Monday, January 22, 2018

Managing Your Expectations

Erica Vetsch here, writing my first post as an “Official” Seeker. I am both honored and humbled! And a little geeked out. And giddy. As Carrie likes to say, I did a bit of ‘muppet flailing’ when I got Mary’s email asking if I would be interested in joining the team. (Then tried to play it cool, and waited like a  twelve whole seconds after reading the invite to answer her with a resounding YES!) Thank you to the Seekers, and to the SeekerVillagers who have been so gracious to all us newcomers!

I wanted to talk today about Managing Your Expectations, AKA, How To be a Writer Without Whining (Too Much)  which means I need to start by telling you a story. Yay! It’s my preferred method of communication, after all!

A few years ago, my pastor was out of town, and we had a professor from a local Christian college come in to do pulpit supply. For the life of me, I can’t remember what text he preached on, or even what his name was, but I do remember the illustration with which he started his sermon. 


Photo from Flickr Creative Commons User Born1945 http://bit.ly/2DErrZM
The photo has not been altered from the original.


He said (and I’m paraphrasing here) Once upon a time…(Not really, but that’s how all good stories should start…) I was at a local park taking in the sunshine and green leafy-ness of the all-too-brief Minnesota summer, when I spied a little girl of about five sitting on a park bench nearby.

She had one knee tucked up, arms wrapped around it, head bent. Vulnerable, small, and, as I walked a few step closer, I could hear her sobbing softly.

As a father, my antennae went on alert. Was she lost? Injured? Yet, as a grown man, I know better than to just walk up and start talking to a little girl alone in the park. I looked around for someone who might be able to help.

That’s when I spied the girl’s dad, a few paces away with the rest of his family, keeping an eye on his daughter while throwing a ball with his sons. He gave a “It’s all good” wave, and I relaxed. The child continued to fuss, checking occasionally to see if her daddy was paying any attention, but finally, she let her leg slip down and stopped crying.

A few moments later, the dad came over to sit beside his daughter, who was still hiccupping and snuffling, kicking her heel against the park bench leg. The dad asked, “Megan, why were you fussing?”

She pushed her mop of curly hair back with both her hands, fingers splayed like little starfish, and herked in a jerking breath. “Because my expectations are not being fulfilled.”

Clearly she wasn’t so precocious as to have thought that up herself. It was something her father must have talked with her about before. He put his arm around her, gathered her close into his side, and said, “That’s right. You are fussing because your expectations are not being fulfilled.”


The preacher went on to draw correlations between this little girl’s actions and our lives, and it really struck home with me. I’ve remembered that story and that lesson for…it must be more than a decade now.

When I fuss and fume, it’s because my expectations are not being fulfilled. My expectations of myself, of other people, of life in general. If I didn’t expect things to turn out a certain way, I wouldn’t fuss when they didn’t, right?

So, should I stop caring?

No, not at all! But I need to manage my expectations. And that truth can and must be applied to my writing as well as the rest of my life.

I will admit, I had unrealistic expectations when I first dove into writing. Obviously, my first work was going to be contracted right out of the box, getting an agent would be a breeze, once I was contracted, the publishers would continue to ask me ‘what’s next?’ I could retire to an island with my first royalty check and just write things I wanted to while sipping lemonade and contemplating the lap and scrape of the waves against the sandy shore…


Photo from Flickr Creative Commons user Sean McEntee
http://bit.ly/2mCDuyI The photo has not been altered
from the original.


Okay, stop laughing. (Looking at you, Ruthy!)

None of those things happened. Instead, it was rejection letters, bad contest scores, countless queries, editors leaving, lines closing, contracts evaporating, and bitter Minnesota winters with nary a beach in sight.

Fussing seemed like a great option.

But it’s so unproductive. And a little fussing quickly becomes a lot of fussing.

So what is a writer to do? Walk around like Eeyore, expecting nothing but bad things to come her way? No, of course not. But we need to be realistic in our expectations and be willing to modify them when reality proves them to be unrealistic.

Here are some things I have found to be helpful for me in managing both my expectations and my fussing:

1) Educate yourself before setting expectations – I didn’t know that most authors never quit their day job to write full time. I had no idea what an average score on a contest entry was. I didn’t know that agents aren’t waiting breathlessly, refreshing their emails, praying that more queries come in. Once I took the time to educate myself on the realities of royalties, contests, and agents, I was better able to set my expectations in those regards.

2) Be flexible and realistic – When things don’t go according to my plan, I have learned to be flexible. I adjust my plan and therefore my expectations. So often, our expectations rely on things outside our control. Getting a contract, procuring an agent’s services, selling 100,000 copies. Those things aren’t really in our purview. So set your expectations around goals that are under your control. Finish and submit a novel. Learn to write a proposal. Query X number of agents per month. Try different marketing ideas. And re-evaluate often to see if you’re making strides toward your goals.

3) Mourn for a little while – it’s okay to be sad and ask questions when things don’t go according to plan, but give yourself a time limit. Get a bad contest score? You get 24 hrs to kick the trash can and clench your fists against the injustice of it all. Then move on. A bad review? A rejection? Poor sales numbers? Feel the pain. Grieve for the thing you wanted, then, as John Piper says, wipe your face, and start being grateful for the gifts you have been given, the life you have now. People busy being grateful don’t have time to whine.

4) Embrace Change – Just like the Seeker gals over the past couple of months, embrace changes and see them as challenges. Reality tells me that editors leave their positions sometimes, and lines I write for might close down. When Heartsong Presents closed its doors, I was shaken. But a new door opened and I began to write for Love Inspired Historicals. Now LIH has closed, but I have chosen not to despair. Instead, I’m embracing this change, looking for what the Lord has next. Because embracing change is a lot about trusting God. Look for the next thing He has for you instead of wallowing in pity for the thing you wanted but can’t have.

Have you spent a little time fussing over unfulfilled expectations in your writing life (or any other part of your life)? Can you apply these four principles to get you back on track?

Also, because we’re talking change and expectations, I would love to hear from YOU, SeekerVillagers, what you would expect from Seekerville 2.0. What topics would you like to read about? What sort of prizes appeal to you? (Critiques? Books? Chocolate? Swag?) What advice to you have for those of us who are new Seekerville Bloggers?

Comment and tell me your expectations here at Seekerville, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of my latest Love Inspired Historical, A Child’s Christmas Wish!


About the book:

A Baby for Christmas

The only Christmas gift Oscar Rabb's four-year-old daughter prays for is one the widower can't provide: a baby sibling. And when his neighbor's house burns down, he's willing to open his home to pregnant and widowed Kate Amaker and her in-laws—but not his heart. Even if his little girl's convinced Kate's unborn child is the answer to her wish.

