Friday Challenge – Conquering Your Fears

Friday Challenge – Week 4

Welcome to week 4 of our motivational posts written by Shelley Wilson author of How I Changed My Life In A Year.

Shelley has been helping us with ideas about how to make our lives better places to live in with easy to follow fun challenges, if you have missed any here are links to the previous weekly posts. Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Over to Shelley…

Shelley Wilson

Conquering Your Fears


As a writer, there is nothing as pleasurable as sitting at your laptop and letting the words flow. Writing has been a favourite past-time of mine for over thirty years. So why did the prospect of taking part in one of the largest writing competitions fill me with such fear?


It is often the thing we want so much that we dread the most, the reason for this is a simple fear of failure. Every year over 350,000 writers sign up to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), all dedicated to producing a 50,000 word manuscript in just 30 days.


When I started writing my blog, which would eventually lead to my book How I Changed My Life in a Year, I knew that if I publicly announced my intent to take part, I wouldn’t be able to back out. I pushed myself to face my fears, and I began to research how other NaNoers had accomplished this heady feat. Outlining, plotting and research seemed to be the answer.


Organisation was key. I created a Pinterest board for my character inspiration and filled a notebook with my ideas for plot and scenes. Taking part in NaNoWriMo taught me the value of outlining and full character profiles. I was as ready as I could be when the 1st November arrived.


Nine days later I hit 50,296 words.


The beauty of this event is how, even if you don’t make the 50,000 word count, you can get involved in the community. You can post in the forums and learn a great deal from experts in every imaginable field and ‘meet’ new people. Writing is a solitary affair, but I’ve never felt more supported than when I was a NaNoer.


With all doubts firmly squashed I realised, fears are never as bad as you thought they would be, or as I tell my personal development students, FEAR is simply False Evidence Appearing Real.


I learnt a great deal taking part in this challenge. You are not alone; you can do anything you set your mind to, and you can enjoy writing and the beauty of a deadline to hone your skills. Finally I learnt it was possible to ask a question, ‘If I stab someone in the heart with a sword will they die instantly?’ and not get arrested. I do love a good writers’ forum.


Challenge accepted and achieved. I am happy to confirm that my original NaNo manuscript has been re-worked, edited and is in the final stages ready for publication, only made possible because I faced my fears. I extend my challenge to you – do one thing today that scares you.

How I Changed My Life In A Year


‘How I Changed My Life in a Year’ –

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Guest Author Shelley Wilson

Today our guest is Shelley Wilson author of yesterday’s book How I Changed My Life In A Year, her is a link to my review of the book.

Shelley is also going to be writing 4 inspirational posts for us which will appear on Fridays beginning this Friday, October 17th.

Shelley Wilson

Let’s find out more about Shelley and her book.

1) Where is your hometown?

My hometown is Solihull in the West Midlands, but I left my heart behind in West Yorkshire when I moved away as a child. I do cling on very tightly to my Northern roots!

 2) What inspired your book?

For me, the New Year is a time filled with the promise of adventures to come and places yet to visit. Every New Year’s Eve I write a list of resolutions in my journal, but as I was re-reading them at the end of 2012 I noticed I had written the same ones over and over. I hadn’t achieved any of them and so they were regurgitated each year. As I run a holistic health business I am always telling my clients how they could improve their lives, and I realised that if I wanted them to take me seriously I needed to take my own advice. So I decided to write my list on a public forum to force me (or shame me) to achieve something. My blog was born and I thoroughly enjoyed updating everyone on my progress. One of my resolutions was to ‘stop procrastinating and write my damn book!’ I had never thought of writing non-fiction before, but the challenges and the blog were the basic outline of a book, it just took me a while to realise it.

 3) How did you come up with the ideas for you year long challenge?

Finding the ideas for my challenges was the easy bit. I just had to go back over the previous journal entries and copy all the things I hadn’t achieved!   Weight loss, getting fit, reading more…the usual culprits that make 90% of people’s resolution list. To flesh out the year I did a spot of brainstorming. I created a vision board and asked myself what I would do with my life if money was no object and I could have another five careers. This exercise got the creativity flowing and I found my twelve resolutions.

 4) How did you make a month challenge see less daunting?

