Monday, November 8, 2010

Show Up For Your Dreams

Janet here. I'm thrilled to have friend and fellow Hoosier, Cathy Shouse in Seekerville today! Cathy has been hanging out with us for ages so is probably a familiar face. We're delighted to have her on this side of the post. I think you'll appreciate her savvy advice. Welcome Cathy!

Janet invited me to share thoughts on my experiences as a published nonfiction writer aspiring to fiction.

Here’s the best advice I’ve got to make publishing dreams come true: Show up.

Get the writing out of your head and onto the page and take it somewhere. It almost doesn’t matter where. Get in the game.

Personally, I keep putting myself out there, whether it’s to write a news story, enter a contest, revise my book or just write a blog post. LOL

I do this even when my friends think I’m overdoing it. Even when I’m wondering if I’m over doing it. :)

And in between exploring new possibilities, I have to work harder than I’ve ever worked before to improve my writing.

But for me, making myself Show Up is half the battle.

Because I know that to reach my publishing dreams will take the courage to Show Up over and over. I’ll need to have the guts to keep reaching for new opportunities and to risk failing time and time again.

What’s really great is that sometimes, I’m rewarded beyond my expectations.

In 2006, I’d been studying and writing fiction and fantasized about being named a Midwest Writers Workshop fellow. The prize was an overnight writing retreat and professional editing for my manuscript.

But I didn’t think my writing was ready, or maybe I was just insecure.

I rationalized that rejection is part of the business, but there was no point in entering something I couldn’t win.

By 2007, I was determined to try for MWW, but the deadline was gone. Then I saw it was extended. And I got a message from my friend, Crystal, urging me on.

I figured my best shot was for a nonfiction slot. But my real dream was fiction. So I dropped the fiction entry into the mail right before our spring break trip to L.A. I told myself the trip would help soften the blow of what would certainly be a rejection.

But I was chosen one of six 2007 MWW fiction fellows! What a shock.

After a fabulous learning experience, since I know something about marketing, I volunteered to help MWW with some publicity for the retreat. Ultimately, I landed a spot on their committee. And working on the committee has generated countless professional rewards. I’m so glad I Showed Up for MWW!

In 2008, an online writing group friend, Jan, was excited about Debbie Macomber speaking at an RWA conference in Chicago. We realized we lived three hours apart. I was torn about the expense, but decided to go to the conference, for the craft workshops I needed and to meet Jan.

Reality set in when I peeked in my closet. Eek! My Mom Jeans wouldn’t cut it in Chicago. After hearing a webinar on making a good impression and reading that editors want young, energetic writers, I decided on a makeover.

I met with a Nordstrom’s personal shopper for free. She didn’t even snicker when I gave her my budget, or my measurements. She found me a terrific blouse and a great jacket, which I never would have chosen. And introduced me to Spanx body shapers!

We went over budget but I looked like a million bucks. I studied her shoe selections and trotted to Target for knock-offs. Plus, I made an appointment with my young hairdresser to update my style.

That’s the blouse she picked, in the photo of me on this blog. What do you think? Do you like my hair?

At conference, the first person I met complimented me on my blouse and asked to take my picture! She turned out to be a blogger for a national publisher. Woo hoo! I’ve maintained contact since and gotten tons of publicity by posting twice on her blog.

So many conferees noticed my special blouse and a jacket that those became icebreakers. Afterward, at one of Debbie’s book signings nearer home, I wore the blouse, which she remembered. That led to my writing a news story about her.

While I don’t have a fiction book contract yet, I continue to study craft and enjoy the journey!

Here are a couple other times when “showing up” counted.

Focus on the Family wanted contributing writers and required newly written samples. Some writer friends didn’t apply, saying it was too much work.

I went all out, interviewing experts, writing and rewriting. On deadline day, I was ready to hit send when I realized I had misread the guidelines. But there was no time to make changes.

What to do?

I opted to send what I had, with a brief explanation. I was chosen for the next round! After two more rounds of submissions, I became a contributor, where I learned valuable lessons and boosted my credentials.

