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Author Transformations - Battling Through the Hard Times to Find Success

How one Author Overcame his Personal Demons to Find Success


Author Transformations – Battling Through the Hard Times to Find Success

By Ken Preston

On a Thursday morning in June 2013 I walked into my doctor’s office and sat down. The doctor smiled, and said, “Good morning, what can I do for you?”

I burst into tears.

To be honest, this moment had been a long time coming, maybe my whole life. I had been travelling a slow but inexorable path downward into a pit of self-loathing and depression. For the most part, except for one or two brief blips, I had managed to hide it.

People suffering with depression can be good at that. And now here I was, ready to admit that I needed help, and at rock bottom. Actually, I only thought I had hit rock bottom. I hadn’t.

But I would soon.



Wait, let’s backtrack a little.

I’ve been writing stories all my life, or at least for as long as I can remember, anyway. You’re probably the same. Short stories, lots of abandoned novels, some poetry.

It was 1996 when I decided to have a serious go at writing a full-length novel. I chose to follow Harry Crews’ model for a first time book: take a favourite novel (Harry Crews: The End of the Affair by Graham Greene, Ken Preston: On the Beach by Nevil Shute) and reduce it to facts and figures, to numbers and statistics. How many scenes? How many characters? How many chapters, words, paragraphs? How many scenes set outside? How many in hotel rooms? How many major characters?

You get the picture.

Then, taking the template you now have, you rebuild it with your own story. By Harry Crews’ own admission what you end up with is a terrible novel, but you will have had an invaluable lesson in how to write one.

So that’s what I did, and by the time I had finished I had a novel. And it wasn’t very good. But it was a novel, damn it. And it was mine. Encouraged, I wrote a second one. And that one wasn’t very good either.

[Note from Nick: This is EXACTLY what I did for my first novel. And, yeah, it sucked. But the second, third, and fourth ones got a lot better. For more on “how to write a novel the right way, first time” check out our ultimate guide right here]



But it was better.

By the time I had finished my third novel (it’s 2003 now and my wife and I have a little baby boy and life is full of nappies and feeds and sterilising bottles and sleeplessness) I felt it was time to approach an agent.

The first agent I sent it out to kept it for a long time, but they were making encouraging noises, so that was good.  Finally they got back to me with a rejection, but possibly the nicest rejection in the world, and certainly the nicest rejection I have ever had. They said it wasn’t right for them but, amongst other nice things, they said it deserves to be published.

Wow. You can probably guess what happened next. I was convinced I would find an agent very soon, probably the very next one I approached, and I would be published and famous and rich in no time at all.

Well, approximately twenty rejection slips later, many of them a badly photocopied pro forma with Dear Author hand scribbled at the top, I’d had that idea knocked out of me for good.

Anyway, let’s fast forward a few years to the arrival of the Kindle and the revolution in publishing that accompanied it. I had continued writing and submitting work and even dabbled in a bit of self-publishing in paperback form. But now, with this new way of publishing, it seemed success might finally be mine. So I signed up to KDP and published a couple of books and stories and waited for the royalties to start flooding in.



Which, of course, they didn’t.

Late in 2012 I decided to try my hand at writing a romantic thriller for the My Weekly range of Pocket Novels. Printed small they are designed to fit into women’s handbags and are published every two weeks.

Now, I normally write horror, supernatural thrillers and YA. I’m not a natural fit for writing a romance. Or so I thought.

Turns out you can write pretty much anything you want if you work hard enough at it.

January 2013 I received an acceptance email, and I was paid a modest fee for the first publication rights. It wasn’t exactly how I had imagined it, but I was a published author at last! I should have been happy.

I wasn’t.

By this point my mental and emotional deterioration was accelerating. I was still managing to hide it, even from myself to a certain extent, but I was in a bad way.

Let’s flash forward to that doctor’s office again. He asked questions, and he listened. He gently persuaded me to go on antidepressants, registered me for counselling sessions and signed me off work for two weeks.



Two weeks turned into six months.

Six months in which I could barely function, and I couldn’t write a shopping list let alone a novel. That’s when I hit rock bottom.

I spent my days lying in bed, or sitting in the lounge with my head in my hands, wondering if the multi-story car park in town was high enough to kill me if I stepped off it. I even ran away from my family, booking myself into a youth hostel in Cornwall, believing they would be better off without me.

But, after those first few months when I plummeted so low and deep I thought I would never find my way back again, I started my counselling sessions.

