That Shell Is Heavy, Break Out! Be Bold!

I was attending a Literary Lunch in London with my friend, Jim. He is a short story writer in his spare time and he is considering self-publishing a collection of his stories. I am a full-time writer in my retirement.

There must have been at least a hundred people milling around talking and checking out the books for sale.

We sat down at a table with four other people. After the introductions, I immediately told them I was a writer. All of them asked me about my writing and my books. Once they got me started talking about my passion they couldn’t stop me.

But, Jim just listened and kept quiet. The same happened at the lunch table!

Afterwards, Jim and I went to a pub for a drink.

“Jim, why didn’t you talk about your short stories and your writing?”

“I guess I’m not as bold as you are, Dave,” he mumbled.

“Jim, you have to break out and be yourself instead of being someone you are not.”

“How do I do that?”

“By talking about your passion, writing. Otherwise, your lack of boldness will cause the world to pass you by. Remember, boldness atrophies from lack of use.”

“You seem okay talking about your writing,” said Jim, glumly.

I smiled.

“Of course I am. I’m so wrapped up in my writing that I forget to be afraid of strangers and their judgments!”

Jim was silent for a minute while he contemplated his glass of beer.

“I fear people judging me.”

“You lack boldness because you fear being perceived as a failure. But, the paradox is your lack of boldness is failure!”

Jim was taken aback by that statement.

“I get so nervous when I’m mingling with strangers,” said Jim, wringing his hands.

“The trick is to use your nervousness to your advantage.”

“How do I do that?”

“Take a deep breath and think about your writing and how much you want the public to read it. That should motivate you to start talking. When you act with boldness life will be more exciting and meaningful.”

“Bartender, two more beers here!”

“Now, lets talk a little about our passion, yours and mine, and how it inspires me but so far hasn’t motivated you enough to breakout.”

“Do you recall the conversation at our table?”

Jim nodded.

“I said, “I’m a writer in my retirement.”

“What do you write?”

“Short stories, articles and novels and I have a blog.”

“I then handed out my business cards. I told them about my books and how I come up with ideas. The questions kept coming and I kept talking about my passion.”

“You sure looked like you were enjoying yourself.”

“Jim, you should have jumped in and told them about your short stories. But you kept your light under a bushel. Do not conceal your talents and abilities!”

“I don’t like criticism,” said Jim, sadly.

“You’ll always get criticism when you put your writing out there in the public arena. Most of it will be constructive and positive.”

“I’ll have to psyche myself out.”

“Someone once said and I remember it every time I don’t speak up when I wanted to. The quote is: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

“I see what you mean.”

“Jim, our passions are powerful motivators. They are a state of being. With passion we can accomplish boldness in life.”

“I think I’ve got it! I’m going to put myself out there.”

“Great! Putting yourself out there creates a sense of energy, accountability and support for you. It cements your dreams to be more possible.”

Jim was smiling now.



4 thoughts on “That Shell Is Heavy, Break Out! Be Bold!

  1. Shakespeare said it perfectly ‘above all else, to thine own self be true.’ As a publisher, most of my time is allaying writer’s doubt. You would be surprised how many writers are worried about criticism. Best advice was summed up by Mohammed Ali: ‘I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.’

    Everyone is allowed an opinion and has differing tastes, doesn’t make them wrong or right. What is right, is doing what is in your heart – don’t let anyone tell you different.

    Great post Dave…give Jim a hug from me

  2. Great blog I also liked Maddl’s comment.
    Boldness is a great thing to have.
    What makes people read is something that
    makes them think. Also anything that captivates
    the mind and takes one away.

  3. Don’t remember meeting Jim at one of those literary lunches !….but I remember meeting you,Dave …and will attest to your boldness …{^_^}

    At one lunch an old dear turned to me and said “Are you a writer?” …lol…tried to explain abt my wonderful life on Twitter !….@babciapat

  4. I’m not a big short story reader, but am reading Jeffrey Deaver’s latest collection now and they are great.
    To be a writer, one needs a thick skin. And be able to always remember that you can’t please everybody.

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