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Posts Tagged ‘new authors’

I began writing many years ago, without having any college training or professional background. I just put down on paper what was in my heart and in my head. Several family members and close friends told me that my writing was very good and that I should consider becoming a writer. But that’s what family and friends always say. So I didn’t take it too seriously.

Then I joined a chat room and began joining in a few of the forums there. It was during a time of political debates and elections, and there was quite a bit of tension and heated arguments in many of the forums. So I began a discussion based on sharing humorous stories about my children and animals, as an attempt to cool things down.

Soon there were several hundred people joining in, leaving comments regarding my writing a book of these stories. Several of the comments were from professional writers, and they were encouraging me to become a writer. Me! A real writer?

I had no knowledge of the writing industry, but I asked questions. And to their credit, I found that these writers were more than willing to educate me. Through their kindness, I found some confidence and encouragement, and I began pondering the idea of becoming a writer.

Of course, the picture I painted in my mind was one of me, sitting at my computer, furiously typing out a best seller in a couple of days, while the phone was ringing with offers and pleas from several publishers. I pictured crowds surrounding me in public, asking for my autograph. And I pictured financial success. (Yes, I know that’s funny, but it’s MY picture, so don’t rain on my parade.)

I bought several books on writing, publishing, agents, and marketing guides. After I finished reading them, I think I was more confused than before I started. And I felt a sense of fear, realizing that I had no idea of what I was doing.

I lost contact with the writers I had met in the chat room when the site was suddenly closed for unknown reasons. And things were changing in my life circumstances that were beyond my control. So for a time, I didn’t give much more thought to writing for a living.

But I kept writing, and sharing stories with friends and family. And my biggest fan was always my mom.

Then a few years ago there was an incident which hospitalized my youngest son. There were many people wanting updates and to share loving prayers, but even texting was difficult. So one of the hospital volunteers arranged for me to get access to a computer and set up a webpage where I could post updates and people could leave messages for us. The site was similar to a blog, and I began posting once or twice a day.

The posts were similar to a journal style of writing, and I included my own thoughts and feelings about what was going on with my son. I was writing to share with our family and friends. But by the end of the first week, there were several hundred people that were following this journal, leaving messages of hope and prayers, and requesting that I continue the posts. There were hundreds of people that I didn’t know, I didn’t even know how they found the site. But it was being spread by word of mouth (or computer links) and it continued to grow.

I was a little overwhelmed when I realized that in a short time, there were almost 4,000 people following this journal. And many of them were thanking me for sharing our story, and repeatedly asking me to consider writing a book about our ordeal. My mom was among them.

Over the next year and a half, I wrote the book, “Faith, Hope & Miracles”. And while I was writing it, I was also learning everything I could about the publishing industry. Without knowing any writers or having any contacts in the industry, I knew that it was not going to be an easy endeavor.

When I finished writing the manuscript, I sent it to my mother and asked her to review it and give an honest critique, along with editing. I knew she had taken a few English and writing courses in college, so I felt confident that she would spot any grammar mistakes and such.

When she called after reading the manuscript, her voice was soft and shaky as she said, “Hon, you are a very gifted writer, and you did an excellent job”. At first I thought her emotions were very strong because of the subject of the book surrounding her own grandson. But it was more than that. She told me of how proud she was of me for completing this work, and that she believed in my ability as a writer.

Even when I confided in her that I had no idea of how to go about getting the book published, she said she had faith in me and that she knew it would happen. And she told me to never give up.

After careful consideration, I had decided to self-publish that book. To accomplish that required learning even more about the publishing and marketing industry than I ever really wanted to know, but I was determined to do it. It was a bit overwhelming and even frightening in some ways, but when the book was finally available for sale, I felt a great sense of satisfaction. And I finally realized that writing was what I wanted to do with my life.

I must say that going about it the way I did to become a writer was probably the hardest way. I highly recommend that anyone wanting to pursue a career in writing start by taking writing and publishing courses, and earning some credentials. It is hard enough for a first book to be a success when you know what you’re doing. But when you are learning as you go, and no one knows anything about you, it’s even harder.

I sent a signed copy to my parents and several other family members and friends. But I’m pretty sure that no one was more proud than my mother. It was a little over 6 months later when I finally was able to go visit, and she had my book proudly on display on her living room coffee table, next to her bible.

On that visit, I shared a few ideas I had for a Christian fiction series, and my mother liked the ideas. She said she looked forward to reading the books, and I knew she would always be my biggest fan.

My mother passed away the day after I came home from that trip, one year ago today.

In this past year, I’ve written a few articles and worked on a couple of different blogs. But when it came to working on the series I had started, I seemed to have developed writer’s block.

I managed to scratch out a few paragraphs now and then, but I just couldn’t find the time to really go after it.

