Finding support along your writing journey

Hello friends,

The past few days, I’ve been thinking about the bumpy road that I’ve traveled along during my writing journey. Sometimes, it feels like I’m just spinning my wheels in the mud and I really need to turn and look back at where I began.

Reality will surprise you.

Let me just start by saying that I’ve been lucky, I’ve had quite a few people who supported and encouraged me from the start. But I was surprised that some of the people I initially thought would support me most haven’t. Their words saying one thing, their actions showing quite another. I’ve talked to other writers along my way who don’t have any family or friends supporting them. It’s incredible how many people think writing is just a hobby. I don’t fault them. When I was in third grade, I never thought I could be a writer when I grew up. So, I wrote in my free time while working a “real job” for the entertainment of my work friends and my family, never thinking I could share my work beyond my small circle. Imagine where I could be now if I took my writing more seriously way back when. But wondering about that is a whole other blog post, and I’ve tried to train myself to stop doing it.

Back to my point…to the writers who are just starting out, don’t stop if you find you’re not getting the support you long for. Just write and connect with people through your blog (if you have one) on social media. You might find people you barely kept in contact with from long ago will suddenly be the ones lifting you up. You may find people you don’t even know will be the biggest fans of your words.

You’ll find your people.

Don’t get discouraged if some of the people closest to you that claim to love you and support your work don’t show that support. They don’t follow your blog or read your blog posts (let alone an entire novel), they don’t share anything on social media, they definitely won’t buy your book or write a review. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you, but they just don’t understand how hard a writer’s journey is and how much encouragement matters.

In the beginning, they may be all you have, and when you don’t feel supported, it can make it hard to continue. So, to any writer starting out, I just want to remind you that you need to try your best to keep putting words down even if you have no one who wants to read them at the moment.

Keep pushing. Keep moving forward and don’t let that discourage you.

You may just find that strangers or people you barely know will be the ones to encourage you and read every word you write. Take the time to make connections on social media. Get to know these strangers because, before long, you might find that they aren’t strangers anymore but friends.

Someone I barely knew on Twitter, but who I found funny as hell, enjoyed my tweets as well. And now she’s one of my besties, and we chat every single day. She’s one of my biggest supporters, and she more than makes up for the lack of encouragement I found from others, and she makes me believe in my talent.

Shout out to Billie Jean! You’re amazing, and I love the poop out of you!

I also found others who have supported me. People I barely know. And I didn’t do this by posting and shouting about my writing/book all day. On my blog, I write from my heart–including ups and downs. I spend most of my time on the social media platform I enjoyed most (Twitter). I play games. I goof around. I interact with other posts and tweets. I don’t censor myself. None of this is challenging because I have fun. This should be fun, after all. Sure, you’ll still get discouraged from time to time, but now you’ll have people behind you who will lift you up and make you laugh.

Don’t let anyone make you feel foolish.

I’ve had people in real life squash me and make me feel like my usage of social media is stupid and a waste of time. They made fun of how much I tweet. Yeah, I tweet a lot, but I’m spending time with the people who support me. How can that ever be a waste of time?

Boo to the people that bring you down! Some people who will claim to support you but may secretly want to see you fail because they’re jealous that you dare to follow your heart.

At the end of the day, you need to concentrate on the ones who want you to succeed, for real, no matter how you met them or where you met them.

If you’re a new writer and you don’t have support, I’m here, and I understand. Feel free to comment or email me

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My Dad

My Dad

My Dad is retiring this weekend. I can’t imagine how he must be feeling. For over 42 years, he worked varying shifts and many weekends at a job he hated at General Motors doing masonry work/building repair. He spent many weekends he had off from the shop doing masonry work on the side to provide extra money for his wife and three children (I’m the middle child and definitely his favorite 😉).

He didn’t grow up with a lot. There was no indoor bathroom in his house until he was a senior in high school. He knew the meaning of hard work his whole life. He worked on his father’s and uncle’s farms. He didn’t have a carefree childhood like most of us have. Immediately after graduating High School he set to work learning how to do the masonry work from his cousin and worked doing that until he was hired by General Motors. I doubt it was his dream to work there for 42+ years but he did. (Btw, he’s a talented artist. He always drew cool cartoons of raccoons and other animals on the papersack book covers we had on our books for school.)

