What do you do when you realize that something in your life doesn't fit as well as it used to? Do you try harder to keep it, work around it to make it fit, or let it go?
I've found myself in this situation lately. As I completed the edits on Anywhere But Here early this week, I realized that there were many things that need to be done before the book comes out in April to prepare for publicity and promotion opportunities. One thing I learned with Blurry is that it's not wise to wait until the book comes out to start publicity - you need to start building up an audience ahead of time. Promotion, of course, takes time and effort and is necessary if you want your writing to reach the readers you wrote it for. As I was considering what to check and where to direct my promotional efforts, I took a look at my life and realized that I was hanging on to some things that were no longer serving the purpose of improving or building up my writing the way they used to. I've realized for months that I'm no longer as active on Writing.com or on Open Salon as I had been a few years ago. After Blurry was published, I shifted my focus to publicity and promotion for my novels, novellas, and long stories and found I wasn't working on short stories or flash fiction the way I used to. This realization caused me to pause and take stock of where I am and whether what I'm holding on to is serving the purpose of getting me to where I want to be.
So over the past week, I've been asking myself what my true long-term goals are for my writing, and what I need to do to reach them. I realized that I am a novelist at heart, and that in order to succeed, I need to build up an audience of readers and increase my promotional skills. In looking at my online activity, I realized that although I had invested a lot in Writing.com, I wasn't getting a return. In fact, I've lost followers/readers at that site as I've been more focused on maintaining this site and my activity on other social media outlets where I get more feedback and have more connections, like Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. It was a very hard decision to make because once upon a time, I loved Writing.com and got some great feedback there that I know made me the writer I am. But I realized that if I want to grow in my writing, then I need to prune what isn't producing fruit. Writing.com isn't producing anymore and I don't have time or energy to invest in something that's withering on the vine. So I made the difficult decision to suspend the blog at that website on Sunday and will not renew my upgraded account when it comes up for renewal later this year. It hurt terribly, but I need to focus my attention on places where I'm interacting with and reaching the most people.
With Open Salon, the decision was easier. I've never been very active on that site, and in fact suspected I made a mistake after a few short months of being there. I just couldn't seem to "fit in" and find the flow at that blogging site. So tonight I made my farewell entry and let that one go as well.
I think such realizations happen to all of us from time to time. We come to realize that something that used to be a part of our life is slipping away, and we have to make an active decision on whether to hold on to it, or let it go. Life is always changing, whether we realize it or not. Sometimes (like me in the past couple of years) you have major changes that rock your world and throw everything in a different balance, but things are still moving even when it seems like you're in a rut and nothing's happening. Slow motion can be very deceptive because it mirrors stagnation, but it's motion even if we don't perceive it. If the sun rises and sets, then things are moving. People and things slowly pass through our lives and we may not realize it until it hits us one day that something that used to be around all the time isn't such a big part of our lives any more.
I think I got hit with a combination of the fast and slow moving kind this time. I did go through two major life transitions a couple of years ago and as those were setting, I got my book contracts. These two blogs were there with me along the way, but I didn't realize until recently that their role in my day to day life had slipped as much as it had until I took stock and realized they weren't where I thought I'd left them.
Things do come and go in our lives, and sometimes it can be painful to face that something that meant a lot to you is slipping away. The natural tendency is to hold on to it, even if we know in our heart that it's season has passed in our life. It's especially hard to let go of something that was a benefit or comfort to us. And yet, pruning is the secret to growth. If we really want to continue to grow and be free to accept greater blessing and success, then we must be able to let go of what isn't serving our life anymore. Pruning hurts - no doubt about that - but it leads to better growth. Just as my roses will start growing after I prune them next month, so too will I grow from finding the courage to cut off this dead wood from my life. This summer, I hope to have more than just big, beautiful roses growing in my life.
Yes indeed, it's late winter and pruning season is coming to my part of the world, literally and figuratively. I have faith that it will lead to beautiful blooms in due season.
Hi folks; I hope you're doing well and having a great weekend. It's been ok. Rick and I have had colds this past week, and it seemed to be at it's worst for me Friday and yesterday. Thankfully, I am feeling better today. Mom will be relieved. The big Holiday Craft Show that we go to every year is Friday (November 4th) and she was afraid I would be sick. But no worries because I seem to be getting better.
