Unexpected Benefits from Writing

Have you ever wondered why you are going to all the trouble of writing? Silly question, huh? Probably every single one of us writer's has asked ourselves that question. After all, it takes a tremendous amount of time and effort. Unless you're a genius, you don't sit down and write a perfect story in five minutes. And if you do... CALL ME! I want to learn your secret!

Instead, it takes hours, days, weeks, months, and even in some cases, years! We have to put aside a lot of things to get the mission accomplished. Like ignoring the dirt in our houses, looking at the sad faces of our dogs because Mommy doesn't have time to walk them. Listen to our kids whine and throw hissy fits because we can't stop everything and play a game with them.

So sometimes we wonder, "What the heck am I getting out of writing?" Let's face it, unless we are lucky enough to get noticed like the J.K. Rowling's of the world... we'd all be starved to death by now if we had to live on solely our book sales.

However, in my case I've gotten a lot more out of writing than I ever imagined. Not only do I feel like I've really achieved something by getting published but my vocabulary has really benefited! Before I began my writing career, I could barely answer any questions on a crossword puzzle. Even the easy crosswords were a huge struggle for me. I was constantly looking up the answers in the back. But now... I whiz right through them (well the easy ones anyway).  By writing everyday, I've learned the meaning of more words and their synonyms. I must admit, crosswords are a lot more fun these days!

I've learned patience, which I barely had any of before. It's still hard to wait, wait, wait but it doesn't kill me anymore. I just move on and try to focus on something else.

Another valuable lesson has been to accept rejection with a better outlook. Just because one person doesn't like something I do, doesn't mean it's wrong, doesn't mean it's bad, it just means that was that one person's opinion. My life isn't over for it anymore!

I've become more aware of my surroundings, especially when a kid is around. I don't want to miss out on a great opportunity for a story idea!

I still struggle with trying to sell myself but I'm getting better and stronger. If you don't tell the world you are a writer and have a product to offer that they might be interested in, than they'll never know.

Writing has taught me to stop sweating the small stuff. When something is bothering me, I've learned to put it aside, go write and stop stressing about things I can't control!! I'm definitely not 100% good at that yet though and probably never will be. But it's definitely gotten better!

To me, those are some of the benefits that have made all my hard work more than worth it. How about you? What benefits have you gotten from writing?

Happy Birthday to ME!

Normally, I like to be pretty "blasé''" about my birthday but what the heck... I needed something to blog about and since today is my birthday, well here ya go!

As unbelievable as it seems, I am now 57. Which when I was young... meant half dead... old as dirt... wrinkled and shriveled up. And although I really am over half dead, because I've lived more life than I probably have left, I just don't feel that way! I still feel as though I'm only in my 30's.

I thought it might be fun to see how I've changed over the years. Ya'all want a good laugh don't you? So I'm going to share with you some photo's of me through the years.

Here's me in Kindergarten. Awe, ain't I cute! Too bad my oldest sister didn't agree. She thought I was the "devil!"


My first short haircut. Don't ya just love the curly Q!!??


I just thought this green shirt was the bomb!

High School Band, first chair. Too bad I faked my way through most of it!

Jr. Prom. My date looks scared to death. If he'd only known he was marrying the best wife ever! Yes... that's my hubby.

This is my favorite picture of my husband and I. We were probably 17 here. I thought he was sooooo sexy!

He must have thought I was too because here is our engagement picture six or seven yrs. later. Took him long enough!
Wedding with my grandma (left) and my mom in 1981. I'm all covered up! Don't cringe, you brides of today. ha!
Us in front of our first house as a married couple ever. My parents on the left. We were probably in our late 20's here. See I was skinny ONCE!!
New Orleans with my writer sister, Genilee on the left; older sister, Monya; brother Mark, and me. What the heck was I thinking with those pants!! I was probably in my 30's here.

My family. Think I was again in my 30's. I'm in the red.

And from then, it's all downhill. Here with my 10 chins and many pounds later in 2013.

I may be a lot fatter, have bottled hair, and old lady tags... but I'm a published author now! Woo hoo!

See, getting older isn't all bad. I've learned so much and am finally proud of what I've accomplished and am looking forward to many many more great adventures and books to write!

Thanks for travelling down memory lane with me. Happy Birthday to me!

A Different Kind of Rejection

As a writer, we all have to face many rejections in the process of trying to become published and it can be difficult, depressing, and leave us doubting ourselves. But it's all a part of the process for developing thick skin and ultimately, sticking to our guns, believing in ourselves, and hopefully published.

I was asked by someone the other day, how do I handle rejection from family and friends? How did I handle it when a close family member doesn't show interest or even request a copy of my book?

