Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Defying Gravity

with guest blogger Sara Ella.



 “If you don’t finish college, you’ll never amount to anything.”

“You need to get a real job, something you can fall back on.”

“Why are you wasting time writing fantasy? 

You should be writing about things that matter.”

This is just a sampling of things people have said to me over the years as I pursued a career in writing. I’m a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of two. I don’t have a degree. My writing background lacks some serious credentials. The odds were definitely NOT in my favor. (Can you tell I write YA?)

So I had to make a choice. Writing a novel meant late nights. It wasn’t going to be easy. Not even close. I had to ask myself, “Do I really want this?”

I couldn’t answer that question right away, but then some things happened that caused me to take a serious look at my life. I decided I wouldn’t put it off anymore, I WOULD write a novel. Because despite what so many people said, I COULD write a novel.

And. I. Did.

It didn’t happen overnight, and I didn’t do it alone. It took about twenty versions of my first chapter, countless revisions, awesome critique partners, contest feedback, a mentor who loves red ink, and a no-nonsense freelance editor to get my story into shape. That was over a period of about two years. Surrounding myself with the right kind of people made all the difference. Once my manuscript was ready, the time came to put it to the ultimate test. Despite the odds, I WOULD get an agent.

And. I. Did.

He (my agent) knew he was taking a risk. My story would be a hard sell, but he liked it and stood by it. He believed in me, despite the more likely outcome that he’d never see a return on all his hard work. Having an advocate, once again, made all the difference. So I prayed. And waited. Despite the odds, I WOULD get a contract before I turned thirty.

And. I. Did.


Here’s the clincher: the offer from Thomas Nelson/ HarperCollins for my YA romantic fantasy trilogy came three days before my thirtieth birthday. Isn’t it funny how life works? So many people tried to limit me. Went out of their way to tell me I couldn’t, shouldn’t, wouldn’t do it. But when I changed direction and surrounded myself with the right kind of people, my life changed. I defied gravity. The world tried to bring me down, but the right people showed me “everyone deserves to chance to fly.”

Maybe you’re in a similar situation. You’re struggling and wondering if pursuing the author life is even worth it. To that I say, YES! If you are passionate about writing, if you find yourself tapping out dialogue in the Notes App on your phone or perusing Spotify for the perfect theme song for your story, don’t give up. College degree or not, your future is unlimited, but it’s up to you to grab it.

There’s no formula for getting published, whether you follow the indie or traditional route. I can’t tell you that following my suggestions will get you an agent or a contract or on the New York Times Bestseller List. But I can say that one major thing helped me become a better writer. If you’re in it because you love it, paycheck or not, then read on. 

“…if I only had a brain.”—Scarecrow, The Wizard of Oz


[Writer’s think differently from the rest of the world. If you don’t have other writers you can connect with in real life, fear not! I don’t either. The online writing community has been a huge encouragement to me. Joining organizations like ACFW or attending a writer’s conference or even just lurking here on Seekerville has made all the difference. I Skype with my critique partners every week. They think the way I do. Surround yourselves with like-minded people, whether you join a critique group where you live or connect with one online.

“…a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.” ― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz


 Your work is a reflection of you. So write what you love. Don’t write to the trends. This industry is constantly changing, and no one can predict what will be hot or not next year. Find writers who have a passion for the same things you do. Whatever your genre, it makes a huge difference to have people you can talk to about it, because they’re the ones who will understand and listen without judgement. Ultimately, they’re the ones who will see your heart, the ones who will love your story most.

“Come on, get up and fight…”—Cowardly Lion, The Wizard of Oz


Whether you’re an emotional sap like me or have super thick skin, rejection is never easy to take. But it does make you stronger. Don’t let rejection stop you from pursuing your dream. Have the courage to keep going, and surround yourself with people who can en-courage you (See what I did there?). Fight for what you want, and find others (writers or non-writers) who can fight alongside you.

You’ve probably noticed an ongoing theme here. Dorothy didn’t make it to Oz on her own. She had help. Her story ended with “acknowledgements” to the friends she made and what they taught her. And those friends ended up being her “home” all along. You may feel isolated and alone in this writing thing. But you don’t have to look far to find your people. If you’re reading this blog, they’re closer than you think. 

Not sure where to begin? Connect with me in the comments! I’d be happy to try and answer any questions you have about starting a critique group or finding your own writing community. Thanks to Seekerville for having me on the blog today!



 Once upon a time, SARA ELLA dreamed she would marry a prince (just call her Mrs. Charming) and live in a castle (aka The Plaza Hotel). Though her fairy tale didn’t quite turn out as planned, she did work for Disney—that was an enchanted moment of its own. Now she spends her days throwing living room dance parties for her two princesses and conquering realms of her own imaginings. Oh, and her husband is far more swoony than any cartoon character could ever be. She believes “Happily Ever After is Never Far Away” for those who put their faith in the King of kings. Sara Ella is all over social media, but her favorite places to connect are on Twitter @SaraEllaWrites or on her YouTube channel. 


