Posts Tagged ‘Molly Greene’

Why Bother?

Why Bother?

Well, there’s a question and a half! Every so often I ponder this question, and at the beginning of a new year, it’s extremely appropriate.

Life can seem like such an uphill battle that it’s easy to think, “Why bother?” After all, if whatever you’re doing isn’t getting you where you want to be, maybe you should just quit. I mean seriously. Quit. Or don’t quit. Only you can decide which path is right for you.

In a YouTube video I posted a few months ago, I remarked that I’d watched a video with Pastor Rob Bell and author Elizabeth Gilbert, where Rob commented that perhaps we don’t need to “find” our place in this world, so much as “create” our place in this world. Wow! That really hit home, since I’d spent most of my life trying to figure where I fit in. I’ve come to a conclusion; I don’t need to fit in. I can create my own place and thrive from there.

But what if what I’m doing is hard? Really, really hard. I’ve questioned this chosen path of writing so many times. I’ve cried, I’ve pleaded with God to give me a sign, I’ve meditated, and I’ve demanded. I’m still right where I’m meant to be. I’m still struggling. I’m still learning. I’m still growing – sloooowly. Maybe someday I’ll look back and wonder why I couldn’t see what was right in front of me, or why I even questioned who I am and what I want to do with this life I’ve been given.

Struggles Ahead

Struggles Ahead

In reflection it occurs to me that every struggle I’ve had to go through has brought me to this point in my life. I’ve hated the struggles while I was going through them, and I know I’ll hate the ones that are looming out of sight. After all, what if my choices lead me places I don’t want to go? What if I never reach my goals of making a living from my writing. What if all my family and friends never understand what I’ve been trying to do? What if I fail?

So why bother? I have the free will to change my course and do something entirely different. The next question is; do I really want to? What will I gain if I do? What will I lose? Every choice has pros and cons, and being a reasonably intelligent woman, I have to consider those pros and cons every single day. From the moment I open my eyes in the morning, to the moment I close them again at night, I have to choose how I spend my hours. Sitting here writing this blog post, I could be doing something else. But this question has been bugging me, so I’m better off getting it out in the open where I can see it. It’s a big question, and the answers are scary.

Do I have to answer today? Right now? Tomorrow? Next week – or next year? No, I don’t. I could just drift along and let life take me where it will, but knowing me, I won’t like that either. I know I need to feel I have goals and some measure of choice in what I do. I need to be intellectually challenged – Lord knows I’ve had life challenges enough. I don’t need any more “blessing in disguise”. I want them front and center where I can see them, so I know there’s a reason to bother. Of course what I want isn’t necessarily what I get. It isn’t always what any of us get. So, we choose to either bother, or not bother. There are consequences to both.

For me, I choose to continue to work at writing because I feel my most authentic when I do. I feel good at the end of the day when I’ve done the work, sat in front of my computer, slogged at getting the words down on the page of my current WIP. Even when I know it’s not perfect, it’s at least a start. I have that choice. Every day. Now, because I can, I choose to work five days a week at my writing, leaving the weekends for family, friends, errands and household chores. After all these years, I know this is when my brain functions best, so I’ve learned to go with what I know works for me.

Networking works!

But if I’m not making a wonderful living from my writing, why bother? If I’m not a famous author yet – after five, going on six, loooong years – why bother? I guess the answer to my own question is because not writing scares me more than failure. I’m afraid that if I stop, that’s where I’ll feel I’ve failed myself. I don’t know what the future will hold, but I do know that I love writing stories. I also love interviewing other writers from around the globe and getting to “know” them. Connections matter to me, so if I were to stop, I’d lose that. I also learn so much from other writers like Molly GreenAnne R. Allen, Ruth Harris, Christina Hamlett, Janna Graber, Deb Cooke (aka Claire Delacroix), Jeff and Alicia Rasley, and so many more I’ve come to know and enjoy through my writing and interviews. I think about the connections I haven’t made yet, and I don’t want to give those up either. For me, they are reasons to bother.

