Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Do You Believe You Are An Author?

Contest entry fee to be drawn tonight. Read on for details.

Morning Seekerville,

Sandra here with goodies of course. Her favorite--chocolate velvet coffee steaming hot, Earl Grey for the tea drinkers and a platter of scones--blueberry, cranberry, orange, apple cinnamon, and plain. Yummy creamy butter and wildflower honey to dribble off the scone and onto your fingers.

That's the way to start any job. Right?

So do you consider your writing a job? Do you treat your writing time like you would treat the time working any other job? Do you expect others to consider your writing as a "real job"?

Published authors and full time writers battle with this question, especially with family and friends.

Authors who aren't published yet battle with this question, especially with family and friends.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Mark 11:23-24. I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, "Go throw yourself into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.

What is it you say to others?

I need to finish this proposal, novel, chapter, but.....
I want to be a writer, but....
I want to be published, but....
Or are you saying:

I will finish this proposal, novel, chapter, because
I will be a writer because....
I will be published because.......

What you say and what you believe will happen.
Maybe not when you think, but words are powerful.
Belief is powerful.
Trust and faith are powerful.

The Seekers with the help of Tina and Margie Lawson based their Plan B on this premise.

1. Set a goal. Perceive what it is you want to accomplish as an author.
2. Write it, speak it, sing it. Be specific. I will be on the best seller list. I will be published. etc.
3. Believe it. Do not make excuses. Do not doubt. But believe with all your heart.

I have a friend who set her goals. Before she was published, she took books by her favorite best seller authors and wrapped them in new covers with the titles of her wip's. She put them on her "best seller shelf", then pictured and believed they were best sellers too. Not only is this friend now published but she has been on the best seller list for several years now.

1. She set her goal.
2. She spoke it. (Her books on the best seller shelf were a visual testimony)
3. She believed it with all her heart.

How do you act as a writer on the job?
Do you guard your writing time and consider it sacred?

Because authors determine their own hours and work at home, it is easy to think "I can go to the mall with my friends and write later." Or I can make a dentist appointment at 10:00 am and write later. But can you do this with other jobs?

I was a teacher. I couldn't make an appointment at 10:00 am because I had students. I couldn't go to the mall because I had a job.

Do you think of your writing in this way? Do you have a set time to write and keep that time sacred? Do you say I can't go to the mall because I'm working? Do you say I need to make my appointment in the afternoon because I work in the morning?

This can be tricky because there are many aspects of writing. Writing includes research, interviews, publicity, travel and pondering (as Ruthy puts it). These activities may not appear to others as work. You must be diligent in making friends and family believe along with you that you are indeed working.

One day I insisted I had to finish a project because of a deadline and my husband agreed to leave me alone and not interrupt my "work time". Well I had written myself into a corner and needed to figure out how to fix it. I needed to "ponder" (I love that P word Ruthy) So I went in my bedroom and stretched out on the bed. You can imagine what my hubby said when he found me. "I thought you had to work. Here I am tiptoeing around the house and you're napping." I wasn't napping, but you get my point.

We need to educate our family and friends that we are indeed working. We need to believe it. We need them to believe it. And because we are working, we have goals, we have deadlines and we have an end product.

So Seekers--whether you are published or not yet published, say it and believe it. Act as if it is so and it will be.
Let us know some of the ways you convince yourself, your family and your friends that you are a serious and successful writer at work and on the job.

Now for the prize I promised. Seekers love contests. I belong to a chapter of ACFW that is sponsoring a contest. There are only four days left to enter.

Click on the link for details.

Specify in your post if you would like to enter the drawing and at 8:00 pm PDT I will draw a name and pay for the entry fee for that contestant. Be sure and include your email address.

Happy writing.


  1. From an amateur writer that would love to somehow make the jump to professional writer...correction... WILL be a professional writer someday, thank you for some good reminders and great info.

  2. Hi Sandra,
    Thanks for the coffee and delicious scone...had to lick the honey off of my fingers before I could type!

    This post was the "kick in the pants" I needed this morning!


  3. What a wonderful post! I struggle with the things you mentioned, like "going to the mall and writing later." I've really got to get my priorities in order, don't I?

