Posted in Guest Author

Please Welcome Grace Rockwell and her new release!

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! Today, I have a guest, Grace Rockwell. She’s here to tell us a little bit about herself and her book. So without further ado, take it away, Grace!

My name is Grace Rockwell. Since I was a young girl, I’ve wanted to write a book. As an adult I’ve thought about sharing my life story of domestic abuse, chronic pain and mental illness. But I struggled to know exactly how to write it and when.

But in the summer of 2018 that all became crystal clear to me. One day I sat down in my dining room, with my laptop, and started writing. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. Eight weeks later I had a first draft – about 120 pages and 18 chapters.

After those eight weeks I was stricken with a debilitating depression. For month after month I was stuck and sat despondent in my recliner. Then in March 2020 I started feeling better.

In June I decided that I needed to add “the rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey used to say. I finished my story and started looking for a publisher.

My manuscript was published and released in October 2020 by Westbow Press. The book is now available for purchase from the publisher and on Amazon.com.

This is what my book (Our Only Hope: Living a Life of Freedom) is about:

​“For those trying to weather through the storms of life, Grace Rockwell offers encouragement by sharing her own experiences and what she has learned from them. Growing up with chronic pain and in a negative abusive environment, where she was often rejected and alone, Grace learned to put her trust in the Lord. No matter what storms she faced, or how much pain she endured, Grace always came back to the Lord for help.

​Grace’s experiences will encourage you as you face your own storms in life. She reassures the reader that we can trust that God is always with us; He has a plan and a purpose for our lives. Our Only Hope will take you along Grace’s journey to find that the redemptive power of God is our only hope and it can become an anchor for our souls.

​Grace’s passions include not only spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, but also advocating for those suffering from chronic pain, domestic abuse and/or mental illness.”

Here is a sneak peek into the introduction:

          Do you ever get a song stuck in your head?…As I am writing this now, I’ve had the song You Never Let Go by Matt Redman stuck in my head for weeks. I’ve listened to other songs in the meantime, but it just won’t go away. Ugh! At this point I’m like, “OK. Must be I’m supposed to really think about the lyrics and the overall meaning of the song.” I’ve come to the conclusion that this song is really a reflection of my life, and all I have been through over the years.

          Speaking of my life, I’ve been looking back over the past 50 years and am feeling like now is the right time to share my story. I’ve also been praying a lot about where I’ve been, where I am, and where I want to be. Prayers about what the next 50 years will bring. Prayers about how to share my story.

          Last night as I was going to sleep, I felt the power and gravity of who God is. It was storming with a lot of lightening and loud thunder. The rain was pouring down on the house and I thought, “Wow, God! There really is NO stopping You!” Then I went to sleep praying, “Lord, I don’t know when you want me to share my story, or even if I’m supposed to write my story. But if it is Your will, please give me the words. I can’t do this on my own. I need some direction here. Thank You, Father. Amen.”

          The next thing I know my alarm is going off. It was time to get up and get ready for my morning appointment. The problem was that I didn’t want to wake up. I was too involved in my dream and I needed to know how it ended. Instead of going back into the dream, I felt the need to start writing down everything I could remember from  the dream. You see, a few weeks ago I read a book by Jane Hamon called Dreams & Visions. Jane is a Christian teacher who really changed my opinion about dreams through her book. I will never again think of my dreams as silly, passing whims of the subconscious mind. Instead, I now pay more attention and try to really think through my dreams and what they might mean. Jane states that, “individuals should examine their own dreams and learn to listen to God’s Holy Spirit through this God-ordained method of communication.” (19) She goes on to explain that it is important to write down what we can remember upon waking. This is because it is only in those fleeting moments that we can remember. Jane recommends keeping paper and pen beside your bed so you can write before you even get out of bed in the morning. Or if you wake in the middle of the night.