The short story project is going well. Wow, I didn't realize how far off I was on that one! I was treating short stories basically as one act novels, but they really are their own unique creation. I think I better understand the basic elements and the importance of capturing emotion in that format now. Basically, I was simplifying it way too much. Just because they're shorter and simpler than novels doesn't mean they require less work. The work may take less time, but they need the same type of planning, investment and respect as novels do. Eventually I do plan to bring back the "Short Story" tab to this website, but obviously I want to work on this more to make sure I bring you quality content.
I did have a bit of success today. My paragraph was featured at Paragraph Planet today! You can check it out at www.paragraphplanet.com
! (You'll have to check the archive to see it after today).
In other news, Mt. Tabor had their big Reformation Sunday/125 year celebration service today. Reformation Sunday is a big deal in the Lutheran Church. It's the celebration of when Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the doors of the church at Wittenburg (it was actually October 31, but we celebrate on the closest Sunday). And a little thing called the printing press gave it to the masses. We should hope that e-publishing has an equally significant impact on society. I'm all about power to the people, and I hope e-books bring independent authors to the forefront of the writing business and allow readers to see that they DO have other choices besides what the bookstores and bigwig publishers force feed them.
Wow, I got a wee bit off topic there. Well, consider it my "I hope e-publishing allows independent authors to take over the publishing industry" speech for the day.
But anyway ... our church also celebrated 125 years in the community. My great great grandfather was the
first pastor. If he could see it now - well, he'd meet me and say it's probably a good thing they invented better over the counter headache medication. And wonder if they'd ever find a name for whatever's up with me. Not yet, so far.
I had to winterize my roses yesterday. Yep, we had our first frost last night, so I had to go out there and trim off all the growth - so the 2011 growing season is officially over. It's always kind of sad to do that. I have the last bloom of the season in a bud vase on my computer counter in the kitchen. It's a red rose - my favorite. They did really well this summer (despite the searing heat), and I pray they make it through the winter to have another great growing season in 2012.
So the end of growing season means more time for indoor activities. Tonight, we're going to watch Captain America - The First Avenger. We never made it to the theater to see this one. In fact, we haven't been to the movies since we saw Harry Potter in August. Oh well. Netflix sent Captain America yesterday so we're going to watch it tonight. Then - I don't know. There are short stories, of course, and reading, and I do have a couple of small
cross stitch kits in my bag. We'll see. No NaNoWriMo for me this year (National Novel Writing Month). I enjoyed it last year and am kind of bummed, but frankly I've got nothing in the way of ideas for novels now. Well, the focus is on short stories now anyway so it's ok. I would like to participate again sometime, though, but it won't be this year.
I can't believe Halloween is tomorrow, but alas, it is! We don't get trick-or-treaters out here in the woods, so I guess it will be watching Halloween again. I like the original with Jamie Lee Curtis better than the remake. Not that there's anything wrong with the remake. I just prefer the original.
That's it for now. Mindless rambling and dribble. I hope you've had a great weekend and that your week starts off well tomorrow. Take care and I'll see you later.
Hi everybody; I hope you're having a good weekend. I apologize for not blogging sooner, but I had an unexpected surprise: My right wrist and hand started hurting terribly Thursday. Heavy computer use between work and the recently released book were no doubt to blame, and I'm sure the fact that I wrote 3 flash fiction pieces didn't help. I limited my computer use to what was necessary Thursday and Friday, and took yesterday off (thank goodness for my iPod touch, so I could check Facebook and Twitter without too much pain and suffering). It's better today, but still aching a bit - so this will probably be a short entry.
I know a lot of my entries and social media posts of late have revolved around my writing, so I thought I'd give you an update on what's going on in the rest of this corner of the world. Unfortunately, that would be not much. My work is in a (very) rare steady phase. I have a lot of meetings, it seems, but it's routine stuff and not major board meetings. I know exactly why this is: The legislature isn't in session, and with several items pending review in 2012 I'm sure we'll be off and running again when they reconvene in January. So I intended to enjoy this.