Kate quickly sees the generous but aloof Oscar has little interest in growing closer to his houseguests. Still, she intends to make the coming Christmas a season to remember for his daughter. And as Oscar starts to open up to her, Kate can't help picturing just how wonderful the holidays—and a future together—might be.




About EricaBest-selling, award-winning author Erica Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. She’s a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota, and she married her total opposite and soul mate! When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks. You can connect with her at her website, www.ericavetsch.com where you can read about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her online at https://www.facebook.com/EricaVetschAuthor/ where she spends way too much time!

158 comments:

  1. As my brother-in-law loves to say: Reality minus expectations equals happiness. (He's a bit jaded). But I loved the positivity in this post! (My spell check doesn't think positivity is a word but I beg to differ). Right now I'm managing my unfulfilled expectation of owning our own home by now with repainting the affordable duplex we are blessed to live in. A little spruce up will be fun even though I don't have room for all my books to be out on bookshelves (and still have room for walking around). I especially appreciated the advice to set expectations around goals that are under our control. I can't control the crazy market inflation in San Diego, but I can appreciate the home I have and the benefits of the city we live in.

    I miss the more frequent posts on Seekerville but I understand that there is change and transition happening. Keep up the great work! I don't have a favorite topic per say, but I love the humor and personal examples and metaphors and encouragement Seekerville contributors are known for. My favorite giveaways as a reader are books (of course!) Amazon gift cards, and bookish gifts.

    Have a great week!

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    1. Heidi said, "I love the humor and personal examples and metaphors and encouragement"

      Heidi, that's what I love about Seekerville, too. The variety and personalities that the bloggers AND the commenters bring. Love it! :)

      "Bookish gifts". Yes. That! lol

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    2. bookish gifts are the best :D

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    3. Good morning, Heidi,

      Yay for sprucing up your duplex! Bummer that you don't have room for all your books in one place.

      And I love the 'Bookish gifts' category!

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    4. Thank you, Heidi! I love the positivity of your comment as well. And who doesn't love "bookish gifts?"

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  2. First, I love that you called me out on your FIRST POST!!!

    Clearly you belong here. Clearly you fit.

    Second... this is so true on so many levels... Our expectations aren't often how others react... they have their own set of expectations. I love this story!!!! And I'll probably steal it.

    And forget to credit you. And the pastor. Ooops! :)

    Seriously, here's another huge and wonderful point you made here... embrace change. Life is full of it. Stop fearing. Stop fussing. Pull your big girl panties up and get moving... (Not Erica specifically, but all of us...)

    Wasting energy is a thankless task. I'd so much rather expend it writing and growing as a person. And that can happen in so many ways! WELL DONE, BRAT!!!!!

    COFFEE IS HERE!

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    1. :) I wish I had glommed onto the notion of how much energy I was wasting fussing about things I couldn't change when I was much younger in life, but...I've gotten here finally! (Most of the time.) Now, if I just had half your energy, Ruthy!

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    2. Oh my goodness, I hate to embrace change. DON'T MAKE ME. You are correct (once again) Ruth, life is FULL of it. I need to stop fussing.

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    3. hhahah, RUTHY, Erica sure knows you. =P *wink wink

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    4. (Ruthy makes note to market snake oil pills, guaranteed to boost energy, Ruthy-style...) :)

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  3. And I can't wait to hear what folks would like to hear about!!!! I'm listening!!!!

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    1. Me too! I'm hoping for some killer ideas for the blog post file!

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    2. Me too!!! I would love to hear what everyone wants to chat about. =)

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  4. OH MY GOSH!!! I POSTED A COMMENT AND IT DIDN'T TAKE FOREVER!!!! BLOGGER IS FEELING BETTER TODAY!!!!!

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    1. We're in the midst of another round of the snow-pocalypse that is Minnesota. The forecast has swung from anywhere between zero and 1 billion inches and everywhere in between. I'm glad blogger is playing nice today because I'm housebound and ready to chat!

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    2. Totally! I wonder what's up with it? Though my replay of the Australian Open is still spinning, yet Blogger is having an easy time at it.

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  5. Thanks for the great advice. I need to remember these points and I need to share them with my daughter who was quite crushed when she didn’t meet her expectations this weekend at a swim meet.
    Seekerville has always given me much food for thought and I’ve enjoyed every blog post with no disappointments. Book giveaways and Amazon gift card giveaways are the best!

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    1. MH, oh, when kids and teens expectations aren't met, it truly is a crushing experience. And us moms just want to FIX it. I understand the principal that not getting everything we want, but that doesn't make it any easier when we're "in the moment", OR when one of our kids is there. :(

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    2. MH, I used to face that with my cross-country and track-running sons... and it was a bitter disappointment sometimes and some very long rides home... but the victories were sweet! And a learning experience on both ends of the spectrum, weren't they?

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    3. MH, the younger you are, the more difficult it can be to manage expectations, because you don't have the benefit of time and perspective yet. And Pam's right, as moms we want to FIX things! Such a dichotomy, because we want our kids to be passionate about things, but not to the point where they get derailed when things don't pan out like they hope.

      I hope your daughter is able to bounce back and attack the next swimming goal!

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    4. MH, awww. So sorry to hear that. When i was younger, I remember how crushed I was to know I have no athletic abilities whatsoever.But understanding how expectations may not always be met, yet, if we can adjust our way of "expecting", there's something to be learnt. The journey was definitely worth it!

      I hope your daughter will not be too disappointed, but head back into the pool for her next goal!

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  6. Wonderful post, Erica -- and welcome as a Seekerville blogger!! :)

    Expectations can make or break us in this business (and life in general!)--realistic ones can keep us moving hopefully and steadily forward but unrealistic ones keep us sitting in the misery of dissatisfaction on that park bench with that little girl.

    Thank you for this reminder! We need to reach for the stars--but trust God to make decisions as to which ones we reach that are in our best interests and His plan.

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    1. Hi, Glynna,

      I love this: We need to reach for the stars--but trust God to make decisions as to which ones we reach that are in our best interests and His plan.

      Such wise words!

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    2. Well said Glynna! I love what you said about reaching for the stars, but trusting God for those interests and plans. Thank you!

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  7. Erica, what a good way to start the week. I credit Seekerville for helping me to set realistic expectations. I've been at this on and off for a number of years, and used to subscribe to paper copies of The Writer and Writers Digest. They had good advice, but it was mostly about craft. Nobody ever turned over the writer's life to show the knots and tangles. Seekerville did, and they brought on other powerhouse writers to reinforce it.
    I also watched my crit partners get published, and saw how hard they worked and still work to promote their books. Also that they're not buying vacation homes in Malta.
    But it's okay. God has been shaping and refining me all those years, and I know what to expect and will do it anyway.
    Managing expectations for myself? Not so easy. I'm able to write practically full-time now, except for some part-time work, and I made up a rigorous schedule for 2018. I've kept it, in its fullness, exactly twice. I get mad at myself, but it's really been external forces -- snow, ice, frozen pipes, broken appliances. REFUSING TO BE DEFEATED, when our washing machine broke, I printed out hard copies and line-edited in the Laundromat. Was it good enough for me? Nope.
    Minnesota? We lived in Northwest Wisconsin when our children were small. Coldest place I've ever been. I was actually glad to get back to New England.
    Off to Bible study, may check in later. Hope Blogger doesn't eat this comment.
    Kathy Bailey

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    1. I love this Kaybee - "Nobody ever turned over the writer's life to show the knots and tangles. Seekerville did, and they brought on other powerhouse writers to reinforce it." Beautifully said!

