Tag Archive | Tim Grahl

MIA

Holy crap.

It’s been almost three months since my last blog post but I swear, I’ve been busy. I’ve been writing two books, watching lots and lots of baseball, and working. What I haven’t been doing is blogging, cleaning my house, and making healthy dinners. To be fair, I haven’t been writing books as much as I’ve been watching my boys play baseball and grocery store trips have sometimes happened at ten o’clock at night. It’s the life of a writer, career mom who has two boys in sports.

With the season over, the evenings that I don’t work are free now and I’ll be able to finish writing my books, clean my house, do the laundry, spend time with my husband and dogs, try and hit 10K steps on my FitBit, and overall focus on playing catch up with my life.

It’s funny how every year at the same time, life stops and is spent at the baseball field. While it can be exhausting and … exciting… and exhausting … I wouldn’t change it for the world. I know there will be a day when it’ll all be over and it’ll be sooner rather than later. I made the decision a long time ago that I’m going to value the time I have and if that means no writing for a month or so, then so be it.

I have to admit that when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing.  I’m dreaming about my stories, and I’m learning about writing and the book business. I’m a podcast addict and I listen regularly to author gurus like Tim Grahl, Bryan Cohen, Jim Kukral, Joanna Penn, Mark McGuinness, and Mark LeFebvre. There’s value in learning and growing in my craft. If I’m not writing then I can do the next best thing and stretch my brain, taking advantage of the wisdom and experience of others who are willing to share their valuable knowledge.

I’m finally writing again and the stress is slowly melting away as I get reacquainted with Maggie and Sam, the characters in The Other Half of Me, the romance novella that I’m working on. I’m getting lost in their life and escaping from mine, and it’s a feeling that I’ve been missing.

It’s not that I don’t love my life. I do. Every bit of it.

As much as I love the insanity of baseball season with my boys, I also love reading and writing. It’s always been a part of me and I love it. I need it. I miss it. While I loved my time at the baseball fields this summer, I am glad to be back.

To celebrate, I’m running a sale of The Eva Series, the Complete Collection. Instead of the regular price of $7.99 for the ebook, all three full-length novels with numerous five-star reviews, are only $.99. Ninety-nine pennies! I hope you’ll love it as much as I do and as much as I love writing, and as much as I love this amazing life that I get to live.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lessons Learned

I released my first book into the world in 2013. It was like releasing my heart, raw and vulnerable, into a tank full of sharks and doing it terrified me. I nearly hyperventilated  the moment I hit publish, as I paced my bedroom and wished for the floor to swallow me whole.

I was terrified and had so many doubts running through my mind.

Maybe nobody will read it.

Maybe EVERYONE will read it.

Maybe nobody will even notice. 

 Worse yet, what if someone reads it and hates it?

What if I can’t write and this story is crap?

What if people love it?

Oh God, what if they think it sucks?

What if they think that I suck?

What if I really do suck and I’m a bit fat phony?

The fear was palpable and paralyzingly. Then I posted that I published my book on Facebook, and I had no choice but to look ahead. I had done something that I’d always dreamed of doing from the age of fifteen. Even though it scared the living hell out of me, after the fear fell away, it felt right and I was finally a complete person.

The process  wasn’t perfect.  I’ve hit a lot of bumps along the way but have learned much since releasing that first unedited, Createspace-generated cover for Leaving Eva. I haven’t just learned technical skills, but also marketing and writing skills. Most importantly I’ve discovered who I want to be (and don’t want to be) as an artist, and what is important to me in this journey.

I’ve learned from doing, watching, and listening to others who know more than I do. I’m a religious podcast listener and Joanna Penn and Tim Grahl are two of my favorites. I consume their experiences and learn from them regularly. It just makes sense to learn as much as possible from successful and experienced people in all of life. Joanna covers countless helpful topics with an endless backlist, which has helped shape my mindset as a Creative.