In 2009, I supported my RWA chapter by attending a local conference we hosted. A bookseller who had won a national RWA award was talking fiction and happened to mention little books “flying off the shelves.” They were historic photo books written about thousands of places around the country, produced by Arcadia Publishing. I was hesitant, since I’m not an historian. All buildings look the same to me, unless there’s a red bulls-eye on them.

Still I decided to “show up” and e-mailed the acquisitions editor. She asked for a proposal.

Too bad I didn’t know history. So I asked around at my historical museum. Just when I was trying to get up the guts to stop the nonsense, they brought a paper saying representatives for local natives—actor James Dean and Garfield cartoonist Jim Davis—were on board.

In July, my book Images of America: Fairmount released.

It was a wonderful experience, which helped my fiction efforts, partly because I got to know my hometown, which has inspired the setting for my fiction book.

Don’t get me wrong. Every time I’ve shown up has not gone perfectly. I have nearly fallen on my face before—literally. Once, after making a great connection with a top agent sitting in the hotel bar, I walked a few feet and landed on my knees. It was a sunken bar area and I’d missed the step and fallen straight down.

I didn’t even look back to see if she had watched me leave!

I have found out that if I Show Up and something doesn’t turn out, just the habit of trying new things is good for me. It helps my forward momentum, as I reach for my dreams.

Okay, now it’s your turn. Is there something you need to be doing but have hesitated and now plan to go ahead with?

Is there something you “showed up” for that went better than you imagined possible?

Everyone who comments today will be included in a drawing for a $10 Barnes & Noble gift certificate and a copy of Janet Dean’s second book, Courting the Doctor’s Daughter, the story of a determined woman who showed up to make her dream come true.

I’ll be back later this afternoon to join the discussion!


  1. I love both the blouse and the hair!

    For me... Showing up probably means realizing that my [extended family of origin] may never support this and publicize myself anyway in forums where they might see it [Facebook for instance]. To the best of my knowledge, they don't know that I have a website or a [very sparsely followed] blog because I don't know if I can deal with their rejection... That would be Showing Up for me.

    I *am* however starting to email authors with feedback and questions and comments creating relationships, commenting on blogs, entering contests, stretching myself with new genres [sort of, heavy on the romance, light on the suspense] and not even crying that I didn't win the Novel Journey out of the slushpile contest, because, honestly, that's the least bad thing that's happened to me today :). But it's also a major step forward in my personal growth.

    And I'm going to a conference this week and I'm determined not to be a wall flower [my online personality and my in person personality with people I don't know are two totally different things!].

    So, I'll leave out coffee and cinnamon rolls and birthday cake. Help yourselves. Birthday cake has no calories, you know. Neither do birthday cinnamon rolls.

    And enter me in the contest!

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

  2. I appreciate Cathy's determination! Thanks for sharing this. And thanks for the generous drawing, Janet. I'd love to win your book! reneeasmith61 [at] yahoo [dot] com

  3. I agree with Carol--lovely blouse and haircut! :D

    This was such a great post; very inspiring! I think that a lot of the challenge is just showing up, which is sad to think how much I miss by not doing so. For me, I think "showing up for my dreams" right now means actually finishing my manuscript so that it can go somewhere if God wants it to! :)

    As a college student, I don't always make the time to write (besides papers and such) as I ought to, but it is my hope that no matter how much (or how little) time I can squeeze in to write, I will do it, and I am very hopeful about this next summer being a time to get a lot of writing done! :D We'll see how it goes... ;)

    Thanks for the fun giveaway, as well!



  4. Cathy,

    Way to rock it! Good on ya!! Sounds like you either have it already or are faking it until you're making it. I'm thinking you "have" it since you know about marketing. Either way, it's working. Keep up the great work!

    This is a superb look on you - how fun you shared your journey with us!!

    I've seen those little books. :) That is WAY fun that you showed up and are now published by them. I love it.

    OOOOHHhhh, what WE'RE supposed to be doing. MOT (Moment of Truth) - must. finish. debut. novel. (I'm in the rewriting phase which I'm finding extremely difficult, not at all how I thought it would be.)

    My main challenge is making the time, but I have it this week and AM going to move right along.

    Also, to decide on sequel methodology. That is part of the problem hanging over me too. I am a pantster and had NO clue what I was doing on #1. (But it sure makes it hard on revisions I'm finding.)