Seekerville is giving away the winner's choice of any ecopy of any  2015 ACFW Carol Award winning book. Leave a comment to be entered. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition!



165 comments :

  1. Sara Ella, I love how your post fits the No Limits theme. And so glad you persevered. Surrounding yourself with Seekers and villagers is a good thing. Thanks for your post! Until Helen gets here, I'll offer coffee and cinnamon rolls.

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  2. Hi Sara Ella,
    Very uplifting post. I also enjoyed watching some of your writing YouTube videos. What a great and different way to reach out to readers.

    You're so together in that Advance video. I never look like that when I go to the post office, BTW. I'm usually wearing something with holes and a questionable hair style. I don't think I'd be filming YouTube clips in my town post office's parking lot anytime soon or EVER! That was impressive!

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  3. I just started my blog and haven't posted anything. I'm still busy with exam and joining together in lots of groups activity. I actually like places which have likeminded interest or way of thinking.
    Thanks for the wonderful posts.

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  4. I just want to say good for you!!! Well done.

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  5. Love the post and HUGE congrats on your contract with Harper Collins! When does the first book come out?

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  6. Great post Sara Ella. I tried to visit your You Tube page but the link goes to a page that says it doesn't exist. :(

    Happy Birthday Seekerville! Have a blessed and joyful day!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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  7. This is all true, true, true! Surround yourself with positive people, you get positive results.

    And the reverse is also true!

    WHY DO YOU KNOW THIS AT SUCH A YOUNG AND DARE I SAY PRETTY AGE, YOU BRAT???????

    Sigh.

    :)

    Grin.

    This is awesome stuff, and I am so doggone happy that these chances await you now! You did it. You came. You saw. You conquered.

    And I love that you realized the journey isn't really, usually, probably Emily Dickinson-style. In writing, at least these days, it takes the Oz team, a village, and maybe coffee shop gift cards!

    Congratulations, Sara! So stinkin' happy for you!

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  8. Evelyn, I love, love, love your picture of fall!

    Yes! October! All things pumpkin and cinnamon and apples!

    You made me smile!

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  9. great posting, sara....I love the 'princess theme.'

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  10. Welcome, Sara!!!

    Instead of Kumbaya, we're all singing Defying Gravity today!

    Something has changed within me
    Something is not the same
    I'm through with playing by the rules
    Of someone else's game
    Too late for second-guessing
    Too late to go back to sleep
    It's time to trust my instincts
    Close my eyes and leap!

    It's time to try
    Defying gravity
    I think I'll try
    Defying gravity
    Kiss me goodbye
    I'm defying gravity
    And you won't bring me down

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  11. Chocolate croissants and pancakes with happy faces for everyone.

    Coffee and hot cocoa with homemade marshmallows for all the Villagers!

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  12. Love this!!! Yes, yes, yes...SO true! Congrats on the contract/sales. :-)

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  13. Tell us all about your books and when they are releasing!!!!

    We also want a peek at your writing schedule. Do princesses write with their tiara's on?

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  14. Hi Sara Ella! It was so nice to meet you at ACFW. Congratulations on not giving up, getting an agent, and getting a contract. There've been many times in my life God gave me the exact thing I needed days before a deadline.

    Thanks for sharing your inspiring journey!

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  15. Good morning, Sara! And thank you for sharing the story of your journey. God and perseverance--and unbeatable combo! What was your lowest point(s) on the journey? And what turned it/them around?

    Like Tina, I'd like to hear more about the books you're contracted for! Congratulations!

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  16. Hello Sarah Ella! Thank you for being brave enough to share your writing journey with the rest of us. It was deeply touching. God bless!

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  17. Sara Ella, congratulations on your contract. I have been so grateful for Seekerville and the connections and encouragement I receive here. I hope everyone has a great day. I brought some biscuits and gravy.

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  18. Ah, Naysayers! Haven't we all faced them. You gave us inspirational words to live by, Sara.

    Good luck with your book.

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  19. Hello Sara, Congrats on your contract! Thank you for sharing your writing journey.

    TINA, thanks for the hot cocoa and pancakes! They are delish.

    Have a great day everyone!

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  20. Sara: I loved your column and princess theme. I am also married to Mr. Charming. I have a Snow White costume and have worn it many times to Festivals, etc. I appreciate your goal setting. I do the same. I'm a list maker and love to reach my goals and cross off another accomplishment. Some linger on the list longer than others, but I trudge on. Smile. Keep on the path you have chosen and you will continue to be successful. Thanks for bearing your soul and sharing your story with us all.

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  21. Happy Birthday to Seekersville and all the Seekers who work so hard to keep us informed and happy. It's a big encouragement to us all who are struggling along in the writing world.

