Thursday, May 31, 2012

Writing a Children's Picture Book

I've said a lot about writing in general, but not much (if anything) about writing a children's picture book.

To start, you need to know that writing a picture book takes on a particular flavor. I'd like to think of it as chocolate.
Photo by: Stu_spivack, courtesy of Flickr

You can write a picture book in strawberry, vanilla or swirl, but it may be more like an adult book with pictures, or even a long, drawn out history lesson that young children could care less about. Your book may be too wordy and the moral may be too obvious and preachy.

Children's picture books are the hardest genre to write. If you've heard otherwise, you're probably not speaking to a children's writer. What should you focus on to tell the best story?
    • Less is more. You want to tell the story, balancing the text with the pictures involved. You don't need to say everything, in fact, the illustrator and the writer have a 50/50 partnership, and often the partnership is 60/40, meaning the author writes 40 percent text (or even less), and the illustrator gives up 60 percent to the illustrations. After your first draft, go over your manuscript and see how many words you can cut out because of the illustrations (you've envisioned) that show what's happening and don't need to be written about. You may be surprised.
    • You don't need text on every page, either. Also, consider a double-page spread and how the story will look using one or more.
    • Photo by: cbgrfx123, courtesy of Flickr
    • Children like to read about someone a bit older than they are, doing things they might be just learning to do. A 3-year-old may enjoy digging in the sand, but if the story is also about making a fairy-sand castle, you're taking the child a bit further than their current capabilities.
    • Children don't like to be talked down to. They want to feel grownup, even if they're only 3.
    • Much has been said about talking animals; about not doing it. I'm all in favor of talking animals. If the story is captivating and draws you in, who cares?
    • The illustrator you choose for your picture book is paramount, even if you have a terrific story. Most consumers purchase a picture book BECAUSE of the illustrations, not because of the story. If you have terrific illustrations as well as a terrific story, you've probably got a hit.
    • Vary your sentence lengths. Think of poetry. Read the story aloud MANY TIMES to get a feel for sound. Cut out anything in the story that is jarring or causes you to stumble. Re-write scenes if necessary so that the words flow. Most picture books will be read out loud so make sure yours takes more than the cake.
    • Make up a dummy book. Gather some type paper. Fold a few sections in half and lay them together like a book. Try out your text on the pages. Sketch out the drawings you want on the individual pages. Find out how many pages you're going to need to tell your story and see if your story is interesting enough to carry the reader to the end. 
Getting your reader to the end is key and that makes writing a picture book no easy task, but writing for children can be a lot of fun, especially if your remember the tips above.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Blog Radio Marketing

Today I'd like to talk about blog radio marketing. Yesterday, I spoke of those areas of marketing that cost you little when it comes to sharing your work; i.e, postcards, blogs, online interviews, etc.

Edited Broadcasts
When you're ready for the next step of speaking up about your book in a very real way, I suggest making blog radio marketing a part of your journey. Though some radio sources will charge you for the service of getting yourself online, many more are willing to help you market your new book at no cost.

Get excited about blog radio marketing
Just yesterday I was interviewed by Danielle Hampson of The Christian Authors Show. The Christian Authors Show is a part of, which offers authors of various genres including (The Business Authors Show, The Children Authors Show, The Wellness Authors Show and The Authors Show) the opportunity to market their book for FREE through a professionally edited interview. Sure, there are package deals following the interview that allow for additional services provided by TheAuthorsShow, but your interview and posting are free for 24 hours.

Keep in mind that I hadn't been interviewed for radio for about 10 years when my first book, "A River of Stones" came out, but I was quickly assured that all would be well, not to be nervous, and that I was to treat the interview like a nice conversation with a friend.

Wow. It was amazing. You will find my radio interview on June 11, 2012 at And please let me know what you think!

Live Broadcasts
Live broadcasts are just what they sound like. You are on the radio live. The good news is that you'll receive a list of questions before the interview to prepare yourself. (The same is true for the edited broadcast that I spoke about above).

Although you have a list of questions, it's a good idea to simply review them and not write your answers down verbatim. You can list key words that you don't want to forget, but the interview needs to be natural sounding, not rehearsed. 

Mark Tierno has a radio show called Author Talk, which I will be a part of on June 19, 2012 at 9 a.m. PT. (That means if you're MT like I am, you will be listening in at: 10 a.m.) You can sign up to listen in live at:

Both of these radio marketing ideas came to me through my own research and there are many other radio opportunities out there to talk about your book--if you're daring enough.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Marketing for the Self-Professed Shy Person

So, you've written a novel, had it published, and now comes the really hard part--talking about it.