I've been lucky in that the church stuff has been pretty level. The evangelism committee is meeting tonight for the first time since May - summer is a slow time for them, and the chairwoman has been working out of state a lot lately, so she's petitioning to keep it simple. Rick has a church council meeting tonight. He was hoping it would be simple, but one of the Pastor's told him this morning that it will probably be a doozy. The July meeting was cancelled because of Bible School, so they have 2 months of work and updates to catch up on. So we both have to go back to church for meetings tonight.
The birds are doing well. Healthy and happy. They all got a bath yesterday and none of them were happy about it. We learned to bathe them before we go out for the day on Saturday so we don't have to get the evil glares until they dry off. It works out pretty good, and by the time we get home they forget how mad they are and are happy to see us again.
It's rained a lot the past few days, which is good because I just fertilized the roses, probably for the last time this season. I hope the rain will result in good late summer and fall blooms. They've done well this summer, which is good. I was worried about how the extreme heat would affect them, but they've done alright and kept right on blooming.
Yes, I'm still loving the new laptop!
That's really all - things have been kind of slow, and I'm grateful for that. Everybody needs that from time to time. I hope all is well in your world. Enjoy what's left of your weekend.
I wanted to let you know that there have been other things going on in life besides the book contracts. Yes, life marches on no matter what's going on. Here's an update:
The first bit of news isn't good, I fear. You know that we lost a friend at church to cancer a couple of weeks ago and in fact, it was nearly a year to the day after I lost a coworker to the same kind of cancer. Well, we found out that a third friend that's battling cancer has taken a drastic downhill turn. Her's is lung cancer and well, it's spread to her brain and they've given her 3-6 weeks. We're absolutely floored, because for a while she was actually improving and the tumors were shrinking. Or so we were told. Turns out, she wasn't being completely honest with any of us about her true condition. We believe it's because she wasn't being completely honest with herself. There's been speculation that she didn't fully comprehend the severity of her situation.
I don't even know what to say at this interlude. I've seen two people die and now it looks like a third heading down the same road. To say that I'm tired of seeing good people suffer seems to be a pretty obvious point. But one thing they've all had in common was that they have fought to the very end. So the point, it seems to me, is that every battle isn't won - but you fight nonetheless. Because if you don't fight, hope is gone and you're dead already (spiritually, anyway). But as long as you fight, there's hope whether the battle ends in victory or defeat.
That may or may not make sense but a second thing I've learned does, and that's how important it is to live. There are too many people satisfied with accepting mediocrity and bad things in their life, and if there's one thing I've seen in these three ladies, it's that this isn't how we're supposed to live. While we live, this is OUR WORLD. We need to live life to the fullest: To take advantage of every opportunity, enjoy everything we can, defeat what discourages or holds us back, and just get out there and DO STUFF.
So there you have it. My take on death and dying these days. And by the way, the reaper can quit touching people I know anytime and that will be a-ok.
Moving on ...
I think my cold is clearing up. Thank God, too, because I really didn't want to go on antibiotics. I don't like them.
The roses are doing very well, which is pretty amazing given the soaring heat around here. Then again, we water them every day.
I finally took off the purple nail polish and have replaced it with pink. I have some meetings coming up, and I figured going conventional would throw people off. But don't worry. The purple polish will be back.
Here's one you may or may not believe. Last week, the principal at the school where they found Ollie a year ago had the nerve to ask for him back. Can you believe that? And she didn't even remember his name, just said she wanted the bird back. Rick said no. While she forgot Ollie for the past year we have loved him, housed him, fed him, and otherwise spoiled him. This is his home. She's bought an iPad and a 50 inch TV. I think she can spring $20.00 for her own darn bird.
I'm finding that I understand baseball a bit better this year. But those players are so skinny. Do they feed them? Rick says they probably sweat it off playing in this terrible heat.
My parents just celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary. Congratulations! And so you'll know, my brother is 41 and I'm 35.
My mother-in-law told Rick she'd like to get to know me better. Um, we've been married 13 years. A bit late on the uptake, don't you think? And gee, look at the timing of that one too. The day after I sign a second book contract. I will let this one go without further comment.
Ok, that's all the fun happening in my corner of the galaxy. I hope you're doing well and that the new week is a good one.