          So that’s exactly what I did. I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote. Nine sticky notes later, I had jotted down all of the elements I could remember. And as I wrote, I realized that God was answering my prayer from the previous night. He was giving me some of the ideas for this book. Part of my life story is within each element and character throughout my dream:

          Protagonist – Little Girl

          Antagonists – The Enemy, Young Mama, Old Mama

          Supporting Character – The Caregiver

          My dream started inside a church. The young mama had brought her little girl to the church looking for answers. The little girl had been telling her things that did not make sense. She was telling her mama about things she could do, but the mama knew those things were not possible. Mama had realized that her daughter would only make these claims while she was taking her pain medication. At the church was the little girl’s caregiver. The caregiver tried to tell the mama that her daughter’s allegations were true. But it wasn’t the medication causing the phenomena…The next scene opens into a small apartment. There are two beds with a TV between them. The young mama is sleeping in one bed, and the old mama is sleeping in the other bed. The unborn baby is in the corner sleeping in a beautiful, white lace bassinet. The apartment and its furnishings are old, dusty, and falling apart. The little girl enters the apartment and starts using her powers to regenerate everything in sight. She starts in the bathroom and with her simple words, she speaks into existence a new sink, a new bathtub, new towels, new paint on the walls, and new flooring. She then proceeds to the large room with the two beds, TV and bassinet. She starts to regenerate the walls, the decor….But then the enemy comes on the TV and starts telling the little girl lies. Lies that she can’t do this. She is not good enough. She should give up. As the enemy speaks, she starts to feel horrible and her powers begin to fade. Then her body morphs into a black cat. As the enemy continues to fill the room with lies, her cat body starts to fall apart. Limbs fall off and fur falls to the floor.

          Enter the caregiver. The caregiver walks over to the TV and switches it off. She then starts praying over the little girl. She pleads with God to put the girl back together. As she prays, the girl regains her body parts and starts turning back into a child. The caregiver continues to fervently pray over her until the girl is back to normal. But when the caregiver stopped praying, the little girl would start falling apart again. After several times of this happening, the caregiver realizes that she must fervently pray without ceasing over this precious little girl… After some deep soul searching, I was able to interpret my dream as huge parts of my life so far. The little girl is me. The enemy is Satan, and the mama (young and old) is my biological mom. The caregiver is a representation of six godly women who have loved on and prayed for me throughout my life. And finally, the baby represents the unborn babies who my mom had miscarried before my brother and I were born.”

The book is for sale on Amazon (click on the buy button below) You can get free shipping with USPS, just click this link – https://www.westbowpress.com/…/boo…/815694-our-only-hope

For those trying to weather through the storms of life, Grace Rockwell offers encouragement by sharing her own experiences and what she has learned from them. Growing up with chronic pain and in a negative environment, where she was often rejected and alone, Grace learned to put her trust in the Lord. No matter what storms she faced, or how much pain she endured, Grace always came back to the Lord for help.

Grace’s experiences will encourage you as you face your own storms in life. She reassures the reader that we can trust that God is always with us; He has a plan and a purpose for our lives. Our Only Hope will take you along Grace’s journey to find that the redemptive power of God is our only hope, and it can become an anchor for our souls.

Grace’s passions include not only spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, but also advocating for those suffering from chronic pain, domestic abuse, and/or mental illness.

Today Grace lives with her husband in a small farming community in West Michigan, not far from where she grew up. She and her husband have four grown children and nine grandchildren.

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal, Writing

Writing and Exercise Go Hand in Hand

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of vacationing and writing. We took the boys to a water park. It was fun, but we were ready to come home. Family vacations are important. They give us an opportunity to connect with our kids again. They’re especially important this year because of the pandemic. I’m so glad things are finally starting to open, and we can travel now.

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about staying active, especially for writers or people who sit at a desk for eight hours a day. It’s so important to get up and move. I’m trying to exercise at least five days a week. I was able to achieve that goal last week, but it’s harder when I’m working.

It’s important for writers to get up and move because writing is such a sedentary occupation. Did you know that sitting more than three hours a day can take two years off your life? Even if you exercise regularly, you still need to get up and move around every couple of hours. Take a break and go for a quick walk. Get the blood flowing again.