And I started digging into my family history. Turns out it is full of mental illness, drug abuse, suicide, and violence. I’m not going to go into all that here. That’s a post (or even a book) for another day.

What I want to focus on is this: All my childhood I had been raised to believe that ‘people like us’ would never amount to much. That creativity in any form was ‘strange’. That I should simply do my best to fit in, do nothing to stand out, to be noticed, do everything in my power to hide.

And those instructions followed me, even when I became an adult and moved over a hundred miles away from family and started my own life, met a wonderful girl and got married, and had two amazing boys.



This shit stays with you.

All those rules I had been taught as a child were the exact opposite of what I should be doing. That ‘people like us’ can achieve whatever we put our minds to. That creativity is not ‘strange’ but the norm, and should be encouraged, that in fact it is a vital part of living. And that I should do my best to NOT fit in, that I should do everything I can to stand out, to be noticed, do everything in my power to not hide.

Recovery from depression is a slow, difficult process. It is a rocky path through a land of mountains and valleys, of standing on high peaks bathed in sunshine and the most spectacular view in the world laid out before you, of knowing, really knowing, that everything now makes sense, that you got this.

And then it is days, weeks and months of fighting through stinking swamps in dark valleys with monsters lurking in the shadows, waiting for you to fall so they can pounce and devour you.

And these monsters, they whisper at you, You’re not good enough, You’re a waste of space, Why are you even bothering, you will only fail and embarrass yourself and everybody will laugh at you.

But if you keep going, keep doing the right things, you start frequenting those valleys less, and the higher ground more.

Living with depression and low self-esteem in a creative industry is hard. If you’re going to succeed, you need to be out there, getting noticed, saying this, this is my work and I believe it has value. But for someone with low self-esteem in particular, having the courage to stand up and say ‘Hey, look at me!’ is difficult, if not impossible. And then dealing with the inevitable rejection and whilst creating more work, which will also most likely be rejected, can be one more mountain too many to climb.

It’s far easier to give up at this point than to carry on.



So how do I do it?

How do I keep going? Well, before I talk about that, the first and most important thing I need to say is this: If you suspect you may be depressed, if you are going through tough emotional times and have been for a while, if life has lost any joy it once had and you are dealing with mental and emotional issues that are affecting your life and your relationships, you need to see a professional. Go to your doctor, talk to someone, someone you trust. Get help.

You are not alone. And you will get better.

Having done that, how do you deal with the day-to-day business of being a writer, of having the confidence to stand up and be noticed, to put yourself in the best place possible to making that dream of a full time writing career possible?

You say ‘Yes.’

You say ‘Yes’ to that idea for a novel you’ve been meaning to work on for the last couple of years. You say ‘Yes’ to doing the work that matters. You say ‘Yes’ to the possibility of failure.

And you will fail. That’s fine. That’s more than fine, it’s good. Failure is to be embraced like a dear friend. Because it is only by failing at something that we will learn how to get back up and try again, but this time do it better.

In the five years since I walked into my doctor’s consulting room and burst into tears, finally ready to ask for help I should have asked for years before, I have written and published fourteen books.



Some of them even sell.

I have become a regular on the local open mic circuit and co-host one in Birmingham city centre (TILT Cafe/Bar on the first Wednesday of every month, 6:30 start, it would be lovely to see you there!).

I have been into schools and run sessions on creative writing.

I have spoken at a black tie charity dinner on the same bill as Sunday Times best-selling thriller author Gillian McAllister.

I am employed by Writing West Midlands to lead one of their Spark Young Writers’ groups, delivering creative writing sessions once a month to teenagers.

Writing West Midlands also asked me to go on an expense’s paid trip to Italy for a conference, and they paid me a fee for going too.

I lead an after school creative writing club for years five and six at a local primary school every Tuesday during term time.

I have a second creative writing club at a high school starting in September. I have a meeting scheduled this month to talk about leading creative writing groups in a prison.

And on 7th September I will be walking out of my place of work for the final time and earning a living as a full-time writer.

And all this because I continued, and will continue, to say ‘Yes.’

I’ll admit to you now, it’s not easy sometimes, saying ‘Yes.’ Especially at first. It’s scary. Let me tell you something.



Scary is good.

Those fluttering of nerves mean you’re stepping into deeper water. David Bowie’s advice for making art was, you need to get into the water and keep going until you get to the point where your feet are not quite touching the ground. That’s the point at which you will do the work that matters.

That’s where you learn to swim. Say ‘Yes’ to the things you can’t do yet. That’s the only way you will learn how to do them.