    But-WOW-what an amazing prize you're offering. I already entered the Phoenix Rattler (2 entries!) so I can't win this blog contest, but I just want to encourage other authors to enter. Contests are so beneficial and provide such great feedback on your work.

  4. Oh, Sandra!

    This is so true, so absolutely on spot. Awesome post.

    And for those of you who don't know this, Sandra was the ONLY person who dared take me on as a critique partner when I was new and full of vinegar in FH&L years ago...

    And she never hesitated to broach any topic. Awesome partner.

    Oh mylanta, the fun we've had! And Sandra isn't afraid to smack me upside the head when necessary. This post shows the incredibly tough woman behind the sweet smile and gentle voice.

    Yummy food. Great words. Just what I needed, my friend!


  5. I'm a writer because I write, but my goal is to become a published author who writes full-time. For now, I steal writing time when I can. My family is pretty good about letting me write, but when I'm stuck on a scene, it's so easy for me to put it off until I get inspired.

    With the power of positive thinking and being obedient to the path God has laid before me, I believe my turn will come. :-)

    I really considered entering the CWOW contest, but I got a tell you as a scaredy cat who suffers from an intense blown out of proportion phobia of snakes, the contest title turned me off. Sounds like a great contest, so I'll throw my name into the hat.

    Thanks for a great post!
    lisajordan at yahoo dot com

  6. Please enter me in the contest.

    I consider my lunch time sacred and step away from my desk to write. Other times, I find myself having to be flexible.

  7. Thanks for the terrific no-nonsense yet inspiring post, Sandra! And for the reminder to set goals and dream big.

    At the ACFW conference, Debbie Macomber talked about the importance of writing our goals on paper and urged us to dream big. She dreamed big all right and look where she is now!

    Thanks for the yummy cranberry scones and coffee!


  8. Good Morning. You Easterners are up early and its only 5:00 am here. yikes. But I love the early morning especially if there's coffee.

    Anonymous, Edwina, and Lynda-Glad the reminder helped. I wrote it because I needed it myself. smile

    Thanks for the encouragement Lynda. Yes, we've all agreed that entering a contest is a plus in that step toward our goal. Two entries. Wow. Congratulations and best wishes.

  9. Mmm ... chocolate velvet coffee.

    While working three days a week, I volunteer on Monday, write on Tuesday and *try* to write and-or clean house on Wednesday.

    However, the restaurant will soon be open five days a week for the holidays. That will be an adjustment!

    Trying to get stuff done before then.

    The wild card is harvest and helping with the cows.

    If you don't have to be a member of RWA, I would love to enter the contest! APSchrock_at_aol_dot_com

  10. Hmmmm Ruthy, I think I learned the smack upside the head from you. Its surprising how a smack can travel over the Mississippi, across the prairies, over the Rockies and still have punch. Ruthy's smacks do.

    But they're good. Whether in contest feedback or with a critique partner, those smacks are meant to improve your writing and get you toward your goal.

    And yes Ruthy, it has been a blast.

  11. Hi Sandra,

    Wonderful post because this is something all writer's struggle with.

    I must say that my husband is getting better about not interrupting me when I'm in my office writing but I'm also getting better about scheduling writing time and not being tempted to do other activities.

    I'll pass on the contest entry, although it's a great prize.


  12. Oh Lisa, that icon is scary isn't it? But those first ten pages are also.

    Our group wanted something that represented the Southwest and what has more bite than a rattlesnake? Well a gila monster could work but they are even scarier looking.

  13. Walt, you are too funny. Lunchtime. Well I have to say I never miss a meal either. LOL

    But you hit upon one of the benefits of writing. We can be flexible.

    You sound like you have the drive and persistence so enjoy the perks.

  14. Thanks Janet for the reminder of Debbie Macomber's words. If you ever get a chance to hear her speak, go because her story is sooooo inspiring.

    And yes, dream big because you are a terrific writer. I love your books Courting the Doctor's Daughter and Courting Miss Adelaide. Can hardly wait for the next one.

  15. Hi Ann, No you don't have to be a member of RWA nor ACFW to enter the contest. It is open to all unpublished yet writers. Please note the agents and editors who are the final judges. Great opportunity to get your work on their desk.