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    2. Oh, Kaybee! I'm right there with you on trying to keep a schedule! I have it written down...I know what I want to accomplish each day... But then those things happen to throw it off!

      But the goals are still there.

      Kudos on working at the laundromat!!! You go, girl!

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    3. Let me say again how happy I am that Blogger is HEALTHY... and not taking forever to post things. It was like Blogger 2001 around here for the last two weeks!

      Kaybee, that's exactly why we started this blog... for honesty. For support. To DASH HOPES while lifting spirits, LOL! Because it is a tough business and even with indie publishing, the thought that you're amazingly wonderful marvelous work isn't flying off the shelves and into Kindles or hands HURTS.... And so much is out of our control.

      It toughens us.

      It molds us.

      It shapes us.

      And yes, the cold in Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota and some other areas is sharper and denser than the cold in the Northeast/New England forestland. Very different...

      And the vacation home in Malta.... Laughing! I'm happy that I can pay my bills and grab a coffee now and again, but I've never lusted for money, fame or fortune... Although I do love an occasional fancy coffee!!!!!

      I'm so glad you found us. Totally a God thing.

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    4. Kaybee! I love the description of turning over the writing life and revealing the knots and tangles! And I am sitting right beside you in the "Seekerville changed my writing life" seats!

      Creating a writing schedule or setting writing goals that are both challenging AND realistic is so hard. Be sure to tweak your goals as you see what works or doesn't for you.

      And I'm PROUD of you for finding a way, even if it meant printing out manuscript pages for while you watched the spin cycle!

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    5. Love this, Kaybee! And also why I love Seekerville. The honesty, the commaderie, and just being together. Together, we'll conquer and reach those expectations, and together we'll strive for those we missed, and together we'll encourage each other.

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  8. Welcome, Erica! This is such a great post and I can see why that illustration has stuck with you. It's such a wonderful life lesson. I have been struggling with something I couldn't quite name and now I see that it might be this. I'll be pondering this today. And Seekerville has always met my expectations and I'm sure it will continue to with its encouraging posts, information, and camaraderie. Keep up the good work!

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    1. Glynis, thank you!!! I'm pondering this, too, because it applies to so much of life... when life doesn't meet my expectations because I'm out of balance....

      Let's ponder over coffee and tea!

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    2. Hi, Glynis,

      I can't tell you how many times I've gone back to this illustration in my mind and applied it to my current situation. I'm so glad that you've found it thought-worthy, and I am so GLAD that you are part of Seekerville!

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    3. Be jealous, everyone! Glynis and I get to have non-virtual coffee (and tea) soon!

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    4. Yes, Jan, I'm getting excited! And Erica, as I read the other posts, I didn't realize you were a Vikings fan, too. There was definitely an air of sadness in our home, but we've been there before. We laughed at how much wiser we are than the first time hubby and I watched the Vikings lose it in the big game in '98. We are much more jaded, so I half expected it LOL Good to chat!

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    5. My husband is a native Minnesotan, and he bleeds purple and gold. But we're used to disappointment... :)

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    6. Glynis, I too think this post came at the perfect time. I'm pondering on something, and not sure where it'll go, but hoping to prepare my heart. Expectations - such a heavy word, or at least what's behind it.

      Have a great coffee date, Jan and Glynis!

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    7. I say the same thing about my husband, too, Erica. I joke that when we got married he made me vow to be a Vikings fan through thick and especially through thin. Which is where we are today LOL

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    8. Jan Drexler and Glynis are having REAL COFFEE???? #unfair #noonelivesinNY #WHAT?????

      Brats.

      You are both brats.

      'Sall I'm sayin'.

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  9. ERICA!!! Like I told Winnie the other day, this is a little surreal for me that I'm on this side and you guys are that side now, but I have to say that I absolutely LOVE the new Seeker bloggers like yourself who have come aboard and think the veteran Seekers did a FABULOUS job in recruiting.

    Boy, do I relate to today's post, my friend!! I'm pretty sure all authors go through this at some point, but I did fairly early in my career, which is why as I've said many, MANY times before I took a sabbatical from traditional publishing a few years back to focus more on God, family, and writing for the sheer joy of writing. You might say that was my #2 in your list, emphasis on "realistic."

    And for me, being "realistic" started with true reality for Christians, which is: What is God's will for our lives? So my sabbatical taught me to press into Him and His reality (i.e. will) rather than the world's or my own, which is a lesson I wrote about in one of my books (but didn't learn till later) when I had one character tell another, "His will .... the path to our highest pleasure."

    So was I disappointed and discouraged with my career -- absolutely! But God used that very disappointment and discouragement to not only reset my perspective, but my expectations, too, to be in line with His perspective and expectations, and that's where I found my peace and joy and gratitude in knowing it was His hand on my career that mattered the most, not my own.

    Thank you for this thought-provoking inspirational post -- I thoroughly enjoyed it!

    Hugs and more hugs!!

    Julie

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    1. Peace and joy and gratitude... Love this, Julie!

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    2. I remember when you took your sabbatical, Julie! My first thought was, "Can writers really do that?"

      You taught me a lot as I watched you make that decision, and then started writing again after that year. You listened, you rested, you listened some more, and then you started writing again...and your books have changed and grown.

      And I echo Karen - "peace and joy and gratitude." I love it.

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    3. Veteran is another way of saying OLD.... :)

      But I'll own that and see you one chocolate brownie, Julie!!!!

      Julie, you made such a great point... that we can be disappointed in results that we have no control over. That's a wake-up call, isn't it?

      I handle that differently (stop laughing, all of you... I HEAR YOU!!!!) When stuff happens, or I get my comeuppance or get handed my hat and shown to the door... I double down. I work harder. I make sure that the world knows I'm in charge...

      It's a different way of handling it, I know... but we both accomplish the goal. Keeping our love for writing and making up stories alive and keeping ourselves sane...

      :)

      Well, as sane as I get, anyway!

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    4. Julie! I've been so blessed by the Seekerville community, and those blessings just keep on coming! It's such a special place!

      I love that God is big enough to take my disappointments and my disillusionment and my discouragements and use them to teach, to humble, and to guide my path. He's so cool like that!

