heard, and an intention I kept to myself.
No one could really hold me accountable with a deadline or make me commit to a business plan. I would meet up with other businesswomen, rather than writers, so I didn’t have to talk craft. When those relationships didn’t carry me, I met up with authors in person, one at a time. I enjoyed posting in online groups and on social media. I was out there! It felt like success, but I wasn’t successful in making a commitment to any one goal.
I had a small network of friends online before I became a digital nomad. I had a house, a mortgage, and lots of stuff. 2018 became the year to break out of my cave. I felt confident that I would become a different person by letting go of everything that had held me back. The house was put up for sale, then the mortgage was paid off, and most of the stuff was sold or given away. Yes, I was the brave one setting off in a travel trailer to focus on writing with the dream of living the author life.
By the end of 2018, I’d let most of my relationships fizzle out. I’d traded one small space for another to dwell in. It was clear to me. I wasn’t brave, and I had run out of excuses.
I didn’t believe I could have the author life. I was definitely stuck in analysis paralysis with my words. I’d learned enough about story to know my novel ideas didn’t work but not enough about myself to know I could put my name on a body of work once I reached beyond these limitations.
Why a Mastermind Group Changed Everything
Early in 2019, I joined a mastermind group. I made a financial commitment to show up. By this time, I was heading back north from California to Canada to buy another house. My husband and I wanted a home base, not more debt and less freedom. I had grown a little on the road, but I was still fixated on what I couldn’t write. I was attached to the mindset that I could only learn from more experienced authors and that I had nothing to offer them in return.
Every week, I now talk about my progress with a group I think of as family. I write a new scene from a single prompt and then share it each weekend. I haven’t found my way with zombies yet, but writing in genres I’m not familiar with has helped me to find a voice for post-apoc, and fantasy, and sci-fi. For a cave dweller who was stuck on telling one kind of story, I now believe I can write for any market.
My author life success comes from the support I’ve had from a mentor I trust, and that goes beyond the scope of what I signed on for.
This time, a mastermind is working for me because I’m working for the author life.
Janet Kitto is living A Life Less Burdened. From the west coast to the east coast of Canada, Janet travels as a career author and full-time beachcomber. Learn more at http://janetkitto.com and at https://alifelessburdened.com/
Each week in this blog series, I’ll discuss what it means to live the author life, delving into topics about mindset, craft, audience, finance, publishing, self-improvement, spirituality, technology, and more.
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