When it's hard enough to talk to your family about your book, you may just want to check yourself into the 'shy' category of authorship, though you should never be afraid to move forward anyway.

I find that the best beginning ways to market myself come in the form of props and non-speaking ventures. Instead of getting anxious over a radio or television interview, consider what a book postcard would do for you or an online interview that is typed up and displayed on a reviewer site.

It's already a given that you're great at writing so keep writing! Here are some ideas:

  • Begin a new blog on writing. Share you insights about writing, publishing, or marketing with other readers.
  • Write what you know and share it with someone else. There are many folks out there that want guest bloggers. They may not pay, but they will share your words with their readers along with your bio and connection to your work.
  • Do an online interview. Locate blogs that focus on interviewing authors. When you find interest, fill out the questionnaire. Send it back and wait to see your interview! Most blog owners also ask for your author picture and book cover JPEG.
  • Purchase some book postcards. On one side have your book, on the other, a synopsis of your book and contact information. Pass them out whenever someone asks you what you do for a living. Leave them wherever you happen to go, whether it be the doctors or your favorite restaurant. 
  • Get connected on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Let your friends and family know that you've just published a book and where they can get it. Whenever you publish a blog or article for another site, let everyone know with a link to the spot.
  • The most important thing to remember: As you do these non-speaking things, you will get more daring. That doesn't mean you won't be afraid to have a radio interview or be on television, but you will have prepared yourself by doing these others things first.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Book Signing at Salon Revive!!

Okay, everyone! You may have heard how much I like Salon Revive here in Bountiful, but if not, come and see what it's all about TODAY!

How does Ms. Virgina Bean overcome her Goliath? 
How will YOU overcome YOUR Goliaths?
I will be signing my books, "Conquering Your Goliaths: A Parable of the Five Stones," "Conquering Your Goliaths: Guidebook" and "A River of Stones," on Saturday, June 2 from 11:00-2:00. Come and get a FINE haircut or a SPECTACULAR set of new nails, and while you're waiting, stop by my table for a SPLENDID  book chat. I'll have free bookmarks and free hand-labeled stones for everyone who stops by! Books (your choice) are only $10 a piece. And what a read!

Also, get a sneak peak at my next book, "Scrambled," a cozy mystery, coming out in January 2013.

I'll be at:

Salon Revive
505 S. Main St. Bountiful, Utah
(That cool, old-fashioned building on the corner is Salon Revive. Just park in the back or on the side of the building and walk down and around to the main entrance in front).
How does Samantha overcome her Goliath?
I look forward to meeting you, and spread the word!


Friday, May 25, 2012

Writer's Cramp

All I can say is that this must be a painful week. I have worked hard and now that I am free to do some things of my choosing I have no idea what to do.

Ever feel like that?

Do you ever get moving so quickly that when you finally slow down there becomes space in your day for who knows what?

And so I'm going to finish reading a book today, one I keep putting off. And it's not because the book's not good. It's called, "The Success Principles," and is written by Jack Canfield. I don't really know Canfield but I feel as if I do. His words speak to me all of the time.

"Continue to speak from your heart and you will do well."

"Look to where you spend your time. Determine if those activities truly serve your goals or if saying no would free up your schedule for more focused pursuits."

"You attract more of whatever feelings you are experiencing. Being negative, angry and unforgiving about a past hurt only ensures that you'll attract more of the same into your life."

Photo by: Ed Yourdon, courtesy of Flickr
Today, if you have writer's cramp like I do, (it may even be the keyboard kind), let go and spend some time doing something you've been putting off.

It may be a good book. A walk. A visit with a friend.

It may just be that your time has freed up, if only for a day, for a reason.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Reflection and Writing

Do you often pause and reflect about your writing life? Where you are and where you'd like to be?

It came to me a few weeks ago, that some of my writing dreams have finally become a reality, and I find myself wondering how it all happened.

You know why patience is a virtue? It's because so many of us lack it. What we want is for our writing, no matter what it is, to be published NOW. It's the waiting that stinks.

But what if we have it all wrong? I waited 8 years after writing every day, to get my first work published. It was a short snip-it, hardly an article. And in the beginning I wrote the short stuff. The short article. The short poem. The short children's story.

Photo by Kevin Lawver, courtesy of Flickr
Reflecting on my "short" start, I realize that these shorts prepared me for the "longs." Later, I published one book and then two, and then three. And after all of that, I wanted to begin my own publishing company. And so Idea Creations Press was born.

