If writing is your passion, never give up! So many things may get in the way — time or the lack of it, discouragement, the need to earn a living, life …. The list goes on and on, especially if your goal is to be published by a traditional publisher.
As writers, we all deal with discouragement whether we are trying to get published, or are already successfully published. Our journeys may be different, but the difficulties are similar if not the same. In today’s publishing industry, the age of the ebook and ease at which someone can get published independently has changed the course of the industry.
Why do we write? For me, it’s a passion for story. There is a story I can’t get out of my mind until I put it on paper. That’s how Hidden Bloodlines started — it was a story that perpetuated itself for two years before I attended my first writers conference in Estes Park, Colorado.
As an attorney and dietitian with multiple articles and one published nonfiction book, writing was my life, but my passion was fiction — a story to share. However, I quickly learned that writing fiction is a totally different “animal” than nonfiction. It is a different art and it was important that I learn the craft. Future articles will talk about this craft and how to achieve the necessary skills for success.
For those interested in becoming published by a traditional publishing house, the road may be long and bumpy with uncertain forks. If you are not interested in the years usually involved with a traditional publisher, you may want to go the Indy way. Regardless of which avenue you choose, when you reach that publication goal , it doesn’t end. There are millions of books out there and you may ask:
“How will anyone find me?”
“Can I make a living writing?”
“How successful can I be?”
“Is it even worth it?”
Thyme for Writers will help you discern the path that’s right for you. It will hopefully answer your many questions and help you avoid time consuming mistakes. I for one made mistakes that cost me years. Keep your eyes open for future posts that will steer you clear of these mistakes and make your road smoother.
Ann Gabhart is our guest today on Thyme for Writers. Ann is the bestselling author of over thirty novels, has been called a storyteller. That’s not a bad thing for somebody who grew up dreaming of being a writer. Ann’s historical novels have Kentucky backgrounds like her popular Shaker series and her new release, These Healing Hills set in Appalachia. She also writes about family life, love and sometimes mystery (as A.H. Gabhart) in small towns like her Kentucky hometown. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren and enjoy life out on the farm.
THYME TO THINK AND DREAM
by Ann H. Gabhart
Here we are almost to November, a month of thanksgiving when we consider our blessings. At my little country church, each Sunday we take a few minutes to mention blessings. Sometimes these are what you might think of as everyday blessings. Things like sunshine and rain. Birds and flowers. A child’s smile. A good sermon. An appreciated card. Being alive. So many reasons to be thankful. A good day at work. A restful night’s sleep. Maybe a baby sleeping through the night for the first time. A new rosebush. An old rosebush blooming.
These days we’re also blessed with numerous electronic ways to be entertained. At least I think that’s a blessing. Not long ago, I came across an article about how we are swamped with electronic means to avoid the uneasy condition of being bored. You’ve seen people with a phone in their hand continually. We can watch movies and shows with the touch of a finger on various devices. We keep up with what everybody else is doing on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter while sharing our own doings.
But if we continually look to some device to keep us entertained, we lose those times when our minds are just idling. Times when we might be bored. But those times might be our best daydream opportunities when our thoughts can wander while new ideas surface.
When I started writing for publication, I had two young children, so time was at a premium. That was back in the dark ages before clothes came out of the dryer ready to wear. I had to iron every week. Trust me, nothing is much more boring than pressing a pile of pants and shirts. Yet, at the same time, while my hands were busy with smoothing out wrinkles, my thoughts could take flight. I had time to think up story ideas and imagine characters I might want to meet on my writing page.
Of course, you don’t have to pull out the ironing board to have quiet time for creative thoughts. How about sitting on the back deck as the sun comes up and letting your thoughts meander? For my new book, These Healing Hills, I let my mind wander right over to the Appalachian Mountains as I considered the history of the Frontier Nursing Service. Then my character, Francine, showed up to take those mountain trails to being a midwife. One thought led to another and on until soon my fingers were on the keyboard coming up with yet one more story.
A person needs quiet moments now and again and a little boredom never hurt anybody. Unless of course you grew up on a farm and made the mistake of telling your dad you were bored. Then you might find yourself out in the field picking up rocks or chopping thistles! So hope you have some restful moments this Thanksgiving season to gather your thoughts, count your blessings and come up with some great new ideas.
