Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Giving Yourself Permission

with guest Virginia Carmichael

Hello, everybody! I’m so excited to be back in Seekerville, one of my favoritest places in the cyber world! Today I thought it would be fun to talk about how sometimes we need to give ourselves permission. Now, we’re all adults (or teens) and nobody usually stands in our way… or do they? There are so many paths in the writerly life that sometimes it feels as if everyone has an opinion on how we should manage our career. So, I’m here today to talk about all the ways you can be a writer… and then I’m going to give you permission to do what you want. This is your chance to act completely irresponsibly and have no guilt whatsoever. You can blame me for the fall out. Sounds pretty good, right? Let’s start!


 Some people might have told you that you can’t raise children and write at the same time. You can. There are plenty of writing mommies out there who have published with babies and toddlers. I’m not saying it’s easy. It’s really, really not. But just like raising babies, it’s more rewarding than most anything else I can think of. So grab those stolen moments to scribble down words, if that’s what you really want to do. I give you permission to ignore the naysayers. And remember, a happy mom means happy kids.


 Do you want to pay a sitter to come and make play dough blobs with your kids for a few hours while you write, but are afraid you’ll lose your super mommy street cred? You won’t. I’m not saying that I don’t worry what other people think. Just the other day I took my kids to the park so I could write. They played on the toys and I sat at a picnic table. There was a mom there who was chasing her little boy around the equipment, even going down the slide with a big “WHEEEEE!”.  I started to feel guilty that I wasn’t pretending to be a pirate in the big plastic fort, too. Then I remembered that before I was writing, I was sitting at the bench reading. I’ve never been the “WHEEEEE!” mommy. My kids are perfectly happy playing with other kids. And I’m happy writing. So, if you’re feeling guilt for not being your kids’ entertainment every second of the day, I give you permission to let them play. Even with someone who’s paid to be there. It’s okay. They will survive.


 Are you afraid you’ll look silly declaring yourself a writer when you have never taken a writing class and just might have slept through AP English? You won’t. When I first started writing, I referred to my project as THE BOOK, and I said it in a funny, faux-serious voice. I just couldn’t say I was writing a book without feeling like a big joke. It made it worse when a friend told me, “I never knew you wanted to write.” I didn’t. Not until I had that one idea that I decided to put on paper. Did that make me less of a writer? Should I have been scribbling stories since grade school? How was I to know I would ever want to write a whole book? Then I thought about all the things I’ve done in my life that I didn’t know I was going to do before I did them. (Like last night when I made fried sweet potato in a panko batter. I never knew I wanted to make that, either but they turned out pretty good.) So, if you want to write but never have before, it’s okay. I give you permission to come out of the closet and declare yourself a writer.


We’ve all heard about people who say they felt called to write, or that God gives them all their plot inspiration. What if that’s not you? What if you never get that flashing neon sign from heaven that you should start writing a story? Maybe you start wondering whether God doesn’t want you to be a writer or that He might not be pleased with your books. Guess what? God’s cool with it- and you. (Unless you’re Richard Dawkins. Then you’ve got some explaining to do.) He gave you that desire to write. You don’t have to be given a golden fleece in order to feel like you have a story to share.


 Let’s skip to the chase. You’re afraid you’re too old, too young, too rich, too poor, too educated, too uneducated to be a writer. You’re not. I think we’ve talked in the comments on Seekerville about how varied our backgrounds are but we’re all writers. This is the only job where everything you do, every day before this one, has helped you become a writer.

 Now that you’ve but some steel in that spine and are determined to write a book, let’s move ahead to… the career. Ahhh, the career that everyone likes to manage for you. It’s amazing how much unsolicited advice a writer can receive. (I’m on both sides of that pretty often, actually, since I LOVE to give advice. I try to catch myself, but it still happens. Like right now.)


So, your book is written and you don’t want to spend years to query an agent, land an agent, wait on editors, revise to specification, and then see your book perhaps not as you intended? Don’t. There’s nothing more painful than seeing your book (your baby!) morph into someone else’s idea of what it should be. Nothing.

You want to self publish but afraid no one will buy your books? Here’s some scary news. Nobody may buy your trade books, either. I won’t lie, self publishing take a lot of work. But the drawbacks of educating yourself on how to market and make a book attractive to Nook/Kindle readers are far outweighed by the goosebumps you get by choosing your own cover, writing your own blurb, and letting characters land a kiss below the jawline.


 What if you DO want to query an agent, land an agent, wait on editors, revise to specification and then see your beautiful book so much better than you thought it could be? Go ahead. Working with an editorial team is the sort of experience that everyone should have at least once. It’s not the same as paying a freelance editor. You are working together, give and take, for the greater good of the book. 

 What if you’re a vocal advocate of the self publishing wave and then you get a great offer from a traditional publisher and want to take it, but don’t want to look two-faced? (Ahem) One of the proudest moments of my life was reading through Emma, Mr. Knightley and Chili-Slaw Dogs and seeing how Beth Adams and Katie Sandell’s hard work had helped me create something that gave me chills.  

A self publishing blogger suggested I signed that contract because I needed the “validation”. Maybe he’s right. It did feel good to know that something I wrote was “good enough” for a New York publisher. Not that I didn’t think it was, but because so much of the publishing world still sees them as the epitome of great writing/books. Other writers certainly seemed more positive about these books once Howard Books/Simon & Schuster put their name on the back. (Even though they were the same books with the same plot, characters, and voice. Even the same goofy titles!)

 I worried that I was going to lose the good friends I’d made in self publishing when I went back to trade fiction. But then I asked myself if these friends were paying my electric bill. No? Then they didn’t get a say in my career.   I did what I thought was best for me and my books. And my friends were actually excited that I had the freedom to make those choices. Having the freedom to choose is a good thing for everybody.


 So, you’re a real writer now and you’ve written some books and people seem to like them. But there’s this other book you want to write and it’s not quite the same as your other books that people like and you’re afraid that no one will like it. So, you stay in your comfortable place, writing the same thing until your eyes cross, hoping to make your readers happy.

Let me tell you a secret. We readers can tell. We can tell when you’re bored with your own writing. We can tell when you’re slogging through that plot that has been through the mill so many times it has a nickname in the writing community. We can tell when you’ve passed that torch to some hired gun even though your name is on the cover.

(But if you love writing in your genre, don’t. Move. An. Inch. For example, Jennifer Crusie wrote a great post about category romance and why she feels fierce loyalty to it here.)