      I think it takes bravery and faith and trust for an author to take a sabbatical, since that goes against what the 'experts' tell us about keeping at it, keeping fresh material out there for readers, not losing marketing momentum...but that takes God out of the equation and puts all the responsibility for our success squarely on our shoulders.

      Not a realistic expectation at all!

      So go you, girl! Thank you for blazing a trail and being an example of listening to God's voice and obeying His desires above the instructions of the 'experts.'

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    5. Julie, you have always been an inspiration for me (in case you didn't know that already). Your books at first, but since we met, you took me in and just been such an amazing friend. I have NO idea why I'm babbling here now. Wait, let me get back to point of topic. The point of me bringing that up is that I've learned a lot from you, including the disappointments in my life, and how to handle it - with faith, with laughter, with love, but most importantly with prayer. Thank you for your example, not only as an author. Love you,

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    6. KAREN SAID: "Peace and joy and gratitude... Love this, Julie!"

      Trust me, Karen, I do too -- BIG TIME!! That's what I discovered I was missing when the burden was on me to succeed the world's way. For the first time since I wrote A Passion Most Pure, I am enjoying writing like never before and more importantly, enjoying GOD like never before, so WIN-WIN-WIN BIG!!!

      JAN SAID: "I remember when you took your sabbatical, Julie! My first thought was, "Can writers really do that?"

      LOL ... YES, they can, although everything in me was screaming -- are you flippin' CRAZY???? And I was -- "crazy" with pain over something that should have brought me joy. So you might say despite all the voices in my head saying, "you can't stop now -- you have to kick it up to the next level" -- I listened to the Still Small Voice instead and literally DID "kick it up to the next level," but with God, not with my career. And, WOW! Talk about a 180 with a hard right, which turned out to be the "RIGHT" direction! :)

      RUTHY SAID: "When stuff happens, or I get my comeuppance or get handed my hat and shown to the door... I double down. I work harder. I make sure that the world knows I'm in charge..."

      No question we all handle things differently, Ruthy, and I've always admired your "work harder" mentality so very much! I actually am "working harder" too, but at enjoying my writing and my life more than I did when I was "working harder on my own" and by working smarter and hopefully more in tune with the direction God wants me to go. Is it working from a career standpoint? I don't know, but I DO know it's working from a spiritual and grateful standpoint. :)

      ERICA SAID: "I think it takes bravery and faith and trust for an author to take a sabbatical, since that goes against what the 'experts' tell us about keeping at it, keeping fresh material out there for readers, not losing marketing momentum...but that takes God out of the equation and puts all the responsibility for our success squarely on our shoulders."

      LOL ... not all that much "bravery and faith" on my part, my friend, guaranteed, just a WHOLE lot of frustration and unhappiness at something that should have been a joy. But in the absence of bravery and faith, I'll go with whatever it takes to put me on God's path instead of my own.

      Oh, Annie, I don't know if you have any idea just how much I respect and love you, my friend. To be honest, we have not spent a lot of time together for that to be so, but it is. God has done that sometimes -- given me a special love and appreciation for certain people that supersedes time spent or words spoken. I feel that for you, my friend, which tells me that you and I have a friendship anointed by God, and for that -- and for you! -- I am grateful!

      HUGS AND MORE HUGS TO YOU ALL!
      Julie

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  10. Hi, Erica! I haven’t been in this business long but it’s been long enough to know all the expectations I had when I typed THE END on my manuscript flew right out the window pretty quickly. But what I love most about that as I look back is that’s where God stepped in with His expectations, and His plan is always so much better than mine! So I’m trying (emphasis on trying) not to have expectations. I’m trying to enjoy the journey (which is easier sometimes than others). I miss the daily Seekerville posts but as a blogger, I understand the need to cut back and admire the courage it takes to risk cutting back. I love the critique give-always.

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    1. I love this, Karen - "I look back is that’s where God stepped in with His expectations, and His plan is always so much better than mine!" He dreams the best dreams for us, doesn't He?

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    2. Hi, Karen,

      There are so many times that I wish God would just lay out the future for me, so I could prepare myself! And then there are other times when I am so glad He doesn't! Managing expectations is tricky, because if we didn't care, we wouldn't do any of this writing life, but if we care too much, or care about the wrong aspects, a crash is coming!

      It's when we realize what you said, that God's plans are always so much better than mine when it comes to our expectations, that He can make the dreams we didn't even know we were dreaming come true!

      Thanks for letting me know that critiques are high on the list for you!

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  11. Erica, welcome to the Seekerville team! I remember being invited to keynote at a ladies retreat. My first keynote invitation! :) Yeah, I wanted to say yes INSTANTLY! Some things are just too exciting to wait ... and, yes, pray, about. But I did wait and pray, and got the green light from the Lord. Whew! :)

    The little girl's comment is spot on for ... well.. just everything that we fuss about, isn't it? Wow. I need to adjust my expectations on a lot of things. Thanks for this, Erica.

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    1. Agreed.... There is a lot of me in that little girl!!!

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    2. Hi, Pam!

      I tell you, when the pastor said "My expectations are not being fulfilled." it was like the whole world screeched to a stop like a needle across a record, and light shone into some murky places in my heart. I so identify with that little girl...I am that little girl!

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  12. Hi, Erica. Thank you for your post. It was just what I needed to read. Could Seekerville do a few posts on proper punctuation? I graduated in 1981 and my grammar is rusty. I've been trying to get back to basics and studying grammar and punctuation rules. However, when I try to apply those rules to books I'm reading, I still don't understand. So, I need more studying. This may be a silly idea, but could you perhaps do a post about a particular punctuation rule and then show examples of that rule from Love Inspired Books?

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    1. Great idea for a post, Theresa! Grammar and punctuation rules have changes immensely since I learned them back in the dark ages, and I had to relearn EVERYTHING when I started writing for publication!

      The biggest habit to break was the two spaces between sentences. That one still trips me up! (And yes, the accepted norm now is only one space between sentences.)

      But grammar is much less formal all the way around. Maybe we need a Grammar Queen wanna-be to write a post for us?

      Meanwhile, check out the Grammar Queen posts in the archives - there is a bunch of good stuff there.

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    2. Maybe Grammar Queen could come back from time to time! As for the single space between sentences, I'm glad that can be fixed with a quick search and replace. I'm really trying to get used to that, too.

      Delete
    3. Hi, Theresa! What a great idea for some posts! Maybe we can bring our beloved Grammar Queen back for a few quick lessons.

      YES, to Jan on the French spacing! That took me a long time to break that habit, and I do have to do a Search and Replace just to make sure before I turn in a manuscript.

      My favorite current punctuational debate is that surrounding the "Oxford comma." I'm Team Oxford Comma!