  16. Rose, what a great hubby you have. Hang in there and keep those goals in mind.

  17. Oh, Sandra, guilt and motivation from the same blog ... hope the chocolate velvet coffee is triple octane, because I SO need it right now.

    In fairness, you supplied the motivation, Sandra, and I supplied the guilt because you nailed my butt to the wall with the question: "Do you treat your writing time like you would treat the time working any other job?

    Regrettably, the answer is no because if I did treat it like my old travel-writer job, I'd write three 500-page books in a year. Treating your writing time like a job is hard enough before you get the contract because to most people it looks more like a hobby than a job. BUT, I find I actually struggle a lot more now that I am published than I did before. Not sure why, although it might be because in my former day job, I had immediate deadlines every day, while as an author, I have them every six months. I work the fastest (and the most seriously) with a deadline breathing down my neck, unfortunately.

    Thank you for the Ruthy kick in the butt ... I SO needed it this morning.


  18. Hi, Sandra!
    I have thought this way for years. I've treated my writing like a job and truly believed--still believe--I'm going to get published some day. But I started working a job that pays money (not MUCH money, but hey) two weeks ago, it's been a difficult struggle to know how to think about my writing. It was nearly impossible to get any writing done for a couple of weeks, so I kind of despaired. Well, not kind of. I did despair. But as I get used to working again, hopefully my perspective will come around and I'll learn to feel hopeful again. Maybe I'll even start writing again.

  19. Oh, I forgot to say, don't enter me in the contest. The judges in my categories aren't my targets.

  20. Hi Sandra!
    Don't enter me in the contest because I already won it. To clarify - I won the entry fee to the Rattler contest from Seekerville back a few months ago. Thank you Sandra!! And my entry has already flown through cyberspace to Arizona (I wish I could have squeezed in alongside!)

    I am a writer and I believe I will be a published author. Just this morning I prayed that God forgive the part of me that wants to see surprise on people's faces when it happens. I don't want this published stuff to be about me but right now I can't separate the drive to be published from the need to write. And sometimes that feels wrong. I'm not surprising God with these feelings, I'm sure, so I thank Him for his grace and mercy and for giving me the gift of tenacity (or P word perseverance?)

  21. This is a good post and I especially like the part that lying on the bed and thinking is part of the process. However, there is no substitute for putting words on the page.

    The part about making a new cover for published books was a good reminder to me that visualizing is a big help to me.

    I'd like to be entered in the contest for the contest :)

    cathy underscore shouse at yahoo dot com

  22. I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only one whose family doesn't always understand that I treat my writing like a job! Sometimes I question myself too since I'm not making any money from it...yet. :-) Thanks for the reminder to stick with it and keep believing!

    Oh, and I just submitted my contest entry yesterday (apparently a day too early), so don't enter me in the contest.

  23. What a neat contest :) Count me in!

    Thank you for this post. I don't take my writing time seriously. I have been struggling with time in general lately and it's hard for me to set aside time for anything. I'm stuck between writing and another project so it's kind of I have to choose one over the other type of thing.

    gypsyscribe (at) gmail (dot) com

  24. You know what? I think I am a writer. And I write every single day, no matter what. I just don't know if I'm an author. I have a weird style of writing that seems to lend itself more toward columns then chapters. The book that I've been writing is so painful I don't know if I could ever actually publish it. Although the person who is the "star" of the book encourages me to put it out there to help other people in the same heart-break. Time will tell! Thanks for the great post!

  25. Hi Sandra;

    To the degree you are willing to defend your writing time, to that same degree others will take you seriously. To the degree you are willing to miss your favorite TV shows to keep to your writing schedule, to that same degree others will take you seriously. To the degree you believe yourself to be a professional writer, to that same degree others will take you seriously. (The above was for you Margie.)


    Write something (no matter how small) that brings in some money or at least results in a series of rejection slips. As a wise philosopher once said, “Inner states stand in need of outward criteria”. If your inner states say you are a writer, then let there be evidence of this in your outer world.

    I’d love to win a contest entry fee but I can’t get an entry ready in a few days. But this is a wonderful prize that I’d love to see more of in the future.