I’ve learned much, which applies to life, not just to publishing :

  • Use your resources. If you don’t know the answer, just ask. There are many others who have the answer if you don’t. I’ve spent the past few years getting to know so many wonderful people in the publishing world and they are always so generous with their knowledge and time.
  • Don’t be afraid to learn something new. Once you’ve mastered one thing, learn something new. It can be extremely daunting to begin but like Plato said, “The beginning is the most important part of any work.”
  • Read! Read anything and everything. Read fiction, non-fiction, and blogs and books that you might not normally read. The War of Art, Your First 1000 Copies, and The Successful Author Mindset  have been inspiring and interesting non-fiction reads. I also love reading classics, YA, Women’s Contemporary Fiction, and books/blogs that are outside of my normal wheelhouse because they are interesting and inspiring.
  • Stay away from the drama.As with anything, in the book world, there is drama; lots and lots of drama. I make it a point to stay far away and while its important to be informed, it’s also vital to stay out of it. It can be ugly, divisive, and distracting from your work.
  •  Don’t compare your journey to others. It can be hard not to get discouraged by watching the successes of others if you feel that your own is struggling. You have to remember that everyone is on their own journey and that it’s important to be happy for others! Everyone’s story is different and every road has its own twists and turns. Focus on yours and don’t get off track. When success does find you, share it by paying it forward to others. Call it karma or just being a good person, but your path is your own, so work hard and you’ll get there.
  • Know thyself. Do you write for money, for recognition, for the love of the craft? Knowing why you write is crucial in order to recognize your own success when it comes. 
  • When you get discouraged, don’t quit. Pick yourself back up.When I get discouraged, I go back through old messages, or read positive reviews to remind myself that what I’m doing is worthwhile. There have been plenty of times that I’ve wanted to quit but then I remind myself why I’m writing. I’m doing it for myself, for the love of the story, and for those I meet a long the way who want to share it with me. If I ever stop loving or needed it, then I’ll quit. 
  • Don’t put all of your eggs in the same basket!  Keeping your options open in this precarious business can be important. Publishing Houses open and close and your rights are crucial to your lifelong success. Be careful with your eggs and keep them close to your own basket! 
  • Not everyone is going to like you and that’s totally okay! You’ll get reviews from people who didn’t like your book or don’t like your style and they might not be that nice about it. People can be mean and there are a lot of trolls out there with big internet balls. Ignore them. When the feedback is negative but constructive, pay attention to it and grow from it. When the feedback is mean, ignore it. Find your tribe and embrace the ones who care about you. If you’re kind, there will be plenty who do. The ones who don’t… well, they’ll just be missing out on the wonder that is you!
  • Put yourself out there and share your journey. Being a more private person, I’ve always struggled with this. How much do I share? How much do I keep?  My writing doesn’t always reflect the entirety of who I am, and I’m learning to be more open. I’m learning to share more of myself, even the stuff that scares the hell out of me. I’m tired of being afraid that people will know who I am deep inside and I’m learning that transparency and openess are important (though there are still limitations). The parameters vary per person, so you have to learn what you’re comfortable with and what works for you. Your comfort level may be drastically different than someone else’s, but I would be remiss not to stress that internet safety is crucial. There are a lot of people out there you’ll want/need to stay away from and you’ll recognize them pretty quickly. (Don’t be afraid to defriend and block anyone who freaks you out.)
  • Have fun. Writing books is fun! Authors, bloggers, and readers are fun! Book signings and events are fun. Takeovers, reader groups, and meeting new people is fun. Enjoy it. All of it. Because it’s pretty amazing. 

I’ve learned much, but there is yet so much left to learn. Every day I discover something I didn’t know and it’s exhilarating and exciting to be able to gain so much in life. Each day brings a new person into my life, a new perspective and experience and I love it. I hope that as this journey continues that I’ll be able to share more of what I’ve learned with you. In turn, please feel free to comment below with what you’ve learned a long the way too.