It wasn’t until this morning that I finally realized that I have been feeling an underlying depression. I know it’s perfectly normal to grieve after losing someone you love. And in this past year, I have often missed my mother very much, and I’ve cried. But what I didn’t realize was that somewhere in my mind, my writing was, in a way, connected to her.

It’s funny how our brains work, making associations and connections that we don’t even realize are there.

But I also realized something else this morning. I remembered back to when my son was in the hospital and I began keeping that online journal. I knew as events unfolded in that hospital that there was a miracle that needed to be told. I could feel it in my heart that God wanted for me to share it with others, and I felt compelled to do so. I also felt a sense of pride with my mother’s encouragement to continue writing. But in this past year, I have not been doing what I was led to do. I was not honoring my mother, or God, with my procrastination and lack of commitment.

This day has been hard, and I know there will still be more hard days ahead. I also know that my mother would never have wanted grieving for her to stop me from doing something that is dear to my heart, and something that she was so proud of.

In realizing the connection I feel between my mother and my writing, I know now that I can turn that into a strength. It can be the inspiration to keep writing, even when I can’t think of what to write about. It can be the motivation I need to stay committed to my work, even when I’m too tired. And it can be the strength I need, to pour out my heart on paper, the words of my stories. And it can be a way for me to continue to say, “I love you Mom. Thanks for believing in me”.

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This is for the writers out there, from my friend, Seumas Gallacher, a talented man with a fine spirit. Though his words may be humorous, there is some valuable information here, especially for those just stepping into the world of self publishing. I wish I had known about Seumas when I wrote my first book, “Faith, Hope & Miracles”. It would have made things a lot easier.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy. And please stop by Seumas’ site. Even if you’re not a writer, you’ll at least be entertained! Wishing all a happy & blessed Wednesday! – Amber

Seumas Gallacher

…absent being the owner of your own currency printing machine, I offer the following synopsis for all the wannabe Croesus(es) [Croesii?] out there in quill-scribbling world…I’m presently about three-quarters of the way through the process, so forgive me if may have to revert for the final corroboration of its efficacy…and having only my own personal experience to draw on here, I’ll pitch this accordingly…my story to date:

1. Kick-off/start/genesis/beginning is …WRITIN’…

Nicking from Nike—JUST DO IT!… don’t be an ‘aspiring writer’—if you write at all, then you’re a writer—and despite nasty rumours to the contrary, it’s NOT a nefariously negative pursuit…get the stuff out, down on paper  or on the laptop…along the way, like any apprentice, emulate the writers you admire…ask for advice…the universal author/writing family is immensely generous of spirit.

2. Having written, now it’s…MARKETIN’…

As of two days ago, I’m officially an Old Age Pensioner…but…

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Unstuffed Cabbage

Many years ago I was invited to dinner at my cousin’s house. She served a dish called “Stuffed Cabbage”. I had never tried it before, but with one bite, I fell in love! I have always enjoyed Italian foods, and this particular dish was delicious.

I asked for the recipe, which my cousin was happy to share. I attempted to make it a few weeks later, and quickly discovered there was a lot more work to it than I had thought.

I’m what you might call a “lazy cook”. I prefer meals where you throw everything in one pot and call it dinner. It’s a good way to clean out the leftovers in the fridge too, only you seldom get the exact same taste twice. Still, I’ve never had any complaints about my cooking. (Maybe it’s only because I make them wait until they’re so hungry, anything would taste good.)

Well, I decided that instead of spending all that time to steam the cabbage leaves, prepare the meat mixture and roll it up in the leaves, then put it in the sauce to cook, you guessed it…I just put all of the ingredients into a crock pot and turned it on, calling it “Unstuffed Cabbage”. I let it simmer for several hours while I went about taking care of other matters, like playing with the kids.

Unstuffed Cabbage has now become one of my favorite meals, and has even been requested on occasion at our church potlucks. Of course everyone laughs when I tell them I came up with the idea because I’m a lazy cook. But it is the truth. It’s not that I mind cooking at all, I just usually have a lot of other things going on that require my attention (and I’ve burned a lot of dishes that require too much tending to).

It occurred to me recently that my recipes such as Unstuffed Cabbage, allow me to multi-task as well as save time, money, energy and space. And I really like those ideas! I’m actually thinking about creating a cookbook for other lazy cooks too. It might make a great gift item. What do you think? Any ideas for a good title? Got any suggestions for saving time or money, etc. you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your ideas!

One more quick note: In an effort to better organize my time, I’ll be updating my posts here on Wednesdays and Fridays.

And since it’s Friday, as promised (I know, I’ve missed a couple of weeks) here is this week’s #TBSU (The Blog Scratchers Union) List:

http://livingthescottishdream.wordpress.com/

http://www.goodreads.com/

http://losrodriguezlife.com/

http://sethsnap.com/about/

http://ruthninawelsh.com/

http://cutterlight.com/

http://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/category/introduction/

http://healthadvocation.wordpress.com/

http://blog.bookmasters.com/

http://caddoveil.com/

Take a look and if you see any blogs you like, please follow and share! If you have any blogs you’d like to recommend, #TBSU is free to join and easy to share. Or if you prefer, I can add your suggestions to my lists too…the more the merrier!