    BIAW now at 54,245 nearing the half way point. (This is part of my outer criteria.)


  26. Hi Julie, Glad to help. Maybe you need to set deadlines of your own for each week. Think of some reward. Like a surrogate payday. Something that you really, really want and will work for.

  27. Melanie and Jen,

    It is tough to be torn between projects and/or jobs. Remember anytime there is change (whether good change or change that isn't so good), there is stress. Give yourself permission to adjust, reschedule and rethink your priorities, goals and time management.

    I asked my spiritual mentor one time about how do I know if I'm doing what God wants me to do. He said whatever you're doing, you're doing it. If you are close to God then you will do what He wants and sometimes that isn't what you think it is.

    For over a year I didn't write. I was in elder care with my two moms. I was so stressed I couldn't write even though there was "time". But that is where God needed me and that is where I was. And truthfully, I'm thankful I was able to be there.

    My gift of writing didn't go away. Its been a year since they both "went home". And now I'm writing again.

  28. Hi Debra, Yes, you are entered in the contest already. Best wishes and congrats for having the courage to enter.
    It takes courage, don't cha know.

    And congrats on that perseverance. Boy that P word is something all writers need in abundance.

  29. Hi Cathy, I like the being in bed part too. It has become a family joke that whenever someone wants a nap they claim to be "going to work".

  30. Hi Sarah, Congrats for taking the step to enter a contest. Lots of courage there. And determination and planning. Best wishes.

  31. Jenny, The writing process is very healing. Journaling is a great step toward becoming an author. And who knows, you may transition from being a writer to an author. Being a writer is great too.

  32. Sandra,

    Thank you for this great post. I, too, am guilty about treating writing as a hobby, for my spare time only. I am going to print off your words of wisdom and keep them handy for inspiration!

    And Ruthy, I love the word "ponder". I am going to use it all the time now!

    Please enter me in the contest. I need a sign and this could be it!

    sbmason (at) sympatico (dot) ca

    Thanks again!

    Sue Mason

  33. Hey Vince, you only need the first 10 pages for the contest. Go for it.

    To the degree that you're serious about "finaling" in a contest is the degree to how many contests you enter.

  34. Thanks for the encouragement, Sandra.

    I'm forced to keep a certain writing time if I'm going to write at all - so for someone who suffers from distractibility/daydreaming issues this is the best kind of self-discipline.

    I work better when my back is to the wall, so to speak. I don't know why.

    Anyway, I have 1 1/2 hours (most nights - when I'm not having to prepare lectures) to write and if I don't do it then, it won't happen.

    My husband once said, "We make time to do what we want to do."


    In a lot of ways, it's true. It some ways, distractions can't be helped (I have 5 of them from age 11-3 - I know) ;-) Lovely distractions

    One of the most encouraging things I've learned through Seekerville, is to make my goals BIG (for me). Which means that 500 words is a really big deal for me and I should celebrate it like I've written 15,000 ;-)

    I think Mary recently wrote something about 'slow and steady wins the race." Consistency.

    It's good to know. It might feel like an awfully long race, or I'm terribly slow, but making it to the end matters.

    Okay - sorry for the philosophy. I'm grading graduate research papers and they affect my thinking - scary.

    Need chocolate!!

    Please enter me in the conetest, Sandra. Sounds like fun.


  35. Hi Pepper, I love philosophy. I'd enjoy one of your classes, I'm sure.

    Whether you dedicate 8 hours per day, 1 hour per day or even one hour per week, what makes the difference is how dedicated an true you are to that block of time.

  36. Too often I've fallen in the trap of second guessing my writing--what kind of writing I should be doing and saying 'I'd LIKE to be published, but if I'm not it's okay.' While that statement is very true, it's also become a cop-out for me. Thanks for pointing that out.

    I'm going to be working on some of these statements! Oh, and I'd like to be entered in the drawing! =]
    patterly at gmail dot com

  37. This is such a teriffic post. I demonstrate I'm a writer to my family by continuing to submit to publishers and agents, attend conferences and enter contests. I believe that there will be a yes to my proposal in God's good time. I try not to get discouraged by the numerous rejections. I felt this was a great opportunity so I sent my entry to Sandra for The Phoenix Rattler Conest on Sunday. So don't enter me. Thank you.