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  22. I forgot to mention how young and sweet you are. I wish I could have started earlier into the writing business, but alas I worked fulltime in a law office and raising two children and a hubby, I managed only short stories. Don't give up, Sara.

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  23. Enjoyed reading about your journey, Sara! Thanks for sharing. Congratulations! Critique groups are wonderful, Seekerville is great, and having someone support you and be your biggest fan, priceless! I have two of those, my best friend and my son. When I get published, they'll just sit back and say I told you so lol. Some days I wish I had their faith...Congratulations, Sara! Can't wait to read your books!

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  24. I have never actually eaten a chocolate croissant.

    I must change this sad reality.

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  25. Good post SARA. And very encouraging.
    I no longer tie goals to a particular birthday. Now it's "Please God before I die." Martha Rogers was in her 70s before she published, so guess I've got time.
    I've made so many mistakes and stumbled so often. I often wish I could go back and start over with what I know now and who I am now, but God knew I wasn't ready before. In my 30s, 40s OR 50s.
    Christian writing is like any other ministry. You fall down, you get up, at some point you succeed, and you don't stop until God tells you to. Trust me on this.
    Thank you for sharing your journey.
    Kathy Bailey

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  26. SARA, I'm glad you mentioned support. I'm grateful for my husband, who has always supported my writing dream, and my now-grown children. I am grateful for my crit partner, who is honest but kind. And I'm grateful for the Seekers and Writers Alley. My schedule doesn't allow a lot of face-to-face fellowship right now, so there are days I hang on to the blogs like an inner tube.
    KB

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  27. Hi Sara Ella:

    Without gravity we would float endlessly and mindlessly thru a universe without end. There would be no limits to measure our progress. No resistance to ground our journey and no horizon to offer hope of new discovery.

    My mother knew that the best way to motivate me was to tell me I couldn't do something. "You're too little to tie your own shoes. Only the big boys can do that."

    Of course, back in the day, 'reverse psychology' was the new parental panacea. Isn't this why the Marines are only looking for a 'few' good men?

    Sometimes we learn that life's stumbling blocks were really stepping stones.

    BTW: Are you providing a little 'reverse psychology' yourself by not telling us what your triolgy is about?

    How old are your hero and heroine?
    Is your book a dystopia?
    Is it a young YA or a New YA with older characters who are still unsettled in a career or love interests?
    Would you call your books 'coming of age' stories?

    One of the big joys of Seekerville is the possibility of 'discovering' new authors who may provide a new source of reading enjoyment for a lifetime to come.

    Please tell us about your trilogy.
    I know you can do it!
    The older I get, the more I enjoy YA stories.

    Vince

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  28. Welcome to Seekerville, Sara! Your post is both inspiring and practical. Thanks for sharing your heart and the determination to rise above the naysayers and refuse to put limits on your dream. You were wise to surround yourself with those who both understand the writing life and have wisdom to share. Red ink is our friend. :-)Congratulations on the sale of your series! Tell us more!

    Janet

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  29. Tina, you found the perfect song!!

    Janet

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  30. Thank you for the great words of encouragement. Your analogy to Dorothy's journey is one that I can use: stuck in a cowardly lion phase. I have not been writing, all of the reasons seemed good one at the time, but now the "1000" words has made it to the to do list for today. Thanks for the inspiration. Please enter my name in the cookie jar!

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  31. Thank you for the Birthday month, Seekers! If you only knew how many of us you have inspired and encouraged!

    Sara: How do you carve out your writing time? Congrats on your book contract!

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  32. Good morning!

    Luckily, most people I'm around support me. Just yesterday my brother-in-law sent me an inspiring email about writing. My husband has always been my best cheerleader.
    I suppose there has been the occasional person who remains quiet and gets that funny look on their face when I tell them I'm writing. But I can't think of single one of those naysayers who falls into I-care-what-they-think category. Seriously.

    I think it's incredibly awesome that you became a published author before the age of 30 all the while raising a family and homeschooling.

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  33. +Marianne Barkman Mmmmm, cinnamon rolls and coffee are the way to a girl's heart :) Thanks so much! When Tina told me the theme I just KNEW I had to incorporate my favorite musical somehow.

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  34. Hi Lyndee H! Thanks so much! I appreciate you taking time to watch. And the only reason I was so together in that video is because it happened to be the day I run errands and go to the library--the one day I do my hair and make-up haha :) And I have definitely found that YouTube is a great social media outlet, especially for reaching YA readers.

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  35. Thank you Sara. Oh, how I needed that en-couragement today. Sometimes it would be so easy to quit and today is one of those times. I love the story of your writing journey and wish you a HEA as you continue on. Saving this post for when I need a kick in the behind.(Although Tina has handled that task for me a time for two with great success.)

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  36. Hi Evelyn! Good for you starting a blog. It definitely takes time and commitment to do something like that. I would say don't worry about posting everyday. Sounds like you're busy so I would suggest starting with one post a week. Consistency is key and it's about quality, not quantity.