And you will meet people too, online and offline. And as you meet more people, your world will expand and more opportunities will come your way, and you will get to say ‘Yes’ more and more.

Professor Richard Wiseman in his book, The Luck Factor, talks about the science behind being lucky, and how you can increase your own good luck.

It basically boils down to this: People who get out there and create a wide network of friends and contacts are far luckier than people who spend all their time in their own home and know very few people.

[Note from Nick: Building a professional network of authors is one of the most powerful things you can do to build your experience, confidence, and exposure – find out how to build your own “dream team” right here]

Yes, I know, we’re writers. We’re never happier than when we’re inside, on our own, right?

Another book I recommend you check out is Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, by Susan Jeffers. This is where I first truly learnt the concept of the value in saying ‘Yes.’

It’s natural to be scared of the unknown, of taking a risk. All those successful authors you look up to? They had to feel the fear and do it anyway.



Turns out they are ‘people like us’ too.

I’m going to let you into a secret here. Some days when I wake up my natural response is to say ‘No,’ and pull the bed sheets over my head and hide.

Just as I was taught, all those years ago. Like I said, this shit stays with you. But I don’t do that anymore. Instead, I get up and I say ‘Yes.’

And I’m having the time of my life.


Ken Preston is an author, creative writing teacher, speaker and blogger. He is the author of fourteen novels and many short stories, and has been published by DC Thompson and Ulverscroft, two of the biggest publishers in the UK. Ken regularly runs writing workshops for both adults and children, and is employed by Writing West Midlands to run one of their Spark Young Writers’ groups for school years 7 to 12. He is also a creative writing workshop leader at HM Prison Birmingham.

Ken co-hosts a monthly open mic session at TILT Café/Bar in Birmingham and is a regular himself on the open mic scene, and speaks at charity dinners and universities. Ken Preston lives in the West Midlands with his wife, two sons, and their two cats.

For more information on Ken and his books visit –

For information on Ken’s creative writing workshops, visit –

And now we want to hear from you – let us know in the comments: “What obstacles have you overcome to hit your goals? What everyday struggles do you have to face that get in the way of building your business?” Leave a comment below!



  1. Zarayna Pradyer says:

    Just a quick thank you, Ken. Always enjoy reading about everyone’s journey – invariably one learns something new, insightful and/or useful.
    So glad you have powered through and have found your path which I do hope is more scenic, and a bit smoother, than the one you have already travelled.
    Well done you!
    I guess we all have a back story but, unfortunately, I am still working on my front one.
    Thus, I have nothing to share, but I didn’t want that to stop me from wishing you much further success.
    Good writing, my friend.
    Zara. xxx

  2. Christine Brooks says:

    Good on you Ken. You’ve dropped odd lines occasionally saying you have problems, but there’s nothing like ‘going for it’ to improve your state of mind. Good luck!

  3. Duncan Ralston says:

    Hey, Ken! Great article! Glad you pulled yourself out of the muck! And of course you know I love your books. 🙂

  4. Carron says:

    Ken, thank you so much for sharing your troughs, marsh, valleys and mountains. I feel so much more encouraged to continue learning this craft of creative writing. Ive been in those suicidal lows and also grown and come up towards the mountains. I’ll keep on writing and learning. One day…

  5. Ken Preston says:

    Hi Zara,
    Thanks for your comment. You’ll get there, we’re all on the same journey really, not just through writing but through life. 🙂
    Do you read James Clear’s blog? He’s got a good one up today about Absolute Success versus Relative Success.
    Google him, he’s an interesting guy.
    Good luck with all your endeavors!

  6. Lori Lacefield says:

    Hi Ken,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I, too, have suffered from depression at different times of my life and the first time I reached out to get help was 20 years ago. She recommended that little book The Artist’s Way, and it really began to change my thinking. Being a creative is OK. Who knew? Certainly not I. I was told you couldn’t make a living doing such things and I’d better get a real job. Except all those real jobs have given me nothing but ensuing bouts of unhappiness and depression. It’s been an up and down rollercoaster and I will always have to fight my way to continue the climb, but like you, I’m doing it. I left the corporate world nearly two years ago and released my first two books this year and have three more in the works. I’m broke as a joke, but guess what? I’m happy, and I’ll continue climbing, figuring things out one day at a time. Best of luck and happiness to you and much success! Thanks again for sharing.
    Lori Lacefield

  7. Wendy says:

    I’ve been working on a book for two years. First, my first client (he wrote a 914-page novel longhand) died while I was taking time from my book to work on his book. Then my father died. Then my sister had a house fire and lived with us until her insurance found her a temporary home (since I work mostly late at night, this put a crimp into my schedule). Then I screwed up the layout of my book trying to insert a picture, hit “revert” figuring it would go back to the last time I hit “CTRL S,” and found out the hard way that–unlike EVERY other program I’ve used for the last 35 years–Open Office only actually saves your work when you close the program (I had been deliberately keeping the program open so I could work with a few minutes available and not wait for the program to open). I lost almost 30 HOURS of work and had to completely re-read a 3,000 page hearing transcript.