When I started the blog it was all completely alien to me. I joined Blogger, picked a template I liked and filled in the blanks. It was only as I began to post that I read other blogs and become more involved in the blogging community. Good content and regular posts were a must according to the pros. This meant that my twelve challenges (one a month) wouldn’t be very entertaining for any readers. So much can happen in a month and my post could end up putting War and Peace to shame. This was when I adapted my challenge and broke every month down into weeks. The task didn’t seem so daunting and I could expand on my challenges. Every topic was divided into four and I blogged weekly about how I had progressed during that particular week. In February my challenge was to get fit, it worked out really well as I was able to try four different exercises and blog about each one separately.

 5) What was your favourite challenge?

I remember my November challenge with great fondness. This was my first attempt at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. I had wanted to do this challenge for four years but backed out every time because I was scared. The beauty of blogging about my challenges was the inability to run screaming for the hills – it wouldn’t have made for a very interesting post. I had to do it because I’d told the world!

6) Which challenge was the hardest?

The hardest challenge had to be giving up wearing black clothing. It sounds ridiculous when you say it but it really was tough. That particular week crept up on me and on the first morning I flew into a panic because all my underwear was black – the thought of going commando was just too much and I nearly caved. After digging through my underwear drawer I finally found suitable attire, the rest of the outfit was even harder to find. I do want to do this challenge again but I now know that some planning (and shopping) is required. Picking my daughter up from school in an 80’s fancy dress outfit taught me that!

7) Can you tell us briefly about “Tapping”?

As part of my holistic business I am a qualified EFT Practitioner (Emotional Freedom Technique). This simple process can help alleviate anxiety and deep rooted issues that have a detrimental effect on day to day life. A fear of the dentist, overeating, depression and so many other ailments can be vanquished using this method. It involves tapping lightly with your fingertips on specific parts of your head, face, body and hands. The tapping action vibrates along meridians (energy lines) within your body and neutralises any blockages. It is such a powerful treatment, one which I used to help my own anxiety prior to my training. (

 8) What new skills or ideas have you kept up with from the challenge?

The most important thing for me when I decided to start this project was to find the time to write more often. Ever since I could hold a pencil I have wanted to write, and every year I would add this to my resolution list, but then let life take over and watch my dream slide past for another year. This is why I chose blogging instead of Facebook as the public forum for my challenges, I wanted the space and right platform to help me grow my skills. Deadlines, compelling content and a wonderful blogging/writing community all helped me to carry on once my year was up. I was also prompted to take part in other challenges that came along. In January 2014 I took part in the Cancer Research Dryathalon – no alcohol for the month of January. After doing this back in April for my book I found it much easier and have now turned tee-total. Writing the book and tweaking my blog to contain more motivational content also gave me the push to write a series of workshops. I have delivered these to ladies on a monthly basis at a local venue and they have been well received. I cover topics such as facing fears, time management, and finding out who you are and how to be happy with your life. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do this had I not started my blog and published my book. I have also fulfilled my most important goal and continued writing. Thanks to NaNoWriMo I will be publishing my debut YA fantasy novel very soon.

 9) Do you think it helped make you a better person?

We are all a work in progress and have our own issues and demons to contend with. As women we tend to carry on with life and hide this side of ourselves, concentrating on being someone’s partner, mother, daughter or friend. It’s important for me to show my holistic clients that I can also suffer from self-doubt and anxiety but also to share with them the tools that I use to help myself. Publishing my book meant I had to face all my demons and put myself out there. I have had to learn to accept compliments and criticism and that this is okay. I’m not sure if that makes me a better person, but I’ve most definitely changed for the better.

10) Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

My blog is still going strong, although I include more motivational content about living life to the full, reading and writing these days. You can find the blog at and the corresponding Facebook page at I am also on twitter (far too often!)

How I Changed My Life In A Year


How I Changed My Life in a Year. Find a copy here from Or



Guest Author Ben Woodard

After yesterday’s book review of “Steps into Darkness” by Ben Woodard, please welcome Ben as out guest author today on the blog. Book review here

Ben Woodard

Let’s find out more about Ben;

1. Where is your hometown?

Lexington Kentucky. I was born here, travelled around the world, and ended up back home. A great place to be.

2) How long have you been writing?

I started writing short stories almost six years ago primarily for my grandkids. During that time I also told stories in the local schools sometimes using my short stories. The stories certainly weren’t publishable, but the kids liked them. I didn’t seriously begin to write until maybe two years later. I haven’t stopped yet.

3)Have you always written children’s books?