    So there it is, true confessions from me. :)

    Cathy, come back and "talk" about marketing. We can learn a lot from you I do believe!

    Happy B'day CarolM - sounds like you have a great plan (and brought tasty treats!)... Let us know how your conference goes!

    Janet - you did good today. Thanks for asking her to share with us. Please enter me too! may at maythek9spy dot com

  5. Cathy, I SO needed this article. As a published non-fiction writer, I have been languishing in the non-fiction world afraid to step into fiction.

    And before I forget, if I had been at the conference with you, I would have stolen your blouse. It is fabulous and so is the hair cut.

    In my non-fiction world of showing up, I ended up writing an Upper Room Dictionary of Spiritual Formation entry on the famous theologian Henri Nouwen. Not because I was already a writer for Upper Room but because a friend of mine was writing for the project. She noticed that Henri hadn't been taken, knew I was a great fan, and encouraged me to send in an entry. I ended up writing three entries for that dictionary.

    The best part was being contacted by the executor of Henri Nouwen's estate who told me that my entry captured his essence and was one of the best summaries of Henri he had seen.

    All because a friend knew of my interests and I listened to her encouragement. You are so right about marketing yourself. Just sharing leads to great benefits.

    Thanks, Janet, for such a great guest and giving away your book. I have it but would love another copy for our library.

    Peace, Julie

  6. CarolM,

    So sorry for your disappointment in the Novel Journey contest. You're ahead of me, for knowing about that and going for it.

    Last week, I participated in Harlequin's So You Think You Can Write and didn't get noticed, either. I've learned a ton from the editor's postings, though.

    Even in the best circumstances, it's difficult for our families to support us how we'd like. I'd like someone to draw me a bath every night, with scented rose petals on the side. lol

    While writing "Images of America: Fairmount," my hubby and teen who are generally supportive said "No one will buy your book. It isn't even hard cover."

    My teen's mouth dropped open at the debut, local signing where I signed 60 books. And my sales are ahead of publisher's projections!

    Write on!


  7. Renee Ann,

    A big dose of determination gets me through the day, at times!

    Thanks for commenting.


  8. Amber S,

    I appreciate your comment on the photo. Honestly, the top had slipped down a bit without my realizing it in the picture. Didn't aim for the plunging neckline!

    I can relate to your comments on your first mss being seat of the pants and messy. Revising is definitely the hardest for me.

    Despite a full schedule last week, I did "show up" when author Jerry Jenkins spoke twice in my area.
    Regarding revision, he asked this:
    Are your changes making it better or just making it different?

    Congrats on pursuing your degree!



  9. KC,

    Oops. My remarks on revision to Amber should have been aimed at you.

    Sending positive thoughts that you use your time wisely this week. So many things appear out of nowhere to steal our time.

    I'm getting a cavity filled this morning. :( This afternoon, I need to deliver an abandoned puppy to a shelter. Boo hoo!

    Many successful authors work around these events and we can too!


  10. Julie,

    Congrats on your nonfiction achievements!

    Let that give you courage to dip into some fiction. Many of your skills will transfer beautifully, since you were able to nail down that Henri Nouwen piece.

    For breakfast, I'm having CarolM's birthday cake.

    So I'll add my made-from-scratch, warm biscuits to our spread. You can have apple butter with them (my fave) or creamy sausage gravy. I've got yummy tomato juice and orange juice.

    Hey Janet, I thought you were making coffee. :)

  11. You look stunning in your blouse and great hair-do! There's something about feeling like you look good to boost your confidence level and enjoy where you are.

    My preaching husband said something similar to what you are saying in his sermon yesterday:
    Wherever you go, there you are.

    Yeah, kinda silly, but it reflect the same sentiment as what you said. Wherever we are, we should be ALL there, focused, in the game, ready to play. It's a waste of life to go and sit along the sidelines, watching life pass you by. You need to jump in and play the game. Sure you may get tackled a time or two, but odds are one day you will get the ball and be able to score. And score BIG!

    Thanks for the reminder!

  12. Sherrinda,

    You are right that knowing you've done your best with your appearance really boosts your confidence. The new look made me outgoing. Having people start conversations with comments on my outfit helped bring me out.