    I’ve pushed so many “little” books aside to get “Five Theories on The Fitz” done, that the book HAS to perform, or I’m screwed. I’m doing 50-cent surveys on mTurk (less time for my book, but “bird in the hand” and all that) trying to scrape enough money to pay bills, and Mom wants to sell the house now that Dad’s gone (that’s another source of lost time–I keep getting dragged into cleaning out the house on weekends–my other prime working time).
    And I can totally relate to Ken, of the seven publications I’ve got up, only one is performing, and that dropped from a high of around $200/mo. to (most recently) $19/mo. Everything I value in my life is endangered or already lost, and I think about cashing my chips almost every day. (I also think about writing my story of how I got to this point, but that would mean spending even more time in this dark place, and would anyone read it, anyway?)

  8. Wendy says:

    P.S. I also paint. Partially as illustrations for my books, partially with the intent of being at least semi-pro. Everyone says my work is “so beautiful” but no one has money to spare/space on their walls. So the paintings pile up and my family treats them as a hobby (i.e. something where keeping them from turning into “clutter” is more important than actually making a bit of profit).

  9. Amy Maroney says:

    Thanks so much for your honesty, Ken. Your story is inspiring on many levels. Congratulations on your successes and good luck with all your future endeavors! I enjoyed working with you on our Facebook live experiment — another great example of saying “yes” to something that creates positive new connections.

  10. Jane Ann McLachlan says:

    Good for you, Ken! I grew up in a supportive family that encouraged my writing but it’s still a hard, and often discouraging path to making a living at it.

  11. Michelle Webb says:

    Thanks for sharing, Ken. The fact you have forced yourself to keep going and to beat ‘this thing’ is remarkable. Congratulations. For me, the timing of this email was perfect. There’s a lot going on in my life at the moment and hearing your story has made a difference. Thank you.

  12. Leanna Englert says:

    Ken, your journey is such a testament to the value of doing the hard work and getting the help you need. I published my debut novel last year, having started it in 1993. I’d been struggling with alcoholism, got sober in 1995, and thought things would look up. But facing reality was like throwing gasoline on the fires of depression and self-loathing. I’ve come through it, and today I’m enjoying writing a new book. Thank you for sharing your story.

  13. Will Patching says:

    Brilliant, insightful article Ken. Good on you for ploughing through those troughs. I’ve had a rubbish year but things are starting to look up too. Thanks for the excellent words and for sharing your encouraging story.

  14. Barbara says:

    I will agree. Depression is something which can disable you to the point of incapacitating you. Been there. Done that. I discovered the “i think i can” works. Luckily, my depression has been under control for a few years.
    As to what I have overcome: The ‘I”m not good enough” syndrome. And “Everyone one else is better than me” thoughts. Right now, I’m pushing through those and working on getting my marketing plan together so I can see a few books. I’ve had multiple people who have read them and keep asking when my next one is coming out, so I must be doing something right. Fear is my biggest block. Fear of failure. Fear of success. (Hey, if no one can find you, you don’t fail and you don’t succeed…it works) As they war inside of me, I keep plugging away to get to where I want to be. My goal is to have an email list started by the end of next month and my third book out there to all to read.

  15. Keshav Sharma says:

    Thanks for sharing your personal experience. As an author I can relate to it. I, myself, have been through such phase and sometimes I still go through it. But as you said, it’s a rocky path and deep waters. Accepting failure and learning from them, that’s how we grow.

  16. Denise Kawaii says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this journey. Mine has been difficult in its own way (I think everyone’s is), and it’s encouraging to know that someone out there made it even when battling such stacked odds. I similarly broke down in a doctor’s office two years ago and have been working on building myself back up from rock bottom. It’s been a slow ride, but right now things are looking bright. Keep inspiring!

