Hello all, I hope May sauntered into your lives with sunshine and smiles. I, for one, was grateful to usher last month out the door. April, for me, was a tough month. It’s not easy for me to admit that, seeing as I am usually the self-appointed emotional cheerleader in the room striving to encourage others, but it’s true.
Apparently even the best of us must set our pompoms down from time to time in order to gain some perspective.
And perspective is what I got. So, I thought I’d share a bit of it with you, in case any of you are a bit blue and in need of a chipper word or fresh perspective. (Note to self: Overusing the word ‘perspective’ today…stop it.)
1. Don’t waste today worrying about tomorrow. Cliché? Perhaps. But still true. One of my friends and co-workers passed away last week after losing a brief and rather unexpected battle with cancer. If I haven’t said it enough, CANCER SUCKS. Period. Ron had to retire because of the intense chemo schedule determined by his doctors, and was gone three weeks later. His family was shocked at the suddenness of it all, as were we all. And even though the idea of dying scared Ron, he took on a sense of peace that last week as he told each of us he’d accepted Christ as his Savior a long time ago, and knew exactly where he was headed. In our teary good-bye, I asked my always-smiling, always-joking buddy to save me a seat up there. I have no doubt he’ll do just that. And this brings me to point #2…
2. Always watch for the opportunity to encourage and inspire. Even in the face of death, whether he realized it or not, Ron exemplified what faith truly means, and inspired countless friends and family with his acceptance and calm. I know he sure as heck inspired me.
3. Sometimes, blue happen. Yep, even for those of us gifted with perpetual grins and upbeat outlooks, lulls in our moods can and will happen. And rather than stress about it, or try and fight it, maybe it’s best to just go with it for a short while and see what lesson is buried within. Because there’s always a lesson to be found, if only we take the time to dig deep and look.
4.Safeguard your confidence. I had a few polite “no thank you’s” on the romantic suspense I’ve been shopping for a few months now. (In case you’re new to the whole writing thing, nothing happens quickly in publishing if you choose the traditional route. Nothing.) And though I’m confident in my writing, pleased with my “voice”, thrilled with the reviews I’ve received and the encouragement from my beta readers, somehow those minor rejections still managed to put a dent in my armor. But after mulling over the idea of colossal rewrites for a few days, I finally woke from my meow-meow state, pulled on my big girl panties, and said, “Nope, not gonna do it.” I’m happy with my work. Confident that it’s good. Heck, better than good. And if I have to try different avenues to get my fun and inspiring novels into the hands that need them most, then so be it. Look out world, ‘cause I ain’t done yet.
5. Editing, for me, can be a drag. Whether because of everything else going on in April or whatever, I got behind my self-imposed edits schedule for the new romance series I’m writing. (Which, by the way, you are going to LOVE. I promise.) And it dawned on me just today that maybe part of the reason I got behind is because for me, the fun is in the first draft. You’re meeting new friends/characters, shaping their lives (aka wrecking their lives and then putting them back together again for a happily ever after), and living with them in their imaginary worlds for weeks on end. And when the draft is done and the story complete, it can be a bit…sad. Just like when you read a book and are sad to reach the end. Only, with writing, you’re guaranteed LOTS more time with the characters because there’s usually some amount of editing to be done. And while my dear friend Judith Post reminded me this week that editing can be fun, because that’s where an author gets to add “finesse” to their work, I don’t typically view the process with such joy. But for you, Judy, I’m working to keep an open mind as I dig in and finish these edits. Because you’re right—that’s when we make our manuscripts shine. And our characters and readers both deserve that.
6. Brevity is not in my nature. Oh, wait—you already knew that.
So here’s to an optimistic, energized, and successful month. May we all keep our chins up, our hearts open, and our words inspiring. Because you never know how your example may impact another, or how many more examples you may even have time to set.