      Delete
    4. My day job is in print journalism, and there's a whole different set of punctuation for that. We abbreviate things like time (4 p.m.! Not "four p.m.") and other things according to the Associated Press style (AP). I even edit restaurant menus (in my head, I'm not rude) according to AP. So switching over to fiction grammar and style has been interesting.
      KB

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    5. Kaybee! You're so right. And punctuation rules vary from publishing house to publishing house, too. I'm so grateful for editors!

      Delete
    6. great idea! I'm hopeless when it comes to punctuation. I oved this book, Eat, Shoots & Leaves by Lynn Truss and it is a fun book about punctuations.

      Delete
    7. Yes, Jan Drexler, I also have a bad habit of typing two spaces between sentences. I can't see to stop. LOL! Thanks for the suggestion. I'll check out the Grammar Queen posts in the archives.

      Delete
    8. Hi Sandy, Thanks for the reminder of the Search and Replace. I'll need to remember to do a search before I send out my next story.

      Delete
    9. Hi Kaybee,
      I'd love to be able to look at something written and realize it is wrong and "fix it" in my head. I wouldn't want to be rude, either. However, I'd love to learn proper punctuation and truly understand the rules and apply them to my writing. I would be so confused trying to juggle the rules for nonfiction and fiction.

      Delete
    10. Erica,
      Sorry that I'm replying late. If you see this, I was wondering if Oxford Comma drops the comma before the last and? Why do you prefer Oxford Comma?

      Delete
    11. Hi Just Commonly,
      I recently borrowed the book you mentioned from the library. It was a fun read about punctuation. It discussed both UK and US rules. One of my goals for 2018 is to get a story published in a woman's magazine in the UK.

      Delete
    12. Theresa, the Oxford comma puts a comma between the last item in a list and the 'and.'

      Example: I went to the bank, the post office, and the grocery store today.

      The final comma in the sentence is the Oxford comma.

      I like it! :)

      Delete
  13. Hey ERICA! What an amazing first official post! Expectations of others have gotten me in so much trouble. I am leaning on my Beloved to help me in this area.

    Blessings and ((((HUGS))))

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    Replies
    1. SHE MADE FUN OF ME!!!! DO NOT ENCOURAGE HER! :)

      (It was good, wasn't it???? But we don't want these gals to get THE BIG HEAD!!!! MUST AVOID THE BIG HEAD!!!! :)

      Delete
    2. Caryl, managing the expectations of others is a whole other ball of wax, isn't it? We truly have to remain focused on what we know God wants us to do, and how, and when, and gently remind those around us where our priorities are, don't we?

      Blowing kisses at Ruthy!

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    3. Ruthy, you're making me laugh out loud. You are so fun!

      Delete
  14. Hi Erica, welcome and congratulations! I am speaking as a reader, not a writer, but there are very few of us who have never been hit in the face with the realization that what we hoped to accomplish wasn't instantaneous. Learning to wait, learning to try again, learning to trust in God's timing...this is the true success!
    I would love to win your book and yes, for the readers who visit Seekerville, books and swag are great! But I also gain so much from the advice offered by all of you because it isn't just advice for successful writing. I always reap the reward of advice for successful living.
    Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. I agree, Connie! Seekerville is about so much more than writing!

      Delete
    2. Hi, Connie!

      There's so much overlap in advice that can be applied specifically to writing but which applies to life in general, isn't there?

      I love that Seekerville is about the community and encouraging both readers and writers alike!

      Delete
    3. Agree with you Connie! I love coming to Seekerville, for the advice is one, and I'm not even a writer.

      Delete
  15. Good Morning, Erica!

    This was a wonderful post, and it hit home with me. One thing I love about Seekerville is that when I got those first poor contest scores or my first non-response from an agent query, I knew they were part of the business.

    And then the island breezes? I'm still waiting for my cabin in the Hills...but it will come. One book at a time. :-)

    I see that you are being pummeled with a blizzard this morning! Stay warm and safe!!!

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    Replies
    1. Ahhhh, the joys of a Minnesota blizzard! You would think that would mean I got a lot of things done at home, but nope, I do my best writing away from home in a coffee shop! It takes so much more effort to stay focused at home!

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  16. what a great post, friend! Love the muppet-flailing ;) It will make it into a historical fiction yet. I have faith in you :-P

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    1. Hey, Muppets are historical! Anyone who saw "The Muppet Christmas Carol" knows that!!!! Flail away!!!

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    2. The older I get, the more the Muppets are historical!

      I'll get it in there yet! :)

      Delete
  17. Okay, so I still get to whine, right, Erica? Occasionally, that is, and not a full blown pity party.

    Great post. And I love that phrase, "my expectations are not being met." I might have to use that one on my husband/family. Knowing my husband, though, I'd better be fully prepared to follow that up with what my expectations are, because I can guarantee he will ask. The kids, especially my boys, will just roll their eyes and walk away.

    Sorry about that Vikings loss yesterday. I was hoping they'd pull it out. My expectations definitely were not met.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. A little time to mourn the disappointment is okay, but then you have to put it away...

      The entire state of MN is in mourning today. I wish I could say this is foreign territory for Vikings fans, but sadly, we kind of live there. Sigh.

      At least it's also NCAA Men's Basketball Season, so Go, Jayhawks!

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    2. I was so disappointed the Vikings didn't make it too. :( Sorry, Erica.

      Delete
    3. Ah, as a lifelong Cubs fan, I have "There's always next year" tattooed on my soul. The Cubs finally won it all, but the Vikes...well, There's always next year.

      Delete
  18. Erica, LOVE all your points! The journey is never quite what we think, but it helps to have a workable plan with realistic goals.

    Absolutely, change is hard, and we've certainly seen bucket-loads in recent years. You hit on something key: flexibility. That's so important as we navigate the process. Being resistant and refusing opportunities because they might not look like our original dream only hinders God's ability to work a "new" dream. Perhaps, a better one than we'd initially imagined.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Cynthia,

      You are so right. The journey is never quite what we think. If we're willing to embrace that, the bumps and detours are easier to manage!

      Delete
  19. Replies
    1. We're good at the moment! Just cold and gradually getting buried. We've had a pretty mild winter thus far, so I suppose we're due!

      Delete
  20. Thank you for such an honest, heart-felt post, Erica. Just what I needed today. Especially loved this reminder: "People busy being grateful don’t have time to whine."

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    1. Hi, Laura! Thanks for dropping by. I'm glad you found the post encouraging.

      That phrase, "People busy being grateful don't have time to whine." is something I need to remind myself of frequently. And it comes in handy when parenting, too! :)

      Delete
  21. Great post, Erica. Welcome to Seekerville as an official Seeker. Look forward to hearing more from you. I guess I am the opposite on expectations. I think I haven't figured I would be able to get a book published so that kept me from trying. Now that I have finished it, I need to get going on the revising. I guess I need to set some positive but realistic expectations.