When I think about the question “why bother”, as it pertains to anything in life, I guess the answer is to consider what you’d do if you stopped. Are you okay with the consequences? Does stopping fill you with relief, or disquiet? If it would truly be a relief, then perhaps it’s time to try something else. On the other hand, if it fills you with disquiet or upset, then you aren’t done yet. Possible future or past failure doesn’t matter. It becomes a moot point, since that’s no longer why you do it. You do it because you aren’t finished with whatever your “it” is, or “it” isn’t finished with you. Simple. As. That.

So, I guess I keep writing. I can add to my repertoire of writing. I can explore new avenues of writing to add to my novel-writing, such as freelancing with articles, more interviews, or non-fiction. I can fall in love with the written word and communicating with others all over again and stop worrying about the what-ifs. What I choose not to do is stop. I choose to bother. Doesn’t mean I’ll never complain again, or worry, or agonize, or cry, or demand, or question. That’s not part of the bargain I have with myself or with God. I’ll just do my absolute best and see how it all turns out. It’s all any of us can do.

What have you chosen to bother, or not bother with for this new year?



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Warning!Tsunami Ahead

Warning!Tsunami Ahead

I couldn’t have been more pleased to have been asked by writer and blogger extraordinaire, Molly Greene, to do a second guest blog over at her writer’s blog! Go here for the original post over on Molly’s site!



When I first started writing, about five years ago now, I thought writing was the hard part. It was a challenge to craft a story from beginning to end, applying the necessary discipline to get the story written, and edit, edit, edit the finished product.

That first leap of faith

With only a Grade 10 education, writing a novel was a major undertaking, and a leap of faith, but I decided not to over-think my path. I just wanted to start writing a story that came to me and get it down in print. That’s it. I didn’t tell anyone other than my husband what I was doing, and when I finally did, I made light of it. It was just a fun hobby. At first I didn’t even admit to myself how much I wanted to become a published author.

That was waaay too scary.

It was also probably a very good plan for me, since it took the pressure off just getting started. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. It’s kind of like getting pregnant and thinking you know what life will be like after the baby is born. You have an idyllic view of the future, and that’s just as well. If prospective parents truly understood just how drastically their lives will change, no one would have children! Nature is kind and leaves the blinders on until it rips them off like a bandage to expose the reality underneath.

Learn to swim with the current

When I teach writing courses to beginner writers, I advise them not to think too far into the future. That way lies madness, fear, and self-doubt. Writing is supposed to be fun, cathartic even, so enjoy the journey for that aspect alone. Give yourself time to find your “voice,” and experiment to your heart’s content before worrying about all the how to’s to come. You just don’t need to go there yet.

Slowly, I began learning more about the business of writing, publishing, and marketing the finished product. Because of my background in real estate and mortgage sales, I knew the marketing and promotion iceberg was looming in the distance, so I started a slow, leisurely swim out to greet it. I use the internet for many, many things. It’s my best friend when it comes to discovering virtually anything I need to know. It’s proven to be the best research tool I could hope for, and when I find articles of interest, I create folders and bookmarks to house them so I can refer back to them. Perfect. I like simplicity.

Take on social media … slowly

Then I started hearing about how writers were using social media to connect with readers and other writers. Cool. I can do that. So I looked into Facebook. I’m no techie, but it was incredibly easy to set up a Facebook account, and I began “friending” family and friends who also use Facebook. I began to feel comfortable in using it on a personal level, and have become very proficient in using it as a marketing and promotion channel for all things book and writing related.

Then I read about other social media connectors, like Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, you name it. That terrified me. What the heck am I supposed to do with all this stuff? Why do I need it? What’s it going to do for me? I began to panic. I didn’t know what to do first, so I did what I always do; I researched the heck out of each of these platforms and chose a couple to begin getting familiar with. That eased the anxiety.