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  37. Kara Isaac, thank you! First book (title is TBD) releases (tentatively) October 11, 2016 :)

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  38. Cindy W, thanks for bringing that to my attention. The period isn't supposed to be a part of the link. If you click on the link and delete the period then you will find my channel. :) http://youtube.com/c/SaraElla

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  39. Link repair had been called!! We put in an IT ticket!!

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  40. Welcome to Seekerville, Sara! I do read YA occasionally! Sounds like one I'd like...

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  41. Ruth Logan Herne, you are cracking me up. I'm actually 30 years old, but get that a lot. You're super sweet. I still have loads to learn, but the community aspect of writing is something I learned quickly is a non-negotiable. Coffee shop gift cards? Yes, please! Thanks so much :)

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  42. What an inspirational post Sara! I'm glad that you didn't listen to the nay-Sayers. And yeah for an agent that believes in you! This was a great way to start off my day. :) Congratulations!

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  43. Tina, I could not have said it better myself <3

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  44. Thanks so much, Jessica Nelson!

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  45. Thanks, Jackie! It was nice to meet you as well :)

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  46. Glynna Kaye, thanks so much! My lowest point was probably my first rejection from a publisher last winter after my MS went all the way to their editorial board. I was so SURE that publisher was perfect for my book, so when they rejected me I went through a bit of mourning. This probably seems silly considering they were the first house my agent submitted to, but alas it broke me for a minute. And then I got up off the floor, called my dear author friend, and chatted with her for about two hours. Now I'm blessed to be contracted by the same house as that author <3 So again it goes back to surrounding yourself with positive people who can lift you up when you're down :)

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  47. Kelly Bridgewater, thanks so much! It was my pleasure. God bless you as well :)

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  48. Wilani Wahl, thanks! Yes, yes, yes! Love Seekerville and all the encouragement and community found here. Mmmm, I love biscuits and gravy!

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  49. Sara!!! Thank you so much for this inspiring and encouraging post! Defying gravity takes courage and fortitude, and you seem to have plenty of both. Congratulations on your success!

    Laughing with KAYBEE--"I no longer tie goals to a particular birthday. Now it's 'Please God before I die.'" Oh, honey, I know the feeling! God knew I wasn't ready in my 30s and 40s either. Not sure why He felt it was important to wait until I was closing in on 60, but I'm not arguing!

    And speaking from personal experience, let me reiterate that a college degree is definitely NOT essential for getting published. There are other ways to learn the things that are important to know. Just NEVER STOP LEARNING!

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  50. Rose, thank you so much! Yes, boo to the naysayers, haha :)

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  51. Caryl Kane, thank you! It was my pleasure to share :)

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  52. Suzanne B: Thank you! I love Snow so much more now since watching Once Upon a Time. Dressing up can be so much fun! Thanks for the encouragement and kind words. Sometimes we all have things on our goal lists longer than we expect, which makes it so much more satisfying when we finally accomplish them.

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  53. Sally S, thank you! We all need people around to say "I told you so." My mom would have been one of mine. WHEN you get published I'm sure your best friend and son will be grinning from ear to ear.

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  54. Sara Ella, what an uplifting post! I loved reading a little about your story, and how God has moved you beyond the doubters! Surrounding ourselves with like-minded people has made a ton of difference on my writing journey. I don't think I'd still be writing if I tried to do this all on my own.And my husband and boys? Well, they're my biggest supporters, and in that I'm most blessed.

    I'm so looking forward to reading your book.

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  55. Thanks so much for the reminder to never give up on the dream. I remember meeting you in St. Louis when you won the Genesis and am so excited that God blessed you with a contract! Love your bio and yes, when you surround yourself with the right folks, the odds ARE in your favor. (Especially since God controls the outcome.)

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  56. Loved this post soooooo much and am now singing Defying Gravity and will likely have it playing through my mind all day. LOL Love that you didn't listen to the naysayers. Thrilled that you are achieving your publishing dream. I'm anxious to know when your first book will be released. And what your trilogy is about.

    The youtube link didn't work for me but Seekerville posted a link to one on the weekend and I loved it. You're right -- fantastic way to connect with your YA audience.

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  57. I saw your YouTube channel Sara. Wow you're young.
    And conversely...I am OLD!

    It was fun.
    If anyone tried the link before and had trouble, it's OKAY now.

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  58. Hi Sara Thanks so much for joining us in Seekerville. What a great and inspiring testimony.

    And I agree with Maryj You are very young. And how wonderful that you had the courage to follow your dreams at a young age. You have a whole lifetime to enjoy the fruits.

    Your little princesses sound fun.

    Thanks again.

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  59. It is humbling to know that hanging in Seekerville was helpful. Sometimes we get discouraged and/or busy and wonder why we do things. We often do things without realizing how God uses us. Thank you for sharing that. It was encouraging for us. smile

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  60. I keep trying to leap in the air and defy gravity but it's not working.

