Friday, 29 July 2011

How do you eat an elephant?

Stop press, read all about it and all that, my first ever paid piece of writing appeared in a national newspaper today. It’s not going to win me any prizes but it just goes to show how far you can come in a short time.

Six months ago I hadn’t swiped a keyboard for anything other than Facebook updates and emailing for over ten years, since then I have written 54 blog posts (an estimated 40,000 words, that’s a book!), signed up for a freelance journalism course and now had a (very small) piece commissioned by a national newspaper. Mighty oaks from little acorns grow. Well I hope so anyway, because that piece is not going to pay my mortgage.

No one ever got anywhere without a few old fashioned baby steps. One foot in front of the other, one step at a time is how you reach your destination. I always thought I could run before I could walk, I thought maybe one day I would just wake up and I would be a big shot writer, but things don’t just fall into your lap like that. We all have to suffer the journey to get to our destination. And if we’re lucky the journey will be even more fun than the destination itself.

But in which direction do you take your first baby step? One of the best ways of deciding is to map out the journey backwards. If you want to be somewhere in ten years time, where do you need to be in five years, two years, next year and next month to get there? Just break it down. A plan needs to be flexible, and with each baby step it may take a different direction, but if you have a plan and start moving more possibilities will present themselves, opening more and more routes to chose from.

We are so obsessed these days with celebrity and financial gain, and often consider people who have made it as those who have millions to spend on flash cars and posh houses, or who can’t go to Tesco’s without being mobbed. But the truth is success shouldn’t be measured in money or fame, but in growth. To me the most successful people are those that have come out of hardship, pain or suffering, or overcome obstacles to achieve a long desired goal. They didn’t just wake up one day and find success; they took baby steps to get to their destination. And if all this sounds like too much hard work, it’s worth considering that with each step forward, even if we fail, we are still ahead, have made progress, grown. Doing something is better than doing nothing at all. We don’t all need to make millions or be celebrities (I can’t actually imagine anything worse) to make a success of our lives, us normal people can be successful too, just by moving forward.

I know I’ve said it before but anything is possible, you just have to believe in yourself. And do something. Put your foot forward and take a baby step. I may never reach the dizzying heights of making a living from writing, but I’m sure as hell going to try. I implore anyone who has any kind of dream to start taking the steps to make that dream a reality. What has happened to me today might not seem huge but it’s one small step for me, one giant leap for my career and my confidence.

There is a saying, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Take small bites and one day, you will have put away the whole thing. I’m only about an elephant’s eyelid in so far but I reckon I’m hungry enough to munch away at it until it’s gone. Bon appétit to everyone. And thank you as always for all your kind support.


  1. Didn't see your Daily Mirror piece, Beth, but big congratulations. I can imagine that you are truly elated with your success, and you're a good girl who deserves it! Well done!

  2. Thank you very much. It wasn't much but we've all got to start somewhere! x