The benefits of exercise are not just physical. It helps with depression and anxiety. Exercise increases serotonin levels and dopamine levels which explains the fact you’re happier after you work out. I find that when I’m feeling anxious, going for a quick run helps reduce my angst.

I’ve also found that when I get stuck in my manuscript, if I step away from my work and go for a run or a hike, I can usually work out the problem. When I’m running, my brain works differently and I’m able to work out solutions to my story problems.

Any type of exercise will do. I run and do palates, but you could do Yoga or Zumba. Anything that gets your blood flowing. I used to do Yoga when I was younger and I’m going to start it up again just because I need the variety. How about you? What kind of exercise do you do? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, Writing

Are You a Destination Junkie?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve finally put the finishing touches on my story after making many, many changes. I’ve sent it off to my beta reader and hopefully she’s happy with it. Cross your fingers for me. 😊

But enough about that. I’ve been working out in the yard quite a bit, planting some flowers and shrubs and it’s such a refreshing feeling, especially after being cooped up in the house all winter. I need to get outside more because I’m working from home and during the winter it was hard to get out because it got dark so fast. So, it’s a real blessing to be able to get out and work in the yard.

I’m also running outside again. The dreaded treadmill season is over. The only time I’ll run on it during the summer is if it’s raining too hard to run outside. I’ve also added some weight bearing exercises to my routine to build up my muscles. I’m hoping to get back into the shape I was in before I had kids. I have a long way to go, though. LOL!

I have also gotten vaccinated. I did a lot of thinking about it and decided it was the right thing to do. I ran into a friend who had spoken to the scientists at a drug company and they explained everything to her, and it was her words that convinced me to get the vaccine. I’m glad I did it. I didn’t have a reaction other than a tender arm for both shots.

So, now that we’re all caught up on my news, I thought I’d talk about being a destination junkie. This is a person who thinks that they’ll be happy once they get that perfect job, or finish that book, or reach their goal weight. While these things will certainly make you happy, it’s important to enjoy the process of working toward that goal, because what happens if you never make it?

I know we don’t like to think about that, but sometimes we don’t achieve the goal we’ve been working toward, what happens then? Is all that time we spent working toward that goal a waste?

My answer is no. If you’re getting something out of the journey while you’re working toward your goal, it’s worth the time.  For example, my writing. I would love to be a New York Times Best-selling author, but I might not ever get there. But that’s okay if I’m getting something out of the writing process while I’m creating my stories, then it’s worth it. To me, writing is a stress reliever, an escape when my life gets bogged down in the routine of work, kids, and household duties.

Let’s say it’s taking me longer to reach my goals at work, that can be frustrating and can cause a lot of angst. When I start feeling that angst, I focus instead on my writing and it makes me feel better. So, you see my writing relieves my stress and my angst. It has a dual purpose until I can reach my goals.

So, don’t be a destination junkie. Enjoy the process and you’ll get more out of life. Are you a destination junkie? What are some of the things you do to alleviate that situation? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

Balance and Perspective

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of working and working on my craft. I took some time off to read a craft book this week and I’m glad I did. It was a good book. It’s titled “The Secrets of Story.” If you’re looking for a book to help you with your writing, this book is for you.

The Secrets of Story: Innovative Tools for Perfecting Your Fiction and Captivating Readers by [Matt Bird]

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about finding balance and perspective. I struggle with these issues daily because my passion is my writing, but I have a passion for my family, a passion for my work, and I also need to take care of my health by exercising and eating right.

Sometimes, I get frustrated because I can’t write. I have to take care of my kids, fix a meal, or work my day job. Then I have to fit in time for exercise. This is what I struggle with. Many times, I have to choose between exercising and writing. Sometimes I choose writing and feel guilty because I know I should be exercising for my health. It’s a constant battle. Sometimes I do exercise and wish I were writing instead. These negative emotions I experience detract from the enjoyment of my exercising or my writing.