Photo by: striatic, courtesy of Flickr
I always wanted to publish books for other people, but it seemed more like a pipe dream than anything else. But I believe all the "shorts" and "longs" have prepared me for the next step. I couldn't have published a book in the beginning without first gaining the skills and determination to do so. And now that I have the skills and determination to publish I see a window opening with even more to learn.

And that's what reflection is all about.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

When Writing Creates a Crick in the Neck

Today I've been doing some writing for a copy-editing company. Though I like working for them, there are times I'm sitting just a tad too long. I get that well-known crick in the neck. My back starts to hurt. And I wonder if my legs are ever going to be the same again.

Perhaps it's the way I sit at the computer; kind of slumped like an old potato. But I also think that it's the hours I sometimes put to my writing in a given day. If you compare it to breathing, you get the idea.

When I get that crick it is a somewhat painful reminder that my day need not be all about writing. It can be about walking about playing, about taking some moments to breathe in and breathe out.

And I like the warning.

This is my last writing for the day. I try to clock out at about 5:00, but today I also have a cold. So I think I'll be smart and sit outside for awhile on my new patio swing and read a good book.

Here I go...

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Free Writer's Workshop

You really never know what's going to happen on a given day.

On the way to preparing everything for my speaking engagement I discovered that my workshop was going to be cancelled. The culprit? Not enough sign-ups.

Now, I'm not going to give you the number of how many signed up, but suffice it to say, it was not enough to carry the class.

A great place to get used books and trade in your used copies!
I could have been disappointed, but the day before something else wonderful had worked itself from the pages of my life. I was given the a-OK to do a book signing at the Book Garden in Bountiful. For those of you who don't know, the Book Garden is a quaint little place full of used books. I hardly expected to do a signing there (primarily because my book's in the new category), but it just so happened that Main Street was putting on an Chalk Art Festival.

I was at the post office across the street and the lady said, "It's too bad the festival got rained out today. It should be better tomorrow."

"What festival?" I asked.

"The Chalk Art Festival up and down Main Street."

She was right, of course. Friday, it was raining buckets and all of the chalk art that had been done the day before were covered with plastic. I knew this because I got back in my car and drove across the street to the Book Garden. There, I asked the assistant manager if I could do a book signing the following day.

The rest is history.

The following day was sunny--and perfect! I met some great people, signed some books, talked about writing, and got a slight sunburn--but it was all good.

You really don't know what's going to happen on a given day.  I'm glad I was open to it.

To your writing~!


Learn more and see some great artwork here:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Gearing up for Free Workshop!

Okay, folks, today is the last day to sign-up for my class! Sure, you can walk in tomorrow without signing up (I'll still take you), but it's always a good idea for a presenter to know how many people are attending.

Photo by: jm3, courtesy of Flickr

We will be discussing plot. That means characterization, setting, beginnings, endings, and that thing called, "the main problem" of your character and how to solve it by the end of the book.

Having a hard time getting started on your novel? Are you about mid-way through and feeling as if the story is going down hill? Do you think all of your characters sound the same, and you want to change that? What about your setting? Are you using what you know?

These questions and more will be answered at the Writing Your Book Workshop.  Here are the details:

Date: Tomorrow! (May 19)
Time: 1-2:30
Place: Bountiful/Davis Art Center, 745 South Main Street, Bountiful

Please pass the word along, and bring a friend. I have a FREE gift for everyone who attends.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Getting Smart about Writing

It's easy to take your writing for granted, kind of like those old tulips that come up every year without fail. But when you see them, just like when you see your novel at completion, you know you've been smart about your writing.

Finishing a novel in a year is a good game plan. And if you can finish your novel in even less time, even better. The important thing is to give your novel the time it needs to be the best book it can be.

Of course, you will always find those grammar mistakes even after you've published, but the worst of it will already be worked through because of the months you have given to your book.

Getting smart about your writing means listening to your heart. Your heart will tell you when it's time to speed up or slow down, and it will let you know when your work is ready to be seen by a publisher or when you should self-publish. And it's important to listen to that.

Photo by: wrestlingentropy, courtesty of Flickr
If you have no idea what I'm talking about, make sure you get plenty of readers to read your book and let you know if you're there. It's a safe bet that they will tell you if they feel good about your work or if they feel it needs just a bit more tweaking.