  17. Ken says:

    Hi Christine,
    Thanks. 🙂
    And yes, positive, forward motion is good for getting out of a rut of negativity. On my bad days (and thankfully they are a lot less now) I just think to myself, ‘Okay, so I feel like crap. Even so I might as well write. Whether I feel happy or bad it doesn’t matter, at least I will have written something.’

  18. Ken says:

    Hi Duncan!
    Thanks, you’re too kind. 🙂

  19. Ken says:

    Hi Carron, yes, keep going!
    As a friend of mine once said to me when I was wondering about the validity of what I was doing: Just keep on kicking ass!
    Keep writing, keep learning.
    Good luck. 🙂

  20. Ken Preston says:

    Hi Lori,
    I’ve never heard of The Artist’s Way, I will have to look it up. There is a thought now that one of the (many) reasons people can become depressed is through being in an unfulfilling career. I suppose people need meaning in their lives, and pursuing a creative career can be one way of finding that meaning.
    Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  21. Catherine Green says:

    Hi Ken, thank you for sharing your story. While I have never suffered from depression, I do experience dips in mood, especially since having children. Just last week I was ready to pack in my writing and “get a proper job.” My dad casually told me I should never have quit my proper job several years ago, and you can imagine how helpful that comment was.

    Anyway, one of your quotes jumped out at me: This is my work and I believe it has value. Yes I do. I am preparing to publish the fifth book in a series, I have several other novels in progress, and now I am turning my hand to non-fiction based on my experiences as a ghost hunter and Tarot reader.

    I will never give up chasing my dream!

  22. Ursula Burger says:

    I got fired from a job, after being constantly harrassed for 4 years. During that work time, I quit gardening, riding my horse, or working with my animals. I started sleeping 20 hours a day on my days off. I would get up to feed the animals, grab a bite, and go back to bed. It finally got to the point of spending MONTHS trying to decide where I should drive to blow my brains out. Shit happened and my supervisors were demoted. I wrote my 1st picture book because I started thriving under the new boss. He got fired and the spiteful boss was back in her old position. Harrassment again, but sneakier and secret meetings to see if I wanted an extended leave, as I had bronchitis for 5 months. I said no.THEN I took a use it or lose it vacation, quit my ADHD meds and missed work. I had to sell everything I owned to hang on to my house. I had over 130 job rejections and had to borrow 1000s to pay my mortgage. Numerous book rejections, learning challenges to try and self publish, and ripped off by a vanity publisher. Have now sold the house and most money going to pay people back the loans. Moving to a new state and still writing! NEVER give up on your dreams, God gave them to you because noone can fulfill them exactly like you can!

  23. Ivan Bacic says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing your story. I’ve been struggling with writing my second novel for 5 years. I think that I was living in fear of failing to deliver something better than the first one, even though the my first novel didn’t have any success.

    1. Ken Preston says:

      Hi Ivan. I think it is easy to aim for perfection sometimes because perfection can never be reached, which means we never have to hit publish. Good enough is often the perfect outcome to aim for sometimes. Good luck.

      1. Ivan Bacic says:

        I think you’re right. I’ve never looked at this issue as a perfectionist’s trap. Thanks

  24. Helen T-b says:

    Hi Ken, I love that book, ‘Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway’. Just the having it on my shelf is a reminder.

    After my third child I had a brush with depression and my little boy was – just the best. It went undetected for six months, but the fits of laughter and giggling were extreme. (I know – trust me to be different.) Anyhow, I got through it in my own weird way. My GP didn’t know quite what to make of it. Lol! Bless him! I’d lost me, in having kids and as a stay home mum, had nothing left of me. I don’t think anyone I knew actually knew my name, I was only referred to through my little kids. Anyway, I did beat the black days with the plan I came up with – once I’d realised the problem and that’s half the battle.

    I’m so glad you beat your depression. Your words are important, and your bravery to share them is a help to everyone. Being depressed sneaks up on a person. People don’t understand that. I discounted it because I didn’t have a reason to be depressed and there doesn’t have to ‘appear’ to be one.

    I’m doing final edit on my 2nd novel now, but I’m not from a writing background. I think I blow people’s mind with my detail – lol! Anyhow, I love writing stories, but because of the background thing – I find it very very hard to recommend myself – and that’s just generally. BUT, I am working on that!!
    All the best, Helen

    1. Ken Preston says:

      Hi Helen, thank you for commenting. I used to keep that book by my bedside for years after I first read it and I would dip into it sometimes. I’m so glad you got through to the other side of your depression too. Keep writing, keep learning, keep working on it! 🙂

  25. Freddy says:

    Hi Ken, landed here because I’m a subscriber to Nick’s newsletter.. to be honest, I have a short attention span (working on improving that) but I read your article and thought your story was inspiring, and I’m not one for making comments like that very often.