Yes, so far that’s all I’ve been interested in writing. I wrote a couple of short stories for adults just for fun, but my real interest is writing books for kids. And especially boys, since there is fewer YA books for them and since they need to read more. My goal is to write adventure books that will encourage reluctant boy readers to try books. I hope girls and adults will like them, too.

4)Yesterday on the blog, I reviewed “Steps Into Darkness”, the second book in the Shakertown adventures. Tell us a bit about this series.

I started writing what is going to be the third book in the Shakertown Adventure Series about four years ago as a story about my dad growing up in the small town of Shakertown in rural Kentucky. I never had any intention of publishing the book, it was just something I wrote during NaNoWriMo to see if I could write 50,000 words in a month. I showed it to several people and they liked the interaction between the two boys and were interested in the historical aspects of the story. I then decided to write at least three books about two boys growing up in the twenties and I would include the problems of the day such as racism and sexism. Writing the first two has been great fun. The third needs to be rewritten and I hope to have it out by mid 2014.

5) Why did you choose this period of history to write about?

I knew very little about this time in history, only what my dad and some relatives have told me, but I was interested in the excitement and freedom that young boys would have had growing up in a time like this. The younger cousin, Tom, is an orphan, and my dad had lost his parents by the time he was twelve. So many kids at that time in history had to make it on their own and were allowed to do things that children today could only dream about. That sounded like the makings of great adventure books.

6) Tom and Will have a great friendship. How easy was it to keep the adventure going as well as the showing the reader the value of friends?

That was something that just seemed to come naturally to me. I grew up in the fifties and in many ways it was a similar time to the twenties. My male friends and I had quite a bit of freedom just to roam the neighbourhood and the nearby farm fields without much supervision. And we were always cutting up with each other. I’ve been told my dialog is spot on for boys, but it’s the way we talked as kids. I think the two boys are an amalgam of three or four friends I had, as well as my father and myself.

 7) You’ve written several other books, can you tell us about the boy who flew with Eagle’s books?

There is only one book at this time about the boy Naa’ki and his adventures with the eagles. It’s a short middle grade book that I wrote over a weekend again thinking I would never publish it, but it has been amazing to see the number of people who have liked the story. I talked to several agents and editors and they said it was much too short to traditionally publish, and I’m sure they were right. The book is a bit unusual in that it’s written as a middle grade, but as much shorter than most middle grades and is illustrated. It’s not a book that would be commercially successful, but it has been read and enjoy by people all the world. And it is being used as an aid in Bulgaria and Germany to teach adults English.

8) What other books have you also written?

I’ve written two short stories that tie-in with the Shakertown adventure series—The Hunt and The Trestle, and The Trestle is free on most ebook sites. The third short story, a terrible price, is a sequel to the boy who flew with Eagles.

9) I believe you love adventures yourself? What have you been up to recently?

Due to a couple of serious surgeries in the last two years I haven’t had many big adventures. I always manage to walk and hike, but I’m really ”chomping at the bit” to get out and do a bigger adventure. The last one was a bicycle ride from Cumberland, Maryland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania along the great Allegheny bike path. It was a three-day ride and I would love to do that again.

10) What are you working on at the moment? Do you have a planned publication date?

I seem to be working on a dozen different things at once. I’m attempting to get all my books into print versions and my goal is to have that done by the end of November. Also, I have another novelette about the same size as the boy who flew with Eagles that is in the final edits. It will be another unusual book in that a local photographer will be supplying pictures of trees for the story which is about a young boy’s adventure in an ancient forest in Ireland. Another project is a middle grade paranormal trilogy that one agent has shown some interest in acquiring. Writing is my new career and I’m loving it.

Thanks for the interview Rosie. I appreciate it.

You’re very Welcome Ben, good Luck with the writing, and Thanks for being our guest today.

Guest Author Pete Denton

We’re back with another guest author interview today. Please welcome Pete Denton to the blog, I met Pete during the April A to Z Challenge 2013 as one of the many great people who were taking part and I began to follow his blog afterwards. Pete kindly agreed to be our guest today and talk about his writing journey.

Pete DentonLet’s find our more about Pete;

1) Where is your home town?

I am from Sheffield, which is the capital city of the People’s Republic of South Yorkshire, once the stainless steel and cutlery capital of the world. Now, littered with Starbucks and Costa Coffees like the rest of the planet.

2) When did you start writing?