    I can't think of any other types of posts I like to see. The most useful ones for me are the craft posts that help me improve my writing. I also really enjoy the posts on how other writers manage their schedules. As for prizes, I love books, Amazon cards, and chocolate! Critiques are nice, too.

    Please enter me for your book.

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    1. Hi, Sandy! Congratulations on finishing your manuscript! That's HUGE! Celebrate!

      And you're right, it's time to set some goals for the revising! Put a reward out there for meeting your goals, something that you would love! Then, roll up your sleeves! You can do this!

      Thanks for letting us know what posts you find most beneficial!

      Delete
  22. Love this. And not only because I need this kick in the patootee. I hate change, unless I'm the one initiating it. My hubby knows this so well that he always tries to prepare me or teases me ahead of time so I'm in a good mood. (like when he has to update or change my laptop or phone, etc) Bless his heart.
    Number 3 is the key one I forget. Mourning, for a little bit, is ok. I was taught growing up that tears are for sissies and we don't show emotion. Sadly then, I miss that key step in many processes. Mourning (accepting our non-met expectations) is a cleaning of the soul and a good way to start fresh.
    Thank you, Erica, for a beautifully thought out post that seems to be kicking many of us where we need it. ;) That sub pastor of yours never knew how far reaching that illustration would be!!
    As for Seekerville expectations, I adore these types of posts. Examples of life's quirks, tidbits of your lives, encouragement and lots of laughs. Such great advice from you all! As for giveaways, always books, gift cards, bookish gifts, homemade gifts and fun doodads. :)

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    1. Hi, Susan P,

      I think about that pastor from time to time, and I wonder if he ever knew how far-reaching his words were, how much they impacted me, and then got passed on.

      It's a cool reminder to us as writers, that words have power, and we can have an impact well beyond our little circle of influence.

      Homemade gifts and fun doodads! Got it! Those are going on the list! :)

      Delete
  23. Erica, what a great post! Yes, I've had my unfulfilled expectations blow me out of the water a few times. But I'm slowly but surely learning to go with the flow. Doing my best to let God use me however He sees fit. :)

    I look forward to the feedback about Seekerville 2.0!

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    1. Hi, Missy! I can still get blindsided by unfulfilled expectations! It's what I do with those expectations afterwards that matters. :)

      I'm enjoying reading what SeekerVillagers would love to see!

      Delete
  24. I had very unrealistic expectations when I started down the road of getting published. I'm sure I wasted several years of being upset and discouraged instead of really productive. I am so grateful to God for sending me amazing mentors to help walk through the process and improve so that now that I have one novel published I can keep moving forward. It's nice to know I wasn't the only one with crazy expectations. :-) Thanks for your story!

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    1. Hi, Amy!

      It's so tempting to let discouragements bog us down! I'm glad you've found mentors along the way to help you keep moving! Congrats on your debut novel being published!

      Delete
  25. Yeah, did anyone see the Muppet movie where they had to explain who they were to Selena Gomez and that kid from Modern Family?

    ReplyDelete
  26. So, I'm uh, living up to my hair color today (yes, I am a natural blonde, slowly being overtaken by gray). I had this great comment and all these wonderful blog post ideas, and I erased them. Totally my fault. Can't even blame it on Blogger. Sigh.

    Anyway, Erica, it's so good to see you here! This was such an encouraging post, Erica. I guess I'm a bit comforted to know I wasn't the only one who had this dream that I could write and edit a book AND get an agent within the first year of writing. Sigh.

    I loved all of your points for dealing with expectations. The ones that especially resonated with me were to set expectations around achievable goals and choosing gratitude. Gratitude certainly does something for the heart, doesn't it?

    Okay, the topics I still remember include:
    *Navigating writer's block (everybody has their own ways, so this could be one a few of you Seekers write on... ;))
    *How to keep writing when teens and life keep you BUSY
    *Time management between writing life and real life
    *Writing through discouragement
    *How to write an organic spiritual thread into stories, for those of us who write ChrisFic.
    *Posts from agents and editors are always fun too.
    *How you ladies have handled some of the difficulties life has handed you while working under deadline

    And for prizes? I love the prizes you all offer. Critiques are great, when I have something to critique. :) Chocolate, gift cards, books, SWAG . . . I like them all. :)

    Okay, I think I'll press Publish on this novella. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeanne! Thank you so much for the post and prize ideas! They are excellent and we're taking notes!

      I also love "Gratitude certainly does something for the heart, doesn't it?" YES! It gets our minds off ourselves and our circumstances and turns them to the Giver of Good Gifts!

      Delete
  27. Thank you Erica for this great post. I am going to be starting to Critique again so I can get Critiques on AcfW. I had a bad experience when I tried before. I was criticized because I did not write a perfect critique, rather impossible from a brand new critiquer. I was deeply hurt. I was told I need to develop tough skin, but I felt that I wasn't good enough to be a part of the group. Please pray that as I begin again, it will be a good experience.

    I have been rewriting the first novel I ever wrote and as I have learned from reading the Seekerville posts, I hope it will be strong enough to enter in the Genesis contest.

    Today is a new day, and even though I got bad news concerning my Dad, the Lord is good. (His cancer is invasive but because of his age they do not recommend chemo or radiation).

    I love the prizes on Seekerville. I love being a part of Seekerville. It is like a close family.

    I hope everyone will have a great week.

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    1. Ah, Wilani,

      Our prayers are with you and your father. That is heartbreaking news. I pray that God will comfort you and give you peace.

      I hope your new critique experience is all that you hope, and that it is beneficial to you. And I look forward to hearing that you've entered the Genesis contest! You can do this!

      Delete
    2. Wilani, continued prayers for you and dad. Such hard news to hear. Holding you close!

      Delete
  28. Great post, Erica! Our expectations! Before publication, I never realized how lonely writing can be...late at night, facing a deadline and not knowing if the words will come...in time. That was book 2 or book 3. Thank goodness for my Seeker buds who were a lifeline in those days.

    I'm on another deadline. The book is due Monday and there's more work to be done. Part of me would like to play! But playing has to wait. I'm living in an Amish world with a bad guy coming after my heroine so I have to focus.

    Stay safe in your snowstorm! I hope GA isn't in the storm's path. Cold weather and snow are not on my list of expectations!

    Hugs!

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    Replies
    1. Debby,

      Ah, what would we do without our writing friends? Creating fictional worlds is a solitary task, but it's so much better with the support of friends who understand it!

      Wishing you clear thoughts and skillful word-weaving as you race toward your deadline!

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    2. Thank you, Erica! And for the record, I wish LIH was still viable. Boo-hoo! I hate that the imprint closed.

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    3. Me too! :( I love the LIH readers so much!!!

