I’ve always been a bit of a scared-y-cat most of my life. Not that it’s ever stopped me from living an exceptionally full and busy life, but my fears have often caused me to draw upon forces foreign to my personality. I’m not sure if those moments of hesitation in my life are the result of prudence and some inner wisdom, or are the result of self-doubt. In guessing it’s a little bit of both.
For example, when I was a teenager I was scared to drive the family car. Of course, I can blame my stepfather for that, because our family had very little money and we had but one car. That car was responsible for getting my parents back and forth to work, taking us to and fro to church, carting us around on our various summer camping and fishing vacations, and running the usual day-to-day errands such as going to the bank, shopping at the local grocery store, and running me to my weekly piano lessons and my brothers daily football practices. I knew that if I damage that car in any way, not only me but my entire family would be landlocked. I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 18, but get it I did, and I been driving like a maniac ever since.
In my late 30s I bought my first computer, and I have to admit, the machine still terrifies me. Even though I use my laptop to write, communicate, and do business, I still don’t trust that it has my best interest at heart. This is changed a lot since the onset of the pandemic. Now I use my computer every day for business transactions, purchases, and marketing. Yet even as I go about creating and purchasing ad copy on Facebook as well as Amazon to sell both my fiction and nonfiction books, I am filled with self-doubt.
What these last few months have proven to me is you can’t learn everything you need to learn by merely reading a book. Eventually you have to get your hands dirty, even if it means making mistakes or spending too much money. I’ve had to find within my personality an assertive streak to torpedo down the walls of apprehension and just go for it!
I have to admit, I’m still apprehensive about this thing called technology, but I’m getting used to the fact that most good things in life require a dash of foolhardiness and devil may care. As my friend and colleague Lauren Fogelman says, mistakes are just merely nudges in the right direction. Needless to say, I’ve had my share of nudging of late.
Yet the bottom line is this: each time I produce and ad, I get better at it. I get more use to flinging myself out onto a very thin limb and having an exciting time while doing it. I’m also selling a lot more books, which more than makes up whatever dumb decision I make regarding my budget. As yet I can’t really say I’m having fun, or that I’m completely rid of my self-doubt as it relates to my computer usage, but I am successfully challenging myself every day to be more gutsy when it comes to meeting my fears head on.
Born and raised near the Puget Sound in Washington State, Gwen Overland and her family now live in Ashland, Oregon, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Prior to that Gwen lived in Los Angeles and had careers in directing, acting, and singing while performing at the piano. After years in academia, writing one research article followed by another, Gwen turned her talents toward writing fiction and found she happily could not stop. Love’s Harvest and Free My Heart, two novels from her Salmon Run Series, have been published by Soul Mate; she is currently working on the third Salmon Run novel, Waiting for You. Her self-published, romantic comedy/mystery series, The Millicent Winthrop Novels, is available in both English and German. In addition, Gwen also has two published non-fiction books on the work she does in conjunction with her business, Expressive Voice Dynamics: Soul of Voice and Soul of My Voice. When she’s not reading, writing, or playing with her two black pugs, Buster Keaton and Emmett Kelly, Gwen works in the theatre, or assists psychotherapy clients in discovering more joy and meaning in their lives.