Since I don’t want to have deal with negative emotions, I’ve got to change my attitude, because with my hectic schedule, I’m always going to have to choose between the two. So, when I choose to exercise, I tell myself I’m doing something that’s good for my body, my soul, and my brain. Exercise is a great way to fight depression, burn calories, and get your blood flowing so your brain gets the oxygen it needs. Instead of telling myself I must do this because I want to keep my weight under control or because I ate pizza for dinner, I tell myself my writing will be better if I exercise. This one little change in my perspective allows me to enjoy my exercise and my writing. After I exercise, I have the rest of the evening to write. Therefore, I don’t feel guilty when I’m writing because I know I already exercised.

I’ve also gotten better at defining exercise. I used to feel like I had to run four to six miles at a time before I could call it a workout. That’s not entirely true. I can do strength training and that’s exercise. I can do Pilates and that’s exercise. So is yoga. I’ve been adding these activities to my exercise routine to help build the muscle I’m losing as I age. By adding Pilates and Yoga to my regime, I’ve eliminated my sciatica pain. The difference is amazing, and my writing has improved.

So, there you have it. By changing my perspective about exercise and writing, I’ve been able to enjoy my exercise more. I don’t enjoy it in the beginning. It’s always hard to get started, but by the end, I’m always glad I did it.

I also enjoy my writing more. I don’t feel guilty when I sit down and take some time for my stories. How about you? How do you balance it all? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Writing

There are No Guarantees

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of work and writing. I was able to take some time off yesterday and head to one of the beach towns near me and have dinner with the hubster. After dinner, we went for a walk on the beach. I got some great shots of the sunset and it was nice to get some fresh air. It was good to get outside. Other people had the same idea because the beach was packed and there was a lot of traffic, much like the traffic on a hot, sweltering day.

Photo from last night’s walk

But enough about that. Today I want to talk about something that I feel many writers struggle with, including me. And that is, the fact there are no guarantees. You can be the best writer in the world, but your story may not be what agents and publishers are looking for. It’s a bitter pill to swallow especially after you’ve spent so much time writing the story, then editing it, and rewriting parts of it. Sometimes, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth all the time and effort you’ve invested in it.

But when you really think about it, there are no guarantees in anything in life. There’s no guarantee that you’ll get a job in your field of study once you graduate from college. There’s no guarantee that the person you’ve invested so much time with will be the one you end up in a long-term relationship or marriage with. There are really no guarantees for anything in life.

That’s why, you have to enjoy the process. You must enjoy the act of writing. Of putting sentences together to form a story in order for it to be worth it. It can’t be all about the result. We all want to be bestselling authors, but we don’t know if we’re going to get there or not. All we can do is put the time in, write, and hope.

But if you enjoy the act of writing, you can do it just for the pure joy of it. You can see your own growth even if the rest of the world doesn’t appreciate it. When you can get to that point, it doesn’t matter whether or not the public appreciates your work, you do. So keep writing. Besides, there are other avenues available to authors these days, like self-publishing. But that’s another blog post for another day.

So, keep writing and hoping. You’ll get where you need to go. Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How about you? Are you writing for the pure joy of it? How do you overcome the end result blues? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, Writing

Celebrate the Small Victories

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long week of being in the editing cave and working. I’m excited to say, I’ve got my edits done and this story is going to stick. I’ve changed the story so many times, I’ve lost count, but that’s okay. It’s better because of the changes I’ve made.

But enough about that. Today I want to talk about celebrating the little victories in life. They’re so important because one they are your wins, and two because it may take you a long time to achieve that big victory.

It can get depressing waiting for that new job or for that agent to recognize what a gem your manuscript is. So, my advice is don’t wait. Celebrate those little victories Meet a friend for lunch or have your hubby take you out to dinner. It’s important to step away and take a few moments to revel in how far you’ve come even if you have a long way to go.

