Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Guest Blogger Jacqui Jacoby: Forward Motion

Forward motion makes the world go round in a very real, astronomical way. All that gravity and stuff...spinning planets, etc. It’s not something we really think of as we sit down to our computer to open our Facebook, check Twitters, open the day planner and then, finally, open that file we either love or hate, depending on the day of the week.
Forward motion creates and maintains a writer’s career, it writes the books in that file. It moves us in the right direction every time we start to type.
If you are a writer just starting out, that new cursor blinking at you, waiting for you to type, the first words can be scary. You have that whole novel in front of you and do not know what to expect. .
If you are close to finishing your first story, then you have entered it in a few contests. You are awaiting the results, hoping for the agent or editor to say you did this right.
If you have finished that first book, won that contest, the book is now polished, ready to be submitted for representation.
Once you get representation, you wait for that first contract.
You get that first contact and then you wait for the second.
Then the five book deal...
. does not matter how many steps you take in your writing; there are more to go. If you attend a conference and you go to the luncheon, there will be someone sitting to your right at the table who is four steps behind you, looking to you for support and encouragement. They will think wherever you are is where they wish they could be. To your left is a person four steps ahead. You will want to ask them questions about their journey.
Because all of us have a journey. All of us have a place to go as well as a place we have been. The secret to surviving and thriving is learning to juggle the two with equality. I learned from some of the best: Dean Kootnz, Suzanne Brockmann, Nora Roberts. There is a talent to “arriving” in our job, to selling that book, that article, that--whatever. You will be excited, but you have to, as they did, keep a level of humility that makes it possible to turn to that person four steps behind and ask “what can I do for you?"

You have paid your dues, now is time to teach some of what you know to the next generation coming up behind. .
I got an e-mail just this week telling me I was famous.
I, of course, had to print this out and save it just so I could jokingly show my kids and prove to them that yes, I really do things at the computer besides update my blog and look at YouTube clips, that there is more in the package than “Mere Mom.”
But the e-mail made me pause. Made me wonder. Why? Why would someone say that? It was flattering, of course, and I don’t report it just so everyone realizes it happened. I say it because...don’t all of us deserve that e-mail? Haven’t all of us done something to deserve that message?
Fame has never been a big deal with me. Either obtaining it or sitting across from it or sending it a letter. Whether a person is just starting out or already arrived, my tone of voice, my familiarity with the person I am speaking to, it will always be the same. I can think of at least two people high up on the fame food chain who would probably wish I was more reserved and less friendly and I can promise them, I am working on it--it’s just--well--besides the fact they are fun to talk to? I can blame it on Clive Cussler in one of the lessons he taught me when I sat with him in a bookstore, just the two of us: you have to keep looking back, remembering that you were once at the beginning, too. Remembering that is the only way you will ever move forward with class. His candor, his friendliness, passed off to me? I hope I have what he has and I can pass it on, too.
Sitting down to write a book has got to be one of the most dedicated, mind numbing professions on the planet. We are creating real worlds with real people who otherwise would never be heard and that is an amazing feat.
But every step we take in our career, from that first blinking cursor to the day we hit send on the copy we are submitting, to a book on a shelf, it is all about forward motion. Every time we type--forward motion. Everything thing we do in this job, in our lives, each and every day--forward motion.
The trick, the balancing act, is to continue that forward motion on a daily basis, while looking over our shoulder at our past and remembering that even the people behind us, they are on the forward motion journey, too, and we can reach back and lend them a hand, making our forward motion even more amazing.
Enjoy the trip because the experience is as good as the reward.
Share with us today where YOU are in this “forward motion” – and what you are offering those coming along behind you.
If you’d like to be entered in a drawing to win a “Gone With The Wind” Barnes & Noble book bag, leave your mail addy with your comment (remembering “at” and “dot”).
Award winning author and 2009 Golden Heart Finalist, Jacqui Jacoby lives and writes in the mountains of Northern Arizona. She is a working mom whose career includes writing books, penning short non-fiction and teaching online and live courses. Jacqui can be reached via her website at


  1. My daughter is trying to write a book - and she has started over for the second time. She finished her first rough draft and was so excited. Then as she began to go back over her book she didn't like the way a certain character was turning out - so back to the drawing board. I know there are days when writing is hard for her and some days writing is a breeze-like it takes on a natural flow. I admire all you authors so much for the work you put into your books. I think not does someone have to have a talent for writing but also for determination for not giving up.

