My heart was racing as my eyes quickly scanned the screen in front of me. My name was there somewhere. I knew it had to be. After all, I had been warned. Could I do it? Was I capable of handling the pressure and the deadline? What if I stuck out or said something wrong?

You can do this! screamed my inner cheerleader, her pom poms flailing madly about.

You already have too much on your plate and you’ll end up procrastinating, yawned my inner critic, bored already with the latest adventure.

Ignore her, you’re amazing and fun and have a lot to offer, the cheerleader reassured me.

Whatever, came the dull reply.

There it was. It was the very last name on the schedule. I heaved a sigh of relief, thankful to have an entire month to plan what I was going to say and how to say it. Why was I nervous? I’ve been doing this for years. But these were professional women I was writing alongside now. Women with experience and rules and agents and editors and book contracts and lions and tigers and bears…oh my!

Slow down and take a breath, you’re going to hyperventilate, chided the critic.

Be yourself, you’ve got this, soothed the cheerleader. You have a whole month.

That was a month ago. I am officially one day late in posting on this blog and keeping my commitment. I procrastinated and when I still had a whole day to get it done, I got busy with school, little kid messes, and a flooded bathroom that kept us busy mopping up water and cutting up carpet until we fell into bed exhausted. Some days are like that. Writing is fun, but it can also be a challenge when it’s vying for attention in an already busy life. So I’m taking Mary’s advice and setting some goals. Posting on time is at the top of my list. What’s next? Oh yes, accountability. I guess that would be the other contributors to this blog and you, the readers. I CAN do this. 🙂

Since it’s the cheerleader I’m listening to today, I’m pulling out the pom poms for you. If you are new and feeling intimidated, overwhelmed, or even unsure of how to proceed with your writing life, this is the place for you. Though I’ve been creatively writing for years, I am new to “writing with a purpose” and I have so much to learn. I’ve been stretched in unexpected ways, and encouraged by people who want to see me succeed. I recently had a short story published in an anthology. It was my first submission and I excitedly told everyone I knew. A friend, who already has several books gracing shelves across America, took the time to share my joy and urge me on. She was happy for my success as I begin this journey, and that has been my experience with everyone I’ve met so far, from the novice to the expert. So let’s learn together as we join the ranks of people “writing with a purpose”. Grab your pom poms and silence that inner critic. The world is waiting for what we have to offer.

~Niki~

Niki Nowell serves as Vice President of HIS Writers in Denver. Niki is Co-founder of SEVENS, a ministry to homeless and at-risk youth and young adults in Boulder County. She lives in Denver with Benny, her husband of 16 years, and their three incredibly funny children, Max, Zoe, and Pete. Her passions include homeschooling, mentoring younger women, and blogging about relevant social issues. She is a speaker, worship leader, collector of heart-rocks, and so much more. Join her on her journey at nikinowell.com, sevensonline.org, and Facebook.

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