I think I’ve always enjoyed writing or at least imagining stories and characters in my head. At school I enjoyed English lessons and have always tinkered with stories. I wrote my first book, a dungeons and dragons style book, when I was thirteen.

3) I’m very impressed that you went “Back to school” and took a creative writing diploma, tell us why?

I’d written many first drafts, but lacked the confidence and skills to taken them to the next stage. My wife sent me an email from our union that they were paying for members to do a writing course with the Open University. I jumped at the chance and enjoyed it so much I decided to enrol for the Diploma in Creative Writing. I learnt about editing and re-drafting so I could understand what I needed to do next with my work. Having tutors and fellow students read and critique my work helped me improve my writing and it brought me into a writing group. Without doubt, the best decision of my life!

4) You have written short stories, flash fiction and scripts, tell us about some of your work.

My preference is for the longer writing. I wrote the script for my final assignment on the OU course about a teenage girl who returns home to questions from the police after being missing for three days. I keep meaning to tinker with it and send it off to the BBC as a one-off drama, but never seem to get around to it.

Short stories for the course have been enjoyable and I love writing flash fiction to help hone my skills, but I never seem to write enough of them as I’m always working on novels.

5) You’ve just completed the July Camp NaNoWriMo, what is it? how did you get on and what did you write about?

The original National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo is in November and encourages you to write a 50k novel in a calendar month. Seems crazy, but it seems to work. It’s free to take part (though they encourage donations) and you find good support from fellow participants.

They also run two Camp NaNo during the year where you can set your own word count. I have to say, July seems so long ago already! I managed to hit the 50k word count, but haven’t written anything since. The novel is the second in what I hope will be my British Crime series. I need to finishing mapping out the rest of the book and just need to get my finger out and write the damned thing!

6) We met (virtually) during the April A to Z Challenge, was that your first year of taking part?

It was. I’d intended on taking part last year, but in the end didn’t have the time to dedicate myself to it properly so decided to wait until this year.

7) Would you recommend the A to Z Challenge to others? Why?

Now, there is a question! And, I’m not sure how to answer. During April, I had a blast. I had a vague plan for about a third of the posts when April hit. Looking back, I don’t think that was enough. I found it hard going trying to visit and support fellow bloggers (like yourself) taking part and keep writing the posts each evening. A title alone does not mean a post is written and ready to post!

May was a tough month as a result and my blogging seems to have suffered each month since as I seem to have had a bit of a burn-out. More planning and writing 90% of the posts ahead of time would have made all the difference so I won’t be taking part again in 2014, but might the following year. Just the reading next time.

If you post a lot anyway and have time I definitely recommend it. If in doubt maybe better to read other posts instead.

8) I loved your post “Twitter made me buy a Kindle” can you quickly tell the readers why Twitter did this?

Thanks 🙂

When I started blogging I was firmly in the NO TO E-READERS camp. Then I joined Twitter and met a whole host of writers who had self-published their work and I wanted to read them. My writing group decided to self-publish a collection of short stories from our course and I decided to take the plunge into self-publishing and e-books. The next step was to buy a Kindle.

I suffer a bit from arthritis in my hands and holding a thick book like a 600+ page David Baldacci curtails my reading time sometimes and the Kindle has solved that. Every book now weighs the same. I’ve downloaded loads of e-book that are not available in print. I’m so glad Twitter forced me to make the purchase.

9) Do you go down the e-book route for all of your own work?

So far, my only published work is in the anthology. I do plan on self-publishing when the time is right and I finish my latest draft.

10) Where can readers find your blog? What are your writing plans for the rest of 2013?

 You can find me at http://petedenton/ and I do plan on stepping up my blogging again as it’s a great way to get back into a regular writing routine.

Plans for 2013 are to finish the latest draft of my crime novel. Once that is done it will be off to my beta readers and I’ll take it from there. I hope to finish the first draft of the follow-up by the end of the year and try and self-publish and see what happens.

Thank you Pete and Good Luck with the writing, is anyone going to be taking on the NaNoWriMo this November?


Now three-quarters of the way through National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and writers across the globe are busy writing their 50000 word novel in this exciting challenge.

The object of the exercise is to complete a new novel in just 30 days, upload it to the site, get it verified and you are a winner. Winners are shown on the winners page, they get a winners certificate and a web badge.

Check out more details on the link below and good luck everyone who is frantically typing away as you read this blog.