Choose a path and follow it

By this time I’d finished writing and editing my first book. Now what? Well, I went back to my most trusted friend, the internet, and researched “how to submit to literary agents.” I was thrilled by the amount of information there was on something I’d never heard of before; querying. I have a strong back ground in office administration (before the sales days), so writing a business letter, which is what a query letter is, was easy for me. I looked up examples of query letters online and set up a template to follow.

I was excited and nervous to begin this next step, but I’d made a decision to become traditionally published. That’s not to say I don’t like the idea of self, or indie, pubbing. I did and I do, but it sounded like a lot of work and I was too new to feel comfortable taking up those types of challenges. I figured I could get out there and find myself an agent and Bob’s-Your-Uncle, I’d land a publisher and my first book would appear on book shelves all over the world. Sigh. Yes, I was completely delusional. (It took another two years before I published my first book with a small traditional press, and learned even more along the way.)

Take one step at a time

Fantasies aside, I realized that I needed to take things one step at a time and not cross bridges I hadn’t come to yet (my father still tells me that all the time). So I took a deep breath and began sending out the query letters. I’d read that writers receive many rejection letters, but I was naïve enough to think I’d get maybe a few before I’d be swept up into the literary realms of success.


I received nothing but rejections, and eventually put that manuscript into the proverbial drawer. In the meantime, I began to write the next book. I’m not a particularly patient person, and I was beginning to understand that writing involves a lot of hurry-up and wait. I’m not great at waiting, so writing helped give me purpose. Turns out, that was a perfect way to get through that period.

I also started to hear about something called “blogging.” What the heck was blogging? I began reading many, many blogs on all kinds of topics, including writing. Wow! Here were all these writers who were a little further along the road than I was, and I could learn from them for FREE! I still didn’t want to blog, but I sure learned a lot from reading other writer’s blogs. Only when I felt ready did I step into the ring and start my own.

Let the journey evolve

There’s no doubt about it: writing has the learning curve of a tsunami. But the point to remember is that we don’t need to know everything all at once. In fact, I found it was better to allow the journey to evolve and focus on what’s right in front of me, rather than get caught up in what’s on the horizon. It lessens the panic and lets me swim with strong, confident strokes. It can seem completely overwhelming to realize that there’s so much out there to learn, that you want to simply give up and sink before you’ve even really started.

By learning from others (like Molly!), you don’t have to re-invent the wheel, which is a tremendous help. Bit by bit, you’ll feel comfortable sharing what you’ve learned along the way with others coming behind you, and that’s great too. I’ve said before that writers work in our own insular little writing caves. Stepping outside and facing the huge wave of what’s still to come can have you feeling like it’s all just too much. So, take a deep breath, start with slow, strong strokes, and just keep breathing. There is a shore out there, and if you don’t give up, you’ll be fine.

So what are you struggling with, and how do you handle it? Please leave a comment below or on Molly’s blog to share your thoughts. Thank you!

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I’m so honored and pleased to share the guest blog post I did over at Molly Greene’s blog this week, entitled “Don’t Let Anybody Should On You!”. Molly is a true professional when it comes to writing, and generously shares the information she’s gleaned over years of writing her books. In fact, her site has become one of my go-to places for any writing industry information I might want. Here’s the link to my guest post and Molly’s blog: http://www.molly-greene.com/

Please feel free to comment, and of course, share with your networks.

That’s all for now folks.

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Sell! Sell! Sell!

Sell! Sell! Sell!


We are bombarded daily with ads wanting us to buy this product, or that service. The ads come on our televisions, tablets, phones, billboards, and in the venues we frequent for shopping. It seems everyone wants to sell us something, and this can be tiring. Sometimes, it’s even downright annoying.


Before I began writing novels, my background was in commissioned real estate and mortgage sales, so I understand the concepts and drills of selling. I was never the “hard sell” type though, which is perhaps why I got out of that business. I loved working with people, and putting pieces of the puzzles together, and although I met some wonderful, conscientious sales reps, I got tired of dealing with so many disreputable “professionals”.