    BTW, I know what is inside us is most important. And great writing is what will get all of us published one day. (fingers crossed here)

    Those clothes are classic and have lasted me for years, too.

    Just had to say that I didn't throw my practical side about money out the window entirely! lol


  13. Carol, you look mahvelous!

    but OH NO! we have to look young and energetic too? Not just write exceptionally, and market spectacularly? And give up adverbs unwaveringly?

    I love how you jumped in and tried something new and succeeded each time!

  14. Cathy, love the blouse! Thanks for sharing your writing experience. It encourages us to keep on keeping on. Thanks for the giveaway.

  15. Hi, Cathy! So wonderful to get to meet you at ACFW this year. As a big fan of American history, I LOVE those Images of America books. So cool to know an author of one of them!

    And now off I go at 4:53 a.m. to "show up" to MY writing!

  16. LOL I had to google 'Hoosier' for a definition.

    This was an inspiring post, Cathy. 'Show up' sounds like such a simple thing to do but it is hard to do! That's my goal this year though, where writing is concerned. I've already taken teensy steps but I guess it's time for giant steps now. Gulp!

  17. Cathy, I love the idea of 'showing up'.

    Great post, girlfriend, and spot on. And THAT BLOUSE!!!!

    OH, YEAH, BABY!!!!

    Beth and Lacey outfit me now. If it doesn't pass their inspection, I don't buy it. The one exception are my 'sweet' dresses, about which Lacey says:

    "If the skirt twirls and it's got a cute belt, it's perfect!!!"

    Some part of me is STUCK in the forties-fifties, but I love timeless dresses.

    I would be all over that blouse/shirt. Totally down with that, and CUTE SHOES.

    The writing stuff comes after day-by-day slogging through the trenches, produce, produce, produce, but the clothing? Totally hip, girlfriend.

    Hey, we've got donuts and coffee this AM, kids are here because I kept writing through a crucial spot where I didn't want to stop.

    See if I can actually virtually bake something for later, LOL!

  18. Debra,

    Yes, we have to do all the things you listed.

    Plus, you forgot we're supposed to avoid passive voice, sprinkle and not dump back story, know a good agent from a bad one....

    Let's see, what am I forgetting? LOL

    Thanks for your comment!


  19. Glynna Kay,

    It was great to meet you in Indy!

    The book turned me into a history lover, too.

    Congrats on making your 4:30 a.m. date. You're an inspiration.


  20. Kay,

    Glad you learned what a Hoosier is!

    I googled serendipity this a.m.

    "The act of finding something valuable or delightful when you are not looking for it."

    Sometimes, I think these are "God-things," if that's a word. Jerry Jenkins said the other night that God is "serendipitous." So true!


  21. Ruthy,

    The 40s-50s clothes can be a great look, too. Just not for me. ha

    When I picked up your debut "Winter's End," from the first page I knew you were a woman who had slogged through the day-by-day to get to the golden nuggets.

    I wanna be just like you when I grow up! :)

    You were a great contest judge to me, back in the day, and even had the guts to sign your name.

    You definitely know how to Show Up.



  22. Cathy,
    Your honesty draws us to you.
    Being real helps us relate!
    You go,girl, and keep showing up, and we'll do the same because it is what God wants:)
    Blessings to you!

  23. This is such an encouraging post, Cathy. Thank you for sharing.

    And you look gorgeous!!!

    Good to have you back in Seekerville. We miss you.

  24. Cathy, your post is inspiring! Thanks so much for coming to Seekerville and sharing your journey with us.

    I'm sorry I'm late with the coffee and tea! Haven't had apple butter in ages. Delicious on the biscuits.

    Just have to brag on Cathy's book Images of America: Fairmount. With my love of history and anything Hoosier, I soaked up every word and photo. FYI James Dean is not a relative but wasn't he a hunk?


  25. Charlotte Kay,

    A writer I once heard speak whose name is Crescent Dragonwagon (she chose her name during her hippie period, I do believe)) said something like this:

    The best writing is when you're not trying to make yourself look good.

    I did think twice about "baring my soul," but am hoping being a bit transparent will help someone else. That's the only reason I'd share these deep, dark secrets! Lol


  26. I'm so honored to be here, Tina!

    You all have helped me so much. Sorry to be so scarce lately. I do have my distractions!

