Time for an Update

This seems to be the time of the year when I reevaluate my writing journey, so here I go.

I am enjoying my life, and writing is a part of that. It may not be as important as I intended when I began this journey a few years ago, but I still have many goals. I still wonder if a part-time writer can become a very good writer. I guess I’ll find out.

I enjoy my blog and plan to write more often as long as it doesn’t interfere with writing for publication. I love the interaction with other bloggers and followers.

As far as publication, I did release my grandmother’s poetry earlier in the year. The work was 95% hers, but doing the editing, layout and formatting for Kindle enhanced my skills in those areas.

I think it’s important to publish at least once a year so I will be expanding two of the articles I’ve written on this blog into e-books during the next year. More about the first one will come soon.

The novel that I’ve referred to several times on this blog is 75% complete. I’m talking about the first draft so it will still be a while before it sits on a bookshelf anywhere. I am planning to self-publish with Balboa Press because I am so aligned with Hay House in my thinking and the types of spiritual things I write about. Besides, it doesn’t hurt that Hay House takes a look at the books coming through Balboa to find selections they may want to publish.

When I get to the point where I am ready to send it to Balboa I will talk more about the topic. At this point, I will say that it was inspired by a true story and has a very spiritual theme – that of reincarnation and the love that travels through many lifetimes and never dies.

Last, but not least, it’s important I that I continue to learn about writing so I take a course or attend a conference every year. This year I am taking an online course – James Patterson’s MasterClass. It’s reasonably priced, and I am getting a lot of great tips from a best-selling author. Applying some of them to my own work is slowing me down, but I am trying to avoid my tendency to overthink and stay focused on what’s most important to the novel.

How are things going with those of you who publish your work or aspire to? I can’t be inspirational and say to do something I don’t do myself, like write everyday. What I can say is… if you have a goal in mind, don’t give up until you reach it. The journey may not be what you expect, but it will be worthwhile and in some ways may become more important than the goal.

Photo credit: Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_aleutie’>aleutie / 123RF Stock Photo

This Writer’s Journey Takes an Alternate Route

Sometimes life just gets in the way. Even the best laid plans have to be put aside occasionally to accommodate life’s demands. In this case, the sacrifice was the submission of my book proposal to Hay House due early in December. It’s just not going to happen this year. Since I went to the Hay House conference in June, I had worked steadily on my novel and had made considerable progress. The first draft is about 75% completed. Then in August, the housing market came to life, and I started getting more prospective buyers coming into look at my condo. I made the decision that this year was not the right time to finish the book and submit the proposal, but rather to focus all my energy on my goal of moving into a new home. A wave of relief washed over me when I released myself from one of my goals. I knew there was no way for me to accomplish both dreams before the end of 2012. My decision to delay the completion of the book was confirmed as the correct one when I received an offer on my condo in September. If all continues to go well, I’ll be moving on November 30th.

Sometimes, hard choices have to be made, don’t they? I had to remind myself to go with the flow…that life is meant to be enjoyed and that happiness is not found in stressing oneself to the point of exhaustion. When the universe tells you it’s the right time for something to occur, it’s hard to ignore. I will now enjoy moving into my new home that I’ve waited for so long. The time to complete my novel is right around the corner. I can feel it in the wind and see it in my dreams. I’ll be back on the writer’s path early next year.

So how about you?  Have you found that despite your best-laid plans, that life sometimes shifts you in a different direction than you had planned?  Do you fight it or do you surrender to the flow?

A Writer’s Conference in the Mountains

I have been a fan of many Hay House publications for a number of years. Writers such as Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer dot my bookshelves and have often inspired me to move out of my comfort zone and reach for my goals, such as with a writing career. This year, when the opportunity came to attend The Writer’s Workshop in Ashville, NC, sponsored by Hay House, I knew I had to attend.

I drove twelve hours down to Ashville early last month to attend this weekend workshop and spend two additional days driving around the Blue Ridge Parkway. The weather was a little stormy, but I still enjoyed the journey down and the time alone driving through the woods in the Park, catching a breath-taking glimpse of the mountains here and there among the clouds. It was a very inspirational setting for a writer!

One-hundred and seventy new and wannabe writers from various states congregated at the Crowne Plaza Resort for this event. More than anything else, this was an inspirational workshop. I came out of there actually believing I could write an excellent book even if Hay House couldn’t publish it. New York Times best-selling author, Cheryl Richardson spoke of her humble beginnings and her journey to successful publication.  She was, in many ways, just like those of us dreaming to publish a book—simply armed with a story to tell that drove her passion. Reid Tracy, President and CEO of Hay House, spoke at length about the publishing industry, writing a book proposal, and what it takes to get published during these fast-changing times in the industry. I was struck by the realization that they are both everyday-kind-of people who are doing extraordinary things. No pretense, no self-importance, just genuinely real people. Videos of Louise Hay, Doreen Virtue and, Wayne Dyer describing their early writing experiences and tips for success were also quite enjoyable and helpful for new writers.

Hay House generally publishes non-fiction, self-help, inspirational books. To be successful in getting published with this genre, I learned that you need to show a publisher that you already have a following and that you are willing to do (or already doing) workshops, lectures and anything else it takes to sell your book. Gone are the days when the publisher does all the marketing. With fiction, the platform is not as important, but it definitely helps to have one. Series fiction, such as a trilogy, is popular now and can lead to greater success as an author. In these workshops, Hay House offers the unique opportunity to attendees to submit a book proposal directly to them without going through an agent. The lucky winner will receive a $10,000 book advance. The proposal is due in December, 2012. Since Mr. Tracy said they will consider any genre for this competition, I am planning to finish my novel and submit a proposal to them. I figure the worst that can happen is that I will have a novel almost ready to submit to another publisher or to self-publish. To me, that seems to be a win-win situation.