 So, if you’re dying to write a thriller and you usually write science fiction, go ahead. If you’re yearning to write a non-fiction vegan cookbook and you usually write cozy murder mysteries, do it. If you’re hankering to spend a full year working with a National Book Award nominated writer on a YA fantasy set in futuristic Japan but you usually write sweet romance, you have my permission. (That last one may or not be me.) Know why? Because happy writers make happy readers. It won’t serve anybody if you force yourself to work on something that you no longer love. And maybe you’ll come back to it even more excited than when you left. At least, that’s been my experience.


What if you’re tired of writing and want to take a break but don’t want to look unprofessional? Do it. Unprofessional is writing a book that you hate, and having it out there for fans to read, and being ashamed every time you see it on the shelf. Unprofessional is writing yourself into the ground until you no longer care whether the words are good and if they hold any blessing for the readers. Unless you’re under contract, you don’t owe anybody anything. A lot of writers feel pressure from their readers about when the next book will be out. We’re people, too. We like vacation as much as the rest of the world. And we especially like clearing off our writing calendar and catching up on all the movies we missed in the last few years.


Are you tired of spending every minute writing and not seeing a return? No agent interest, no proposals accepted, no fat royalty checks? You have this crazy desire to get a real job that actually pays you and write in whatever time is left in the day? Go ahead! Nobody pays the bills but you. I personally like eating. I like having electricity. My husband works full time, but we have six kids and some of them like to randomly break bones or need expensive dental work. I’ve worked full time, part time, and at home. I’ve worked in a deli, a call center, and for four different cities. I’ve been the head of a law library and a children’s librarian.  I love that my writing income means I don’t have to get a day job, but if I worked a day job, I’m sure I would fit in my writing time (just like I do now, at night). The writing life doesn’t mean you’re pecking out words from 8-5. Most writers have day jobs and don’t rely on their spouses to support them. Stephen King wrote for years while holding down a day job. I’m not sure where this idea came from that writers are sitting in a lovely hut in the middle of a garden with no other care than the temperature of their tea. There’s no shame in working a traditional job and writing. It’s the norm. On the flip side…


Tired of fighting for writing time and want to quit? (Of course, this only works if you can live without that income. Let’s not starve the kids, ‘kay?)  You’re afraid everyone will make fun of you for writing full time when you don’t even have the hope of a contract? (They might.)    

You think that you owe a debt to society and have to put on pants everyday to be respected? You don’t. Writing good books is a great way to be a productive member of society

 There. I’m sure there are more but in short, this writing gig is not for wimps. We talk a lot about thick skins and perseverance and staying the course no matter what anyone says. But sometimes we need a friend to give us a hug and say, “I understand. I have faith in you to do the right thing.”

 So, share something that you’ve done that went against popular opinion! I want to give you a virtual high five and a cupcake for following your own good advice. Or if you have always wanted to do something, but haven’t had the courage, write it in the comments. I’ll be here all day to wave my hand over your life and tell you: GO AHEAD. Be the captain of your ship. Steer into rough waters if you must. Fold up the sails and slow down if you need. Pull out the lifeboats when necessary.  Be brave. 


 Virginia is also giving away three copies of Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits (June 2014) AND three copies of Emma, Mr. Knightley and Chili-Slaw Dogs (July 2014)!

  Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.

Virginia Carmichael writes all over the genre map, including Christian contemporary and historical romance, a series dedicated to Jane Austen, and YA urban fantasy. A homeschooling mother of six young children who rarely wear shoes, she's madly in love with a man who has never read a single Jane Austen novel. She holds degrees in theoretical linguistics and religious studies from the University of Oregon and was nominated for Best Debut in Series Romance 2012 by Romantic Times Magazine. She can be reached on Facebook at her regular author page of Virginia Carmichael or at Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits, where she celebrates all things Jane.

Come visit me at my blog! The Things That Last
I'm on the weekend shift at Yankee Belle Café. Come see what's cooking!


  1. Ah, ha! I'm here with the coffee pot and got it set to brew.

    My internet has been out three non-sequential nights this week. It's driving me crazy. (But I'm a writer, so that's the norm, right?)

    Thank you so much, Virginia, for permission.

    I have a series of traditionally published romances. But I also have a series of mysteries that I'm considering indie publishing. Not sure I have the needed tech skill, though.

  2. August is an other class for Indie Writers in Seekerville Night Class, Helen. If you don't have the skill, get the skill.


    You covers are absolutely gorgeous!!!

  4. I agree with you on the covers, Tina! And with you, Virginia on everything except the fact that I can write. I don't. But isn't that the truth? As soon as someone says coffee isn't good for you, someone else will tell you why it is!

  5. Lots of good bumper sticker advice in this one!

    And good for you in SO many ways! It's about being true to oneself, isn't it! And so often we don't allow ourselves to maintain other possibilities that might fit us, our lives, our dreams better.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    Peace, Julie

  6. Virginia, this post is an encouragement.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.


    I've really let my indie projects slide in the last six month and I'm ready to dive back in to polishing and producing good books on digital!

    And thank you. The covers are just beautiful. I got to choose from 6 different ideas and one (the peach dress) was so striking, I asked if we could do the whole series that way. The next book (Persuasion, Captain Wentworth and Cracklin' Cornbread) has a beautiful yellow-orange dress.

  9. That's exactly, right, Julie. So many times we tell ourselves NO because we are told we can't. Or we feel we can't, even though know one has said we can't. Whether we imagine that disapproval or not, it takes a leap of faith (in ourselves!) to see all the options.

    Sometimes the best option is doing exactly what we're doing now!

  10. Hi Helen!

    So funny you mention the internet connections. I just spent ten minutes trying to convince my laptop that yes, it DID have wifi!

    Urrgh. Technology. I am not tech savvy. In fact, I'm a very slow learner in general.

    But I've met VERY helpful people in the indie community and that has made all the difference. I try to pay it forward when I can and I hope I've been of some help to people who ask, but I'll never come close to other very generous, successful writers. These authors have given me tips, tricks and walked me through technology that I just couldn't grasp.

    I say... DO IT, HELEN!

    The tech part is easy, compared to acquiring the nerves of steel to put out a product yourself.

  11. By the way, I'm listening to the roar of the surf through my window from a tall, weather-beaten house on the rocky Oregon coast.

    So, in honor of this virtual commute, I'm bringing an Oregon-inspired buffet.

    Boiled and hearth-baked bagels from Bagel Sphere with Oregon Lox (that's actually the name of the company), cream cheese and capers.

    Fluffy, scrambled free range local eggs and locally made Mt. Angel Sausages.

    Fresh Tillamook cheese over Great Harvest Bread, toasted to your liking.