Taking the time to read over your work out loud will help you too, as will getting together with a great critique group. Getting smart means you make a check list so that you don't forget anything. It means taking the time each day to write and not letting procrastination take over.

I hate cleaning the bathroom but it's amazing how this chore can win over the project I'm currently working on. It's amazing that I suddenly notice the dirty carpet or dishes. But this is always going to be the case.

Setting a time to write is a good idea, but if you're like me, you fit in writing where you can. I write every day even if it's only this blog.

In the end, getting smart about writing means you take it seriously enough to do it--every day. Let the kitchen sink sit.


Place: Bountiful/Davis Art Center, 745 South Main Street
Time: 1-2:30

Call 801-292-0367 to register, or email me at:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

10 Clues that You're a Writer

How do you know when you're a writer?

1. You may stay home to write instead of going out to dinner. Besides, you're on your last chapter!

2. You begin to see your characters as real people and may converse with them on a daily basis. You may even prefer them to the real people you know.

3. You notice the little things that most folks take for granted. The sway of the leaves. The smell of the newly budded flower, the look of a child's face as they gaze upon the splendid treasures within the Disney Store. Heck, you may even be in awe yourself.

Photo by: tnarik, courtesy of Flickr
4. You stay up too late or get up at the crack of dawn. This is the only time you have to write and you're going to make the best of it.

5. You hate it when others miss-spell things (Hummm, is that right?), but may be a bit uncomfortable when others notice that you have.

6. You carry a book with you at all times. It may be your book (to sell or give away to just the right person) or you carry a book written by someone else to read at your earliest convenience.

7.  You hate it when others don't think your job is anything more than a "hobby". You want to be respected for what you do.

Photo by: Sean MacEntee, courtesy of Flickr
8. You spend a good portion of the day dreaming up new characters for your next book, or dreaming of a new place for your next book's setting. You may even book a flight.

9. You may procrastinate because life always throws you things that at first glance appear to be more important than your writing.

10. You eat junk food at the computer because you don't want to lose your train of thought.

Have a favorite, or one I haven't thought of? I would love your feedback! (Now you know what I do! Well, except for #4).

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Finding Your Writer's Voice

I hear a lot from writers about finding their writer's voice. They want to know how to find it, how you know when you've found it, and what sorts of things they should write about once their voice has been found.

I have an answer for all three of these questions, but keep in mind, they stem from my own personal journey and another writer may find them from climbing an entirely different mountain.

How to Find Your voice

I like to think of discovering your writer's voice sort of like finding a precious diamond and keeping it forever. Years ago, I lost the diamond out of my wedding ring. I managed to find it. A few months later, one of the prongs came lose again and the diamond was lost. Yes, I managed to find it again, but I told myself that I was going have my band adjusted to a lower setting before I wore my diamond ring again.

Photo by: jurvetson, courtesy of Flickr
I can't tell you the day I first found my writing voice, but it came about the time I lost my fears of making my writing perfect. It came when I cared more about my story and less about the grammar associated with it. It came when I let go of what I thought a writer "should be."

How You Know When You've Found Your Writer's Voice

Unlike losing your diamond, finding your voice is one of those things that sticks once its been found. You aren't always wondering if your piece of writing sounds authentic or "right" because what comes from your fingertips is the voice that you've discovered.

Your voice might be "a diamond in the rough," but your diamond is your diamond. You speak from your heart. You share your voice. You aren't trying to mimic another. The voice you share on paper is yours because you "feel" it.

What You Should Write About Once Your Voice is Found

I try to stay away from what's "popular" in the book market; instead, I focus on what comes to me in dreams, (waking and sleeping) what others suggest might be a good subject (that's how "Conquering Your Goliaths" came to be) and what subjects speak to me. I also consider the books I enjoy reading. Because I enjoy a good mystery as well as non-fiction and Christian fiction that speaks to the heart, much of my writing follows these three areas. All three of my published books follow the Christian fiction theme, and my first cozy mystery will be published next year.

Finding your voice comes easier if you're more focused on writing what you love and less focused on trying to make it sound "right." You'll never lose your writer's voice, so you might as well have fun with it and write what you enjoy.

Monday, May 14, 2012

FREE Writing Class!

Yes, This is a repeat on a blog I posted not too long ago. But it bears repeating.

What: Writing Your Book Workshop
Where: Bountiful/Davis Art Center, 745 South Main Street, Bountiful
When: 1:00-2:30, May 19 (that's less than a week away!)