  2. What an incredibly awesome post!!! I SO hope I will be humble and never find myself looking down at someone else. You said things exactly right in this post. ;-) I love your attitude!
    I'm in the first contract part, wondering if I'll get a second someday. LOL
    Thank you for the great post!

  3. I'm at the polishing stage. I've written 2 books and trying to write a query letter that will be interesting enough to grab an editor or agent's eye. This is almost more nerve wracking than polishing the book.
    As far as helping others, I'm part of the big ACFW crit group and hope in that way I'm helpful.
    Thanks for this post!
    Oh yeah, I'd like to be entered in your contest.


  4. Hi Jacqui! Thanks for joining us in Seekerville today and reminding us to "give back" wherever we are on this journey. That's what Seekerville is all about.

    I know for myself, sometimes through the years I've felt like I'm such a newbie author what could I possibly offer other aspiring writers?

    But then I started judging contests, served as a newsletter editor & co-president of my regional RWA, helped put on a mini-weekend writing workshop, etc. Right now I'm putting together a gift basket for my RWA's raffle.

    There are so many things we forget we've learned that someone else just starting out may not know -- maybe something as "simple" as how to format a manuscript. So I imagine most of us have some little "something" we can share with other new writers. And it's so much fun to watch those writers grow--and even get published!

  5. Every day means movement, for me. If I don't write, I'm not a writer. Writing means action, and the joy of it is in the days (and nights) I actually sit down and write.

    Momentum really is important, and not just with writing.


  6. Every day is forward motion for me. Progress, even a little is great.
    andantespirit (at) gmail (dot) com

  7. Hi Jacqui and welcome to Seekerville!

    Great post on giving back and especially saying thanks to the myraid of personalities that took the time to talk to me, teach me and even BEFRIEND me when I was starting out on the writing journey all those years ago.

    Oh my goodness. May I always be as encouraging and helpful!

    Which is why I continue to judge contests. I love it. Encouraging and telling new writers what they've done RIGHT is such a joy.

    I pray I always have the opportunity to help!

    Great to have you here, Jacqui!

  8. Welcome back to Seekerville, Jacqui. And Amen, and Amen.

    Savor the journey and stop to chat to those you pass on the road. Not unlike my morning walk. :)

  9. Forward true. Ruthy's always reminding us to keep moving in the right direction and we'll eventually get where we want to go. Some days it's a baby step, some days a hop, other days a leap. Some days it's two steps forward and one step back.

    Like Shakespeare mentioned, momentum can keep us going. A regular time to write and sticking with it. Working ahead when we can. Not beating ourselves up when we can't. Just getting back on track and moving forward again.

    PATSY, that's so cool your daughter is writing a book! And so great that you're her cheerleader and can encourage her on those days when words come slowly.

    JESSICA -- Oh, YES, I anticipate you'll get that second contract, and a third, and a fourth. And CONGRATS again on the sale!!

    JACKIE -- Your having completed two books is something most people who SAY they want to write only dream about! So pat yourself on the back for such an accomplishment!

    You're right, that query letter can be more nerve wracking than writing the book. I bet I wrote mine a million times, trying to make every word count, to hold the reader's attention, get my story "blurb" condensed to an intriguing sentence or two.

  10. I imagine Jacqui will be along in a bit...we touched base yesterday and she was looking forward to dropping in to chat today---but it's only 6 a.m. in Arizona!!

  11. Really nice post today just filled with words of wisdom.

    I like the fact that we're all on this journey together, some behind, some before, and all of us in the middle. :)

  12. Okay, this is simply not fair!! Jacqui is offering a Gone With the Wind tote bag and as a Seeker, I am not eligible to enter?????


    Okay, I'm better now ... not over it, mind you, but better ...

    LOVE the blog, Jacqui, and SO very true!! Every time somebody acts like I am famous (all of two times!), I get a cold chill, like it's SO not true and SO not worthy of mentioning because, YES, all of us DO work hard to get where we are, wherever we are on our writing journey. And you know what, that type of e-mail is deadly anyone, because it gives you a false perception of the truth and tampers with the humility we all so desperately need if we are going to write for Him.

    As far as where I am in this "forward motion," I just sent my 6th book to my agent the day before yesterday and am ready to dive in to a new 3-book series, but even so, I still feel like a newbie, learning something new every single day. Which is good, I guess -- better than stagnate!

    Thanks for coming to Seekerville, Jacqui -- this was fun!