When Francine’s plans for her future fall apart at the close of World War II, she discovers new purpose as a nurse midwife in the beautiful Kentucky Appalachian Mountains. Will she also find healing and perhaps discover the birth of new love? RT Book Reviews says, “Gabhart’s latest historical novel intrigues, inspires and entertains. . . Humor, grace and, of course, romance give the characters life and breath, and the message of faith is gently organic and sincere.” These Healing Hills is available at bookstores or online book sites. Find more information about the story and buy links at http://www.annhgabhart.com/books/these-healing-hills/
I would like to welcome Jill Haymaker as our guest today on Thyme for Writers. Jill was born and raised in Indiana and Ohio. After high school, she attended Bowling Green State University before moving to Fort Collins, Colorado. Ms. Haymaker made her home in Fort Collins until her recent move to East Texas. She practiced family law in Fort Collins for the past 20 years. She has three grown children, a son and two daughters. She also has three granddaughters.
Jill has always had a passion for writing. Colorado Sunset was her first full length romance novel in her Peakview, Colorado series. Her latest book, Colorado Summer Stars is the seventh book in the series. If you love small town romance, you will love the characters in this series. She also has had several short stories published by Chicken Soup for the Soul, the most recent in the book Random Acts of Kindness.
When not practicing law or writing, Jill enjoys The Colorado mountains, horseback riding, gardening, long walks with her Shetland Sheepdog, Laddie, and spending time with her children and grandchildren. She enjoys their numerous sporting events. She is also an avid football fan and can be found on autumn weekends cheering on her favorite teams. She has a passion for working with high school youth- she is a youth group leader at her church, coaches a high school mock trial team and is a volunteer at cross country and track meets.
On Writing Full Time
by Jill Haymaker
I recently quit my day job and moved to a new town and home, so that I could write full time. I was so excited. This would be great, nothing to do but write—all day, every day. But then the reality set in. I now had to figure out how to make a living writing. And how to manage my time.
Until now, my writing schedule had consisted of an hour or two here, an hour or two there. I soon learned, that if this was my full-time job, I needed to be more structured. I set up eight hour work days. Every morning I write for three or four hours, stopping every hour or two to stand up, stretch and take a short walk around my neighborhood, then I’m back at it until noon or after.
Most afternoons, I spend more time on marketing than actual writing. Back to paragraph one, where I said I need to make a living. I can’t say I’ve figured marketing out yet, but I’m getting closer. I keep trying new things, learning new techniques, and exploring social media for ideas. I now have time to read all those articles about marketing that I’ve saved over the years.
For the most part, I’m glad I made the leap. The solitariness of what I’m doing is hard sometimes. I need more interaction with the real world. On days when I feel isolated, I allow myself to take a day off. Last week I volunteered at a low income preschool one morning, and the next afternoon I helped cook and serve a meal at a homeless shelter. Both of these activities refreshed me and got me back to writing.
Sometimes I worry that my writing is not making a difference in the world, but then I read an email or review from a reader who says my books give them hope, help them to never give up on finding love or happiness. I hope they do that. It’s definitely the message I try to convey. Meanwhile, I now have a job that’s flexible enough to work in many volunteer hours. I feel truly blessed by this opportunity that God has given me and I intend to make the most of it each and every day for as long as I can continue to write. I truly love what I do.
You can contact Jill or purchase her Peakview Series with the following links:
How did her relationship go so wrong? When NICOLE PHILLIPS flees San Francisco after her boyfriend’s jealousy turns violent, she doesn’t know where to go next. Out of a job and a place to live, she heads to the only place she feels safe—her childhood home in the tiny town of Peakview, nestled high in the Colorado Rockies. The one place she’d sworn to never live again.
RICK BRADY was a skinny, nerdy kid, earning him the not-so-flattering nickname of Scarecrow in high school. He’d been glad to escape his reputation and leave Peakview behind. When his parents’ health begins to fail, he returns to Peakview and opens his own veterinarian practice on their ranch. He’s never really been in love, unless you count that crush he had on the most popular girl in school from kindergarten through senior year.
Now fifteen years after they both left town, they are back home and searching for answers to questions they can’t define. Beneath the beauty of the Colorado summer stars, they reconnect. They soon discover that it’s not easy to leave the past behind. To move forward and find true love, they must overcome their insecurities and doubts and learn to trust again. Come home to Peakview, Colorado where everyone has a chance at love.