Party Time! My First Book Is Out There In The World!

The big day has arrived. My baby is out there for all the world to see. My first published book! I woke up this morning and stumbled to the computer before I even had a cup of coffee. I just had to see how my book looks at the publisher’s address, as well as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And I found it at GoodReads too. I’ve really enjoyed the emails of congrats from good friends.

So, here goes. I’m popping the champagne.  Did you hear that?

I’m giving myself twenty more minutes before I go to my laptop and crank out another thousand words on book two of the series. And then it’s back to the web, looking for opportunities to share my success with others.

I plan to post a couple of book reviews soon. And now I should have a little more time for blogging.

And one more thing. YAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!

Claim Your Village

You know the old adage: It takes a village to raise a child. Well it also takes a village to develop a writer. We may work in a field that requires solitude, but the truth is, we could never get a book written, revised, submitted, and published without some help.

Our families may or not be of help. We certainly need them, but sometimes the ones we love the most don’t understand our need to write. Most of us have a friend or two who support our desire and dreams, but we need more.

I added to my village by finding people online who appreciate what I do. I’m a member of a couple of yahoo groups. I joined She Writes and, and took some classes where I met likeminded people whom I stayed in touch with.

Without people who are willing to critique our work, people who give us a pat on the back when we do good, and help us make our writing better when it’s just not what we want it to be yet, this job becomes almost impossible.

I’ve been fortunate to find a publisher and editor who are both professionals, well educated and experienced in the area of book editing and publishing. And they have taught me as much if not more than all the books and classes put together. And then there are the websites like Savvy Author and The Editor Devil, where I can not only learn how to hone my craft, but also can find others who are in the same boat.

I guess the point of writing this article is to encourage every writer to make friends with those who are like us, who understand us, and then don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Every writer needs to know and associate with writers, agents, editors, publishers, booksellers, readers and fans. No matter what level you are at as a writer, you need to spend a few minutes a day talking with others who understand what you’re trying to do, and how you feel. There are thousands of people out there who are willing to help you, or any writer who needs help. And in the long run, these are the people who will be your best supporters for success.

If you’re shy, or think it’s too overwhelming to get involved with Facebook or online groups, leave comments at blogs and websites. And by all means see if you can join a group or create a group in the town where you live. Put up a flyer at the library. Check out the high school and offer to help a young writer, or a group of them. There are ways to meet people who will be an asset to you, and people who need a little help in this endeavor we call solitary. So, don’t try to do it alone.  Claim your village, and then make sure to become a village member for someone else.

What’s Health Got To Do With It?

Writing is a tough profession. It requires thousands of hours of sitting in a chair. It requires solitude, which is a nice way of saying, being alone. It requires us to rack our brains, and if we are not well diciplined, to end up stressed out and beat up. I don’t know about you, but I know about me, so that’s what I’ll share. I can’t count the number of times I’ve kept my behind in the chair when my back was screaming, “GET UP! I CAN’T SIT HERE ANYMORE! YOU’RE KILLING ME!” I can’t say how often I’ve put my wrists in an awkward position from sheer exhaustion, or how many times I have slumped, not paying attention to my posture, for the same reason.

I’ve had days where I ate nothing but junk, forgot all about drinking water, didn’t take any supplements, and I don’t even want to think about the nights I couldn’t get to sleep for trying to fix a problem with a plot. But then I wised up. It’s a profession people. The world won’t end if we take a break. Nothing will explode if we stop for a moment to eat a proper meal, or at least  a healthy snack. Most chairs are adjustable, but for those whose chair is stationary, sit on a pillow, put a book under your feet, or do whatever else it takes to get your feet flat on the floor, your screen at eye level and your keyboard in a position that doesn’t tweak your wrists into positions you might see in a Geico commercial. I’ve tortured my body for the last time. Most certainly, health is much more important than the few extra words I can crank out before standing up for a break. I know this subject all too well. The vertebrae in my back are disintegrating. Carpel tunnel is no stranger to me. My left shoulder has been through the mill, thanks to my poor posture. And let’s not discuss my neck. So now that I have to wear braces on my wrists, I know that a hand towel rolled and placed against the keyboard to rest my wrists on is really helpful. Now that my back has irrepairable injury, I realize that adjusting the chair is important. Now that I have to ice my shoulder on a regular basis, I realize that posture isn’t really about beauty or self-confidence.

We only get one body in this life, and though science is working hard to learning how to replace body parts, I don’t think that means we will soon be able to order a new spine, shoulder, or wrist, from a catalogue. Please don’t put off taking care of yourself. You have great stories inside you that need to be told and let me tell you, that can become a daunting task if you punish your body ‘just this once’ to finish something.  Schedule breaks. Use a kitchen timer. Buy a vest or smock or some type of shirt with a large pocket, and then put a notepad and pen in it. Take a break. You can make a note if something brilliant hits you. Stretch your body every few hours. Get a glass of ice cold water with a slice of lemon and enjoy it. Put a note at the bottom of your screen that says SIT UP STRAIGHT. Take a moment to pet the cat, or dog, or to sit on the floor with your two year old and play. BREATHE.

Don’t take your health for granted. If you are young, and in good condition, don’t use that as an excuse for not paying attention to your body. And if you aren’t so young, it’s even more important to do the little things that will allow you to continue enjoying the writer’s life. Don’t fool yourself. When it comes to writing, health has a lot to do with it.