My first novel
Guidebook for Conquering Your Writing Goliaths 

Please register by calling: Theresa Otteson at: 801-292-0367 or by emailing me at: ATTEND  and get a sneak-peak of my "Conquering Your Writing Goliaths" class!

My second novel 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Writing About the Simple Things

Today I'm feeling a bit melancholy.

I am thinking of my grandmother who passed away a few years ago--she was my best friend and an example of love. I don't remember her ever yelling at me, and when she spoke to me it was at my eye level, as though she respected every word I said.

Photo by: sweetenough, courtesy of Flickr
Years ago, actually the year was 1997, I wrote a short story about my experiences at her house. And I think it's interesting that what I remember most are the simple things. You know. The way she made breakfast. The creek in her backyard. The cherry tree that should have been called a "cheery" tree for all the joy it gave me.

Since tomorrow is Mother's Day, I hope you will take a few moments, maybe even longer, to think about the women you love and appreciate in your life. 

What is it that you remember most about your mother or grandmother? Is it the way she baked pies? The way her hands felt as they touched your cheeks after you’d been crying?

I have often wondered what will be remembered most about me. What will I leave behind for my posterity to remember and record? Will it be that I was a writer? Or will a closer answer be that I had a testimony of the Lord? Will it be the little things like the way I parted my hair, or the songs I sung, or the stories I knew by heart?

When you remember your mother or grandmother I hope you make a place for the simple things. Simple things are important, like a bird’s song in the morning, an organ recital for one, or a breakfast of eggs, sausage, pancakes and grapefruit with a serrated spoon. 

Write down what you remember. Note the simple things in your life that carry meaning. It will make a difference to you and to all the lives you touch.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

When at First You Don't Succeed

I am continually amazed at how difficult it is to market a book. Even a great idea can bring a roll of the eyes to someone who may not see YOUR vision.

I think it's interesting that when we think of marketing a book we usually think of book signings--as if that's all an author can do to let others know they have a new book out.

Photo by: jkirtan, courtesy of Flickr
For those of you who know me I really don't cater to the book signing mentality at a book store, and that's not because folks won't see me with my book there. It's because the idea is so overdone it's hardly exciting anymore.

Think about the last time you entered a book store only to discover a book signing from an author you'd never heard of before. The man or woman was was slicked behind a table and their eyes looked sort of glazed. There was no line, no seeming interest, just a stack of books with a bored writer sitting behind a table.

The last time this happened to me--and no, I wasn't behind the table but in front of it, I merely smiled and walked away. Knowing how this thing feels I should have at least spoken to the woman for a few minutes.

It's easy to get discouraged as a writer when we don't receive the interest we expect. That's why I like to try new things every day--ideas off the beaten track that others may not see as plausible ways to get the word out. But I'll try the new idea at least once.

It can't hurt.

(And I'm going to remember the lone book writer the next time I see him/her at a book signing). 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

When You Can't Afford an Editor

You've just finished the first or second draft of your book and want to have it edited.

Unfortunately, you can't afford to hire an editor (you are an author after all and this is your first book). What do you do? Is there FREE editing help out there?

Actually, yes.
Photo by: TheCreativePen, courtesy of Flickr

Here are a list of options:
  • Some authors will trade an edit if you give them a free edit for their book.
  • Authors and book readers will edit if you promise them a testimonial either in your book and/or on your website. (I offer a free book upon publication for an editor's time).
  • Consider carefully the family members you ask to edit your work; it's often better to choose editors that can give you constructive criticism.
  • A professional editor may make a trade on a service you offer in exchange for editing work. It never hurts to ask.
  • You may be able to get editing help from a professor or a college student needing a project. A professor may edit your book for free or at a substantially lower cost because you were once in their class or you show particular promise as a writer. 
  • Set your manuscript aside for at least a month before you go back to it. Just a few days will not work. You need to be removed from the manuscript for a substantial length of time. Try working on another book project during the month before you return to edit. 
  • Have various reader types read your book for errors. For example, one reader may catch grammar errors, while another will know when you have changed the main character's hair color without knowing it. Know how a reader reads; find out what they notice about a book by asking questions prior to having them read your book.
  • Check online. Join a critique group. There are writers out there with the same dilemma.  
When it comes to getting an editor for your book, remember those who typically read your genre. While others can give valuable feedback, it's the writer or reader of say, "Science Fiction Fantasy" who can tell you what's been done before when it comes to aliens, or what works in a scene on another planet and what doesn't. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Contest for FREE book--coming Thursday

As you know I love to be a part of contests, especially when they have to do with my new book, "Conquering Your Goliaths."