    Pat Davis

  38. Nice post Sandra : )

    The contest sounds really cool! I agree, the icon thing is pretty scary! Lol!

  39. Sure write a post that describes me to a T. And the not part where you see yourself where you are going to be.

    Well maybe where I'm going to be, but not always in the best light.

    I tell myself I will be published, I will sell gobs of books and hit the bestseller's list. I even dream about it.

    Then around comes a bit of rejection and I feel like I have to start all over again.

    Or something good happens and I feel like I'm certain to blow it now that something good came along.

    Isn't it lovely how we can be our own worst enemies?

    But I am a good writer. I will be published, I will sell my books, I may or may not become a millionaire (close) but I will make an impact in the world.

    Thanks for the post, Sandra.

    Thanks for turning our eyes forward to can be.

    tpinson.co at netzero.net

  40. Oh my, oh my, the coffee runneth low!!!


    I'm out of chocolate velvet, but I've got a great kettle of hot spiced cider here and flaky apple-filled croissants to go alongside.

    Great mid-day filler.

    Oh, and cheese stix.

    Life wouldn't be complete without the occasional cheese stick.

    Just sayin'.

    And just adding to Pepper's thoughts here...

    That slow and steady thing:

    I've only had 1.5 - 2.0 hours/day to write for like, ever. Seriously. I can eek out a little more on weekends now that I left the second job, but that two hours a day swelled into fifteen finished books.

    Fifteen I'll let people look at, LOL!!!

    Mel, this is to you, too. Those little daily increments add up. You do that for a year and it's a book or a book and a half, or TWO books... And it adds up.

    This is SO doable.


  41. Hi Sandra:

    I write every day. In fact, I've had to force myself to stop writing on Sunday. It's always so tempting on Sunday evening to write just a little. I hit a period of burnout/tired brain and had to remind myself, 'Sunday is a day of rest. Thou shalt not write--even a ltitle bit.'

    Since retiring I have cranked out six 55-60K romances andthree 90K cozy mysteries. I finished a ms two weeks ago, and right now I'm trying to concentrate on revisions and contests for awhile.

    I've been wavering about whether to enter the Rattler. Every time I decide to pass, another reminder pops up. So enter me in the your contest.


    helengray AT boycomonline DOT com

  42. Yuk.

    'little' bit

  43. Hi Sandra,
    This was such a timely post for me! It is so hard to protect that writing time, all too often it is what I let slip first! I love the idea with the visual representation of the best sellers on the book shelf. Would love to be entered into the contest,
    hchristinebernard at yahoo dot com

  44. Hi, Sandra! WONDERFUL post. Inspirational. I have my "writing time" every morning, but it frequently gets relegated to email, marketing, pseudo-research/surfing time. LOL This was a good kick in the pants.

    I've checked out the contest website and I've got a question for you, in case they don't see my email before the end of their work day:

    Does my ms need to have Christian elements in it? While I am a Christian and there's nothing in my ms that would suggest otherwise, it is not a Christian story.

    If I don't have to have a Christian premise, count me in and thank you for the offer in any case! It's very generous of you.

  45. Hi Patty, You ARE going to be published. You ARE a great writer. Good girl. smile

  46. HI Pat Jeanne, You're on the right path. You are already affirming your belief with your actions. Great going and best wishes in the contest.

  47. Project Journal, scary huh? You're right, and so is entering contests, submitting proposals, pitching your wip.

    Oooohhhh Ruthy, Thanks for the cider and croissants. A great pick-me-up at the end of the work day. Is the cider from those great New England apple orchards??? yummm

  48. Tina, Welcome to the business of writing. If it was easy, we wouldn't need these posts. LOL. We all suffer with the doubts, fight for time management, goal setting, faith and determination.

    You added your email addie. Does that mean you would like to enter the contest entry drawing?????

  49. Hi Heather, Glad you like that visual bookshelf. It does help to have visuals.

    Another friend made a poster board she hung in her office. She had pictures of her characters, pictures of the vacations spots she was going to when she got "the call" A picture of her on the phone getting "the call". It works. She's now multi-published.