My answer was... I cry... a lot... it hurts... but it doesn't stop me from getting back into the game.

I think probably every writer has or will experience rejection from a loved one, but WHY is my question. However, I have no answer for that.

Sure, not everyone in our families is expected to love what we write, but shouldn't they at least try?

In my experience, I think some people don't take writing for children seriously. Especially us picture book writer's. And I do understand how people who know nothing about it, would feel that way. But that's no excuse for close family or dear friend's to reject our work.

We are writer's, we have feelings, and we work really hard and passionately at our craft. It's bad enough that we have to deal with all the rejection, waiting, rudeness, and being ignored from some submission editors... but shouldn't we at least be treated with respect from those close to us?

We also shouldn't have to endure rejection from other writer's. We all need to be there for each other, whether or not we've published one book, twenty, or none.

I know that I try the best way I can to support other writer's. It doesn't mean I can buy everyone's book, but there are other ways of support for instance: sharing Facebook posts concerning other writer's books; commenting on other writer's blogs; or conducting author interview's on our blogs.

I for one am going to try to do better this year with supporting my fellow writer's and I challenge the rest of you to do the same. Let's share the love!

2013 Lessons Learned

2013 was full of new adventures and challenges for me and I'm looking forward to what 2014 brings to my life.

In 2013, I was able to visit my immediate family more times than normal and that was a true blessing. I was also blessed with free time on my hands to truly breathe in the joy of all the holidays and was fortunate to be able to take my time with all the holiday decorating. I attended many book signings that were somewhat successful and gave me some great contacts. My husband and I's health did not go down hill, which is a challenge in itself. Watching my father struggle with alzheimer's was one of my most depressing challenges of 2013 and is only going to be worse in the coming years. However, seeing my mother overcome this diversity by getting 2 books published, all the while dealing with my fathers alzheimer's as well as her own medical challenges, has given me much strength. If she can remain positive and continue on... so can I.

I learned some important things in 2013 that hopefully will help me out in 2014:

1. The dirt in my house will not kill me for a few hours, even a day! There is always tomorrow to clean.
2. I will get more writing done if I stop cleaning every day!
3. Old friends are my most valued antiques.
4. I have to learn to not feed into the negative, drama filled people in my life.
5. My dogs aren't going to kill each other during their hissy fits!
6. I don't have to have a new piece of jewelry to make myself happy. (well I'm still working on believing that one)
7. If a manuscript gets rejected, it doesn't mean it's no good. Either keep sending to other publishers or pick it up and make it better.
8. It doesn't mean I'm not a writer just because I work on stories that are already in my inventory. I still created those stories at one time!
9. Starting a new story from beginning to end in one sitting (I'm talking picture books or short stories here) might be the best feeling in the world!
10. Editing and making a story polished and better, is even more wonderful!
11. Sending out a story I believe in to publishers makes me giddy.
12. If I really want to do something bad enough, I can do it!
13. Ignoring the laundry, doesn't produce clean clothes!

I've learned a lot more than that in 2013 but don't want to chase you all away with boredom!

My hope for myself as well as all of you is that 2014 brings us all many valuable lessons and of course lots of luck and good fortune!

Getting Back to Work

I hope everyone's holiday's were terrific and filled with family, fun, and love!

But, if you're like me, I'm finding it very hard to believe 2013 is over. It went so fast!

When I think about it, I feel a bit disappointed in myself for not accomplishing more. But then again, I'm really hard on myself. Although it feels like I didn't get all that much writing done, I did receive three new contracts for books in 2013 so I'm proud of that!

This year, my main new years resolution is to work harder at being more serious about my writing. I'm still feeling a bit guilty about not being more disciplined, therefore the lack of writing, but this year I intend to change that. When my husband teases me about not working (and yes, so far he's just teasing), I always come back with, "I do work, I'm a children's writer!" But it doesn't feel that believable to me because I'm not bringing in much money at all. So my goal this year is to work harder so I can believe myself when I say those words! I'm also going to work hard at developing my other skills so I can offer myself out. I've always talked to "psycho allyn #2" about the fact that I can design business cards, bookmarks, and flyers and knocked myself on the side of the head for not announcing that yet. I intend on doing that in the near future.

Something else I did this year was take more than the usual breaks from blogging. I don't intend to do that this year, however I'm not so sure it was a bad thing. Blogging is like a job, you need a break once in awhile! It's extremely hard for me to even believe I have a blog that anyone else in the universe is at all interested in reading and even harder to come up with something to say! But I'm going to try harder this year.

So I'm looking forward to this new 2014 year and ready to get back to work! How about you? Are you excited for a new year or sad that the old one is gone,