• Nikki Lee Taylor

How my dog Max saved my life and why the same lesson can help you reach your author goals



It sounds weird I know, but it didn't happen in the way you might think.


He didn't pull me from a river or push me out of the way of oncoming traffic. He didn't dig me out of snow or bark a message to someone that I was stuck in a cave, although that would have been pretty cool!


He calmed my anxiety.


Simple as that.


And as a writer, if you're not calm you can't think, and if you can't think, you can't create a book that someone else will enjoy. It sounds basic but it's not.


And as a writer, if you're not calm you can't think, and if you can't think, you can't create a book that someone else will enjoy.

It sounds basic but it's not.


Here's why...


Before Max came into my life, I suffered debilitating anxiety - sometimes so bad I was afraid to leave the house in case I had a panic attack, and either couldn't get home, or at best would humiliate myself by freaking out in front of a bunch of strangers.


Then he came along.


It was a decision I agonised over for more than a year. Would I be the right fit for a dog? Was I responsible enough? Capable enough?


As he grew into an adult dog, he came to know me inside out. When my breathing fell shallow. When I moved differently. When I needed him close by.


He's not trained as a therapy dog, he's just one of those dogs that 'gets' people. I was lucky and for some reason the calming sound of his breath and slowly stroking his fur wards off my anxiety every time.


Beside him, I can breathe.


So why am I telling you this?


I know many of us writers are introverts. We're the type of people who keep to ourselves. We sit for hours alone at the keyboard. We have friends who are characters in books. We love coffee and being wrapped up in blankets. We enjoy quiet spaces and losing ourselves. But most of all, we love to live with one foot in this world and the other planted safely some place far away from here. Right?


The thing is, for people like us, having to put ourselves and our writing out there for the world to see can be so scary. Terrifying even. Maybe enough to warrant a panic attack.


But if we want to become successful authors and have people love our book, we don't have a great deal of choice, do we?



The thing is, for people like us, having to put ourselves and our writing out there for the world to see can be so scary.


Social media is one thing. So long as our followers don't turn against us it feels pretty safe putting ourselves and our thoughts out into posts. We can take our time to craft the right message without the stress of face-to-face interaction.


But at some point, we also need to put our hard work out there to be judged, our heart and soul on a page, and if you're anything like me, the fear of people hating it coupled with the lingering anxiety about life in general, is not something that feels good.


But here's the thing...


We want it so bad, right?

  • People reading and loving our book

  • Seeing it up there on bookstore shelves

  • Achieving #1 beside its listing

  • Seeing it pop up in Bookstagram blogger posts as we scroll

  • That feeling of contentment that we did it - we wrote a book and people like it

Man, we want that SO bad, don't we?


We long for it...


The most important thing I tried to keep in mind when building up the courage to actually do this, was what I would be leaving behind:

  • Fear that I would never see my dreams come true

  • Frustration at myself for always making excuses

  • A life that was mediocre and not anything like what I imagined for myself

I had to dig deep, and I spent a lot of time sitting next to Max just breathing, but I was determined not to let my fear win.


In the end, I went back to all the things I'd learned and read about general anxiety and tried to re-work them into some kind of strategy that would guide me through what I came to call my Author Anxiety.


In the end, I went back to all the things I'd learned and read about general anxiety and tried to re-work them into some kind of strategy that would guide me through what I came to call my Author Anxiety.


When I started seeing results, I realised it might be able to help other people who felt the same way I did. I thought maybe if I put it all together someone just like you could use the parts of it that speak to you and maybe find an easier way through all that annoying self-doubt and fear. I thought it might help you confidently get your book out there for all the world to see.


Imagine that! Finishing your book and believing in yourself enough to proudly put it out there for all the world to read and judge.


So that's what I did. I gathered up the emotional lessons I'd learned about overcoming anxiety and all the basic grammar and writing skills I learned as a newspaper journalist and put them on my blog for everyone to access.


FREE.


Everything is free because I get it. Fear sucks. It's debilitating and consuming and holds us back. But it is my belief that if we can control our emotions and be confident in our skills - the rest becomes a whole lot easier.


It worked for me and I hope it can help you too. The only thing I can't do is give you my Max. Because every girl needs a best friend... ❤🐕


If you haven't already, you can check out my writing tips here and my emotional mastery course here.


Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little better, and please feel free to jump on any of my socials and introduce yourself so I can get to know you too!


You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter...





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