  50. Victoria-Good question.

    The contests that have editors as final judges--look up their publishing house online and look at their guidelines. This will tell you if they take what you are writing.

    The contests that have agents--most of these agents represent both CBA and ABA authors. So no problem if you target one of them.

    Just be sure you are in the correct genre for your work in progress.

  51. Hey folks, to go with those croissants Ruthy sent over,

    I have a platter of cheeses, monterey jack, white cheddar (for you easterners) jalapeno cheddar (for us westerners) gouda, swiss and havarti.

    Now a crystal bowl of grapes will top off this late afternoon treat. Maybe dessert for some of you.

  52. Cool. The Knight Agency does just about everything. Thanks again, Sandra!

  53. Excellent post! I'm guilty of not being professional. I'm not afraid to say, "I'm working right now" but I am horrible at saying "I HAVE to work right now." I always think, oh one episoded of House...it won't hurt. LOL! And then I'm too tired to write. *sigh*

    I need to be how I would at work and strengthen my work ethic. Wonderful comments about what we say and believe too! Thanks Sandy!

  54. Time is a precious commodity, Sandra. More than anything, we writers need to guard our time.

    It took a lot of effort to train my family to follow my routine.

    I come home at 5:00.

    I take the dog for a walk.

    We eat together.

    We talk about anything and everything.

    At 7:00, I go into the *Bat Cave* and do not emerge until 9:00.

    Do not disturb my writing time.

    Since falling into this habit, my writing time has become sacred to me, and anyone else who DARES to knock on my door will face the wrath of mom (unless blood or fire are involved).

    We can never be reminded too much about protecting our writing time.

    Great post, Sandra!

  55. Sandra,
    Great post!!! I often struggle with the negative voice within that says I won't succeed. The only way to overcome the negative is to drown it out with positive thoughts.

  56. Debra Marvin, your comment touched me so much. I know how you feel. :-) Thanks for being so honest! Love ya, girl!

    And thanks for the encouragement, Sandra and Ruthy. You guys are THE BEST. Seekerville totally rocks.

  57. Sandra,
    Sorry I didn't get back till now.

    Yes, I thought I'd dropped my name in the pot for the contest.

  58. Seekers I'm sooooooo sorry to be late on this drawing. We had a baby kitty that needed rescuing. yikes. The poor thing is half dead. I'm sooooo stressed.

    So see. Good example of how time can be stolen. But then again is it????? That kitty needed help.

    I will post the winner NOW. My friend drew the name so its official.

    Congrats Walt M. Just submit your entry and mention you won the drawing and Sandra paid the fee. If you enter in historical, that would be me anyway. smile Remember it has to be submitted by October 31.

  59. Congrats, Walt and of course you had to save the kitten! Thank you for doing it. :) (Animal lover who just finished watching a Jeff Corwin video. LOL) Good night!

  60. Hi Jessica and Debby, Good to see your smiles. Yes, you need to work on that negative talk. It gets us every time. Remember Philippians 4:8-9

  61. Hi Audra, Good for you. Great to have you reinforce what I was saying. It does work. Pretty soon your friends and family look at the time before they call you. Ooops its between 7-9. Work time. I'll call later.


  62. Thanks Melanie, I love learning not only from the posts, but from the comments as well. You folks are great. We have such a wealth of gifts amongst us.

  63. Tina, Your name did get into the drawing. Wish I could enter you all. You're a great bunch of writers and I KNOW I'll see your names on the shelves one of these days.

    Good night. If there are more comments, I'll answer tomorrow.

  64. Great post. I didn't really guard my writing time until I sold. Maybe if I had, it wouldn't have taken me nine years to sell.

    Shannon Taylor Vannatter

  65. I guess I'm tired because it took me a long time to figure out where you were going with this, but then it hit me and I got all teary eyed. I was very weary from watering the camels when I finally got the call. Very encouraging post and so true. The climb seems to get the hardest right before you reach to top.

  66. Oops. Braindead. Obviously, that last comment was supposed to be on the camel post. That's what I get for not stopping by yesterday and reading both posts today. Now everyone knows I'm nuts.