    Like the So You Think You Can Write thing at Harlequin last week.

    I'll try to do better.


  27. Cathy,

    I'm all about color so I think your blouse is lovely! The hair cut too!

    As for 'showing up', I decided a few years ago, to answer manuscript calls and I'd say I average about 50/50 on aceptances or assignments. That's how my children's non-fiction book came about.

    BTW-my husband LOVES those books from Arcadia publishing. He's 'collecting' all the ones we can find for South Dakota (where we live).

    Good luck with your non-fiction book and breaking into the fiction genre.

    Thanks for sharing with us today.

    RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

  28. Janet,

    You've come a very long way since our early days in Indiana's ACFW chapter. Your successes couldn't happen to a nicer person.

    And you always look gorgeous--without a personal shopper, too.

    Sometimes life seems so unfair. lol

    I'm proud you're from Indiana! And your debut, Courting Miss Adelaide, took my breath away and had me reaching for a tissue!


  29. Rose,

    I have since learned that romance writer Leah Michaels has co-written an Arcadia book on Ottumwa.

    BTW, I've got lots of personal interviews in my book "Images of America: Fairmount" which reveal life in the early days. Let your husband know, in case he wants to step out of South Dakota a bit and into the light of Indiana. haha

    Thanks for the note.


  30. Cathy, you nailed it girlfriend! If you want something, you've got to want it bad enough to SHOW UP!

    Just think of all the folks sitting at their desks, high powered computers with every bell and whistle on it, waiting for the inspiration that will be the next Great American Novel.

    Sitting doesn't get you anywhere unless you're in the car driving to an opportunity.

    Work. Work. Work.

    Congratulations on all the great adventures that panned out to be more than you ever dreamed.

    Great blouse.
    Great hair.

    Great encouragement.

    Thanks Cathy!

  31. Audra,

    The words Show Up are just preaching to the choir to you. You do the work, even if your computers mutiny against you.

    Loved your last Seekerville post.


  32. Cathy,

    Thanks for this wonderful post! So inspiring!

    You look amazing in the photo. I'm ready to kick off my sweats and run to Nordstrom--however I guess I better get my work done first or you would fuss at me! :)

  33. BTW, my daughter went shopping with me for conference clothes once (yes, only once, and I'm sure it was only because I somehow tricked her into going!). :) She told me I wear too much black at conferences and made me buy a blouse in red instead of black. I've gotten more compliments on that top!

  34. Showing up today!!! lol

    Okay, Cathy, I don't think I can top your falling flat on your face as you walked away from that agent.

    Oh my!!

  35. CATHY!!! What a fun and inspiring blog!!! Who knew that behind that name in the Seeker comments was a dynamo in a to-die-for blouse??? And SPANX??? Please ... I prefer to call them my second skin ... :)

    I am SOOO impressed with your grit and perseverance, girl, and "showing up" IS the biggest part of the battle. And SUPER CONGRATS on your new book -- Images of America: Fairmount!! VERY COOL!!

    You go, girl!!


  36. Cath, I remember that contest entry and that you still loved me.

    God has blessed me mightily, let me just say!!! ;)

    And this is a tough time in your writing, we sooooo get that, when you're THIS close and waiting, waiting, waiting for the magic tumbling ball to have your number on it.

    So we'll pray for strength, humor, good hair and endurance when it comes, because it will be so very well deserved.

    Hey, baking time and we did mixed berry pies to practice for Thanksgiving, so did in.... Ice cream or whipped cream, and the berries are a blend of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.

    Just a hint tart and a touch sweet. Let me know what you think, 'kay?

  37. Absolutely GORGEOUS woman you are!

    And this is AMAZING advice for me. I NEEDED it.

    And I want to win please ;)


  38. Cathy,

    Love the post and the blouse and haircut! “Showing up” is so important! I first learned this when trying to get a job as a historian (extremely limited number of jobs available). I volunteered for the organization I now work for, and was told you can’t get hired if no one knows who you are. So, I started attending conferences and this organization was so impressed that I paid for my own way to attend a conference when a job became available they offered it to me. You just never know what God has in store when you show up!

