Monday, April 7, 2014

Writing in the Weeds ~ When that next contract doesn’t come…

By Erica Vetsch
Thank you, Seekerville ladies, for once again having me to visit. You are all aces!

And doesn’t come…and doesn’t come…and doesn’t come.

I’d heard the stories. Authors whose publishing houses dropped them, authors whose patron saint at the publishing house—their editor—moved on somewhere else, authors whose genre lost popularity and shelf space.

But I never expected it to happen to me. I never expected my publisher to sell off the line I wrote for, for my editor to be laid off, for the publisher to change directions, for the economy to continue to tank, etc.

At the moment, after 13 titles in three years, it’s been two years since my last contract and 15 months since I last released something new. (There have been some re-packages and re-prints, but nothing new.) It seems a lot like when I wrote before I had a contract, not knowing when the break would come, checking my email, waiting for news. Waiting on UnPubbed Island.

It’s been discouraging, to say the least. Not to mention the questions from friends and family about when the next title will come out.

So what is a writer to do? How do you keep on in the face of nothing happening? In the face of all the doubts and fears and discouragement? Here are a few things that I have felt helpful.

1.       Keep writing. My husband, who owns a wholesale lumber business, says, “You can’t sell out of an empty truck.” And he’s right. You have to keep the inventory up. This means you have to keep producing words, chapters, stories. This one’s not easy when you’re discouraged, or if, like me, you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder which makes feeling/being creative in the long months of a Minnesota winter difficult. But I’ve come up with some ways to help me, and I hope they’ll help you.
   a.       Set goals – realistic goals for every day, every week, every month.
   b.      Find an accountability partner – someone who will check up on you, encourage you when you’re down. Celebrate when you reach a milestone.
   c.       Utilize social media to help you, not hinder you. Join the #1k1hr group on Facebook or Twitter. Use NaNoWriMo and Speedbo to keep you motivated. Install a word counter on your blog or website, anything to keep that word count piling up.
   2.       Stay connected. This is one I didn’t do so well, but I’m coming to see is so important. When that next contract doesn’t come, when you’re becoming embarrassed that you haven’t sold anything new and want to dodge the questions, it’s easy to withdraw. I started blogging less and less frequently, then stopped altogether for about six months. I stopped reading as many blogs. I didn’t post as often to my author page on Facebook. All that did was make me feel more isolated, more disconnected, and definitely lonely. So what can you do?
   a.       Read and talk about fiction in your genre. Even if you don’t have a new release, other people do. You can talk about their books.
   b.      Read industry blogs, how-to writing books, friends’ blogs. Stay current on what’s going on in the publishing industry and your writer-friends’ lives. Subscribe to Writer’s Digest or The Writer, join writer’s groups or organizations.
   c.       Engage with your writing friends. You need them, they care about you, and they can help you stay positive and motivated during the down times. Encourage them, uplift them, ask about their work. Make it a two-way stream of giving and getting. 
   3.       Have a Plan. If you don’t plan what to do with your un-contracted time, you run the risk of wandering aimlessly in the weeds and getting lost. For me having a plan meant close communication with my agent about:
   a.       What projects on which to work.
   b.      What proposals to freshen up for another round of submissions.
   c.       What feedback we were getting on projects and how to incorporate that.
   d.      New markets and ideas.
   e.      The notion of hybrid publishing to keep fresh content out there.
   f.        How my struggles with Seasonal Affective Disorder were going.
Writing in the weeds is hard, but if you keep writing, stay connected, and have a plan of action, you can mitigate some of the hardships. Hanging out here at Seekerville is an excellent prescription to the staying connected. I know the ladies here have been lifesavers for me.

 In order to facilitate the “Read Fiction” idea, I’m giving away a copy of Sagebrush Knights! US resident only. 