  13. Welcome to Seekerville, Jacqui! I love the forward motion concept. In essence we never arrive. I'm grateful to have sold six books and a novella, but if not for God, I know I couldn't do this.

    Writers are generous people. Many have helped and encouraged me along the way. I hope I'm doing the same.

    Coffee's ready! I brought blueberry pancakes and bacon this morning.


  14. ERICA - It's kind of like being on a wagon train, heading to a similiar destination. :)

  15. I’m totally stoked at the prospect of winning a Gone with the Wind book bag! As far as my forward motion right now, it’s literally one foot in front of the other, one word on top of the last, a reasonable word count, a space of time managed between work and school and life to do that amazingly special thing—write. At this point in time, I can’t even imagine being that person who other writers are looking to for encouragement and advice, let alone looking ahead to selling multiple books. I’m polishing as I go with the help of my exceptional critique partner, so when I go back through when I’m done, hopefully it won’t be as time consuming or painful to edit.

    Please enter me for a chance to win!



  16. JULIE -- I thought that GWTW book bag would catch your eye. :) And CONGRATS on getting that 6th book out the door!!

  17. What a wonderful post! Thank you.

  18. Went to bed earlier than usual last night and didn't get the coffee pot set up. So here it is. Line up and have a cup!

    I've judged a couple of contests, and right now I'm reading a ms for a crit partner.

    I've finished several manuscripts and just got a request from an editor for a complete of one of them.


  19. JANET & AUDRA -- I'm like you, so MANY people have helped me along the way. Family to encourage. The published writers in my RWA group who taught and supported and cheered me on. SUPER BIG thanks to the contest judges who helped me better learn the craft. And, of course, big thanks to God and the Seekers without whom I still would be unpublished.

  20. Welcome, Jacqui!! Great post. I've had so many writers help me on the journey to publication (and who continue to help me navigate the publishing world) that I always want to share the knowledge. We all need each other!

  21. Hey! I wanted to let all of you know Lindi Peterson's book, Her Best Catch, is free on Kindle right now! (she was a guest with us last month)

  22. THANKS HELEN! I was getting a little worried when I didn't see the coffee on this morning!

    Let's see, in honor of Jacqui and her northern Arizona roots, I've put on some southwestern omelets--with fresh pico de gallo, of course! And muffins with prickly pear fruit bits and pine nuts. Potatoes seasoned with a teeny bit of roasted red pepper. Oh, and breakfast burritos!

  23. WHITNEY -- Work, school AND writing! That's a plateful! You're right on track with that one foot in front of another business. And I bet you'd be surprised at how much you know already that a brand new writer just beginning to explore the possibility doesn't yet know!

  24. Glynna, I need a second omelet!

    I am here close to finishing my first story, entered it in two contests. Awaiting the results of CAT5 Woodlands, TX ACFW right now, and YES, hoping for a final!

    Like Jackie, I'm a member at Scribes (The big ACFW Crit Group), and while I think I'm benefiting more than I'm giving back, I do reach out as much as I can. And I couldn't have asked for a better critique partner either, who I wouldn't have found without connecting here on Seekerville, so thank you all for giving back too.

    And I would love a chance at the bookbag. nancykimball at hotmail dot com

  25. Every once in a while someone will introduce me to someone else by saying, "Mary Connealy is famous."
    My standard reply is, "If I was REALLY famous, I don't think you'd have to tell people."

    Writers are kind of anonymous for the most part. Our faces aren't exactly front and center of what we do. And yes, we all have author's photos, but c'mon, admit it, most of you are using a ten year old picture if you can possibly find one.
    So fame is a strange concept and like everything else, it's all who you compare yourself, too.

  26. I'm stuck in a rut that I don't understand. I have no forward motion. I have a lot of ideas and a few words down, but as my pastor husband would say, I'm sitting in the seat of do-little.

    I need to get on that forward motion thing.

    This is a great post, and I'd love to win the Gone With the Wind bag. I'm not quite the fan Julie is, but I do love Rhett.

    Speaking of Julie~

    Congrats on the 6th book. I hope when I've completed 6 books, I can remain humble enough to say I still feel like a newbie. BTW I just purchased your second and third books off Barnes and Noble with my birthday money. I'm impatiently awaiting their arrival later this week. Could it be today?

  27. Great post and POV Jacqui!
    I am at the first contract phase, hopefully I will be able to help others too :)
    You've captured the heart of Seekerville in your post!
    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

  28. Thank you everyone for the wonnderful welcome and I do apoligize for my late arrival. A nasty cold kept me in bed too long.