It’s also important to celebrate these small victories because it gives us a moment to check in with the important people in our lives. We get so busy working toward our goals that we sometimes get tunnel vision and ignore them. Don’t do that. Let them be a part of your celebration. Our families are important. We need to let them know they’re more important than any goal we may be trying to achieve. So, let them participate in your small victories with you. They’ll feel like they’re contributing, and they are. It’s just their contribution isn’t tangible.

Now our goals don’t have to be just about work or a creative endeavor. They can be about our health or maybe travel. These goals are just as important and need to be celebrated, too. For example, losing ten pounds to keep from becoming diabetic. That’s an important goal that needs to be acknowledged also. Or maybe planning a family vacation. That’s important, too.

I think you’re seeing the trend here. We can’t get tunnel vision waiting for a big promotion or the acceptance of a creative endeavor. We need more than one goal to sustain us. So, if we don’t make that big goal, we’re okay because we’ve achieved and celebrated all these other goals on the side.

That way we can keep moving forward with a positive attitude. Thanks for stopping by and reading my post! What small victories have you forgotten to celebrate? What are you going to do to celebrate? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, Writing

Where to Find your Writing Family

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. It’s Valentine’s Day and I hope you have a happy one. Hubby and I went out for a quick dinner last night. It was good to get out of the house and spend some time just the two of us. The dinner was quick because it was snowy and cold, and we had a nice warm fire waiting for us at home. That fire was hard to resist.

But enough about that. Today, I want to express my appreciation to the writing community. I haven’t done a writing post in a long time, but I felt today was an appropriate day to do so. The authors I’ve met in person and online have been amazing. They’re always willing to help, share their knowledge, and provide support. I appreciate that so much. I’ve been working on my latest WIP for a long time now, and I must say I’m proud of it. I wouldn’t have gotten this far without the help I’ve received from my writing family.

So, if you’re working on a novel, I would recommend reaching out to other authors in your area or online to offer their guidance. Writing can be a lonely job and it’s always good to connect with like minded people who understand what you’re trying to do. To find a writing group, call your local library and see if they know of any in your area.

There are also mentor programs online. I’ve worked with one Author-Mentor Match and it was amazing. We’ve created a family where we offer support and advice in our group. They provide critiques and encouragement and when we get involved in twitter pitch contests, we are there to retweet each other’s pitches. I’ve never experienced so much support in such a competitive environment. Another well known Mentor program is Pitch Wars, and I’ve heard they’ve had great success as well. So, thank you to my writing family. I appreciate all your support and encouragement.

So, if you’re looking for fellow authors a good place to start is Twitter. Start following the hashtags #amwriting and #writingcommunity. That’s where we find each other.

So, come join us! We’re here for you!

Where do you go to get your support? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in books, Personal, Writing

Self-Doubt: The Silent Killer

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week at work and writing. I’ve finally gotten through my story. I’ve eliminated quite a few words because I really had to scale it down. It’s coming around. I’m really excited about it.

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about self-doubt. As you know self-doubt is something that writers and artists suffer from. It’s the slayer of many stories and paintings. We all suffer from it. Remember when we were kids and we weren’t afraid of anything? We just found joy in creating? That’s the mindset we need to get back.

I call self-doubt the silent killer. Why? Because it has stifled more creative voices than criticism ever will. It’s that tiny voice in your head telling you you’re not good enough. There’s no way to argue with it because it knows every mistake and tiny flaw you have. It magnifies the missteps or flaws until it’s all that you see.

While a critic? You can argue with a critic because they don’t know all the mistakes and imperfections the voice in our head does. A critic doesn’t really “know,” does he? Whereas that voice knows all.

It blows everything out of proportion and steals your inspiration. So, how do you deal with self-doubt. How do you silence that inner voice and move forward?

First, you surround yourself with people who believe in you. This is a must. These people will help you crush that voice when it starts in on you. To find like minded people you could join a club or a writer’s group. They will help you stay strong.

But what about those times when you can’t talk to those shining stars that talk you down from the ledge? That’s when you need to put together some positive affirmations. You can put them in a book by your desk, or tape them to your computer, or to your mirror. Whatever works for you.