When I think back to my childhood, most of my memories are of my dad working or being tired from working (or cranky– from working and being tired. And no, I never could hold the flashlight right! 😂)

I was born in Flint, Michigan and lived there through the end of fifth grade. The neighborhood I grew up in was becoming unsafe, so my dad moved us away, adding two hours of driving to his work day.

In yesterday’s post, I was lamenting my giving nature, but I realized this morning–as I was continuing my epic baking journey to provide lots of delicious cookies for my dad’s retirement party–that I got it from him. Whether through nurture or nature or some combination of the two, I got it from him. Looking at those qualities in me, the way I look at them in him, I realize I should be grateful.

He works extremely hard yet will give the shirt off his back to anyone who needs it. He’s quick to lend a helping hand to anyone, even though he may be dog tired from a hard days work. I learned how to work hard for the things I want from him. I’m stubborn–just like him. I get joy from helping others, like him. I know that if I need anything, my dad will help me.  And while I haven’t needed anything–financially–from him in a very long time, I’ve always had his encouragement and support. He always lets me know that he’s proud of me and that he believes in me. He taught me how to be persistent and work hard to provide for myself. When I joined the Air Force, I went to the Defense Language Institute to learn the Russian Language. It was tough, and there were many times I doubted myself and was reduced to tears, but I could call home and talk to my dad, and he would remind me that I can do anything if I work hard enough and keep trying. He was right. I passed with flying colors, surprising myself and some of my teachers (especially the one who called me stupid every day) with my final test scores.

When I decided I was going to try turning my passion for writing into novels and attempting to make a career out of it, he never doubted for a second that I could do it. When you have someone who believes in you like that, it’s easier not to let your self-doubt completely take over. I’m fortunate that I have many people in my life who believe in me.

He was never one of those fathers who expected any less from his daughters than he did from his son. I grew up believing that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. I absolutely thought that I could be president one day if I so decided. I never needed to have a female president in order to believe that, I was only excited that I would get to be the first one. I didn’t need to look outside of my household to dream big or be shown that I was capable of doing anything. My mom and my dad were all the role models I needed. (My mom is really kick-ass, too, btw. I’ll write about her another day.)

So, to my dad with your large, callused hands and your replacement knee brought on by countless years of relentlessly hard work pounding his body, time to kick back, crack open a beer, and enjoy yourself. You’ve earned it! I hope you get to travel now and see all those places you always talked about when we were growing up but never had the free time to go see.

You’re incredible! If the world were filled with more people like you, it would be a beautiful place.

Cheers! I love you.

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I #amquerying and it’s so damn hard. (A letter of encouragement to myself)

I #amquerying and it’s so damn hard. (A letter of encouragement to myself)

Hey, you with the tear in the corner of your eye and the frown dripping down your face,

I know you’re querying and I know you’re thinking of giving up.

Here’s the truth: Querying is hard. It’s hard work, and it’s hard on your spirits. There’s a lot of research involved. It requires a lot of time-consuming attention to detail, and you are most certainly guaranteed to receive a lot of rejection. Maybe–all rejection and nothing else.

It’s brutal on the heart and spirit. You feel like a complete loser. It’s embarrassing. And there comes a point where you may feel like an untalented piece of shit poo, and you should just quit. But you have to look in the mirror or open up those pages and look at all those words that spilled out of you with great passion and heart. Ask yourself–how much you want it?

Don’t forget that every writer has been rejected. Even those you think of as being “the greats.” Maybe they didn’t get quite as much rejection as you are getting, but they still got rejected by someone at some point.

When you get those rejection letters that tell you that the agent or publisher just “didn’t connect” with your book, think of all those books that your friends so highly recommended, but you just didn’t love. Over and over you’ll hear that this is a “subjective business,” remember that it’s not just a line that agents feed you. It is, in fact, a very real truth. It doesn’t mean that you, or your book, suck. There are a lot more factors that go into someone deciding whether they want to take on your project than just the words you wrote.

One day, you’ll get something other than a rejection if you keep working to improve and you don’t give up on yourself no matter how hard it gets.

And remember…

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal_ it is the courage to continue that counts.”

You just need the courage to continue. Be tenacious. Work to improve. Do not ever give up. You can do this. I believe in you.

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