    Golden raspberries (a local hybrid) with Tillamook yogurt and home made granola which I detailed in Yankee Belle café last week.

    Hot latttes, mochas, and tea blends from Pirate Coffee Company (an Oregon coastal coffee company).

    Dig in, everyone! I give you permission!

  12. What a great post Virginia. I often find myself asking for permission to do things. Thank you for giving us permission.

    Your book covers are beautiful!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  13. I love that this entire thing sounds exactly like YOU!!!! Laughing out loud because you are a delightful independent spirit and your good example inspired me to take the plunge into indie publishing and I've enjoyed every single cotton-pickin' minute of it! THANK YOU!!!!!

    I say "Pfft and Piffle" to those who scoffed at your delightful Simon & Schuster contract... The idea of being a hybrid author rocks and it's fun and it has garnered me thousands more readers.


    That's a lot of new readers who go back and forth, reading my indies and my traditionally published books.

    I love it!!!!!! I am so blessed, so I agree with Virginia that when it's you signing the mortgage check each month, 't ain't no one's business but your own how to do that. Darn kids needin' shoes!!!!

  14. Also.... the thing about writing with kids.

    I tried back in the day. Now mind you, writing was different, this was pre-computer, pre-technology, and I was working part time with six kids, then full-time and part time and six kids, so I couldn't pull it together then... and I honestly don't think I'd have found a Ruthy-niche then because I'm not as evangelical as the Christian authors of the 90's were and I don't write sex which left precious little in between...

    Now???? Well now you can self-publish like Virginia did (and I knew the minute I saw her first stuff in a contest that she had what it takes to make folks laugh and sigh in this biz!) while waiting for a contract or just self-pub...

    Huge kudos to Melissa and Mary Virginia and Jess and all the young mothers out there writing...

    I'm so stinkin' proud of you!

    And I'm lovin' this buffet. :)

  15. Helen, what technical part, darling? I hired my covers and formatting not because I'm lazy, but because my skill is writing... and I didn't have anything to prove to anyone about creating covers, etc...

    So basically if you hire the jobs done, you write the book and then let us know via social media that it's out there and we RUN AND BUY IT!!!!!


    Seriously, it's like following music, note by note. Your skills are all you need, my friend.

  16. Ruthy, you just reminded me of one that I missed.


    Seriously, I forgot to put in this paragraph about how everybody says you can when you're so run ragged at the edges and your candle is only got a bit of burnt wick left and you can't find your shoes.
    I meant to say (along with the peptalk about writing with babies) that it IS OKAY to wait. It's OKAY to defer that portion of the dream because babies always come first. If you feel like it's the writing or the babies, choose the babies EVERY TIME.

    Thanks for reminding me of that point.

    Or maybe I put it in and mean Tina edited it out....

    Nah. She actually cleaned up all the typos so I doubt she'd cut some words of wisdom along the way. :)

  17. As for the hybrid contract, I can see his point about validation.

    If it's only money, I should never have signed it. We know that self publishing earns MUCH MORE of the long term (and the short term, haha) than a traditional contract.

    I don't think I need validation from anyone, but when I look deep (very deep) inside, I know that I love validation as much as the next person. So, yes, I liked that aspect of the contract.

    But I did take a few weeks and really sit quietly with my decision before I accepted, waiting for God to give me a big neon sign that I was ruining my career. No neon sign so I just did what I wanted. (Kidding! I also got great advice along the way. But you all know what I mean.)

  18. True about the technical aspects, Helen.

    Although I did my first formatting, I've hired out since then, just to make sure all platforms are covered.

    And the covers... Don't get me started on my first covers. Hilarious! but I had no budget so I was creating the most ridiculous covers known to mankind... and the books still sold! Then I turned around and out all my first few months earnings right back into the books.

    You do what you have to do, but definitely spend a few hundred on a nice cover if you can afford it.

  19. OK, I'm off to grab a few hours and I'll pop in later! Hold down the fort while I'm snoozing. :)

  20. Hi Virginia,

    What a great post. Thanks for permission for so many things you nailed me on. Too bad quitting my job is not an option. (Can you imagine the expression on my husband's face when I told him you gave me permission to quit?)

    I enjoyed Cheese Grits. What a good, and fun, story. Both of your covers are beautiful!

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hahaha! Yes, I can! It's probably similar to the expression on my husband's face when I said I was quitting my part time library job to finish my book. To be fair, I was paying more in sitter fees than I was making.
      I'm so glad you liked the books and keep writing!

  21. Well that answers my question -- do you ever sleep?! Egads, she does!

    Okay -- have I ever gone against popular opinion? All the time. :-)

    I work in a school library and my school board has embraced technology to the nth degree. Our libraries are supposed to be the hub of all this techno gadgetry. Now I have nothing against Smartboards or ipads or ebooks BUT when we were told we could no longer read to children the old-fashioned way -- ie. me with book in hand, kids gathered round me on the floor -- well, I rebelled.

    The school board wanted us to use the Smartboard for storytime. In other words let the kids watch a mini movie of a book. Uh-uh -- not in my library. We continue to read the old-fashioned way while I blithely ignore the Directive.

    I felt somewhat vindicated this spring when several reports came out dissing the number of hours young children are spending in front of a screen be it tv, ipad, kindle or computer. Apparently it actually alters their brain patterning. Who knew? Anyway, one of the solutions to unplug kids from technology was...wait for it...reading to them. From a book! What a novel idea!

    1. Whoah, Kav!!! I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around a library which wants to eliminate story time with a BOOK. Good grief! If we knew each other in real life you would get to hear me rant every so often on screen time limitations and how even adults have been sucked into the lifestyle of "face in phone". We've got to step back from the screens, not forward.
      I love you even more now, if possible.

  22. Hello, Virginia! Always look forward to you being on Seekerville. You nail so many of the issues that writers deal with.

    Thanks for your permission to... well... be me! :-)

    I grew up in a large family and though my mother didn't write, she 'lived' in the garden—if she hadn't we might have starved! It was a comfort as a kid to always know where mom would be when I needed her—she was where she was 'supposed to be'—in the garden.
    Your lucky little kids know where you are, and that you're doing that thing you do. Very comforting to a child.:-)

    1. That is a wonderful anecdote! My mother worked as a nurse but she was always busy around the house. And yes, in the summer she was living in the garden! (And then she was living in the kitchen as she canned the food.) Great points!

  23. Virginia,

    What a wonderful way to remind us that our writing career is as unique to us as our voices on the page!

  24. Hi Virginia, Great article and I love that you like telling people what to do. I have learned over the years to quiet that down myself but do have a reputation (esp from family) as being bossy. sigh.