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  61. Did you tell us about your books and when we can buy them???

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  62. Are you a midnight writer with kiddos in the house?

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  63. Tina I'm cracking up picturing you leaping in the air. We ought to have a party.

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  64. Sara this is GREAT ADVICE girl and I am so proud of you!!!

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  65. Thanks for the encouraging post. I think I allow the "what ifs" to attack my leaping. You inspire me!

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  66. Very encouraging post. I wish I would have set some of those goals when I was younger. I didn't have enough faith that I could really write a novel but I am trying now. Please enter me in the drawing.

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  67. Sara, what a great post and fun vlog! Yes to the importance of friends. Wishing you fantastic success with your YA series....and many more books in the future!

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  68. Sara Ella,

    Thanks for your honesty and encouragement! You are spot on with the positive impact surrounding yourself with like-minded people can have on not only your writing but outlook in general!

    Stephanie

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  69. Sara, congrats on all that you've accomplished. Yay for you! Yay for Seekerville! Yay for all of the writers out there...let's reach for the sky. By the way I think I'm as old as Mary since she revealed her graduation date yesterday. I guess my goal will be to get something published before I retire in 5.75 years...then I can go to the convention and not miss school (if I can afford it on retirement pay.)

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  70. Really enjoyed your story Sara, Way to hang in there, I definitely can relate.

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  71. I plug away at this writing thing. I've got support from my family, but I haven't made any author connections other than reading/posting on Seekerville. I *am* going to my first writers' conference Friday/Saturday (local to me) so I hope to make some connections there (even though it goes against my introvert, socially anxious self)

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  72. Nancy Kimball! Good to see you, stranger! They leave us and they never write. Sniff !

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  73. Welcome to Seekervilke, Glen, Kate and Evelyn!

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  74. BECKY, yay for attending your first writers conference! As another socially anxious introvert, I know what kind of courage it takes to do this. But you'll survive and come back with tons of great information, I'm sure!

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  75. Hi Sara
    Thanks for sharing such an inspirational and encouraging post today. It is amazing what happens when you surround yourself with the right people. Reminds me of the signage that said "it's tough to soar with the eagles when you're surrounded by turkeys..."

    Huge congrats on your agent and contract success. I look forward to hearing from you again the closer it gets to your debut book release. I love release parties online. One finds out so much cool stuff about the author. (sort of like the special DVD bonus disc with extra material).

    I'm hoping to apply the cool stuff in this post to my writing life.

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  76. I'm always on the lookout for YA authors for my 14 year old twin daughters that devour books. It used to be fun to go to the library in our little town but now that they've read everything decent we're on the hunt for new writers. I'm adding you to our list!

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  77. Oh. Wow. Were you reading my mind? How could you have known how much I find myself in your words today? Isolated. Defeated. Want to give it up, lay it down, forget it forever. But I can't and I don't even know how or where to turn next. Four novels behind me now and not sure where to go next. Looking for that place to belong in this crazy writing life. Thank you for sharing this post today.

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  78. Awww, thanks for that extra encouragement Suzanne B.:) That makes my day!

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  79. kaybee: those are some great words of wisdom. Yes, it is all in HIS timing. Loved what you said about not stopping until HE tells you to. Amen! Thanks for stopping by :)

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  80. kaybee: I soooo agree. Support is so important, in real life or online :)

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  81. What a great pep talk today, Sara! I can feel the energy radiating from you. Thank you!

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  82. Welcome Sara.

    There is a lot to be said for surrounding oneself with encouragers and like-minded folks.

    Seekerville is proof positive of that! :)

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  83. Hi Vince! I'm actually not allowed to reveal much about my trilogy at this time. It doesn't even have a title yet, haha! This business moves very slowly. I can say it's a YA fantasy/ romance. My main character is a 17 year old girl. I'm not sure I would call it coming of age. It explores the themes of true beauty and self worth. Glad to hear you enjoy YA stories. If you want to follow me on YouTube I will be announcing the title and doing cover reveals and such as they come.

    I agree that sometimes stumbling blocks can be stepping stones because they make us work harder to achieve our goals. Thanks for stopping by!

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  84. Thanks so much, Janet! I love Seekerville because it's such an encouraging community. Yes, for red ink! This is what I keep telling those who are just starting out. And all I can reveal about my series at this point is it is a YA fantasy/romance featuring a 17 year old female heroine. The story explores the themes of true beauty and self worth. The title is TBD. Thanks for asking, and I wish I could say more! The tentative release for book 1 is October 11, 2016.

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  85. Thank you for this encouraging post, Sara. If it weren't for Seekerville and God, of course, I wouldn't have recently received my first contract...one month after turning 50.

