by Shan McFadden
Today’s article has been contributed by guest writer and children’s author Shan McFadden. When I decided to introduce other writers who share messages of self-empowerment, I knew that I wanted Shan to share his story with us. Shan is changing the world through his words and stories offering children life lessons and self-empowerment through humor and silliness. Not only does he create adventures with heart and purpose, he found a way to make his stories more than words on paper. Read on to see who Shan is and why I find him so empowering. *Em-PowerYourSelf.com
I’ve always liked to make kids laugh. Not just a chuckle or a giggle, mind you. I like to go for a full-on belly laugh when I can. It’s kind of my thing.
For me, this habit of entertaining children began when I was a child myself. I wasn’t a great teller of jokes but I did like a good funny story. I was an embellisher, an exaggerator. I usually liked to base my story in reality and then have it veer off into the fantastic or the ridiculous. To seal the deal, I’d make sure to include the holy triumvirate of sure-fire kid comedy – flatulence, vomiting and slapstick violence. It was a winning formula that never failed.
Jump forward a few decades and not much has changed. I’m still telling stories and while I try to scale back on the bathroom humour where I can, I still tell tales of wonder, magic and most of all, humour.
My origin as a children’s storyteller may have come from my own childhood but its fulfillment came after the birth of my two children. Early on, I would regale them with silly stories and poems and little songs designed to make them laugh. In time, and through their encouragement, I came to realize that maybe these performances of mine could be shared with a larger audience.
The dreadfully practical little voice we call “common sense” often whispers to us that the best way to succeed at something is to do it in exactly the same way that those before us have succeeded at doing the same thing. Common sense is often concerned primarily with ticking off the checkbox of success and with finding the quickest, most direct route to victory, rather than finding the path to a true sense of fulfillment. In my case, common sense told me that as a children’s storyteller, my most direct route to success was to become a published writer of children’s books. Fortunately, I quickly learned that I didn’t really want to be a writer of children’s books. (Most of the publishers I spoke to didn’t want me to become a writer of children’s books either, so at least we had that in common!) But what I did want to become, and what I’d been all along, was a children’s performer. A children’s entertainer. I loved doing silly voices. I loved bringing a character to life with just the qualities of my voice.
So again, common sense suggested that I take the path most travelled. I recorded a handful of my stories and signed on with a digital distribution service – this seemed, after all, to be the quickest and easiest way to make money doing what I loved to do. And I made a little bit of money, too. Not a lot but enough to hint that this might be the most sensible path to success.
The problem was that now my audience reach was restricted to those customers who were willing to lay down cold, hard cash for their kids to listen to a guy doing funny voices. I was now in digital sales, doing promotion, lost in a sea of downloads, trying to force my work to the surface ahead of all the other deserving writers, performers and musicians that were doing the same thing. Sales wasn’t where I wanted to be. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I wasn’t a salesman, I was a storyteller. I decided that the money could come later. The only thing I wanted right now was an audience.
Trust in the process. Those of us that follow a path of spirituality and self-empowerment hear this lesson quite often. Trust. Trust in yourself. Trust in your instincts. Trust in your passion and your dreams. Trust in your guidance system. Trust in your higher power, whatever he, she, it or they may be. And the process? The process is whatever keeps the apprehension at bay, whatever makes your fearful heart slow down and say “yes, it can be done”. Whether it be self-talk, meditation, visualizing, journaling, prayer, motivational messages or inspirational cat posters is up to you. But in the end, we simply must choose the process and then trust it.
My process was a little bit of all of the above (yes, even the cat posters) but it led me to a path that my common sense didn’t dare to consider. I took all of my work out of digital sales and put it all into free sharing mediums like YouTube and Soundcloud. I turned up my nose at the possibility of growing paid distribution in favour of giving it all away for free to a limitless global audience.
As soon as I did, most of my anxiety about ‘success’ disappeared. All I deal with now is the joy of writing and performing. I have more than twenty audiobooks in circulation across multiple sharing networks and social platforms. I reach people all over the world and receive fan letters from both children and adults. I’ve been asked to adapt my stories for children’s theatre presentations. I routinely pitch my stories to film and television companies. I’m already succeeding at what I always wanted to be. I am a children’s entertainer.
My process is ongoing. My momentum is building. My outcome is unfolding. My trust is unconditional.
For more information or to follow Shan McFadden
For more information or to follow Shan Mcfadden
WEBSITE Shan McFadden
FACEBOOK Shan Mcfadden Children’s Author
*This article was written by guest author Shan McFadden. The contents of this post are expressed by the author and are not the opinions of Em-PowerYourSelf.com