    At one point in my writing career, I arranged my life so perfect for writing--no day job, hubby not home as was still working, no outside commitments, quiet office with no interuptions. Well what happened is, my writing totally dried up. There was NOTHING to write about. ha ha I think we need all that living to have something to write about. smile

    I really do admire your tenacity and go get um attitude. Best wishes and thanks for sharing with us today.

    1. Lol! Have you read Stephen King's On Writing? It's a memoir, not a craft book but it's got a few wonderful stories. One us about the years after he first made it big.... and how he sat at his fancy mahogany desk for five years without writing a word. That shocked me! I read that book before I published any books and so I've always done an internal check every so often to make sure I'm not killing off my creativity by making the process "perfect".
      I did get a nice office chair, though. Ha!

  25. Such a great post (and I'm loving the Oregon spread as well!). I think there is so much as writers, and as women, that we do not give ourselves permission to do. The words are all the more meaningful coming from a writing and self-publishing role model like you, Virginia. Look at all of those you've given encouragement to already this morning. Such a wonderful work. Thank you so much for posting this today. I know there are many more than myself who needed it.

    And I'm not one of the Wheee! mommies either. :)

    1. Piper, have you read Lean In by Sandberg? I loved that book and she gives a great anecdote in the first chapter about a group of intelligent, highly successful women being invited to sit at an uncrowded conference table and how they all demurred, preferring to sit at the edges of the room.
      She was equally livid and saddened. Women naturally take the unobtrusive role of servant and that didnt make her sad. It was the fact they were INVITED to sit at the table with the men in power and refused.
      That was a powerful story for me and I work to imagine myself " invited to sit at the table". It doesn't matter whether it's true or not, I just plunk myself down there!

  26. Replies
    1. We're hoping to make it to the Tillamook factory! It will be a great homeschooling field trip and has nothing at all to do with the fact they have fresh Tillamook ice cream in 25 flavors!

  27. Welcome back to post side, Virginia!! Your advice is right on and wonderful, the voice of reason. We each need to find the way that works for us. Whatever that might be! Love that you're playing on both sides of the publishing fence and still home schooling kids and cooking. Whew, you're busy!!

    Your fun titles and fabulous covers surely have readers fighting for a copy!


    1. Thank you, Janet! And I love it all. I dedicate most of my books to my children because they really make my life so much more fun than it has any right to be, lol.

  28. I loved this, Virginia. Such GREAT words here. One thing I've done is to stop attending ladies Bible study at our church, for this season. Some of my friends don't quite understand. I'm working on getting a good writing groove going, and having Tuesday mornings has helped. :)

    I love your covers and your titles, and your words, Virginia. Thanks for sharing your exuberance and your wisdom!

    1. Ooooh, I bet that raised some eyebrow, Jeanne! Is there another group at a better time? Praying you make lots of progress!

  29. Virginia, thank you for the post and the lovely encouragement!

    Your book covers are absolutely stunning!

    Please tell me that is a picture of you from many years ago, because it has me feeling very old. A mother of six, really?

    1. Donna! You're a darling! And that is a selfie I took in the back yard. I had to crop out my arm so it looked like a head shot. I'll get a professional picture when I'm a "real writer", lol.

  30. Virginia...I love this.
    Give yourself permission.

    It's so sweet and true and wise I'm a little weepy.


    1. No crying, Connealy! I'm surrounded by kids off their sleep schedule and overwhelmed by vacation excess. If anyone even looks a bit weepy during the post, I'm sending you for a nap!
      (Doesn't that sound nice?)

  31. VIRGINIA, you really laid it all on the line--no excuses necessary, just permission to write (or not) in the way that works for each of us individually!

    On the indie/traditional thing, I'm happy to be a hybrid author. So far, I've published only one indie novel, and though I'm not making HUGE bucks with it, it's selling steadily and earning WAY more than it ever would have if I'd let this book-that-doesn't-neatly-fit-a-publishing-niche languish in my computer files.

    1. Exactly, Myra! I was tired of seeing my historical passed over again and again... and figured it wouldn't hurt anything to try. I'm so glad you took the plunge!

  32. PIPER that is so true. It seems like for women we are just so mindful of anything that seems 'selfish'. Especially when we have children to raise. They get our very first efforts and let's face it, they demand that, it's not like we WANT to sit there listening to the precious little darlings when they yell, Watch Me Mommy!
    Well, we kinda do, we recognize the love in their voices and the love in our hearts.

    I think that's the think a mommy can barely explain to someone who's NOT a mom. The love.
    The passion we have for our children.
    That mother tigress who is willing to kill or die for our child.
    So then we want to write a book, a book that will take a long time and very probably make very little money
    And it's hard to give ourselves permission to do that.

    But you know...my children are so terrific about it. So proud of their old mom.
    So amazed I made something of myself. (back atcha, kid!)

    So yes, give yourself permission.

    1. Exactly, Mary! And I.love being around my kids. Note that I said "around". I don't have to color with them every time they get out the crayons or run in the sprinklers or play tag. I can watch and enjoy them, too.

  33. Oh yes, The Oregon spread is yummy.

    We are in Oregon now so enjoying the fresh berries. I mean it is wonderful to get a strawberry that is REAL and not some tasteless unripe one that was sprayed red like you get in the stores.

    We had some Newport shrimp the other day. YUM. I'll bring some to add to the spread.

    1. We were in Newport a few hours ago, Sandra! Did you eat at Mo's? We had to stop for clam chowder. I think we'll head to Yaquina lighthouse today... I'm going to be looking for you when we're out and about!

  34. I love the "but let's not starve the kids, 'kay" line.
    As I'm waiting for agent responses--which apparently can take awhile and I'm going crazy lol--I'm concentrating on the "real job" part of my life.
    A lot of times I get in my head what I think God's going to do, how He's going to work...but He always surprises me. Writing truly has brought me closer to Him. :)

    Thanks for the post!

    1. Well said, Courtney! And I think God loves to throw us a curveball or two just to see if we're awake.:)

  35. Good stuff, Virginia! I'm loving book two of your Jane Austen takes the south series!
    Sweet that 'Caroline wants to ride in the wagon' but at the moment it's full of mail order brides ;)

  36. Oh, I forgot my favorite line:

    "You think that you owe a debt to society and have to put on pants everyday to be respected? You don't."


    1. Lol! My personal version is doing my hair. 99% of the time it's up in a messy ponytail!

  37. Great post, Virginia! I'm striking out on my own this fall and taking my Genesis-finalist book indie. Not even going to conference to pitch it. (Did that last year.)