Have a great weekend, and God bless! – Amber

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Good morning fellow bloggers! It’s Friday, and I almost have my voice back. I think I’m on the mend finally, praise God! With Christmas just around the corner, life has gone into the busy mode now. But I did manage to find some humor this week, and I wanted to share it with you.

I pray that I will age as gracefully (and with such a sense of humor about it) as the lady in this video! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. 🙂

A hilarious prayer

As promised, I have added a few more sites to my #TBSU (The Blog Scratchers Union) list. I hope you will pass them along to your friends, and thank you for helping to spread the word! Don’t forget to “like” and “follow” the ones you enjoy and find helpful!

Happy blogging & have a very Merry Christmas & blessed New Year! 🙂

Blogs to follow: #TBSU

http://ruthninawelsh.com/

http://cutterlight.com/

http://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/category/introduction/

http://healthadvocation.wordpress.com/

http://www.faithwriters.com/

http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/

Note: Some of the above sites are not actual blogs, but sites for writers with lots of resources you might find helpful, so I wanted to include them. Also, I have had some trouble with the actual links not working. If that is the case, you can copy & paste the addresses into your browser. (I’m still learning about building the links, so I appreciate your patience with me!)

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It’s Monday morning, and I’m not feeling quite up to par. Christian and I have had a bad cold since last Wednesday, which has left me with almost no voice for the past 4 days. Christian kinda likes it that way, saying now I can’t fuss at him. 🙂

Today will be mostly spent on catching up on household chores and some arts & crafts time. We are working on making our Christmas gifts, and our projects qualify as Art in home schooling. So Christian lucked out for today with an easy school load.

As for writing, I did post pictures on our animal site, Christian’s Critters. Other than that, it’s difficult for me to put many of my thoughts down today. The book that I am currently writing is meant to be from a humorous point of view, but I’m just not feeling very humorous right now. So perhaps I’ll have to put the book on hold for now.

For my fellow authors though, I do want to share another interesting idea from my friend, Seumas Gallacher. It’s another creative way for connecting with other authors, getting to know a little something about each other. It’s kind of a game of tag for authors. Check it out and please share. Seumas has a lot of really fun and interesting ideas for helping each other in promoting our work. Click here to check out his blog: Seumas Gallacher

Well, that’s all for today. Hope everyone has a blessed day, with hearts of hope and encouragement to share with others.

Love, Peace & Blessings – Amber

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Good morning to all!

They call this the “season of sharing”. (Well, I personally think that should be a year round theme, but that’s another soapbox.) I’d like to take this opportunity to thank a new friend and fellow author for his idea about writers helping each other to expand their audiences. His name is Seumas Gallacher, and his idea is “you scratch my blog, I’ll scratch your blog”. A “union” of blog writers is being formed called “The Blog Scratchers Union” with a hashtag of #TBSU.

The idea is to spread the word about the blogs you enjoy and follow by creating a listing at the end of your posts, or in a special section of your blog if you prefer. It seems to catching on like wildfire from what I’ve seen so far.  I’ve already found several new blogs that I am now following, thanks to Seumas’ lists.

As a new and unknown author, this is a great way to make new acquaintances (and friends), to share resources and information, and get the word out there about your books and blogs. And it’s FREE! Now that’s a word we all like to hear!

So, as a part of my Christmas gift to my fellow authors (and continuing throughout the rest of the year) each Friday I will be posting my list for #TBSU. Since I am running 3 different blogs now, I will be separating my lists into categories according to the theme of each particular blog. The following are my blogs and their themes:

https://amberleaofalaska.wordpress.com  –  My personal blog, sharing a variety of thoughts, inspirations, and things about writing.

http://faithhopeandmiracles.com/ –  Sharing encouragement & hope through God’s love and truth.

http://christianscritters.com/  –  A place for sharing everything about animals.

I will be copying this post to each of the other sites as well, with the current listing at the end. If you or anyone you know has a blog, this is a great way to connect with others of similar interests, so please share!

Have a great weekend, and God bless!

#TBSU

Blogs to follow:

http://www.seumasgallacher.wordpress.com

http://gusevs.wordpress.com/

http://exploredreamdiscovertours.me/

http://nysocialoutcast.wordpress.com/

http://theycallmeloopy.com/

http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/

http://www.beyondmycontrol.net/

http://ginaroberts-grey.com/

http://lisettebrodey.com/

http://scarberryfieldsforever.blogspot.com/

Enjoy, pass along, share if you feel like it :) 🙂

 

 

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