    Wonder what stage of the journey that is? LOL

    There are so many great comments here, with so many supportive people. The mere fact you posted placed you on the map of helping out while recognizing those who helped you. That is amazing.

    I will be around for the rest of the day and cannot wait to hear what else everyone has to say.

    Thank you again,


  29. Hi, Jax and Glynna and everyone else.

    I'm at an exciting juncture in the journey -- a Golden Heart finalist about to attend her first-ever National conference.

    I hope someone out there will take me under their wing, because I'm nervous about attending.

    As for giving back, I don't think it's a coincidence that my writing success has taken off just as I've gotten more involved in my local RWA chapter ... and volunteered to judge the GH this year.

  30. Hi, everyone!

    I like the idea of "forward motion." It makes me think of my science roots, and how "an object in motion will stay in motion" until something acts on it to stop it.

    And there are so many things that can act to stop you. So many distractors. Ugh.

    My first book is coming out soon, and it sounds like they want to do a series, but we'll see. This business can be so uncertain. For now, I'm enjoying this part of the journey, and trying to write daily (the most important part!) amidst all the distractions that threaten to stop forward motion. (I may just be stubborn enough to defy the laws of physics this time. :) )

    Happy writing, everyone!

  31. I'd love to win the bag, as I mentioned.

    Here's my email, which I failed to mention.

    andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

  32. I think I'm moving forward, but instead of advancing, I'm running on a treadmill! I'm exaggerating--slightly.

  33. Lovely and inspiring post, Jacqui, and welcome back to Seekerville!

    "Forward motion" for me these days is getting another box unpacked and stuff put away in our new house. My wip is going through cycles of frantic effort/zero progress as moving needs demand.

    Just got back in the groove of "sort of incremental progress" this week after promising myself to work on the unpacking in the mornings and work on the wip in the afternoons.

    Which reminds me, that's what I'm supposed to be doing right now!!!

    Later, Seekervillagers!!!

  34. Arlene

    You will have a "ribbon" on your badge that says First Conference and with that kind of advertisement everyone will want to help you out.

    You will do good and I hope nothing but the best for you on Saturday night.


  35. Myra-

    I hear you. One box at a time and you will see Forward Motion ... of a very good time.

    I am in the middle of it, too. Though for me, it's only a center point as I move again October 1st.

    Keep up the good work and enjoy the rewards of success.


  36. Jacqui, what a great blog post. And I don't think being too friendly is bad! Could be worse.

  37. What a great post. This post really made me think.

    crazi.swans at gmail dot com

  38. Faye and Patty ... thank you for the compliment and I am glad you saw something here. I am glad everyone did and appreciate the nice words.


  39. I'd love to win a Gone With the Wind bag, since I love Gone with the Wind and I was named after Melanie. ;-) Anyway, yes, I do try my best to give back. I give advice to anyone who asks for it, and I do critiques and occasionally judge contests.

    I actually love mentoring other writers, and I cherish my friendships with people farther along than I am. I ask their advice and they are generous with me, so how could I be otherwise?

    Great post, Jacqui!

  40. Jackqui,

    This is the second time I've read your thoughts on this, I think. It's a great idea. Momentum is taking that next step along the journey, for me, and not letting too much time go in between those steps.

    I'm working on a book that I want to complete and submit and I want that to qualify me for PRO status with RWA. My daily page count is what will get me there and I'm working to write, something at least, daily.

    Would love to win the bag. Can we buy them somewhere if we don't win? Where'd you get it?

    cathy underscore shouse at yahoo dot com

  41. Good afternoon, everybody!

    Catching up is the name of the game today - I lost yesterday to sight-seeing with my daughter (loved it) and slept in this morning to recover.

    I am still such a newbie at all this writing stuff! My first story is getting toward the end of the first draft, and that in itself is scary. Once I get this thing done, then I actually have to do something with it. I've gotten comfortable sitting at my desk and saying that I'm writing. Very soon I'm going to have to prove it.

    But I would never have gotten this far without Seekerville! Every day I learn something new.

    At the same time, in other parts of my life I'm the "famous" one (in very small circles). It's fun to be on both ends of the forward motion!

    Please enter me in the drawing -


  42. What a great reminder to "keep on keeping on".

    Today, I made some progress on Forward Motion in several aspects of my life, so I can look back at the day and feel good about it!

    Thanks for this thought-provoking post.