    For those who are considering indie publishing, there's a fabulous Christian indie FB page called CIAuthors, and people at all levels are welcome--newbies to real pros. I've learned more in my three or four months with that group than I have over the past ten years in other writing groups. LOVE how everyone truly shares their experience and knowledge and numbers!!! Numbers are kinda helpful, you know. :)

    1. I haven't heard of that group, Sally but I'm so glad you found a welcoming place! And I'm eternally grateful to the self publishing group on yahoo for their openness and willingness to share tips, tricks, and NUMBERS!

  38. The main thing I feel 'guilty' about is the time I spend trying to learn the craft of writing. I usually feel like I should be DOING something like (more) writing or cleaning house. But you can't do unless you learn, right? And the dust and dirty clothes will be there tomorrow.

    1. That's so funny, Donna! I started writing because I wanted something that wouldn't be undone the next day. I felt like I was on a hamster wheel of housework and spinning myself into insanity. With writing (or learning the craft) I find such comfort when I step back and say, " I learned that and I will still know it tomorrow" or "I wrote that and it will still be here tomorrow".

  39. Great post! Hmmm...I have been waiting to give myself permission to jump into the indie world,too. But then I worry that I won't find the right editor, the right cover, enough time, the energy...oh..I really do need to give myself permission, right? Because I love this idea that's been bouncing around my head for over a year.

    I also love your comment about not being a "wheee mom." It made me laugh and really struck a cord. I'd feel guilty when I took my kids to the beach or park and I'd be reading while my husband or other parent played ball or swam out to the floaty thing in the middle of the lake. No more. It's okay not to be a wheeeee mom. Just the fact that I got my kids to the beach is enough. :)

    1. Heehee! Maybe I wasn't even a "wheeeee" kid. Maybe I was a read on the bench sort of kid.
      And I can honestly say that editing and covers are the easiest and funniest parts of self publishing. Getting the book written is always the hardest. Once you've got that part down, you're 95% there.

  40. I can't deny that the FOOD rivaled the rampant intelligence imbued within this post.

    And Virginia's sparkling personality, of course!!!!

    You know, looking back, if I'd jumped in both feet when I wanted to, I might have made it and then I wouldn't have had to work two jobs for over two decades. Wait. Three decades.

    Oh my stars, that's ridiculous!!!

    But in the end no one died.



    1. Ha! I say that all the time. "Nobody died." I might say that a little too much, actually.
      I wish I'd done this twenty years ago, too. But I was in a totally different place in my life and the thought had never even crossed my mind. I'm happy, to have had such a great life, whatever I've been doing (or not doing)!

  41. I love that we have the best of both worlds right now. The ability to publish in multiple ways, and multiple genres...

    We are beyond blessed. And I have to say that I've had a lot of fun working with Amazon, seeing what that's all about.

    And I had to stop back because I love homestyle bagels. They're hard to find anymore, the kind of tough/chewy/fights back consistency that made NYC Polish/Jewish bagel makers the toast of the town.

    Pun firmly intended!

  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

  43. Virginia, Tina, and Ruthy,

    I've been taking some online courses, and I'm signed up for one on book cover design.

    I'm one of those "slow" people who have to examine something new and intimidating from every angle and "study up" before I stick my toe in the water.

    As for writing with little kids, I started when the last one started school. No internet, no computers, etc. I finally had to stop and wait until I had plenty of time to devote to my personal passions.

  44. Good morning, Virginia! Were we separated at birth? :-) I also have six children who rarely wear shoes and am in love with a man who has never read a Jane Austen novel. (He does enjoy a couple of the movie versions, but don't tell anyone.) Love your post! Such great encouragement! After college, I completed law school, but promptly gave myself permission not to practice but to stay home with the babies who were coming fast and furious. Then, a few years ago when I was pregnant with the now-3yo, I gave myself permission to return to my first love -- writing. Even while nursing a newborn! Thank the Lord for supportive husbands, even if they don't read Jane Austen. :-)

  45. Did you mention cheese grits, Virginia?

    Holding out my plate.

    Wait, they were in your title. :)

    I'm nodding my head and giving you a virtual high five for your post today.

    YES! YES! YES!

    Thank you!

    Some years back, I was flying home from an RWA conference with a friend. She and I were discussing Michael Hauge's workshop. He talked about identifying what was holding our characters back from following their hearts' desire. Only we were internalizing his workshop and looking at our own lives and what was holding back our writing.

    I realized I needed to give myself permission to write. I was always wife and mom. Writing was a "closet" thing. So...on that plane, at some high altitude, I gave myself permission.

    I hope all those who read your blog today will do the same.

  46. I just finished a manuscript and sent it to my editor yesterday.

    Whenever I write the last few scenes, filled with lots of smiling faces and kisses and declarations of love, I think about trying my hand at a straight romance.

    Killing people gets depressing, at times. :)

    Perhaps there's a non-suspense romance in my future.

    Something to ponder! :)

  47. Oh, VIRGINIA -- LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS!! How I wish I had read this when I was just starting out because giving writers permission to follow their hearts is something every aspiring (and published) writer needs to hear OVER and OVER again.

    After book 3 of my third series, I am giving myself permission to follow my heart in what I choose to write. My last series was all about tailoring more to the market with shorter, less complicated, and less passionate books (both spiritually and romantically). So although I like the books a lot, they are not books of my heart like the O'Connor saga was. Consequently, I am going back to my first love with what I choose to write and definitely having WAY more fun! :)

    I am SO incredibly impressed with all you have accomplished, Virginia, and wish you continued success, all of which you have truly earned and deserve.


  48. hi Virginia
    thanks for writing this post. i almost didn't complete my Killer Voice manuscript on time because even as I enter the contest, I hadn't given myself permission to take time to write (have four year old son and hubby). I still struggle because, while I'm not the "wheeee" mommy, I do play a bit with my little one. I never thought I would be a mommy (late in life first time mom), so I'm trying to absorb what I can since another child is not part of my future (barring some huge revelation).

    Anyway, this post is a blessing for me. To give myself permission to follow that still small voice that is telling me "go this way...".

    Helen I'm working on starting an ebook design biz online to supplement income and establish something for if (maybe when) my current job fails me this November. I would be more than happy to work with you on cover designs for reasonable pricing. Feel free to ask me for help. I think I could create something good for you.

  49. A big ole Seekerville Happy Birthday going out to Chill'N Nancy C!! Happy 21st!

  50. oh P.S.
    love the Oregon spread. I miss the West, being a Colorado native transplanted to the east coast. Still not sure if trading mountains for ocean was a fair trade...