 Now, back to writing! (After you post a comment telling me your favorite motivational tool for cranking out the word count…not including chocolate. That’s a given!)
Journey along with the four Gerhard sisters as they head to Wyoming Territory in search of husbands and discover that happy endings are not ready-made. Evelyn arrives in Wyoming with a secret and a grudge, only to find her prospective groom holds a secret, too. Jane vies for the attention of her workaholic husband who is bent on saving his ranch even if it means losing love. Gwendolyn’s would-be husband dies, leaving her to the will of another man. And Emmeline’s knight-in-shining-armor herds sheep instead of cattle. Will love prevail, or will their journeys have not so happy endings?
Erica Vetsch is a transplanted Kansan now residing in Minnesota. She loves history and reading, and is blessed to be able to combine the two by writing historical fiction set in the American West. Whenever she’s not following flights of fancy in her fictional world, she’s the company bookkeeper for the family lumber business, mother of two terrific teens, wife to a man who is her total opposite and soul-mate, and avid museum patron.


  1. I listened to an RWA panel with Barbara Freethy and Barbara Samuels where they discussed how many times they have had to reinvent themselves. And yet both reinvented authors are still NYT best sellers.

    You are a NYT best seller, Erica..and I expect it to be the same for you. 13 titles in such a short time. Wow. Enjoy this respite. It won't last long.

    You are an inspiration.

  2. 14 years...that's how long it's been since Janette Oke's last book. Now she's written another one, with her daughter Laurel Oke-Logan. I know it won't be that long for you Erika. Besides chocolate I'd say coffee and the occasional breakfast out (with Tina). But I'm not a writer, so what do I know?

  3. Keep writing and working is great advice!
    I pray that this lull ends soon for you. Good luck with it!


  4. welcome Erica that must be hard having the line cancelled.
    I am sure you will be back in print soon.
    I have enjoyed your books.
    no idea about the motivation. I am struggling with motivation lately myself but I think its partly the meds I am on or the pain.

  5. Hi Erica!

    It is a blow to have your book line closed down, but you gave great advice....keep writing!

    Just think of all of the books you'll have ready to when you find a new home for your work.

    Hang in there!

  6. Erica,
    A MINNESOTA winter? My heart goes out to you. I spent two years in Northwest Wisconsin. I'm from New Hampshire so I knew from winter, but Wisconsin was a whole different trip.
    This is a good post and represents what Seekerville is about, at least for me: we're all in this journey together, and published or established writers' careers can turn on the proverbial dime. This is the second-biggest takeaway for me from Seekerville; the first is the excellent advice on craft.
    Have a good day,
    Kathy Bailey

  7. Hey there, Erica!

    It great to see you here. My tip(s) would be...

    Listen to those friends and writer friends who love you enough to use tough love and get in your face when you need it. They're great motivators! =)

    Pray! Be thankful in all things. It keeps us from focusing on the negative and letting ourselves get in God's way. We can sometimes be our own worst UN-motivator. You just never know when God will bless you unexpectedly. Heaped up and overflowing! Be thankful and ready!

    Listen to those who
    are also on a writing journey and have much wisdom to share. Like yourself and this wonderful blog post you shared with all of us.

    YOU are am AMAZING writer, Erica. I am in awe of all you have accomplished in such a short time.

    Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:"

    Maybe God is using this time to give you respite. Which could very possibly mean, look out, girl! God is going to use you and bless your socks off! And we'll be here...ready and willing to read those gems you're diligently working on now.

    You're an inspiration to so many!
    God bless and keep up the good work!

    Susan "Susie" Hollaway

  8. Erica, I feel for you, babe. 13 books in 3 years! How can anyone type that fast??

    Have you considered that maybe God thinks you're overdoing it? Maybe this time off is something to embrace before the next wave of multi-book contracts come your way.

    You know they will, Erica.

    We all do : )

  9. Brrr. Minnesota winters. Just thinking about them makes me shiver.

    I assume since your hubby owns a lumber business, you're never short on firewood, right? Keep the home fires buring!!!

  10. Good morning, Erica.
    Thank you for this brave post. I'll be keeping you in my prayers. I wish I had some great words of advice, but I don't. I guess perseverance is the key word for most anything we need to do. That and prayer can move mountains. (So maybe publishing houses too?)

  11. Personally, I can't wait for the next Erica-book, but I'm quite sure there's some reason for it. Like getting your kiddo through high school.