Sometimes that inner critic comes out when you’re tired. When that happens, all you need to do is rest. This is when self-care is critical. I know when I’m tired or feeling out of balance that voice comes on strong. So, it’s important to recognize when you’re just worn out and need a change of scenery. Dealing with your inner critic means you must know yourself well.

Remember, you’ll never silence that voice, but you can weaken it until it’s only a whisper. You can do this by surrounding yourself with like-minded people, positive affirmations, and self-care.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have any techniques you use to silence the self-doubt that seeps into your work? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Health, mental-health

Keep Fighting the Good Fight

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of being busy at work and working hard on my WIPs. But enough about that, today I’d like to talk about the importance of exercise in your self-care regime.

The reason I’m writing this post is to remind myself to exercise. It’s getting colder outside and I’m at that point where I have to transition from running outside to running on a treadmill. I don’t like running on a treadmill and I do it grudgingly because it’s important for my health. So, as you probably have already surmised it’s very easy for me to skip my run during this time.

But I shouldn’t do that because exercise is so important for our bodies and our brains. It increases blood flow which helps in the absorption of oxygen and strengthens all our muscles including our hearts.

It also helps with depression and anxiety. I must remind myself of this during the winter months when it’s easier to slip into that seasonal funk. So, I’m making a concerted effort to continue my exercise routine, but this year I’m going to try something new. I’m thinking about adding another dimension to my exercise routine. I’m going to try Pilates. I’ve heard of it and I’m going to check out a new gym that just opened near my house. I’m not stopping the running, but I think it’s time to build up strength in my core, so I don’t have back issues later in life.

Our bodies need a solid foundation just like our writing does. Did you know running is good for your bones? It is. In fact, running can reverse osteoporosis, so can walking. Any weight bearing exercise is good for your bones.

I feel exercise helps me with my writing as well. All that extra blood and oxygen going to my brain gives my creativity a boost. Since being a writer is my passion, anything that boosts my creativity is good for me.

So, why do I find it hard to exercise when it’s so good for me? Because it’s hard work. I get hot and sweaty and I have to clean up. All of that takes time and right now time is precious to me. I want to spend it with my family. I want to spend it writing. I don’t want to spend it slogging away on a treadmill even if it’s good for me. So, there you have the dilemma I face when I must choose between exercise and writing or exercise and my kids.

It doesn’t sound like a tough choice, but it is. Because exercise is so important, and I must remind myself that I will have MORE time with my kids and MORE time for my writing IF I exercise. I’m extending my life because I’m putting time in now to take care of myself.

This post is a reminder for me, but it’s also a reminder for you to keep up the good fight against disease and illness and continue your exercise regime. What is your exercise routine during the cold winter months? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Guest Author, Writing

From the Writing Trenches with Linda Ransom

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! Today, I have a guest post from author Linda Ransom and she’s writing today about how to deal with anxiety and self-doubt. Take it away, Linda!

A Post from the (Writing) Trenches

            Writing is difficult. What I have found, however, in writing a young adult fantasy trilogy and now moving onto another young adult fantasy series, is that the anxiety and self-doubt that accompany the written word are even harder to manage.

            Anxiety and self-doubt are things most writers learn to deal with as they go, but that doesn’t mean those things go away. In fact, they usually get worse the more books you write and publish. This seems odd, you might think, and you’re right – it is odd. I can only speak for myself, and from my own experience, of course; some writers may never feel pressure about their work.

            With each book I write and publish, I wonder if it’s good. Will anyone want to read it? What if my characters aren’t compelling enough? What if no one cares about them as much as I do? All of these questions, and countless more, roam randomly through my mind every day. Mind you, sometimes not as loudly as other days – sometimes the questions are mere whispers that I’m able to ignore. Other days, like right now, as I’m writing this, they roar. The doubt and anxiety shriek inside my head so much that I want to go back to bed and never, ever, write again.