  26. Paul says:

    Thanks, Ken. A lot of that resonates with me, I must say. So I’ll keep cracking on and finish what I’m currently working on and then get onto the next project because I know it’s worth it.

  27. Every day struggles? Probably some of the same you went through. Can’t get even my friends to read my books, let alone leave a review. Doesn’t help self-esteem issues. Learning technical issues of building a website. Finding time to write and market. Good happenings? Every book gets better. Being able to step out and talk about my books. Let’s keep writing!

  28. Randy says:

    Thank you, Ken, for being so open. I wish you the best as you continue to say, “Yes”!

  29. Rev Linda Stampley says:

    I haven’t yet hit my goal there are still obstacles like family that get in the way. I have wrote 2 books and working on the third 2 screen plays and only sent off one to get rejected but to find out about needing an agent. I pray that today I will continue on the third which I say will be my first published book.

  30. Carmen Allen says:

    What a brilliant and honest story Ken. I’d like to bookmark this somewhere and read it again every time I’m tempted to say ‘It’s all too hard.’

  31. John says:

    Thanks Ken, for being so honest about your life, and how you have “lifted” yourself to the point you have now reached. The part about thinking “you are not worth it”, I can relate to, and attribute some of that (personally) to living in the U.K. when it was a highly class driven society (that probably dates me some). Once I moved to Southern California, and now in Las Vegas; I left that “where you fit” syndrome behind me. I have had a successful career, but now struggle with trying to become a successful author. To date I have published two books (one fiction and one non-fiction). I think I am now learning, that to become a successful author; it requires a lot more than knowing how to write. I have a third book “on the back burner”, in fact way back. Right now it seems I need to concentrate on more than just the writing aspect. I can relate to the lady who said it was a job to get her friends to read her books, let alone get a five star rating. Just as some other person said; I normally do not write comments such as this, but your story greatly inspired me. Thank you.

  32. Pinar Tarhan says:

    This is great, Ken. I’m sorry you went through the hell of depression. I have OCD, and I can relate. Of course, now I’ve got to go and keep failing at marketing, but I’m at least inspired. 🙂 I also love Richard Wiseman, and I can’t believe I didn’t have The Luck Factor yet. (59 Seconds and Rip It Up are two of my ultimate favorites.)

  33. Martin Svolgart says:

    Thank you for writing this, Ken. It really struck a chord with me – especially the “people like us” part.
    I’m wildly prolific and have published 48 novels in a second language (I’m Danish and had to teach myself to get to this level of competence). Somehow, I manage to fail to see the grit all that took, and I’ve stayed hidden. I didn’t know why, and I’m still not clear on all of it, but I’m out of my comfort zone. Finally.
    I haven’t read Feel the Fear, but I just bought it because one of the tools I’ve taken into use is to read more. I read non-fiction every day now, and James Clear’s Atomic Habits is one of the books that has changed me. The one that made the biggest impact in recent times is Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk. He inspired me to flip the insecurities the bird and make a plan to burst my comfort bubble because no one grows in their comfort zone. To say “yes” as you state it.
    I looked back at everything I’ve had to do from I started writing, to deciding little Denmark was too small for my ambitions, to landing a publishing deal in Canada, to now formatting book 49 for publication in January, and I thought…well, that ride sucked.
    It occurred to me that our comfort zone is more than the challenges we can cognitively recognize and that we need tools to actually break down the walls of our comfort zone.
    My obstacle now is remembering them to be able to use them cognitively. And to share them, of course. That’s a new business venture. Something in that toolbox obviously works.

  34. Jon Howard says:

    Hi Ken,
    So sorry to hear about the struggles you’ve been through, but so happy to hear you’ve managed to tame your demons. You probably don’t know this but as a fellow Brummie you’ve been a massive inspiration to me and I shout about how awesome the Joe Coffin books are to anyone and everyone I meet. I’ve devoured the entire series and the Caxton Temple books and can only hope that with enough practice I can write as well as you.

  35. Sarah says:

    Hello Ken – So true! We have to say yes (and when to say no and avoid overwhelm)! We have to get up and keep going even when we don’t feel like it and deciding that being noticed is a good thing, standing out is good.
    You’ve written about depression but it is relatable to so many of us, even not in depression. Thank you for the encouragement.

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