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Beating self-doubt is one of the first steps toward travel writing success...My life is a vivid contrast to 10 years ago. I’ve relocated my home, more than doubled my network of friends and business associates, resurrected some long-forgotten hobbies, and I’ve become a travel writer.

For years, I tamped down thoughts of writing for income. My self-doubt materialized through constant questions.

What if I’m not a good writer?

What if my stories are not impressive?

But mostly, the one big question: What if I deliver my best but my personal best is simply not enough?

The questions disguised my anxiety about making mistakes. And that realization allowed me to change my perspective. From that point, I committed 100% to every aspect of becoming a writer—mistakes, missteps, and beating self-doubt included.

Before, when I avoided taking risks and fixated on those questions, I smothered my curiosity in so many ways.

Then I read a quote from Pablo Picasso, saying “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Those few words helped open my mind to new possibilities.

For example, a few years ago when my first snow skiing lesson went well, I took a risk and joined my friends on the slopes. However, I was not educated about trail signs and inadvertently skied toward an advanced-level black trail. I pivoted, quite clumsily, and sunk into thigh-deep, soft snow near some trees.

My friends came to help, but I had twisted the ski, strained my knee, and was limited to the use of one leg. The rescue ski patrol carted me to ski hospital where I enjoyed snacks and drinks while swapping tales with other lightly injured patients until my friends completed the slope. I took a risk and failed, but it’s a fun story that I still love to share.

While my first ski effort includes a moment of failure, my friends insisted the trip would end with a positive outcome.

I applied my lessons and glided an easy green trail on our final day.

When it came to travel writing, I was also ready to try something new—but only from the comfort of my own home—so I enrolled in Great Escape Publishing’s Ultimate Travel Writer’s program. As I learned, I made mistakes but became eager to improve, so I purchased Kyle Wagner’s Travel Writer Internship program. I was still at home, behind my computer screen, pressing myself forward as a writer. I learned how to work with editors and gained three published articles during and after the six-week internship.

In time, the appeal of a travel writer’s lifestyle overpowered my fear of mistakes, and I attended the 2016 Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop. The workshop was a significant investment in my education and my dreams. I took a chance and was ready to deliver my best every day, accepting my mistakes as part of the learning process. The feedback sessions at the conference increased my confidence and nurtured my desire to continue writing and learning. There were many breakthrough moments as I gained clarity and set personal goals.

Since the workshop, with a clear path forward and a newly-awakened confidence, I’ve secured more than 50 bylines in various print and online publications. I’ve also spoken at live events and recorded some podcast interviews, too.

Pablo Picasso got it right… whether you’re skiing down slopes or putting a pen to paper, mistakes offer a valuable education when you choose to learn from them.

And for me, learning is fun again and my natural curiosity has been restored. Even a tumble in the snow makes for an exciting travel story.

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