    For me, I do most of my main writing during months like SpeedBo and NaNo. For me, those are hugely motivating. Fixing the drivel the rest of the year? That's a bit harder. There's a 1k per day fb group I'm part of where you earn points for at least 1k each weekday. That helps some too.

    Heart you, my friend!!!

  12. I admire your honesty, Erica. Especially about hiding from friends and family because you don't want to be questioned. I can easily see myself doing the exact same thing.

    There are so many opportunities out there I'm sure find the right one soon. Either a different publisher or even genre.

    And please throw my name in the big ol' cowboy hat. Your book sounds cute.

  13. Hey Erica - I love your books! You write great cowboy characters and you have the best similes. I even made a file on my computer of "Erica sayings" which I add to every time I find an especially fun one. When that next book comes along, I'll be first in line. And even though I know you're a loyal Jayhawk - well, this Wildcat still loves Erica Vetsch!

  14. Erica, I so appreciate your honest, yet upbeat post. I can only imagine the struggle against discouragement. I'm glad you're making it through and shared your tips for walking through it. Thank you!

    Since I'm not published, I haven't walked this particular journey. When I've had times of discouragement, I'm with Mary Curry. It sounds like one of those seasons you have to persevere through. The best way I know to do that is to lean hard into God and keep writing, as you mentioned.

    Please put me in the drawings. :)

  15. Amen to what Tina said! Great, inspiring post, too. Thanks for sharing, Erica. I think we all go through this at times.

    I think as quickly as you apparently write, then indie publishing would be a great way to keep working and creating.

    I think for anyone struggling to work through disappointment and discouragement, writing just for the fun of it can help. I know once I start writing again, I immediately feel better. Writing is important to my well being. So find some fun idea and let it rip!

  16. My greatest 'get going' and 'you can do it' people are Seekerville, Tina Radcliffe and my husband, all of whom are gifts from the Lord for encouragement. Sounds like you also have a husband who nudges your gift and, obviously, after so many books, the reader also believes in you. I have to admit, living in sunny Colorado, I would likely have the winter blues in Minnesota. Yet, Spring is HERE! The sun returns! And, we must remind ourselves, even if no one else enjoys what we do, the Lord smiles when we use His gifts of creativity and imagination. As for tools for motivation, I absolutely have to have 'routine' to get any writing done. I teach until afternoon so I either have to write super early with a dark espresso or I have to write around 4 to 6 with a glass of wine and nice music. On days I don't teach, I set aside chunks of morning and then evening.

  17. Erica
    What a great list of things to stay motivated. I know that next contract will come for you and soon!

    As for my own personal motivation, I have to have a board beneath my laptop and a flannel blanket over my legs. Does that count? My daughter uses chocolate milk. Also, because she has hypoglycemia, if she doesn't eat well for several days in a row, she finds it hard to come up with anything to write due to a sluggish mind. Also, when one of us finds our WIP at a standstill, we'll swap laptops and work on the others for a few hundred words.
    And prayer is always a good thing. God gave us our stories, so if it's His will for them to be read by the world, He'll see our way published.

    Please toss my name in the hat, I love your stories!

  18. TINA, Good morning! Thank you for the encouragement of knowing there are other writers out there who have had to 'reinvent' themselves.

    Reading through the comments this morning, something has happened that I didn't anticipate. I had hoped to encourage others, and here I am being encouraged by every comment.

    Seekerville rocks.

  19. MARIANNE, breakfast out with Tina would be amazing! :)

    HALLEE, Thank you so much! :)

    JENNY, medical issues that keep you from being productive are so frustrating. At the moment, I'm nursing tendonitis in my left hand. :( I hope you're able to balance the medications and your creativity.

  20. ROSE, you're right. I'm stocking up my 'truck' with stories, so that if those opportunities do open again, I'll be ready.

    KAYBEE, being a non-native Minnesotan, the winters were a shock! And you're right. Seekerville is a unique phenomenon. I can't think of another place where you can get so much encouragement, motivation, information, and cyber-food. :)

  21. Erica, in reading your post what stood out for me is that there was a great deal you could not control (line closing, etc) ... but that you have learned what you can control and how to do it. There's also the possibility that a respite isn't such a bad thing after 13 books in three years (!)