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  86. Olivia: So glad you found the post inspiring. We have all been in the cowardly lion phase. I put writing off for a long time due to certain circumstances in my life. "Never give up! Never surrender!" Even a sentence a day makes a huge difference. ;)

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  87. Connie Q: Sounds like you have a great team behind you. And you're right, we shouldn't care what others think, no matter who they are. Thanks so much. I am very blessed to have been given this opportunity :)

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  88. Cindy R: It blesses my heart that this was an encouragement to you. Thanks so much for your kind words. We all need a kick in the pants sometimes. Tina is great! She's the one who taught me "story begins when change happens." I wish you the best in your writing endeavors!

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  89. Tina and Missy thanks for fixing that link! Haha!

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  90. Deanna S: Thanks so much! It releases October 2016 if you want to watch for it. Title is TBD :)

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  91. LeAnne B: I'm so glad! Yes, it makes all the difference to have a supportive agent. Thanks!

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  92. Myra J: Thank you :) I'm so glad you found it inspiring. Yes, HIS timing is ultimately the best. And I love what you said: "Never Stop learning." YES! This is so true. I learned more from my freelance editor and others in the author community than I ever learned in a classroom. I'm STILL learning :)

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  93. Hi Jeanne! It's always fun to see a familiar face. Thank you. I'm so glad to hear you have a good support team at home. I know I couldn't do it on my own either :)

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  94. Hi Candee! I remember meeting you as well :) Thank you for your kind words. HE is ultimately in control, thank goodness. I don't think I'd want this job if I had to be in charge, haha.

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  95. Kav: The link is fixed now. Sorry about that!

    Thanks a ton! I can't reveal much about my series yet. I can say the first book (title TBD) is due to be released October 11, 2016. It's a YA fantasy/romance and it explores the themes of true beauty and self worth.

    "Defying Gravity" is always in my head, haha. And pretty much every song from "Wicked." It's probably my own fault since I listen to the soundtrack everyday LOL ;)

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  96. Sara, thank you for inspiring me! I really need it today. Just hearing you wrote your beginning twenty times makes me feel better about my WIP. : ) Congratulations on your success!

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  97. "Surrounding myself with the right kind of people made all the difference."

    Oh my goodness, yes -- in everything in life but especially so in creative endeavors like writing.

    It's wonderful to have people in my life who understand why I seem to know more about the 1880s Southwest US than what's happening around me in 2010. Wait ... my computer tells me it's 2015. Really???

    Thanks for the upbeat message. All the best with your writing!

    Nancy C

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  98. I'm not a writer...I'm very happy just being an avid reader...lol!! But I do love the statement "Surrounding myself with the right kind of people made all the difference"....it applies to my life by surrounding myself with like-minded Christians with the same passions and God vision as me! I love my church, they are more like my family than my blood one (only because most of them are NOT serving the Lord). I know I would do anything for them if they needed it. We pray for each other, have wonderfully blessed fellowship & our hearts are in sync with God & each other. I love that God put my family in this church we go to. He rightly fitted us where He called us to be :-)
    Sara, I am SO glad you didn't give up your dream to be a writer! God put that desire in your heart, why would He not make that happen? As long as you write for His glory, I believe He will keep giving you those stories for our reading pleasure :-)
    I think the tenacity & pursuit of what our passions are can apply to all of life, don't you? :-) Never give up your dreams (not matter how small or big)....maybe someday (if not this day) God will give you the desires of your heart! As long as you put Him first in everything!

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  99. Love the happy ending. So excited for you, Sara Ella! Can't wait to read your book! You did it! Yay!

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  100. VINCE.... I'm not sure my heart can take one-game play-offs!!!

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  101. Congrats on your contract, Sara Ella! I am an
    avid reader so will look forward to reading your books!
    Count me in for the free e book.

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  102. Hi Ruth:

    The Houston pitcher has the best record against the Yankees in baseball! Joe said today that the whole plan is to score one more run than they do.

    The only 1 game playoff I've been to was the Dodgers vs Giants and the Giants won! I hope we have something to cheer about after this game is over.

    Prayer works!

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  103. What a positive and uplifting post today. I love your attitude, Sara Ella. You have the I'm going to do it and nothing is going to stop me attitude. You deserve the contract you got, congratulations ! I look for ward to reading your books !

    Deanne Patterson

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  104. Sara, what a great post! I love how you kept going despite the adversity. You've inspired me!

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  105. Missy: Thanks so much for having me (and for fixing my link)! I'm so glad you were inspired <3

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  106. Deanne P: I get the attitude from my mom, haha :) Thanks so much! That means the world to me!

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  107. Jackie Smith: Thank you! You are counted :)

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  108. Janet F: Thank you, thank you! Love all the exclamation marks in your comment! That is so me!

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  109. Trixi: Amen! I so agree with everything you said. I believe anyone can achieve their dreams if they put their faith in HIM and do what HE has called them to do. And it helps to have a community who can lift you up, writer or not. It's important to have someone who believes in you because that makes a huge difference in being able to persevere. Thanks for sharing your heart today <3

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  110. Nancy C: Thank you so much :) Yes, surrounding yourself with the right people applies to every aspect of life.