  43. Keep on keeping on ... that is a *great way* to think of it, Pam. Believe it or not, that is the main reason I love Steve Miller's Jetliner. That one line in the third verse, I think it is.

    Thank you for the reminder.


  44. What a great post! And Audra, I just got a call that I finaled in TARA's inspirational category, which was awesome- but when I read the judges comments, I felt real gratitude. Both sheets were full of constructive criticism, followed by encouraging words. Several contests I entered this year (my first!) just had scores and a few words (like two)where the comments should be. So, as a contestant, thank you for giving back. We truly appreciate it!

  45. WOW VIRGINIA! Congrats on the TARA finaling!

  46. Hi Arlene & Anne! Thanks for stopping by!

    There will be lots of Seekers running around NY City, Arlene, so keep your eyes open for them! And my Kindle is ready and waiting for your book this fall, Anne!

    Anne is the AMAZING Prez of Northern Arizona RWA and Arlene's not only a GH finalist, she's the group's FABULOUS newsletter editor!

  47. NANCY -- sounds like you've been busy in the contest realm! I just love how y'all are stepping out and taking that risk to get feedback. It takes a TON of courage to enter contests and submit books to editors and agents.

  48. ANDREA -- I think we go through cycles when we aren't moving as fast as we'd like to (or aren't moving much AT ALL!). Then all of a sudden, we're rolling again, building up momentum, and covering a lot of ground.

  49. EVA MARIA -- We're so excited about that contract! Love it when Friends of Seekerville get "the call!"

  50. MELANIE -- Were you REALLY named after Melanie in GWTW? Julie will be SO JEALOUS! :)

  51. CATHY -- Great goal to get that book done and qualify for PRO. I think that's such a great 'step' that RWA offers recognition for.

    ALL: The GWTW bookbags are really pretty -- kind of a sage green with a facsimile of one of the original GWTW covers on it. They're available at Barnes & Noble. Look near the check out / gift card area.

  52. Hi, JAN! Sounds like you're really closing in on "The End!" A wonderful feeling, so do something special to celebrate before you head into the polishing it up stage. I think it's really important to recognize what an accomplishment writing a book is!

  53. I want to say thank you to Glynna and Seekerville for hosting me today. I saw comments coming from amazing people doing amazing things in a job that ... well sometimes can be a rough ride. It was a pleasure sharing some of the things I have learned over the years and I hope to meet up with all of you sometime on our writer's journey.

    ~Jacqui Jacoby

  54. May would say "Paw it forward."

    Wonderful post, thanks.
    I hope to be in the position, one fine day, to help someone else.

    Maybe just a word of encouragement would be helpful. It's sure been for me as others have shared!

    May at maythek9spy dot com

  55. Hi Jacqui! I'm a little late in looking in on your post, but really enjoyed it! I'm at the beginning of my writing journey. I've finished my first draft, in the process of editing, and have entered my first contest! I honestly never dreamed I would have even gotten this far, but with the encouragement of others I've moved forward! I read Melanie Dickerson's comment and I must say that I would not have made it without her help! Thank you Melanie!! She has been so gracious and wonderful...and has definitely given back! It has also blessed me to see how supportive the Seekers and friends are. I'd love to be entered into the drawing. Does being a Georgia girl help my chances? : ) Blessings~Stacey

  56. Wonderful post, Jacqui! It's a tough journey with lots to learn and lots of pot holes and more than a few detours. But I love the way you've said how others ahead helped you and now you look to help those coming up behind you as well. I found it the same on my journey to this point - I get given some help or advice, and I give help or advice where I can.

    I hope you feel better soon! Tuck yourself up in bed with a nice hot lemon toddy perhaps?!

  57. My action of forward motion is co-founding a Christian writing group in my small town. We have an average of six people each month with many different people who have attended over the past two years. We write different genres, but always with a view of pleasing Christ in our writing.

  58. Great posting. As a fan of Gone With the Wind, I would LOVE to win the book bag. :)

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  59. Yes, Glynna, I really was named after Melanie in Gone With the Wind. And my dad was named Zane Grey after the author. I have literary-ness in my blood.

    Stacey, you are a pleasure to mentor! Thanks for letting me help a little bit. I like to feel needed. ;-)

  60. This is an interesting post Jacqui and I thank you for it. I am polishing my book and trying not to look too far ahead. I encourage others to have fun writing along the way!
    Please enter me in the draw:

  61. I really enjoyed this post. I myself am in that begining stage but am excited and looking forward to move in forward motion.