    Yours is an example of why I appreciate self-publishing -- an author can continue to share her/his writing with me no matter what happens in the traditional print publishing world.

    Here's to more of your books!
    Nancy C

  22. Welcome back post side of Seekerville, Erica! This tortoise is impressed with how prolific you are! Thirteen published books in three years is awesome!

    Thanks for your transparency and practical tips for keeping on keeping on till the next contract comes.

    I'd add the tip of doing more research, knowing how much you and I love learning more about the past and all it's fascinating details.

    Take this time to enjoy your kids and husband. But you will get that next contract. I'll be praying for that.

    Hugs, Janet

  23. SUSAN, Thank you for your encouragement. Those are great tips, and looking at this time as a respite puts a whole new spin on it. :)

    AUDRA, you are a sweetie-pie. God changed up my plans, that's for sure, but He knows best, and He's got things under control. :)

  24. MARY CURRY, thank you so much for your prayers. And thank you for being a 1K1HR buddy over on FB. You encourage me there all the time!

    CAROL,I'm about six weeks away from getting the last kiddo through homeschool. Squee! Thanks for the 1k1hr group. Like I told Mary C. I really enjoy it, and it motivates me.

  25. Erica, sweetie are you SURE you have Seasonal Affective Disorder? Being bummed out by Minnesota winters might just be good sense on your part and no disorder AT ALL!!!

  26. Hi, Erica! It's so good to see you back at Seekerville! Things have a way of slowing us down, but you're an excellent writer and time will out...

    I love the way you write. I remember the first time I read one of your books—
    I thought, boy, wish I could write like that. You write so 'natural', if that's the correct word. You make it easy and fun to read the way your words flow along... :-)

    You've you inspired me today, thank you for sharing!

  27. CONNIE, another 1k1hr buddy! Thanks for your sweet words today.

    CINDY, an "Erica file"? That's so funny. And encouraging. Bless you!

    JEANNE, leaning hard into God is a great way to put it. So encouraging and upbeat. :) Thank you!

  28. Erica, can you tell I'm enthused? You've, you and youse have really inspired me this morning! :-))

  29. MISSY, my agent and I are certainly exploring the idea of indie publishing. I am thankful for so many of the Seekers who have gone that route before me. I'll be asking them lots of questions. :)

    EILEEN, routine is crucial to me, too. I tend to write in the afternoons after schoolwork, bookkeeping, and errands are done. And you're right, my husband it a keeper! He believes in me and my writing.

  30. Thanks for sharing so candidly about your struggles. I'm still in the unpubbed stage. I can't imagine publishing 13 books in 3 years! That is awesome. Don't let Satan use this current lull to discourage you and bring you down. You have accomplished amazing things and I'm sure you will continue to do so as you continue writing and your agent continues shopping your work. I have read and enjoyed many of your stories as well!

    Thanks for the tip about the facebook group. I have requested to join it.

  31. CRYSTAL, I love that you and your daughter help motivate each other. My daughter is a source of motivation to me, listening to my plots and helping me iron out the weak spots.

    NANCY C. Thanks for your encouraging words. I'm definitely looking into self-publishing, but haven't pulled the trigger on it yet. When I do, I want to do it right. :)

  32. ERICA, it's always a pleasure having you in Seekerville!

    I agree--it was a shocker when the HP line changed hands. Many of us are still trying to regroup. Thanks for sharing your coping advice, every bit of it right on target!

  33. JANET, more research is always a good idea. :) Books, museums, documentaries, any place I can find interesting history. My book orders are...copious. :D

    MARY CONNEALY, you're not kidding. My eyes are starved for green. MN has a whole different level of winter.

    MARY HICKS, your kind words are balm to my heart today. Thank you for being such a blessing.