    I’ve brought that lesson with me when I started writing fiction. You can’t get published if no one reads your manuscript. I’ve entered contests, taken courses and become involved with blogs. I was too late to attend conferences in 2010, but am already saving up for at least one in 2011.


  39. Cathy, thanks for your lovely words! Sweeter than Ruthy's delicious berry pies. :-)

    Just a reminder to leave your email addresses. We'll draw two winners today. One for Courting the Doctor's Daughter and another for the B&N gift card.


  40. Wow, Cathy, I feel like Rocky Balboa sitting, battered in the corner of the ring and you urging me on, massaging my shoulders, whispering in my ear.

    Of course that makes you Burgess Meredith.

  41. Loved this post, the stories behind your successes, including your wardrobe and hair style!
    I can relate to your philosophy as a writer: showing up is half the battle.
    My first success story was showing up for Doc Hensley's Tuesday night Freelance Writing course a few years back. My first three devotions were published as well as landing a news stories spot for the local paper. The latter was fun as long as it lasted. One of my articles still hangs at Ivanhoes'. The best that came from attending that class was the inspiration to continue writing and honing the craft with every opportunity.
    I am committed to blogging as a way to record our life experiences, communicate with friends and family, and practice writing. And I continue to work on other future projects.
    You are a great inspiration. I don't know how you do everything you do.

  42. Thanks for the encouragment! :-)


  43. Missy,

    The only trouble with the photo is, I need to make it into a poster to show at conference.

    Were you able to even recognize me in Indy?

    In my normal life, I don't quite look like that on a daily basis.

    The look is one more thing to aspire to.

    Thanks for showing up to comment.


  44. Julie,

    I appreciate your comment, conveyed with "A Passion Most Pure."

    I expected no less from you!

    You've made an art of Showing Up and it shows.


  45. Pam H.,

    Please don't follow in my footsteps with that fall.

    To clarify, the agent was sitting at a table with friends and her back was turned as I left. I made it several steps before the big drop.

    The weird thing was, when I got off my knees, another writer was there to help--and explained the paramedics had just left from helping someone else who had seriously fallen.

    No, I don't drink!! It was a dangerous arrangement. The front desk man saw me going clear around the space later and asked if I needed ice for my knees, which I didn't.

    Still, I think I was seeing stars from talking to that agent. LOL I said I Show Up. I didn't say I was the swiftest person around. lol


  46. Ruthy,

    If you hadn't been The Best Contest Judge Ever, I might not have forgiven you for not comingn to Indy to see me.

    I want to meet you some day!


  47. Joanne,

    I truly hope you take the advice and run with it.

    Let us know what you plan to do. Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect. If you've done your research on what to enter, you're 50% ahead going in.

    Trust me. I once entered RS when it was a mystery. At entry's end, the judge wrote in big letters IS THIS THE SUSPENSE?

    Kind of funny, looking


  48. Kristen,

    Nice work getting that history job. There's absolutely nothing wrong with wearing them down. In fact, I recommend it. :)

    Best of luck with conferences in 2011.


  49. For me, showing up might be putting some stories out there that might not fit the POV mold, just because I want them to stay in the type of style they are. And I see other writers, in the secular houses that have done that.

    I may fall flat for sure, but I've been rewriting them with the RULES in mind and it's kind of irritating because it changes the flow I'm after.

    Oh well.

    I showed up here and actually left a post... that counts right?


    Tina P.

  50. Showing up, aye? Well...hmm...I guess one thing I did to "show up" was attend my writer's networks' annual writer's conferences the past few years - even when I didn't have anything ready to show off. One conference, I was titled Cheerleader of the year for HACWN for "showing up" all year long and encouraging my fellow writers. That completely floored me.

    But, all in all, the years I spent showing up have opened opportunities that would have never happened otherwise.

    For one thing, I found encouragement to start a blog and just write when I didn't have time to focus on my writing career due to working during my hubby's layoff. That blog turned into a full length novel that readers are begging for me to get into print. The novel is complete with the exception of final edits and proofreading and getting the proposal ready to send out to agents.

    My "showing up" has produced building blocks over the course of the last five plus years to get me where I am today and I'm so thankful!

