Self-taught Author Catherine Wanjiru on overcoming self-doubt.

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In this 2-part series, Catherine Wanjiru takes us through her journey of experiencing self-doubt, failure and finally overcoming them to achieve success as an accomplished Author.

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For the benefit of our readers, could you tell us who you are and what you do.

I am a writer and mental wellness advocate. I write both long and short forms of content for a range of topics targeting different audiences.

I am quite passionate about personal development, especially mental wellness and I strive to help people attain optimal mental health through writing. I do this by voicing emotions in their natural state to eliminate denial, and suggesting possible solutions.

This is my website, this is a free download of excerpts from my book, and this is the full copy of the book.

How did you get started on the journey of becoming an established author?

Being an author has been a childhood dream. I have always loved writing and reading; they were and are still my way of discovering new things inside and around me, and communicating with myself and the world. After writing for personal reasons for a while, I started sharing my work with friends and 60% received it positively.

Receiving the positive reviews strengthened my belief and it made me realize that my dream could be translated from the wish state that it had been stuck in for years to a visible state. I took steps of sharpening my skills by taking online classes, reading from the perspective of a writer, and seeking freelancing jobs online while pursuing my Bsc. Pharmaceutical Sciences. After a lot of trials and errors, I published my first article about the struggles of a fresh graduate trying to fit in the job market. That was all the confirmation I needed to pursue this desire even further.

I continued writing what would have been a publishable book, received several rejections from publishing houses, but still soldered on. This year, I decided to work on the book seriously and publish it. I am happy to report that I achieved it.  

What are the major challenges that you have faced so far in your career?

Finding my voice, overcoming limiting beliefs, and being mistaken for a crybaby because of content like this or this.  

On a professional level, it was and sometimes is convincing potential clients that being a journalism/English/ creative writing graduate isn’t an absolute for suitability in a writing assignment. Some people are yet to accept talents and the self-taught group of professionals as suitable candidates for a given task. But this is gradually changing in the corporate world.

Also collaborating with mental health organizations in promoting wellness is something that I look forward to achieving soon. 

How did you conceive the idea of writing the book “Layers of a human”?

As humans, we wear many hats simultaneously and exude different traits, at different times and to different people. If you dare ask even your close friends to describe you using a few words, you may get responses that may be parallel to one another. This makes it almost impossible to describe anyone using one/two adjectives because our responses are dictated by experiences, discoveries, values, goals, moods, and other factors.

While trying to understand a person, it’s like peeling one layer after another in hope of uncovering what is underneath, hence the title.  

How does the process of getting your book published and taking it to market look like? 

 First, you solve a need by writing valuable content. It can be to educate, evoke a certain emotion, or entertain.

Then you study publishing options available, identify the one that suits you, and pursue it. The publishing option selected will determine the nature and quality of work that you will undertake thereafter. For instance, self-publishing means that you market the book and distribute or hire a pro for the same. In other cases, bookstores can stock your book thus reducing the effort previously put into distributing. If working with a major publisher, you will have a different set of demands. Your routine may change from posting from one social media platform to another (nothing wrong with this) to appearing in different places for book signings and talks.

Marketing is probably the hardest chore but once you master it, everything else flows smoothly. Whether you have a ready audience or not, marketing is essential. It involves approaching the right audience, telling them about your content, and showing them why it is worth reading. People will want to know why they should give you a portion of their wealth in exchange for the content.

It is also important to avoid judging self based on the sales made per day, week, or month. Keep on refining your marketing approach and monitoring the progress. 

Today, being a writer means more than just writing - especially when you are starting out. It entails being a salesperson of your works. How does one go about all these?

Honestly, I am still learning how to wear all the hats and ensure they fit perfectly but one thing I have learned is to overcome limiting beliefs. Tell people about your writing activities, no matter the professional status and share to build a brand. A potential client or employer may be following at a close range. If you find a gap that you can fill with your excellent writing skills, approach the person and pitch the idea. If you have published a book already, the internet is quite resourceful when it comes to finding personal branding ideas. Weigh the options and craft the suggestions to fit your goal.

Commitment wins though. If you truly want to achieve a goal, you will explore all the possible ways of getting it.

Find part 2 hereImportance of mental health and living intentionally - interview with Catherine.

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Comments

    JOSHUA | November 02, 2020 10:54

    I like it. Nice one

    Peter | October 30, 2020 06:50

    Very encouraging

    ricky wallage | October 30, 2020 04:33

    such a testimony

    Daniel | October 29, 2020 14:41

    Health is a fundamental right for all greatful job

    Daniel | October 29, 2020 14:27

    Great and inspirational

    Ishmael | October 29, 2020 11:31

    Encouraging ❤️

    Mandela | October 28, 2020 17:25

    Its a great testimony to learn from. Blessings to you.

    Omondi | October 28, 2020 12:42

    I love this. Encouraging piece!

    Bersher (Mark | October 28, 2020 11:27

    Very encouraging. Keep it up with the good work. Thank you. God bless the works of your hands.

    Agany | October 28, 2020 10:29

    Tourist


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