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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Confessions of a lightly Seasoned Author


 

Did you know that the number of books published in 2010 was about three million? By 2012, that number had mushroomed to over fifteen million. Hmm, let’s not even talk about 2013.

How is a little fish supposed to be noticed in a pond of millions? This the task new authors take on. This is the task I unwittingly set my mind to three years ago when I promised my son I would “do something very hard.”

Little did I know! It has been an amazing three years.  I wrote and published three books, Unbreakable Love, Shackled, and Becoming Bryn effectively giving me a crash course in the reality of becoming a published author. Amazingly, I have no regrets. I do however have some “If I knew thens.” 

Listed for you today are the ten things that I would do different if I knew three years ago what I know now as a lightly seasoned author!

  1. Before I ever lifted a finger to write, I would spend several years studying how the industry works and which path I wanted to take as an author. There’s lots of choices and each one has its pros and cons!
     
  2. I’d would become part of a writing group and just soak up the knowledge of the writers who have already been down the road of publishing before me.
     
  3. I’d write several novels, trying out different styles and genres to see what I’m best at and all the while, I’d have each novel torn apart by the toughest critic I could find!  Then I might write something I was willing to submit.  You learn a ton just by doing!
     
  4. Me and social media, we’d become best friends. Long before I published I’d start a blog with regular posts and I’d gather around myself amazing readers and writers alike. In short, I’d immerse myself in all the places that books and technology intersect and make a lot great friends along the way.
     
  5. I’d go to writing conferences and take writing classes and then I would try everything they taught and learn to make their advice personal to my writing style.  My first book Unbreakable Love is all heart and instinct. Man if I could take the skills I’ve learned and combine it with such raw emotion…well that’s what I’m working on.
     
  6. I would never look at my email at night before I go to bed. An author’s work is literally never done.  For authors there is no finish line and learning to draw boundaries between writing and personal life, it’s critical. If you don’t writing will take over!
     
  7. I would value every little success rather than focus on what I didn’t accomplish.  Making your mark as an author is incredibly laborious and most of all takes time. I now think of my success as a wall built one brick at a time. Every brick counts!
     
  8. I’d read all the time. Something about reading is a natural teacher and refiner. Of course being an author totally ruins it for you because you pick apart what you read but at the same time you are learning and most of all getting inspired.
     
  9. I’d learn how to hone in on my potential audience.  I write contemporary and even intense but clean stories. That’s a specific audience and they are reached in a specific way. You might catch a few of them by throwing your work out into the universe, but more than likely you’ll burn out before you reach the ones who would most love your work.
     
  10.  If I could do it again, well I would do it again, but I’d do it with eyes wide open. I’d understand the odds and then ignore them. I’d take all the help I could get and would hope for a miracle but be thrilled just to come out with my head attached.
     
    This work we do, making up stories for other’s entertainment, it’s hard work but deliciously rewarding when even one person says “you changed my life because you wrote….”  I remember when that happened to me for the first time!  It made it all worthwhile. 
     
    So there it is, the ten things I would’ve done different.  Are you an author or blogger and do you agree?  Leave a comment; I’d love to hear from youJ

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happiness in 2014


With the New Year upon us I’ve been thinking about the half-tos and want-tos in life.

I recently heard a discussion on the radio about a woman who had spent her entire life taking care of hospice patients. After twenty seven years of spending the last few days and months of people’s lives with them she decided to write an article about regret.

One of the most common regrets that people confessed to her is that they wished they’d allowed themselves to be happier.

I found it fascinating that they didn’t wish they were happier. They said they wished they’d allowed themselves to be happier-as if at the end of their lives they realized they had a choice, at least far more of a choice than they once thought.

It is on the words of the dead and the dying that I write this post today.

I know that there are lots things we have to do in this life but I also think there are many things we can both do and allow ourselves to feel that we don’t because, like those who were passing, we don’t allow ourselves. 

For example, I spend far too much time worrying about what I am not accomplishing.  I wonder, if I just took stock in what I did accomplish every day, would I be more at peace with my offer to the world?  I know I’m not alone in this. We women are infamous worriers. 

I guess what I am trying to say is, life is precious. My own mother died at the tender age of twenty nine and her short life is a constant reminder to cherish every minute…even the tough parts.  This is not my advice. I’m just passing on the sentiment. ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE HAPPYJ   I hope if you read this little post you are finding joy in life and have started out what will be a great 2014!  Happy New Year friends.