Joanna appears in many guises. Some may know her as thriller writer JF Penn, others as entrepreneur and blogger The Creative Penn, and friends and family probably know her as Jo. Each of her identities has a different role in her business (yes, writing is a business) but they all have a generosity of spirit and of knowledge.
Joanna inspires me not only through her fiction writing – which is great – but also through her knowledge of writing, blogging and self-publishing which she is more than happy to share.
I’ve never walked away from an encounter with Joanna without feeling that I could move mountains. She has that effect on you. Her enthusiasm is boundless and infectious. I attended her masterclass on self-publishing, organised by the Guardian, and she freely shared the knowledge she’s learned while supporting our aspirations.
She was one of the first people I followed when I joined Twitter and was looking for writing people to follow. Her website / blog has been a fount of information for me and most of it is available for free. Yes, some of her courses and suchlike have a cost but again this is a business.
What inspires me most is how quickly she built this all up. Her story is detailed on her blog so I won’t repeat it here but suffice to say she went from IT consultant to self-published writer in the space of 5 years. When you put it in context, that’s not a very long time. It gives me hope, hope that I could do something like that.
In addition to her writing and publishing knowledge, I admire her business sense. She sees a gap in the market, another area she can exploit and she goes for it. She learns about the industry, how things work and then makes her move. And her talent for this shows. One of her most recent announcements was having her novels translated into German and Spanish. She’s seen that Spanish is one of the biggest languages in the world and targeted that. That shows brilliant business sense.
I aspire to be like Joanna; to be confident in my writing and in myself. Like me, Joanna is an introvert and seeing what she has achieved, the people she’s met and influenced despite that, gives me hope that I could do the same.
So, thanks Joanna, and keep the inspiration coming.