      Delete
  29. What a great post! I once read (somewhere) "Disappointment lives in the gap between reality and our expectations. If you want to rid yourself of disappointment, you have to change either your reality or your expectations." (paraphrasing there) That was the first time I understood that disappointment was optional! SO important for writers to remember! Love this post, and LOVE Seekerville--where information from those in the know is so generously shared!! (And Wilani, I am praying for you and your father. I have walked that path with my mom. God definitely walked it with me, and I know He will walk with you and your dad, too.)

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Laurel! That's a great quote. Disappointment is optional! A great way to look at it, so positive!

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  30. Whoo hoo! Another "new" Seeker to welcome!

    Thrilled with 2.0 and the new challenges/opportunities that await.

    Since I seem to reinvent myself every 5+ years or so (speaking of challenges/opportunities) there's definitely experience in the managing expectations category. Left a sales career (several times) and that was one of the KEY components to success: manage every client's expectations. Overdeliver & underpromise is the addendum to that concept.

    Your words are resonating on several levels and it's time to get my boo boo lip back where it belongs and forge ahead with new marketing ideas.

    So, I'd better go do just that!

    Happy Seeker-ing Erica! You're a great addition to the lineup, as has been everyone.

    SO proud to know y'all and call you virtual (at the last) FURiends! Thank you Seekerville! :)

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    1. Hey, KC! Thank you for the lovely welcome! I love the 'boo boo lip' term! LOL

      Delete
  31. Erica, I love your four points on managing our expectations, and especially "Mourn." It is normal to be upset if things go as planned or as quickly as you've imagined. And it's ok to give yourself time to mourn, but also a time to adjust...and your other points, right on target! Thank you.

    Stay SAFE with the crazy weather!

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    Replies
    1. Hey, JC! I think it's important to take the time to mourn when things go awry, as long as you don't let it keep you from moving forward eventually.

      We're sitting inside and watching the snow pour down. It's going to be time to brave the tractor and snow blower soon!

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    2. I'm always amazed at how similar handling the struggles and rejections in the writing life...are to all of life. Most of this advice applies to everyone in all aspects!!!

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  32. I know we've talked about this many times, before, but thank you for the reminder again. And thank you for the illustration of the father eventually wrapping his arms around his daughter, allowing her to cry it out, but then speaking truth into her heart. Reminds me of our Heavenly Father. He'll let us fuss for awhile, but eventually, He'll ask us to get real and honest with ourselves and Him. 😊 So fun to see you here! Congrats.

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    1. :) Thanks for dropping by, Gabe! As you know, I need this reminder so very often! Thanks for letting me whine, and then reminding me to figure it out and act like a big girl!

      Delete
  33. A very timely post for me, as I've spent lots of time fussing about unmet expectations. Not in my writing life, per se, but in real life. Thanks for the much needed reminder! Praying for your writing future as you move on from LIH.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Amanda! The loss of LIH was a blow, but we know that God has something in store for all the LIH authors. I hope you can use the post to help you through whatever difficulties you're having. God is good, and He's able!

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  34. Erica, excellent post! Those of us who look at life through rose-colored glasses may need to dial down our expectations a bit in order to handle the realities of life, of the writing life. One of the blessings of Seekerville is that those who know the ropes can share what to expect but do it in a positive, encouraging way. Too much reality might discourage someone from even trying! I wouldn't trade the journey, as I learned so much from every step along the way.

    Janet

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    Replies
    1. It is such a delicate balance, because we're often talking about our hopes and dreams. But I'm the kind of gal who would rather know what I'm up against so I can strategize how best to attack the obstacles to reach my goal! :)

      Delete
  35. What a wonderful post, Erica! And such apt timing! I've been feeling the ebb & flow of pity parties as I attempt to launch 2 at-home businesses right now. Not everything has gone according to my plans. It is most certainly a learning experience and I appreciate your encouraging post today!

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    1. Hi Beth! Wow, two home businesses? You are one busy woman! You go, girl!

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    2. I'm trying. We'll see what God has planned for these ventures!

      Delete
  36. Erica, great post! I think I'm too much of a pessimist to have been very surprised when things weren't always wonderful and rosy. But I'm also enough of a dreamer to have hoped for something much more wonderful than the reality of being published! There were many valleys, but also a lot of mountaintop experiences so far in this journey.
    So glad you're a fellow newbie Seeker with me! Excited to get to know you better, Erica.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melanie! I was so naive that I based my expectations on air and dandelion fluff! I came down to earth pretty hard. I was glad to meet the ladies of Seekerville and be able to glean their wisdom! I'm excited to be here now, getting to know you and all the others better! And still learning!

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  37. Wonderful post, Erica!

    My expectations are to eventually put Seekerville posts together without breathing into a paper sack. If I keep that bar set low I'm sure to succeed, right?! Just kidding, mostly ;)

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    Replies
    1. LOL! You are such a soul sister! If you only knew how many times I checked and rechecked the scheduling of this post before I hit publish! :D

      Delete
  38. I love Seekerville because y'all keep it real while being encouraging. Love this post -- such a fine balance between dreams and reality. And yet if writers didn't dream there wouldn't be any stories written.

    So...things I'd enjoy seeing in future posts? Well, I'm kinda quirky so bear with me. Carrie had some fun interview with the authors' pets...well, actually her dog did...and I found that lots of fun. So getting an inside scoop on the writing life from the vantage point of a canine or feline...or donkey?...or whatever would be fun from time to time.

    Love blogs with before and after examples because it clearly illustrates so well -- ha-- kind of a showing vs telling of writing instruction.

    What are y'all reading?

    Research -- especially historical because it boggles the mind. Where's your starting point? How do you take it from there? Do you do all the research before you start writing or do you end up discovering things you didn't know along the way and have to revise?

    When you do a writer's visit at a bookstore or library --- wondering how you plan it out, keep things going, success, do you do takeaways, is it worth doing them, how do you approach strangers about your book etc. And on those lines, how can readers support authors with that other than obviously attending if they can.

    The logistics of organizing a writer's retreat -- like how much time is spent in solitude writing balanced out with fellowship and writerly discussions.

    I'd love opportunities for critiques but I'm just getting back into the swing of things yet so don't have anything yet but someday...

    The mystery that is publisher websites and why do they make it so hard to search of new releases by genre (ie fiction) as well as upcoming releases.

    Maybe occasional spotlights on various publishers since things change so much. Especially new ones like Gilead which is really hard to discover what books they have out and coming out.

    Highlighting the truths and myths about different genres.

    Okay -- this was just a ramble -- like off the top of my head so clearly garbled. But you asked and I answered...sort of.

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    1. Kav, I LOVE all these suggestions and ideas! Notes are being taken!!!

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  39. Hello. Hello. Hello, Erica!!!!