  34. Crystal @ Serving Joyfully - I look forward to getting to know you better through 1k1hr over at FB. They are a friendly group of encouragers. :)

    MYRA, seems like there's always an earthquake somewhere in the publishing industry, isn't there? I'm learning to wait, but it sure isn't easy.

  35. Erica, the amount you've written is incredible. How inspiring! Such excellent advice to keep writing as well. You probably have a truckload of stories ready when the time comes.

    I wrangle six homeschooled children at home, so my motivation is the clock. My time is limited, and I know if I don't get my rear in the chair and crank out the words, my time for the day will disappear.

    Thank you so much for your honesty here today!

  36. Erica, I know it might feel like your publishing career has come to a screeching halt, but looking in from the outside, I've got this rosy feeling about you...

    13 books in three years, now a sabbatical where you can regroup, refocus, rejuvenate and write up a batch of proposals for the next wave of your career. Complete freedom to write the rough drafts of the stories you're most passionate about.

    What a god-given opportunity to position yourself for the next wave of your career. And, girl, with your track record, keep you eye on that wave that's building behind you. Just sayin'

    And, like Missy said, with all those books already out there, hybrid might be another way to branch out.... :)

  37. Great advice! Have a plan is my favorite. I am fueled by any form of mocha coffee, iced is now my favorite. Happy Monday

  38. Great advice! Have a plan is my favorite. I am fueled by any form of mocha coffee, iced is now my favorite. Happy Monday

  39. I am so NOT a winter person, Erica. But for the past several years my "winter project" has been to hibernate and write a complete book.

    I honestly hadn't realized it had been that long since you had a new book out--probably because of all the reprints, etc. Your frustration is understanding. But your coping approach is admirable.

    Hang in there, girl. When (notice I didn't say if) your reinvented publishing life happens, you'll be ready.

  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

  41. What a great post. All of us can relate to at least some of it. Best wishes for all good things to happen soon, not the least of which is spring and sunshine!

  42. Hi ERICA, Great to see you on Seekerville again. We love having you. And what a great topic because it is something that all of us could, have and might face.

    Personally I have faced it several times so I know that you just need to be persistant. We listened to a best selling writer this weekend at Desert Dreams and she showed us the hundreds of rejection letters she has. It was really cute the way she did it, but the point is she persisted and is a NYT bestseller.

    My best motivation is to have a critique partner I meet with and therefore have to have something finished to bring to the table. smile

  43. MEGHAN, six? Two was enough of a task for me. I imagine you have to manage your time carefully to get any writing time at all. You are a superwoman!

    PAM, a sabbatical for the next wave...what a great way to put it. :) I'm stocking the cupboard with proposals and novels right now. :)

  44. OLIVIA, adding copious amounts of chocolate is the only way I can drink coffee. But it's a GOOD thing. :D

    HELEN, hibernation appeals. :) Thanks for your encouraging post.

  45. LIZ, I'm encouraged by the receding snowbanks. Hopefully soon, there will be green leaves and garden flowers. I'm always inspired by the approach of spring.

    SANDRA, critique partners are great for deadlines, aren't they? And for a reality check. Writing friends in general are a must in my life. :)

  46. ERICA!!! I'm so happy to see you again! (you probably don't remember, but we were lunch buddies one day at ACFW--the day Robin Jones Gunn spoke, and you seemed SO upbeat and made me laugh!).

    I honestly had NO idea that you were not under a contract right now--I'd assumed you were cranking out one book after another. But I feel certain you WILL be sharing news about new books very soon!

    I SO appreciate your advice today---I'm as yet unpubbed, so I tend to feel I'm "in the weeds" sometimes, and your tips are excellent.

    No need to enter me for your drawing, as I already have your book! (and LOVE it, btw)

    I try to begin each writing time with prayer or an encouraging Scripture, with a mug of coffee and several CATS around me!
    And yes....chocolate is always nearby too, LOL.

    Hugs from Georgia, Patti Jo

  47. Thank you for these wonderful tips, Erica!

    I have Sagebrush Knights on my keeper shelf along with A Bride Sews With Love! Actually they're on my more immediate To Read Again shelf. :)

    Love your stick-with-it outlook! Thank you for sharing what you've learned. I'm praying your fiction will soon take you to new heights!