I also wasn’t driven enough to succeed. I liked the work, but didn’t love it. So, I quit. I drifted around a bit, unsure of what really fit me, my personality, and my skill sets. I kept looking for something that excited me and drove me to want to succeed. There were plenty of things I could do, just not a lot I wanted to do. As a result, my finances suffered, as did my self-esteem. I just couldn’t seem to figure out what I was supposed to do with my life. I felt like a failure. I pretended it didn’t bother me, but it did.


I was asking for a lot; I wanted to do something meaningful to me, but couldn’t figure out what. I wasn’t making the logical connections. Then I discovered writing, and all the pieces finally fit. This is what I’m meant to do. More than that though, I began to realize that all those years in sales weren’t wasted. Before that, I worked as an office administrator, so I can type and organize an office pretty well. I’d need my experience in sales and office admin to help me write, market and promote my books. I already had the basics, and I made another connection; it’s all about building relationships.


Making it all fit

Making it all fit

When I’d been in sales before, I loved building relationships with my clients and other industry professionals. I’m good at it, and it comes naturally to me. I don’t have to force it at all. Writing is just another way of building even more relationships. I’ve been able to do this not only through readers, which is fantastic, but with other writers and publishing industry professionals all over the world. Sure, I want book sales, who doesn’t, but I love connecting with others on various levels. I’ve discovered so many people out there who are like me; they’re connectors. They love to share the knowledge they’ve gained, and enjoy the connections they’ve built over time. Seth Godin posted on his blog recently about this very subject, which is what got me thinking. He’s absolutely right; it isn’t about the short term gain, it’s about the long term goal.


People like Jonathan Gunson, of Bestseller Labs, Molly Greene, Jane Friedman, and Joanna Penn all share the wealth of their knowledge and experience with others freely and openly on their blogs and websites. Well known writers like Hugh Howey, Sylvia Day, and many others are breaking down the walls and sharing industry insights and hard won know-how with other writers climbing the ladder behind them. They’re actively changing the face of publishing in very real, tangible ways, and are encouraging others to re-examine the options. They’re building relationships by sharing what they know. They provide real value in their writing, and in their websites and blogs.

Believe me when I say that when I see one of these remarkable individuals share something on social networks, I forward and share their words, reviews, comments, and upcoming books and events. It doesn’t matter if I personally read every book they write, although I’ll definitely purchase their work too, because I’ll share with my connections and many of them will.


Trust must be earned

Trust must be earned

That’s the power of relationship building. It really goes back to sales 101. We don’t buy things or services because we’re told to, but because we trust that what the vendor has to offer will fill a need we have, or solve a problem we’re dealing with. Books are no different. They educate and entertain readers the world over, and writers work hard to bring them to light. That’s why it frustrates me when I hear writers say they hate marketing and promotion. They haven’t made the connection between the product, which is the book, and the message they are trying to convey, or the story they’re trying to tell.


I look at sales from the stand point of making connections and building relationships. That way, book marketing, promotion, and learning about the industry I’ve become avidly interested in, becomes much more fun. Social networks have taken on a new meaning for me. Not only do I keep up with family and close friends there, but I also connect with others interested in the same things I am. I learn and grow from other writers, publishers, editors, and agents. Public speaking has given me a forum to talk about my writing, publishing, and my books, but it’s also opened doors to other topics I’m keenly interested in, such as overcoming the fear of failure, and women’s issues.


Again, it’s all about making the connections. First, to figure out what I was looking for in my work career, then how to use what I already know to advance that career and connect with others, and finally, to learn more about writing, publishing, and book marketing. I’m not selling anything; I’m simply sharing my work and my words with anyone who’s interested. I don’t have to do the hard-sell. I just have to be me, and that’s easy, flaws and all.


I welcome comments, so please do share your thoughts on this issue. If you enjoyed this blog post, please consider sharing it with your social circles. Thank you.

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The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

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