    LOL...What's 2015? We're in a fantasy realm, right? And I just met a handsome prince and...(Can you tell I write YA fantasy/romance?)

    I wish you the best in your writing as well.

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  111. Donna: Awwww, I'm so glad! I believe in you! Best of luck with your WIP :)

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  112. Pam H: YES, YES! Seekerville is the best!

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  113. Nancy K! It makes me so happy to see my Obi Wan's name in these comments! You taught me well. Thank you!

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  114. JIll W: Congrats to you! That's amazing! We can do ALL things through Christ who gives us strength!

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  115. Meghan C: Thank YOU for taking time to comment! I so appreciate it :)

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  116. Meghan C: Thank YOU for taking time to comment! I so appreciate it :)

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  117. Linda T: You are speaking my heart <3 We all feel that way sometimes, published or not. Hang in there, and KEEP WRITING! If it's in you, if it's your passion, don't give up. As Joshua Radin sings: "Tomorrow is gonna be better." I'm glad I could encourage you today. Thank YOU for taking time to share your heart. Do you belong to ACFW? I have been a member 3 years now and have found a home in that writing community. Maybe you would too :)

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    Replies
    1. I am a member of ACFW but just haven't found the right place for me yet. A few successes in contests but still searching for where my writing belongs. God is good to me and I know He is with me through this dry time in my writing too. Thank you again for your time.

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  118. Jamie A: Thanks! The first book will release October 11, 2016. If you want to stay up to date on the title and everything else, feel free to check out my YouTube channel. I always post the latest news there. I agree that teens need clean reads :) http://youtube.com/c/saraella

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  119. Great to see you here today Sara! I had some media work so missed the talk earlier. I love your outlook, persistence, voice and constancy in encouraging others. You have been a tremendous gift to get to know and I'm so very thrilled for everything that's happening with you! Bless you on your journey!

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  120. Deb H: Haha what a great quote! And it's so true! Thank you so much. It's a bout a year away but I am already dreaming of my release party as well. I always love hearing more about authors too.

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  121. Elizabeth VT: Love seeing you on here <3 Thank you for all the encouragement! You are one of the people I was talking about in my post :)

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  122. .
    .
    R U T H

    The unkindest cut of all:

    Dallas Keuchel is a Tulsa boy!

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  123. Thanks Tina for the pancakes. Sometimes I like them late at night, too! My son wrote his first poem about chocolate chip pancakes!

    Thanks for helping us to defy Gravity a bit Sara, and your wonderful ideas!

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  124. Great post on your journey! Thanks for sharing! Things like that always help so many, authors AND readers!

    Happy Birthday, Seekerville!

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  125. Sometimes life experiences, combined with a special giftedness, empowers a person to become ageless in their outlook and wisdom and yet able to speak new life into their generation or the next one coming along. You are that kind of person, Sara. So blessed to count you a friend!

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  126. Sara! Great name, by the way ;) I loved this phrase from your bio: “Happily Ever After is Never Far Away” for those who put their faith in the King of kings.

    Anywho! :) I am fascinated by the detail that you worked for Disney. Can I ask what you did for Disney, and where you were located?

    Thank you for the encouraging post today. It was somehow exactly what I needed to read.

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  127. Ruthy! Chocolate croissants? I'm in!

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  128. Sara Ella I just love your attitude and encouragement. I am choosing to hold onto the positive I hear and let go of the negative. It needs to start with me. Thanks so much for sharing with us today!

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  129. You are one ambitious and impressive lady! What a wonderful testimony to other authors in the making.

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  130. SIDEBAR & SPORTBARS

    "Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, Dallas Keuchel had to be from Tulsa."

    T-town is celebrating. : (

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  131. Inspiring story! IMO, education is important but degrees are overrated. Heading over to check out your YouTube channel . . .

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  132. Hi, Sara,
    Just to let you know that writers thrive on encouragement! I was able to write 1500 words yesterday. Thank you, Seekers, as well. There is always ready inspiration to be found in the posts and links on the website.

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  133. Mary Connealy: You are NOT old. I keep telling people that people in Bible times lived to be hundreds and hundred of years old so we're all still babies compared to them :) It's all in your perspective. Thank you!

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  134. Sandra Leesmith: Thanks so much :) I sure don't feel young, but I will appreciate people saying I look young for as long as it happens. My princesses are fun (most of the time, hee hee ;)

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  135. Tina R: 1) You may need a broom to do that 2) I do not have a title yet but the release date for book 1 is October 11, 2016. I will be announcing all over social media when it is up on Goodreads. 2) YES! Night time is really the only time I have to write.

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  136. Olivia: Yay! That's so amazing! Now go write 1500 more! You can do it!

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  137. Carolyn A: I agree education is important, but there are all sorts of way to learn. Thanks for checking out my channel!