  51. WOW, Virginia!! Your post is amazing (you seem pretty amazing yourself with ALL you do---can you bottle some of your energy and send it to Georgia? I'll pay shipping). ;)

    My original career was being a teacher of young children (1st grade, then kindergarten) which I LOVED. Because I LOVE little children (and big ones too). I've dabbled at writing stories for children, but haven't done it "seriously" to even come close to seeking publication---because I also enjoy writing inspirational fiction for adults. But I keep saying that "One day, I'll finish one of my stories for kiddos" ~ So....maybe I'll just do that, and even self-pub! (Now that I have permission *wink*).

    Thanks so much, and please toss my name in your drawing.
    One more thing...CONGRATS on ALL your writing success - - I'm still in awe that you've managed to accomplish so much writing AND homeschool your kiddos!
    Hugs from Georgia, Patti Jo :)

  52. First of all, I love Tillamook Cheese! We toured the factory when I was a kid, and it's been my favorite ever since. Great marketing strategy, right?

    Second - my favorite line from your blog: "But then I asked myself if these friends were paying my electric bill. No? Then they didn’t get a say in my career."

    One thing I LOVE about writing is that it's the ultimate in being self-employed. I set my schedule, I decide what I'm going to write, I decide how much effort and time I'm going to put into this whole gig. I'm the one making the decisions!

    And I give myself permission to change things up if something isn't working :)

    Enjoy your vacation!

  53. Virginia, thanks for giving me the freedom (which seems fitting for this week) to be the writer I want to be! Yes, to all your advice. I'm in awe of ALL you mommy writers....and your beautiful covers!

    The other day, I said "I am a writer!" Thanks for the cupcake! :) And the Oregon buffet--love Tillamook cheese!

    (Are the sweet potato fries over at the Yankee-Belle Café?)

  54. I have not read "Lean In" yet, Virginia. I have it on my TBR pile. I think part of what motivated me--besides her sharp words prodding me--was my mother telling me (when DS was 10) that she was tired of hearing me talk all about my activities with him and when was I going to reach for my dreams? Fortunately, I had gotten started but her example of returning to college in my pre-teen years also let me know it was time to do what I needed.

    So Mary Connelly, my mother gave me permission, because she gave herself permission. And yes, your children are absolutely proud of you--take it from a child who knows.

    And no, I was not a Whee kid either!

  55. Thanks for this post, Virginia. For years I needed surgery - like ten years. Sitting was painful. Walking impossible. But I was writing non-fiction, had contracts and needed to travel for research and find photographs. It was my hearts desire to write, but also complete torture.

    Since my second hip replacement in March, I'm giving myself permission to heal physically. There are days when I wake up and realize that I don't REALLY have to do anything but watch the egrets feeding at our little pond and cuddle Pommys. It's amazing. I find myself in heavy prayer time. And little by little I'm getting back into writing, as my body dictates. No more long blocks of time in the chair, then realizing that I haven't walked for six hours!

    Gently, He is leading me into my new schedule, my new life. Feeling grateful for these lessons.

  56. Great advice, Virginia! Some of it a little scary to actually implement, but great advice nonetheless. ;) I was very nervous over a year ago when I quit banking after 11 years in the business, but this past year has been the best of my life. I quit to stay home with my toddler full time, not to write specifically, but it has done wonders for my writing endeavors as well...Thanks for writing this!

  57. What a great post on liberating yourself! I'm a photographer and in 2004 I was way overwhelmed and stressed out by other things in my life, so after much agonizing I quit cold turkey. It was hard to tell friends no when they asked for a session, but after life settled back down a few years later I felt like I was ready to get back into it. While it was hard at the time, looking back it was the right thing for me to do to stay in balance.

    I'm looking forward to reading your books! Thanks for the generous giveaway!

  58. I'd love a red velvet cupcake (bonus that virtual means 0 calories!!

    The thing I did was in 6th grade...we tested to see what band instrument would be best for us. I was OK'd for trumpet, sax and drums. My parents said either trumpet or sax were fine. I choose percussion!!! Never regretted it! I've played in several praise bands and started a youth praise band while my hubby was youth pastor!



  59. Hi Meghan!

    Wwere we? It sounds like we were! I hope you didn't get red hair and freckles, too. :) I have to say my hubby doesn't enjoy the Jane Austen movies either. He's not a native English speaker and those movies are even worse than the usual... British accent AND Regency language? He's lost!

    Good for you for following your heart. I can't imagine walking away from a law degree.

    No, wait. I can probably imagine it since I walked away from my post graduate courses in Poland to live in a tiny town, get married, and raise kids!

  60. Oh, Debby! That is awesome! I was reading Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird and some of her writing exercises are really helpful when applied to life problems, too. I was getting some great eye-opening moments on our long drive yesterday.

    And YES, write that sweet romance! I give you permission. :)

    Changing things up seems like it's a waste of time, but even if it "fails", it can be very productive. For example, last month I was trying to outline a whole book before starting it. I spent three weeks FORCING myself to outline with several different methods. I really didn't want to be stubborn about plotting vs. pantsing when I could be slowing my own writing development.

    I finally gave up. When I did go back to writing it the way I usually do (plotting with jotted notes and scraps of paper and putting words down on the screen) I had gained so much confidence. I knew what DIDN'T work for me, once and for all.

    That being said, I can't imagine any book written by Debby Giusti being less than amazing! (And a load of fun to write.)

  61. Hi Julie!!

    I'm SO GLAD this post spoke blessing and confirmation on your current situation. I think I reached that point with my last LI, when I couldn't develop the supporting cast the way I wanted, or have the faith element as strong as I liked. When I come up with a story, I usually get the idea from the moral struggle first, and move on from there. If I cut out most of the faith/moral elements, make the romance central, and just insert a few "please, Lord, help me" moments, it's not the same. It feels... off to me.

    I love my self published historicals because (although researching was a pain in the patootie) the spiritual struggle was front and center, with all the other action, romance, and plot wrapped around it. I FEEL GOOD about those books. I feel proud!

    Wishing you the very best and I know that writing those stories that God has given you, and only you, is the biggest way to honor Him with your gift.

  62. Hi DEbH!

    Yes, I didn't mean to make it sound like I work during the day while my kids languish by themselves. That was more of a tongue-in-cheek paragraph. :) Probably meant for moms like us who feel guilt and no meant to be used as an excuse to ignore the wee ones.

    I work from 10PM to 3AM (sometimes later), the same hours as a lot of writing moms. My kids get up around 8:30 ( we don't have to get up as early as traditional schoolers) so I can live on 5 1/2 hours.