    Hmm. Motivational tool. Visualization! I always get excited about putting words on the page after I play the scene in my head like a movie clip. A short walk outside while thinking about possible scenes also helps.

  48. Erica, thanks for sharing your experience and struggles. I live in Texas where it's often sunny and warm--even the winter doesn't get that cold--and I often wish for cooler weather. But I can see how long periods of cold and dreary weather would be detrimental to my writing mood--to my mood in general!

    I think that (besides chocolate) having some type of deadline is what motivates me the most. Of course, that would be why I finish all my short-term assigned projects way ahead of time and never make any progress with my WIP... :P The WIP doesn't have a deadline.

    Thanks for the great advice!

  49. One of these days you'll sell another 13 books in three years and you'll have them all done and ready.


  50. Erica,

    I am just getting started and there is so much to learn. I will pray that you get a new contract.

    Thank you for the information

  51. Erica,
    Please, please, please keep writing because you are definitely an awesome writer. I'm not a writer, just a reader. And my advice to you is listen to your readers and know that you have fans that need to keep writing. :)

  52. Good afternoon everyone! Thanks, Erica, for sharing your story and giving such great advice!

    I agree with everyone else. God has something great in store for you, so good thing you're writing away!

    No matter where you are in your writing journey, it's easy to get discouraged. But I do believe there's a reason for everything, and that usually we're meant to head in a different-better-direction! Hope your path is revealed soon!


  53. Hi Erica:

    I do believe that your “The Bartered Bride” was the first HP book I ever read. Right after that I read “Autumn Rains” by Myra Johnson and I remember thinking: “This line is absolutely exceptional”. I was really sold on HP but then I got where I could not read the small type in those books and they were not on eBook yet. There were many very fine authors who wrote for HP and many readers who loved the line. Those readers still exist.

    Just because a traditional publishing house cannot make enough profit on a line does not mean that its thousands of readers disappear. My advice is to contact as many past HP authors as you can and continue to publish your titles in the 'HP tradition' as an Indie house. Keep the same authors, word counts, and content guidelines as before. Combine your past customer email lists into a master list you all can share.

    Seek PR as groups. Blog as teams. Talk up ‘the legacy continues’. Hopefully some authors can produce sequels. This might well produce more bottom line profit for the authors than having a traditional publisher. You might even be bought up by a digital only house. That would be poetic justice!

    The best cure for the blues is taking action.

    BTW: I used 3200 degree Kelvin light bulbs to counter the 'too dark' seasonal blues. These are supposed to produce light that is the same color as the sun and they worked for me. I was the company photographer then and had access to the bulbs. You might look into this. It seems to make sense from the physics POV.

    Good luck and don’t worry too much. After all, you are a very talented writer. With talent, the rest will come.


  54. Patti Jo, I totally remember you, and I count you as a friend! :) My cat loves to 'help' me write, but it takes the form of her trying to sit between me and my keyboard. :)

    Natalie, visualization is a great motivational tool. I try to visualize a scene at night before I go to sleep. I often dream about it then and cool things unfold. Thanks, too for your kind words about my writing. It's wonderful encouragement.

  55. Jennifer, deadlines motivate me. My first stretch without a deadline, I floundered, not knowing what to do. Then my agent started setting deadlines for me, and that helped tremendously. :)

    Mary, here's hoping and praying. Since I can't seem to stop writing anyway, I might as well stockpile some stories. :D

  56. Wilani, yay for taking the first steps in your fiction writing career. Seekerville is the best place online to get the information and support you need.

    Amy, thank you so much for chiming in. I love to hear from readers, and your words today are so encouraging to me.

  57. Susan, thanks for the reminder that a different path or different timing isn't bad, just different and possibly even better. :)

    Vince, I'm honored that The Bartered Bride was the first HP you read. :) Light therapy is my next step to treat my SAD. SAD is not uncommon here where I live, and the Mayo Clinic is making some strides with treatments. Hopefully, I can get a handle on it so that it isn't as disruptive.