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  138. Kelly B: Yes, hold on to the positive! It was my pleasure to share :) Thanks!

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  139. Sarah C: You have a great name too, haha! I'm so glad the post encouraged you :) I worked in entertainment at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. My favorite roles to play were Alice and Wendy. I'm glad you liked that part in the bio. I can't help but let my fairy-tale loving self trickle into everything, bio included. ;)

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  140. Valri: Thanks! It was my pleasure :)

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  141. Kate: What ifs can definitely hold us back. BUT "what if" you take the jump and succeed? So glad you were inspired <3

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  142. Sandy S: We're all on a different timeline. I believe, no matter your age, anyone can achieve their dream :)

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  143. Sherida S: Thank you so very much :) Yay friends!

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  144. Stephanie: Thanks! It was my pleasure. And I so agree that surrounding yourself with the right people applies to all aspects of life, not just writing. ;)

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  145. Bettie: Thank you, thank you! Keep reaching for the sky. You're never too old to achieve your dreams.

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  146. Glenn H: Thanks! Go, Hartliners! We have the best agent EVER!

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  147. Becky Dempsey: Oh your first writer's conference! How fun! Don't worry. The truth is most of those writers are going to be introverts too. I hope you have loads of fun. I just got back from a writer's conference. If you're interested in some tips, I just did a video on my experience. Here's the link if you want to check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DE1e-sDcbs

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  148. Thanks for such a great article! I was a member of ACFW, but when I began to write my memoir I let my membership lapse. Hoping to join again soon!

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  149. SARA -- what an inspiring post, my friend -- and SUPER CONGRATS on the 3-book contract!! And, WOW, doing it all before your 30th birthday -- VERY cool! I didn't do it till after my 50th birthday, but then I didn't start writing till my early 50s either, so I guess that's okay.

    YOU SAID: "College degree or not, your future is unlimited, but it’s up to you to grab it."

    Oh, AMEN AND AMEN!! I didn't have a college degree and although I had to keep picking myself up off the floor each time after I received 46 rejections, it finally paid off in a 3-book deal that pretty much blew me away. So through the grace of God, it can be done no matter WHO or WHAT tells you it can't!

    Here's wishing you a long and successful career!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  150. TINA SAID: "I keep trying to leap in the air and defy gravity but it's not working."

    LOL ... what a great picture!! Makes me want to do the same. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  151. Hey! I know those people you mentioned- have heard those comments plenty in both facets of my life. Hmm adding the time homeschooling my kids (a long time ago), make that 3 facets
    Thanks for your very encouraging words. I love encouragement and it's always wonderful to find out a person is not alone in the boat doing all the rowing.
    Can you send me in a direction to learn about critique groups? My skin is usually pretty tough in other areas- not so much yet in writing but I'll get there.
    I've gained 2 pounds just reading the comments to your post. I hope I won't need a bigger boat
    Thanks, Sara I hope your book defies gravity and flies off the bookstore shelves

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  152. Edwina: A memoir! Wow! That is quite the project. I've found ACFW to be a place for fiction and non-fiction writers alike. Good luck with your endeavors :)

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  153. Megan B: Hi! Thanks for stopping by. Always fun to "see" a familiar face on here :)

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  154. Julie Lessman: Thank you, thank you! That means so much coming from an experienced author such as yourself. He has us all on different timelines, doesn't he? I don't know how I could pick myself up off the floor without Him.

    46 rejections? Way to persevere! I wish you the best in your career as well :)

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  155. Barbara F: Looks like we've both experienced similar put-downs. Do you belong to any organizations like ACFW or RWA? I found my critique partners through ACFW. RWA has a crit partner match up service for members. ACFW has lots of opportunities to meet others in your genre like email loops and Scribes. If joining an organization is not within your budget, I'd look for groups on Facebook you can join or see if your library or local college has a local group that meets. Thanks so much for your kind words. I hope this points you in the right direction. Even just posting something on Twitter or Facebook with a hashtag like #amwriting and saying you are seeking critique partners might help you find someone. Just be prepared that your first critique partner/group may not be a good fit. It took me a few tries to find my perfect match.

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  156. *waving at Sara*

    Girl, you are an inspiration! Was SOOO fun meeting you at ACFW!

    Thank you so much for giving us this post and encouraging all of us! I keep you and your writing in my prayers often, and I can't wait to read that book of yours!!! :)

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  157. Thank you so much for the encouragment!!!!!

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  158. Congrats on your contract, Sara, and kudos for your persistence!! I really enjoyed your post.


    Please enter my name in the giveaway - thank you!!

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  159. Great encouragement! I'm going to apply this to other aspects of my life as well. Some one once told me, "Be your own best friend" which helps me remember to stop talking down to myself but believe in myself like a good friend would. Please enter me in the drawing!

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  160. What a great post, Sara... So encouraging! Thanks for sharing your heart with us. :) Please drop my name in the giveaway, too!

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