Patience, Perseverance, and Number #1 Best Seller

Patience and perseverance are two valuable principles I learned in my martial arts training. It means that our focus is on the journey, rather than the end result. And it explains why the students that come to our dojo with their primary goal of becoming a black belt are usually gone in just a few months. Because everything takes time and effort.

The same applies to every aspect of life. Focus on the journey, put in the time, the effort, and see what unfolds. That’s exactly what happened when I published my first book. I just focused on the journey, even though it was incredibly labor intensive.

When I heard that the “real work” in writing a book begins after it’s published, I found it hard to believe. After all, it took me two and a half years to write it. In reality, it actually took a lifetime, since it was the result of a culmination of life experiences, including the good, the bad, and the ugly.

When the book launched, I was delighted with the number of sales I received, as well as a few great reviews. And I was over the moon when I received two awards.

But then, sales dropped off. I spent hours of my time promoting the book, giving endless talks and presentations. I talked until my throat was raw. And I sold a few books, here and there.

It was frustrating. It was discouraging. But I never gave up, because I truly believe in my message. Patience, perseverance. Time, effort, mindset. Persistence. Incomparable stubbornness. I just knew that my target audience was out there, waiting to hear my message.

Finally, three years after the book was launched, my persistence paid off when I became a #1 Best Seller on Amazon in EIGHT categories. It was amazing. It was humbling. It was a miracle. But it took patience, perseverance, and a little help from my friends. Especially from the incomparable Polly Letofsky, who is the master of focusing on the journey. She is the first woman to ever walk around the world, and no, I am not kidding or exaggerating.

She also is the founder and owner of My Word Publishing, a company that helps newbie authors like Yours Truly get their work out into the world. And she certainly does it well. Thanks to Polly along with a healthy dose of patience, perseverance, persistence and unbelievable stubbornness, I am now a Best Selling as well as an award winning author. And, as you can see from the photo, I owe her lunch. And that’s one tab I can’t wait to pick up!

Writer’s Block

Writer’s block. Two words that can strike fear in the heart of every writer. And, like every writer, I have experienced it before, but nothing like I did over the past few months. It was so bad that I couldn’t write anything, not even my grocery list.

I would sit at my kitchen table, pen and paper in hand (yes, I am that old-fashioned), and stare off into space. I even tried to get some inspiration by flipping through a few of my favorite cookbooks. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

The blank paper seemed to mock me as I tapped the pen to my head trying to get some creative synapses firing. And still, I had nothing. Great. My Red Booth Writer’s Group was getting ready to rally and come up with another four new articles to submit to The Pueblo Chieftain, and I couldn’t even come up with a grocery list.

It was depressing. And I understood why writers sometimes go bonkers. Actually, I already knew why. There were many times I had to be talked off the ledge when I was in the process of writing and publishing my first book.

Maybe I was going to be one of those authors who were “one hit wonders.” And then, a few weeks ago, I was having a random conversation with another author at The Big Horn Book Nook at The Georgetown Christmas Festival. I told her the sweet story about my Sugar Plum Tree, and she listened with rapt attention. When I was finished, she said those magic words. “You should write that in a book!”

At first I didn’t give it another thought. But later that day, the flood gates opened. The next day I sat down at my computer and began to write. And I have been writing everyday since, except for one. I gave myself Christmas Day off.

But that wonderful author gave me the best Christmas gift I could receive. I’m starting the New Year with a return to a project that I started and abandoned 9 years ago. I’m not quite ready for the BIG REVEAL right now, but I am hoping to have my next book published this summer. I’ll keep you posted. Sometimes all we need are the right words, from the write person. Write on!

Episode #37: Life Is Stranger Than Fiction

Life really can be stranger than fiction. It can also provide you with remarkable opportunities, if you know how to look for them. In this episode, award winning author Helen Starbuck describes how she has done exactly that to create her award winning mystery series, “The Annie Collins Mysteries.”

Helen also shares her many “secret weapons” she uses in developing her characters and making them come to life, as well as how she decides when and how to kill them off, so to speak. After all, it IS a mystery series! She intertwines her professional experiences an operating room RN with her personal experiences to come up with unique story ideas, and reflects on how her career as a medical professional influences her stories.

She talks about why it’s so important to step out of your comfort zone, the joy of dancing through life, and the complexity of Baby Boomers learning social media. Download this episode to be inspired to write, dance, and live the life you deserve.

https://www.facebook.com/helensstarbuck

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https://www.amazon.com/Helen-Starbuck/e/B076KPPQ52/