  58. Erica,

    Thirteen novels? You'll be back!

    What keeps me going even while on unpubbed island? God. If I quit now,I've wasted tons of time. I love writing. Every part of writing is a joy to me except the waiting. In the waiting process, I've prayed for signs. I sense God wants me to continue writing, so I write.

    Thanks for sharing your story today!

  59. Susan,

    I need some encouragement today and want to pass the same on to you: spring will come! God will not leave us in winter.

    Also, your last name is so close to mine. I have been wondering lately if I should try to publish under my maiden name because it's such a difficult name. (Mine in Trietsch)

    Thanks again! Stephanie

  60. Miss Erica! Buy a plane ticket today & come to Texas! My church has a beautiful cabin by the lake where you can stay. I’ll take you out for TexMex and bake lots of chocolate goodies for you. The pastures just turned green overnight, & the bluebonnets are blooming!
    I am in awe of you. Thank you for the heartfelt advice. You are amazing!

    My motivation is an all out celebration when I meet my goal! I get up, jump around, & cheer! I do my happy dance & sing as loud as I can!

  61. Oh, my goodless, Erica. I am in the weeds with you, but here in Maine. I just got a novella contract, but it was a long time coming. I'm trying to gear up for a project where I will write a novel without a contract and commit to it. I've been spoiled getting contracts on proposal only. I don't invest quite as much and I think I am cutting myself short. Do you know what I mean?
    Blessings to you on your writing. You are very talented!

  62. Erica, that was an amazing post! It's not a fun topic or one we want to study up on, but, wow, is it necessary. Thanks for being so open.

  63. Great advice and encouragement! Best wishes for your success! Please put me in the drawing for your book! :)

  64. Erica
    thank you for sharing your experience. I think I would tend to be a loner facing the same situation. I'm not published yet, but this post is a keeper for what to do when troubled times hit.

    Seekerville is wonderful for encouragement aren't they? The Ladies are such a blessing.

    Right now, I'm just trying to take what I learned during SPEEDBO to crank out the pages for my first complete manuscript.

    thanks again for sharing. it's a very encouraging post.

  65. Erica, you did a great job on a subject we don't like to think about, let alone discuss. I'll agree with everyone who encouraged you to keep writing. I'll be watching for that next book! Meanwhile I'd love to read the one accompanying your comments today. God bless and don't give up.

  66. GREEN? Jana you have GREEN WHERE YOU ARE???

    I'm getting a little weepy.

    I remember green.


  67. ERICA!!! I agree with Tina and Susan -- "you are an inspiration"! And in SO many ways, my friend!

    Right off, your honesty and humility are truly inspirational, because those are two the things that make a great writer even better, in my opinion.

    Secondly, your incredible attitude is inspirational, along with your willingness to talk about hard issues in order to help, inspire, and motivate others.

    And then 13 books in three years??? HOLY COW, girlfriend, if that's not "Inspirational" with a capital "i," I don't know what is!

    I've written approximately a book a year for the first six years of my career, so has it ever occurred to you that you're so fast you got done with your 13 early?? You know, like God is giving you a breather to let the rest of us catch up??

    Seriously, I agree with Mary -- "One of these days you'll sell another 13 books in three years and you'll have them all done and ready."

    LOL ... AMEN!! And little ole me will still be plodding along on one book a year ... ;)


  68. Erica, your post is GREAT help to me! Your husband's quote about an "empty truck" is perfect. Even though I'm not selling anything, I need to KEEP WRITING.

    I can sympathize with the SAD problem because my hubby suffers from that...and we live in sunny New Mexico.

    Motivation: Seekerville friends, Facebook #1K1HR, and occasional jellybeans!

    Having lived in Wyoming for seven the sagebrush....I'm sure Sagebrush Knights is delightful. Please put me in the drawing.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas for writing encouragement!

  69. Erica, you'll be writing again soon. I'm certain of that.

  70. Very good advice about a subject authors don't like to deal with. But it happens to most everyone at one time or another.

  71. JACKIE, you're so right. It's a big investment of time and energy. And the waiting is the hardest part. Keeping busy is what helps me.

