It is easier to become a victim of self-doubt than of failure. It was a trap that I had fallen into when I was in my mid twenties and in a state of depression that I would never get to accomplish the goals that I had set for myself.
When I was in high school, I had a vision that I would one day work for a high-end magazine and write best selling novels on the side. All I had to do was work hard and continue to be persistent.
Throughout college I did just that. I had good grades and internships at magazines such as Modern Bride, Self and Cosmopolitan.
What I couldn’t prepare for was graduating during the financial crisis.
No matter the connections I had made or how great my GPA was, a job in publishing at the time was not possible. Major publications were closing down or making massive cuts.
Since I was a communications major, I decided to use that to get a job in media. I was freelancing, assuming it would be a temporary solution. However, it also became harder and harder to get back towards the writing side. I worried I would never get back to the track I wanted to be on. When I look back on it now it seems ridiculous, but at the time, I thought I only have this certain window of opportunity to get to where I need to be, otherwise it would be too late.
I realized that I wasn’t alone in that thought process.
I had teacher friends having a very hard time keeping a job stable enough to get tenure and I had friends in banking that were dealing with massive layoffs. We were all in the same position. I also recognized it wasn’t that we were lazy, we just couldn’t control the timing of our situations. This brought me to the awareness that this is what life is.
Things are going to happen that, no matter what you do, will be out of your control.
After that revelation, I started to assess what it was about my dream that I wanted so much. At the core of it, all I really wanted was to write. So I decided to do that.
We work hard to get where we think we should be, but like the financial crisis, anything can happen that can knock you back down.
I started to think: what would I do to build myself up?
What would be most important to me if I lost everything?
That made me realize that a career was only a small fraction of what I wanted out of life. What about the goal to experience life?
I did study abroad in college, but rather than continue to look back on a certain time in my life, why not keep focusing on the next adventure? I found I was the happiest when I was doing something out of my comfort zone.
The biggest goal of all was to be a published author before I turned thirty. I had written stories before, but had thrown most of them out. They were great practice, but I didn’t necessarily want them to be my first published work.
All of this is what inspired me to write Thirty Days to Thirty.
It’s about a girl who has it all until she doesn’t. Suddenly she loses her job, her boyfriend and is forced to move home a month before she turns thirty. When I started writing this book, I knocked the character down and decided to go back to the basics. What really makes someone happy? Who are the most important people to surround yourself with when you are at your best and your worst?
It’s funny how it was inspiration that caused me to write this in the first place, but for some reason, I never thought I would actually inspire myself from it. In an effort to get my message across, I started to teach myself what was truly important in life. What I realized was that it was unrealistic for me to judge myself based on who I was in high school. This was a former version of myself that had never been in the real world.
There are experiences that you go through in life that you won’t be prepared for. Those different experiences can change your outlook on life and bring you to make decisions that you will ultimately grow from. In the process of trying to become the person I wanted to be, I discovered who I truly was. I became more in tuned and realized that I have different goals from my former self.
Oddly enough, even after I wrote this book I still didn’t take my own advice. I wanted to be traditionally published and sent my book to countless agents with no luck. So once again I started to doubt my abilities and myself. I figured I had failed. Then, with only a few short months before I myself turn thirty, I realized that I could still make this happen, I just had to be optimistic. I had to recognize that this book doesn’t have to be a best selling novel. It just has to be able to inspire whoever reads it. At the core of my happiness I just want to write something that matters, even if it’s just to one person.
About the author:
Courtney Psak was born in 1985 in a suburban area right outside of New York City. Since she was a little girl she had a constant thirst for reading. When she was in Kindergarten she made the local newspaper for reading 100 books in a summer from the library.
Fast forward to college where Courtney always had a desire to travel. Knowing that an author must always be inspired, she studied abroad in London. She went on many adventures from skiing the highest mountain in Europe, Mont Blanc, to tasting the finest wines of Tuscany.
After college, she decided to take on the Big Apple and went for her master’s degree in publishing. She has been writing ever since. She currently works in New York City and has recently moved back to the other side of the Hudson with her husband, her high school sweetheart.
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