            What causes the stress and the doubt?  Sometimes, it’s bad reviews. More often than not, though, it’s my inner critic. Every writer has one. The IC lives to tell you how terrible you are. It loves to nitpick every single thing you write. On a writer’s best day, she can tell it to be quiet. Or, you know, yell, “SHUT UP!” at it. Those days, it’s easy to believe in yourself and your work. You love your story, your characters.

            And then there are the other days. For me, that’s today. My next series, The Traitors’ War, is one I’ve been circling around and working on since 2005. I have numerous notebooks and Pinterest boards devoted to it. I’ve written the first book several times; it’s never been right. But I just finished what is probably the fifth or sixth draft of it (I’ve lost count by now), and it’s good. It’s right.

            Or, I thought it was, when I finished it last week (September 5th). Today, when I’m almost a week out from it? The Inner Critic is telling me how bad it really is, how no one would ever want to read it, and that my time spent writing is wasted.

            On my best day, I don’t hear my IC. On a good day, a normal day, I can keep its buzzing voice down so it’s not that noticeable. And on a day like today, I just listen to it, because maybe it’s right. Maybe my time would be better spent doing something else, like a reading a book by one of my favorite authors, a writer who knows what she’s doing.

            But the thing is, does she? Do any of us who write? Or do they do what I have to do: plow ahead anyway, pretending like they know they’re decent, maybe even good, writers?  One can only hope. I know I’m not alone in this struggle with the IC. But even if I am, there’s nothing to be done for it but to keep writing, because I’ve discovered over time that I can’t not write. I can’t let my fantasy world I’ve built up over the last fifteen years waste away out of fear that I’m not good enough for it.

            That’s really the root of the thing for me. I love Imperium, my fantasy world, so much, and the people in it, that I’m afraid I’m not the writer it needs. I’m afraid it needs a better, stronger, smarter writer, that it deserves one. But I also believe that stories find the one meant to tell them, too. I believe Imperium came to me because I can handle it. I believe the same of my Flying Ponies trilogy, too. Those antique magical carousel horses and the Flynn family wanted insignificant me to tell their story, and I did, to the best of my ability. Another writer could’ve done it better, I’m sure. I’m still learning my craft. But they chose me, and I’m so glad they did. That was a marvelous adventure, and I know I’ll have many more with The Traitors’ Warif I don’t listen to my Inner Critic.

            So what’s a writer to do when the anxiety and self-doubt set in? I think the answer is, it’s different for everyone. Every writer is unique. Every story is different. And your IC is specific to you, too, and the kind of stories you write. Writing all of this down, getting it all out – it helps. Will it help you? I don’t know. But once you find what works for you, what keeps your IC at bay – use it. Do it. Why?

            Because no one can tell your story but you.

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It’s time for the final round-up. Charlotte Flynn has fought enemies, battled monsters and fallen in love. Now, with the help of Black, Dante and her family and friends, she will face down Penumbra and his herd one last time. Penumbra’s power has grown. Summoning all the loose magic to himself, the dapple-grey has become almost invincible. Only a few Flying Ponies, including Dreadful and Chieftain, can withstand his call. Knowing time is running out, Charlotte and her allies make a stand at a run-down amusement park. There they hope to trap Penumbra and strip away his magic. But little do they realize how truly dark his magic has grown, or how strong. Charlotte will have to unite her family and ally with her enemies if she has any hope of defeating Penumbra and unifying the Flying Ponies for good.

Spin (The Flying Ponies) https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732058849/ref=cm_sw_r_fm_apa_i_mP7zFbKXB3SBP

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Lift (The Flying Ponies) https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732058806/ref=cm_sw_r_fm_apa_i_3P7zFb0QC7B2Y

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Tilt (The Flying Ponies) https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732058822/ref=cm_sw_r_fm_apa_i_kQ7zFbZWB3F80

Thanks, Linda for being a guest today and sharing your thoughts! It’s greatly appreciated. How about you? How do you deal with your anxiety and self-doubt? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!