    STEPHANIE, how cool that our names are so similar. Vetsch is of Swiss origin. I decided to publish under the name Vetsch (even though most people mispronounce it) because I'd worked so hard to see my name on a book cover and I wanted it to be MY name. But to pen-name or not to pen-name is an individual choice and you can't go wrong.

  72. JANA, I just swooned a little bit. A cabin by the lake, chocolate, AND flowers? I might never leave! And I love your motivation. We could all use a little more singing and dancing.

    CARLA, I do know how you feel. Congrats on the novella! See Jana for how to celebrate. :) It was so much easier to sell on proposal, and I miss it, but there are benefits to having the whole novel written before it's least I tell myself there are.

  73. SALLY, at least I have baseball to distract me. :)

    HEIDI, thanks so much for stopping by! I'm glad I could encourage you today; you sure encourage me.

  74. DEB H, isn't Seekerville the best? All the Seeker ladies have helped me and encouraged me at one time or another. Congrats on participating in Speedbo, and good luck on completing your manuscript. When you get it done, be sure to report in here because everyone's waiting to celebrate.

    DEE, sometimes a subject might be difficult to talk about, but those tend to be the ones we NEED to talk about. I know that writers shared this with me before, but I don't think I was listening as carefully as I should have. Thanks for your encouragement, and I hope you get a chance to read Sagebrush Knights!

  75. JULIE, of course take into account that my books are ALL shorter than yours. The word count probably evens out. Thank you for being such a good friend, lady!

    SHERIDA, one of the best vacations I ever took was to Wyoming. Having grown up in Kansas, I thought I understood what un-populated meant. Now I have a whole new respect for the word. :)

  76. WALT, thanks. :)

    CARA, thank you for the reminder. It makes it easier knowing that you're not alone.

  77. Thanks for sharing this, Erica. It can't be an easy situation for a successful author to be in. (But I don't see any comparison to Janette Oke. She is 79 after all, and may appreciate her lighter schedule.) I know God has a plan for you so I think it would be good to give thanks for what has been and what will be, and also for what is... accept this time as an opportunity to refuel.

    I'm still in the position of being unpublished but whenever I need some rejuvenation I work on a totally different project. I have a church history to research for my congregation, some personal memoirs to write for my family, along with a genealogy and a box full of photographs to sort through. A chai latte and a free afternoon are treats that nurture my spirit.

    Don't put me into the draw because I'm in Canada. I'll buy my own copy. See you on #1K1HR. :)

  78. Erika,

    Thanks for the excellent advice!

  79. Erica, Love, love, love this post! There is a lot of silence and downtime in this business and it's tough on storytellers. We like to fill in that empty space with tragedy! It's a great reminder to keep working and keep plugging away.

  80. So far, the only kind of writing I've done is "in the weeds", except for two work-for-hire devotional books. And you know what? I prefer writing in the weeds. You can write the story you love, instead of writing for a particular publisher or market. Whenever I start a new book, someone asks me, "Which publisher are you writing for?" and I say, "Me and God, and not necessarily in that order!".

  81. Thank you, Erica, I think your advice applies to those of us who are still waiting on our first big break, as well. After an opportunity I was sure would result in publication fell through, I was at a loss. What should I do now? That still, small voice I believe is the Holy Spirit guiding me whispered, "Keep writing!"
    Motivation? Is there another motivation besides chocolate? There is that still, small voice making me feel guilty if I don't write. Sometimes, the ideas come so fast I have to take notes. Other times, my brain feels like dead air space. When that happens, I just start writing gibberish and hope something pops out.
    I really identify with your struggles with SAD. Indiana isn't the greatest place for sufferers, either. Other than chocolate, reading is my guilty pleasure; so, I make sure I have lots of good reads on hand during those dark, cold days. That and soaking up any sunlight that makes it through my south-facing window get me through.
    Hang in there! Spring always follows winter (no matter how long it sticks around). You'll be back to work before you know it. Have faith - in yourself, in your writing, and, mot of all, in God. He has a plan; trust it.
    Thanks again for letting us share the tough times.