    I just love this post because it's soooo true.
    Our expectations influences our response big time. I guess we all started our writing journey like the boy in The Christmas Story where he imagines the teacher will be blown away by his paper and will be dancing around the room marking A+ multiples times across the chalkborad.


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    1. Oh yeah, that's how I started. Everyone would be clamoring for a look at my beautiful baby new manuscript...yeah. Ruthy actually was one of my first contest judges, and she told me the truth about that ugly little squaller. :) In the nicest way possible, of course!

      Delete
  40. Excellent post, Erica! Like you, I had no idea of... well anything when I first started off. Frankly, I didn't even know how to write a book. But I'm learning... :)

    Personally critiques have the most appeal to me, but I'm not opposed to books or chocolate either! :P

    Please enter my name in the drawing.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Nicki! Never be daunted by what you don't know! Everybody starts their writing journey at the beginning. :) I love that you're learning! Because we're ALL learning. That's the beauty of this writing life. There's always something new to learn and a new goal to achieve.

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  41. Great official first post as a Seeker!

    I had no idea critiques could be offered as a freebie! I would love new eyes on my work! So definitely include those on a regular basis, if possible.

    Yes, please enter my name in your drawing. Books are wonderful too. (I"m trying to deny myself chocolate!)

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    1. Hi, Linda! I took advantage of critiques as much as possible, too, once upon a time...and I have something I'm sending off to a crit partner soon!

      I have to deny myself chocolate, too. But it doesn't keep me from dreaming. :)

      Delete
  42. Welcome Erica. I'm glad you are official. Thanks for putting things in perspective...Been there done that for your first couple of points. Right now I am trying to educate myself and do what writing I can as I keep working my day job...which I enjoy.

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    1. Hi, Bettie, yay for enjoying your job! Finding balance in all the things you need to do and all the things you want to do is essential in the writing life, isn't it?

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  43. Just keep giving me glimpses behind the writing curtain thank you.

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    1. Hi, Mary! We'll keep doing our best! Thanks for being part of the Seekerville community!

      Delete
  44. Excellent post! When I started writing I had my plan of how my writing career would advance all laid out. Funny thing, nothing has gone according to plan. Guess I should have sought out God's plan and not Terri's.

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    1. Hi, Terri! I think you are not alone in that group of "Not how I had planned this ride." Good thing God's plans don't rely on us, isn't it? Glad He's got this and I'm the one supposed to follow Him and not the other way around!

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  45. Erica, thanks for sharing. I can relate. Seekerville has always been a drink of sweet water and so helpful on my writing journey. Continue to share writing tips and words of encouragement. Those are the golden bones of what makes Seekerville such a great place to hangout.
    Cindy Huff

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    1. Hey, Cindy! What a great turn of phrase you have! We'll do our best, but know that you encourage US!

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  46. What a great post. I see expectations color my day in so many ways. I think my favorite part of your post was educating yourself to have realistic expectations.
    My expectations at Seekerville. . . I love drawings for books and learning from others who write. I am reader, but I feel like writing is one of those journeys that applies to so many other areas of life. I also love to be in the drawings for books and prizes. I must admit. . that is a draw. I would love to be in the drawing for your new book. Becky B.

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    1. Hi, Becky! You're so right! Principles for a balanced writing life are very similar to those of life in general! Thanks for being a faithful reader! You're in the drawing!

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  47. I needed to read this today! Yes, I've been disappointed and frustrated by things that have happened in my writing life. I had such high hopes when I started, and then I took a wrong turn by writing for the world rather than writing for the Lord. I can't help but see this as a waste of years, as now I must go back to my first books and revise them. But God has a plan, and I need to set aside my expectations (and negative emotions) to follow His lead. Going through the steps you've mentioned will be a big help!

    I'm new to Seekerville, so I don't have any expectations yet! I just want to meet other writers and maybe find a few mentors here.

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    1. Hi, Anne! I'm so glad you've found Seekerville! Don't look on those years as wasted! They taught you some valuable lessons, and they will make this next bit all the sweeter because of the wisdom you've gleaned. God is so cool like that, how He can take the bits we think we've shattered and put them together into a beautiful whole.

      Delete
  48. Awesome debut article, Erica!

    When I'm mad at myself for not fulfilling or reaching my expectations I look up on my cork board and read a tag from Good Earth tea which I think is appropriate for my issues:

    Don't Be Upset By The Results You Didn't Get With The Work You Didn't Do...Uknown

    'Nuff said.

    As far as any suggestions, I think the ones before me about covered it. Seekerville has been such a blessing to me in my writing journey, and the new Seeker crew seems to be fulfilling my expectations of what a good blog should be doing for its public.

    Blessings,

    Marcia

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    1. Marcia! That's a great quote! I have another one from Rugby great Richie McCaw. He said "I don't believe in luck. I believe in hard work."

      Thanks for being part of the Seekerville community! I love that we can share each other's wisdom and experiences to make the group better!

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  49. Hi Erica!

    This is a jewel: "Educate yourself before setting expectations." As I have finally (I think) learned, a little bit of realism can head off a lot of unnecessary disappointment :-)

    Super post. Thank you!

    Nancy C

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    1. Oh, Nancy, I feel you! I love to race into the dreams and expectations without the knowledge that would make them realistic! It's hard to remember when I get excited about a project or a passion that a little education can forestall a lot of heartache!

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  50. Hi, Erica! When I published my first book, The Long Road Around the Corner of Hope, what I expected was for everyone in my corner to buy it once it went live on Amazon. Since I know a lot of people, of course only a few of whom I'd consider friends, I would have lots of sales that first day. Wrong!
    When someone would buy my book, I'd wait in eager anticipation for them to write a five-star review of it on Amazon. But that section of that page is empty.
    I'd be at event where there would be authors representing many genres and a diverse population of people. Surely, there would be lots of people who like Christian fiction. Result: no sales.
    I'd write an interesting (to me) post on my blog, hoping many comments would follow. But all I'd read after a week: "No comments."
    But I still keep writing. It's a passion. I love it too much to quit. It bears mentioning that until I started it in 2010, I didn't have a good reason to get up in the morning. Therefore, I would be stupid to quit. What would I do instead? Success isn't going to happen overnight. In fact, it's for my own good I don't. In that way, when my big break comes, I can thank God for being with me in every step of this journey, and fully appreciate all of my hard work to get to that point.
    I dare say the content in my books is unusual. If I stick around long enough, I'll get so many sales for my books on a consistent basis, I will never have to worry about donning my workaday garb and can instead be comfortable getting to work at my desk at home, pecking away at this laptop, listening to my favorite music.
    Today is one day closer to that goal. Thankfully, I have the day off from work. I will use this day to write as much as I possibly can.

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    1. Hey, Faye! What a great outlook. Today is one day closer to that goal. Keep climbing! We're all climbing right alongside you!

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