On Thursday, May 10, The Budget Maven blog at: will be offering a contest. Win a copy of my book and learn a little bit more about me during the interview.

Find out about how I save money, what a perfect day would be like for me, what sacrifices I have made that have created the life I have now. PLUS get a key on who might play ME in a movie about my life!

The contest will be going for only a week so make sure you enter at the site above as early as Thursday. And please comment on the interview. I would appreciate it.

Good luck!

Add some strength to your life!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Read a Good Book Today

How many times during the week do you sit down with a good book and read the entire day!

Not very practical you say?

Probably not, but there are days that the feeling just won't leave you.

Photo by: Robert Couse-Baker, courtesy of Flickr
Take today, for example. It's a bit chilly outside. I had planned on working in the yard, but the thought of gathering myself in a light jacket and hoping my hands don't get cold (I hate to wear gloves when I'm working with the moist soil) does little to get me excited.

I'd rather be dreaming behind a good book; throwing that light blanket around my legs, and propping my head against a pillow. I might even take a nap.

If this sounds like you today, too, go for it. Take a break. Take a snooze. And read a good book.

It's one of the best things you can do to rejuvenate yourself, and it doesn't hurt you as a writer, either.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Keep Sentences Short

Perhaps the reason I wanted to talk about this topic is for one very important reason, I get long winded and I'm sure you do, too.

Take a look at the above sentence. How might I shorten it and still keep the meaning?

How about:

I love this topic. It keeps me from being long-winded.
Long winded? Keep your sentences short.

Keeping sentences short doesn't mean we think that others are stupid. It doesn't mean we are stupid, either. Short sentences give clarity to our writing. Short sentences cause others to think.

Got milk?

What does that slogan do for you? How many folks have duplicated the saying with their own spin?

Photo by: Matti Mattila, courtesy of Flickr
Photo by: The Paperclip, courtesy of Flickr
I often have to go through my sentences and shorten them. Kind of like shortening a length of rope, extraneous words are cut out. One sentence becomes two, like this one and the sentence before it. I try to make my writing a little better by weeding.

Got scissors?
Photo by: James Bowe, courtesy of Flickr

Thursday, May 3, 2012

When Lying is a Good Thing

Yesterday I was with a group of fine women. We were discussing my book, "Conquering Your Goliaths," and had come to the third stone, "Optimism."

I asked, "What does optimism mean to you?" I got varied responses, including "being positive when you feel like crap."

There are days I feel like crap and when someone asks me how I'm doing I want to spill it. You know what I mean. All of it. Of course, I know that most folks are only saying "How are you doing?" because they expect you to say "fine", and not have you dish out a half an hour of straight talk--negative stuff they really don't want to hear.

But the comment made me think. What if, when I felt like crap and someone asked that question, I said, "I'm wonderful," "I'm fantastic!" "I couldn't be better!"

What if I...lied?

Okay, usually lying is considered a bad thing, something you do to protect the feelings of others or secrets that enter your soul to protect yourself. Lying may even be considered to be a sort of black swarm swimming inside your soul, a swarm you don't want anyone to know about.

But in this case I'd like to think that lying will do something for you. Something for your view on life. Something for your character. Something to lift your day. And if you say it often enough to enough people, you just might discover that you feel terrific after all.

And what sort of lie is that?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

When Past Struggles Become Future Successes

Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak at an assisted living center. Not only did I have a great time, I learned something about myself and it was this:

A struggle in the past doesn't have to limit me in the future.

When I was in the fourth grade I received a particularly poor report card. In English writing I received a spectacular C- and in speaking I received a C.

For years I looked on this report card, as well as others that came after, as some sort of future expression of my future. Of course, I wanted to become a writer but these numbers fooled me into thinking that becoming a writer was nigh to impossible.

When I married in 1980, I still had this thought of never being able to become a writer inside of me. I thought, teachers must know what they're talking about. I'd better choose something else as my dream career.

Do you have a writing barrier in your life?  Photo by: BinaryApe, courtesy of Flickr
But nothing really set in...

Until the day I finally sat down to write. It was so FREEING! I felt as if I could do anything after writing that first story about the joys and qualms of being pregnant. Notice I didn't say the writing was GOOD. It was anything but good, but I was writing.

It took seven years after that first writing exercise to finally get into print. And another 15 years after that to get my first book published.

But I had done it! Despite all the negative forces pulling against me, I knew my dream would be fulfilled.

And it continues to fill me.