You and I have something in common. It is this: There are some things that I can do very well, and there are some things in which I perform terribly.
Here is where I give myself high marks: baking, proofreading, creative thinking, teaching, writing, mothering, and helping people feel welcome. Plus I think I’m pretty funny.
And here is where I recognize my shortcomings: I cannot back up a car for any significant distance or parallel park. (My family has poked fun at me for many years.) I can still get lost driving even with Google maps. I can’t drive a stick shift. (A boyfriend tried to teach me when I was 16. We nearly broke up over it.) Lest you think all of my failings have to do with driving, I am not good at figuring out how things physically work or why they no longer work. I disassembled a double-stick tape dispenser yesterday that was backing up and 22 minutes later I was ready to throw it against the wall.
Wait, here’s something else I excel in: A willingness to ask for help when I need it.
Some of you know my long-time dream of self-publishing a children’s book has nearly reached fruition. Loralynn, my illustrator (and new close friend), is working on the final beautifully artistic pages as you’re reading this. And don’t worry; when it’s printed and up for sale, I’ll be letting you know!
But there have been stops and starts in this project because I didn’t know what I didn’t know about writing and publishing a book. Yes, I researched and studied good resources to be self-taught in the art. But still, I was stymied at certain points.
What saved me from wallowing in self-defeat was reaching out for help. My friend Michelle Coe of BlueSkyPhoenix led me to finding Loralynn. And my friend Scott Harlan of Talk 19 Media provided a link to a company within our county that will be printing the books. Illustrating and printing are two of the most important aspects of getting a finished book in readers’ hands, so this assistance was invaluable to me.
Others, like Cammie Fuller of The Open Book (an independent bookstore in town) and Tyler Ross (local realtor and self-published author of Donkey and the Farm Team), have given freely of their time to answer questions and offer advice. Even a stranger, a friend’s daughter on the West Coast, contributed valuable additions to my knowledge base.
So I would encourage you to go ahead and take on a project that is perhaps out of your comfort zone. It may have taken me TEN years to get this project started, but it will be completed within the ONE-year mark.
There’s a quote on my bulletin board that is attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt.
“Do one thing each day that scares you.” Asking people for help can be a scary step. While we know that we would help anyone who asked us, we hesitate to ask others.
Go ahead. Ask anyhow. And if you ever decide to self-publish a children’s book, feel free to ask me!
PS – More to come on asking for business help in next week’s post.
PS – You can purchase Donkey and the Farm Team through the Open Book! Just type the book’s name in the search field. Please support our independent bookstores!