    I very, very rarely do blog work/writing during the day. Today is one of those days. I knew my husband would be on vacation this week so my kids are walking along the beach with him right now while I pop in and out of Seekerville and write a bit in the quiet house. :)

    P.S. My youngest is four! What a great age. Everything is new, and I get to see it all again through his eyes.

    Good luck on the cover biz! What do you do now (the job that will end in November)? Anyway, I keep telling people, freelancers are going to make out like bandits with the self publishing biz. If I had any tech skills AT ALL I would be hanging out my sign. But sadly, I will be the one BUYING the cover, not making it.

    Let us know when you've got your site up and running!

  63. Chill'N Nancy C is 21????

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I love birthdays. My husband grew up in a country that doesn't really celebrate birthdays and I think that is the worst thing I have ever heard. In my family, we celebrate for weeks. Two before and maybe one after. Seriously, little bitty things every day like picking what's for dinner, or choosing which park to play at, or getting to be first at ice cream time.

    Birthday mean that God had a really, really good idea and it was YOU.

  64. DebH, did you ever get farther west than CO? I was born in Denver, but hardly ever get that far East.

  65. Hi CatMom!

    Funny you mention children's lit. I have a MG book I wrote for my (now) ten year old son. It's called Fluffer: The Story of a Chinese Dwarf Hamster Who Saved the World From an Evil Cat Named Cupcake. (And yes, we LOVE kitties. We have three.) It was a hoot and a half to write. Not sure what I'll do with it, but I'm planning on figuring that out... someday soon.

    I'm also writing a YA that my girls requested. I love YA lit, and read a lot of it, but it's a really hard genre to master. It's taken me 5 times as long to write this YA as a sweet contemporary romance.

    If you have a gift for children's lit, I say GO FOR IT. You write it, and my kids will read it.

  66. Jan! I toured the Tillamook cheese factory when my oldest daughter was just born... fourteen years ago. It's time for a new visit!

  67. Ha, Sherida! I didn't even think of it being close to Fourth of July!

    Hooray!!! Cupcake for you and a big high five! YOU ARE A WRITER. Wear it proudly.

    The sweet potato with panko wasn't very pretty. I don't think it will be in the café. I try to post food that's pretty as well as tasty, and although it was yummy enough, it just seemed like mashed up blobs on a plate. Hmmmm. I might shape them more and then coat, like knishes.

  68. Virginia, I haven't had time to read the comments, so I hope I'm not repeating what others have said -- this is a fantabulous post! I wonder how large a frame I would need to hang it on the wall after I print it ...

    Thank for, thank you!

    Nancy C

  69. Oh, Piper, that is a powerful story!!

    We live in a culture that worships youth and past a certain age, we all feel a bit "left on the shelf". Add in a truncated education or dreams deferred and we really feel like we're swimming against the tide.

    My dad was in his fifties when he changed from mechanical engineering to nuclear engineering. Can you imagine? And he's not a dabbler. He goes ALL OUT, absorbing every bit of information, intent on being at the top of the top. I remember being absolutely shocked by his decision, but he acted as if it was nothing to embark on a career change that would entail years and years of continuing education, after being out school for decades.

    I love that your mother inspired you, and you are inspiring your son. I try to let my kids know that what you DO, is not what you ARE. You may do many, many things in life (some that people respect and some that people ignore) but you ARE God's precious child. And everything flows out from there.

  70. Lyndee, beautiful testimony! One of my friends broke her foot two years ago and her journey sounds so much like yours. When you're forced to slow down, sometimes God takes an opportunity to bring you closer to Him, lovingly.

    P.S. My friend in Texas raises poms! I never knew one dog breed from another, really, but NOW I know all about poms! Just yesterday we were walking through Newport, Oregon and I saw a silver/black wolf sable pom. (Did I get that right?) I had to take a pic and text it to my friend!

  71. Hooray, Jennifer!!

    Those changes are SO SCARY. You imagine all sorts of horrible things happening. Sometimes I say, "what's the worst that can happen?" But that can backfire because I have a VERY good imagination. LOL

    I was afraid to stay home with my first child, too. I had spent so much time studying and working, that people would tell me I was "wasting" that education and experience. I would just smile and say, "what better place to waste it than on my children?"

    And I'm so, so thankful I had the freedom and the support to make that choice. Not all every mom wants to stay home, but we need to support those who do as much as we support those who work outside the home every day.

  72. Virginia,

    That sounds right to me! Wolf-sables are hard to come by! That is a color that is on my wishlist, lol, but we take 'em as they come. I've had orange, orange sable, red sable, orange-cream and merle which is a bit of everything- orange, gray, blue, black, white, and cream all in one coat. Pretty spectacular!

  73. Hello, Heidi!

    Your experience sounds just like a friend of mine who had a very successful newborn photography business. She was incredibly talented! But it became so difficult, so complicated, that she didn't feel any joy in it any more. She, too, mentioned how hard it was to tell friends that she was shutting her business.

    I don't think she's every gone back and she's perfectly happy with her decision!

  74. S. Trietsch, I just laughed out loud!

    My college friend plays the drums and we laugh about how I would be FIRED in a millisecond if I ever had to become a drummer. Give me thirty years and I could NEVER, NEVER get good enough to do anything other than screw up the rest of the musicians. And I'm not unmusical! I play the piano and studied the violin. Drums are just WAYYYY beyond me.

    Red velvet cupcake for you and your drumliness!

  75. Chill N, hilarious! Julie H said it would make a bumper sticker and you say a poster. It probably falls somewhere in the middle.

    And happy birthday again!!

  76. Hi Virginia, thanks for sharing your vacation and food adventures with us. And thank you for permission to be who we really are even when it goes against the flow. LOVE having permission granted especially when it comes to books :)

    Leaving Liberty was the first book of yours I read and enjoyed so much I went straight to Amazon and bought Season of Joy and Season of Hope. Really enjoyed them too.

    I have your two Austen style books on my kindle TBR. Your post said that the editors at Howard had improved the books through editing. I was wondering if the difference since editing was significant enough that I should get the Howard edited versions?

  77. Lyndee, I love the sound of that last pom!

    My friend was texting me pics of the baby poms as they grew. My kids were goggle-eyed. The puppies looked like the sweetest, tiniest teddy bears!

  78. I long for the beach. I sat outside at work during my break. In the shade it isn't too bad. 106 and a hot breeze, I keep thinking all I need is the ocean.