    Cathy, your enthusiasm is contagious. :D Thanks for encouraging us today!

    Lr. mullin at live. com for the drawing. :D


  51. What a great story! I love the Arcadia books and have purchased several for research.

    Love the blouse and the hair!

  52. Aw, Cath...

    Don't get me all verklempt. But I'll keep your kind contest judge words close to my heart when people get back the couple of contests I judged this year...

    Although I was SO PLEASED to see an entry I had a few years ago SO MUCH BETTER, I mean light years tighter, stronger, faster, totally citius, fortius, altius, you know?

    What a blessing to see I:

    A. Did not ruin her.

    B. Was not killed as a result of my words.

    C. Did not stifle her creativity.

    D. Knew she had talent and just needed to stretch that little bit farther to make those words jump off the table.


    Hey, new treat:

    White Chocolate Almond Baklava Fudge.

    Try it.

    Tell me what you think. I think it's a masterpiece, but then I'm a haughty sort. I brought enough for everyone.

  53. Great post,! I especially love what you said about getting the writing out of your head and onto the page. Fabulous advice!

    Have a good day everyone!


  54. Great post, Cathy! You've got me worried about taking chances, though, because I know I'll have to supplement my wardrobe---It consists almost entirely of tee shirts and "mom jeans" :-)

    Thanks for showing up here today!


  55. I love the blouse and hair cut.

    I'm pretty new on this journey - but my first big "showing up" moment happened last Friday when I joined ACFW.

    That’s probably not a big deal for most people. Probably should be considered a “no-brainer” but it was huge for me.

    First, I was finally putting the money where my mouth is. Committing funds in my budget is huge for me and to actually pay for membership to a writing group forces me to get something out of it.

    Second, it forces me to validate my dream. Y’all, I haven’t had a dream in so long. I think I’ve forgotten how to believe in one for myself. I have no problem in believing for everyone else in my life – but it has been a long time since I had a big ’ole dream for me.

    Third… I don’t know what third is yet – but I am looking forward to the thirds, fourths, fifths…… of Showing Up.

    Thanks for such an encouraging post.

  56. Cathy, there's a trick to those publicity photos I guess. Look better than you do in everyday life but not so much better that no one recognizes you. Of course you can always depend on friends and family to tag you in Facebook photos where the truth always comes out (Cringe)

  57. Thanks for the inspiring post Cathy,
    Perhaps to "show up" is connected to luck in life.
    Once I saw a nonfiction story on the web and said "I can do that." and I did it. This started me on my writing career.
    Janet Kerr

  58. I am thinking about starting a new exercise class.

  59. Great advice, Cathy! Great post!


  60. Great post! There is much I need to be doing - entering contests, polishing first 10 pages for a critique, etc. You have inspired me to get to work!!


  61. Hey, this day has been fantastic, reading all your responses. I'm back from getting the puppy into a foster home. Yeah!

    Mary C,

    I'm thrilled you commented and compared me to someone cheering Rocky on. Can I please play another character besides Burgess Meredeth (sp?)

    I'll tell everyone you wrote a story about someone scared of a mouse if you don't. Ha Cute story, by the way!


  62. Rita,

    Taking a class with Doc Hensley was a wise move on your part.

    I'll never forget when we happened to see one another at the Writer's Digest conference in Indy. You gave up your pitch session and let me have it! I knew then you were an unusually sweet person.

    See you around, neighbor!


  63. Tina P.,

    Your tale of changing POV's was a little too close to home for me.

    Good luck with that. I feel for you!


  64. Angela Bell,

    Back at you. You guys are really encouraging me today!

    I better Show Up for something else soon, to live up to these words. lol


  65. Linnette,

    That's very cool you got Cheerleader of the Year.

    That's a compliment. What better way to spend your time working on writing than to cheer others on. Your time will come!


  66. Erica V.

    You're my heroine!

    I thought you got a Barbour contract at ACFW conference one year, correct?

    Thanks for stopping by.


  67. Ruthy,

    Truthfully, I didn't eat any of the virtual breakfasts. I was holding out. Now I know why.

    White Chocolate Almond Baklava Fudge

    Tell me it's real and give me your address, please?