  79. WOW! That's about how hot it is in Eastern Oregon, but the beach is usually pretty chilly. I was also checking the weather and I saw the temps around 50F during the day, so I unpacked all the shorts and packed all the pants/ sweatshirts. THEN we got here and it got pretty warm! 80 today and we're all sunburned, ha!

  80. I really want to hire a "mommy's helper".

    I also want to find a writing mentor.

    I want to give myself permission to have 5 minutes of "freak out" before I start looking for agents. haha!!

    Thanks for this!


  81. You know, the mother/daughter thing is a funny bond...

    Or maybe I should say mother/child because I have a son who's writing now and I love that this talent that came from my mother is now moving down generations of story-telling, even though her life took so many downward spirals...

    I did love that she blessed and sanctioned my writing (which was sporadic then) before she died and that meant a lot to me. Not for the validation but because it was a mother's love, meted out. And that made it so much better.

    Tina, you need a beach and a rainstorm.

    106 in the shade....

    (shakes head, knows Tina needs to move back north!!!!)

    How's about a milkshake??? I'm buying!

  82. What you do is not what you are. That statement gave me pause above all of the other pearls in your piece. That's a hard one for me. I've been a trainer, a rancher, a wife, a mother, a writer, a project manager, a swimmer, a runner. But if you ask me what I am, I'm stumped for an answer.

    I guess just a me!

  83. Dear Virginia,
    Thank you for the post.
    I've never been to Oregon, but you just sold me on a trip.
    I have four kids, and I started writing again when my twins started day school. It's been the easiest and hardest thing I've ever done.

  84. Wow, I love this post, Virginia!!! Awesome! And I was not that "Wheeee!" mommy either and I felt guilty for a long time (until just now when I read your post) but you're right. My kids learned to occupy themselves and play with each other and read books. And that's a good thing, that they didn't depend on me to entertain them all the time. But they know I love them and that's what really matters. They never went hungry either. That matters too. ;-)

    I'm so happy for you and for all the success you've had! I always think of you when I think of courageous authors taking a chance on indie publishing and succeeding! Yay you!!! And getting a NY publisher to sit up and take notice is totally awesome too! So yay you again!!!

  85. Virginia Carmichael Munoz said... In my family, we celebrate for weeks. Two before and maybe one after.

    Yes! Another person who observes the two-three-maybe four week birthday celebration!

    Thanks for the birthday wishes.

    And a very late HAPPY CANADA DAY to those of you to the north!

    Nancy C

  86. Hi Christen!

    I had a mommy's helper for years. I had her come when I needed to clean and a few times when I was really sick. She grew up with us, from age 12 to 24. Now she's married with her own baby! She's still my "mommy's helper".

    Yes, to the writing mentor! I have one but it's a bit scary. I find myself not wanting to show her any work because I admire her SO MUCH. Which is a little counter-productive.

    Haha, feel free to freak out! Go ahead, we'll just sit over here and watch... and maybe film a little bit for youtube.

  87. Becke, YES. You are YOU!

    And there is only one of you, so no fear of having to get it right. You are exactly as you should be.

    And I've worn many hats and still do. But the person under the hat is always the same. :)

  88. Tanya, "the easiest and hardest thing I've ever done."

    Well said!! I completely agree! And congratulations on taking the plunge to write while raising kids. I know mine benefit from my improved mood. :)

  89. Thanks, Melanie! And yes, keeping the kids from starving is always something we should count as a personal success. :D

  90. oooh, Happy Canada day?

    Hm, how can I turn this into a party??

  91. Ah.... Permission to be ME!

    Thanks Virginia!!!!

  92. Great stuff, Virginia! I self-pubbed my first 2 books (inspirational nonfiction) but I'd like to try traditional publishing my novels. I guess we'll see how it works out. :)

  93. To answer the question; at work I highlighted some areas of safety that concerned me. I was NOT popular. Not everyone is accepting of change.

  94. Well, I'm a day late in posting, but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVED this post, Ginny. So much wisdom. Thank you for being such an encouragement.

    God bless you, for you have blessed so many.

  95. I'm snipping out my free pass to run with scissors (a.k.a take time to write!) Thanks, cuz I needed that.

  96. You're probably sick of it by now, but here it is. :-)

    Helen Fraser paused outside Herrman’s Hardware and—as she did every morning—kissed her gloved palm, then grasped the door handle and didn’t move again until the inner trembling lessened.

  97. Virginia, I'm sorry I missed your post yesterday! I turned in a book last last night. YAY!! And now I'm considering that vacation you mentioned. :)

    EXCELLENT post! So much good stuff here.

  98. Pam, you do a wonderful job of being you! Full steam ahead!

  99. Hi Anna! I've read one of yours, I think. It was fun! And every book isn't perfect for only one situation. The YA I'm writing now... I honestly don't know where it will go. Self published YA fantasy is NOT a big money-maker. But if I go trade publishing, then I would have to go query for agents and I don't know if I'm ready to push that boulder up the mountain right now.
    Best of luck and keep us updated!

  100. Mary, as the wife of a man who works in a very dangerous and VERY LAX factory, I thank you. He's also mentioned safety issues that could be serious/fatal, but which entailed new equipment and procedures... and nobody was happy. It's hard doing the right thing, especially when you're keeping someone safe who would rather just take a chance.

    Bless you, Mary!

  101. Hi Susan! I'm glad it spoke to you! I've missed many, many situations where we need a hug and get permission, so just imagine anything I've missed and... GO FOR IT!

  102. Sick of what, April? That sounds like some lovely, gripping writing! What a treat to read that in the middle of my Wednesday morning. :)

    *hands you a pair of scissors*

  103. WHOOOHOOO! Meeting deadlines is awesome! Great job!

  104. Thanks so much for the permission! Here's the thing I've realized I need to do: finish a first draft BEFORE I take the first chapter to the writing group. I have a vision for my novel. It's not set in stone, but I need to work through it without hearing a lot of cool ideas like how awesome it would be if my characters time travel, or if I added a talking garden gnome. . . .

  105. Virginia,

    What a refreshing article! Thanks for permission to do what I think is the right thing to do - not only with respect to writing, but other areas of life right now.

    Be blessed!

  106. Having retired my day-to-day mommie skills (my children are 33 and 26)and looking at retirement a few years down the road, I decided at age 57 that I wanted to take a shot at writing a romance novel. Two years and three months (which was two weeks ago) later my debut novel was released by Astraea Press. Great post, Virginia.

  107. Chris Bailey, that made me laugh out loud!!

  108. Exactly, Edwina!! Go forth and do what needs to be done!

  109. Congratulations, Rachel! That is absolutely inspiring!!