  68. Cheryl Wyatt,

    If I remember correctly, you coordinated the first Genesis I entered. I thanked you, even though my scores weren't so good! lol

    That was one of the very first times I Showed Up.

    Congrats on your publishing achievements.


  69. Mary Bailey,

    I might have gone a teeny bit overboard with the clothing.

    Sorry I nailed you about the Mom Jeans. haha


  70. Thanks for the nice comments, Nicole!

  71. WOOHOO!!!!!

    Two Julie books in the mail today!

    Fabulous Birthday Present! They weren't supposed to get here until tomorrow but after getting the bill for the van, they were more than welcome!

    Showing up... My 9yo is working on a story to submit for publication. She's showing up!

  72. Cindy,

    Congrats on your ACFW membership.

    That definitely counts as Showing Up. Time and money are valuable commodities!

    Those dues always make me think about how serious I really am.


  73. Debra,

    Thanks for writing but you're wrong.

    My Facebook pics are my Makeover pic. Plus, I try to blot out any images my friends put out there. haha

    Hopefully, I was exaggerating and I am somewhat recognizable in person...


  74. Janet Kerr,

    I agree with you about the "luck in life" idea. We do make our own luck.

    The thing is, we have to Show Up or we aren't in line for the luck.

    Philosopher Jim Rohn has said "Rarely does a good idea overtake you. You have to seek them out." Something like that, anyway.

    Luck is out of our control and we control Showing up, so I like that better!


  75. Runner10

    Okay, you're thinking about starting an exercise class?

    Let's not go overboard here! lol

    Actually, exercise can be great for boosting creativity, so I'll count it as Showing Up.


  76. Shirley J,

    You've done more Showing Up than just about anybody I know. I'm a beginner compared to you.

    You could write the book on Showing Up.

    Oh, you were busy writing that fabulous book, "If the Red Slipper Fits..."

    Excuses, excuses.



  77. Edwina,

    Nice to hear you're getting to work on some things.

    Just remember getting involved is more fun than sitting on the sidelines. Enjoy!


  78. CarolM,

    You're never too young to start on your dreams.

    Congrats to your daughter!


  79. Cathy, of course I recognized you at conference! :)

    Debra's speaking of family tagging photos on FB reminded me of a horror that struck last week. I found my son had tagged a photo of me at the beach years ago. Thank you, Lord, it was not in a bathing suit!! But it was still about the most awful photo that's ever been taken of me (second only after swim suit photos). I removed that tag so quickly you all probably heard it. I'll have to start charging my kids fines when they post such horrific things!!

  80. Missy,

    Great idea. I hadn't thought of fines for posting bad pics of me!

    That should extend to revealing comments, too.

    One time, some of my classmates were bemoaning an upcoming birthday and included my name. I told them not to go revealing my age to everybody!

    Maybe this is an issue for me. I didn't put up a pink flamingo in the yard somebody gave me, either.

    My fiction mind extends to my age, I guess.

    Even if you hadn't recognized me at ACFW, I would have said hi to you, Missy. So, it's all good!


  81. For me, showing up has meant actually starting my novel. I have had a notebook about this story for years. It's gotten longer and longer over time, but I never wrote an actual word of text until a few months ago. Then I wrote three pages and froze.

    Then I discovered the Seekers, and God gave me a shove. I'm a NaNoWriMo-er and my current word count is 6368. I'm jazzed about it even if it is depressingly behind. I know that I've "shown up."

    I found that since I submitted myself to do this thing God wants from me, other things in my life seem smoother. It's as if God is blessing my efforts (meager though they are) in ways I never expected, ways completely unrelated to my writing.

    Put me in for the book.

  82. Cath, the fudge it real... Send me your snail mail addy off-blog and I'll send you some to try. So totally worth it. And I got to put a FUDGE recipe in Small Town Hearts my June book next year...

    I'm living the dream of being Debbie Macomber, LOL!!! ;)

    Fudge is serious good food.

    EDWINA!!!! I love that pic. I think I said that before, but if I didn't, oh, sistah! Wonderful. Just wonderful.

  83. Hi Cahty:

    Woody Allen said:"Eighty percent of success is showing up".

    I always show up. It's the last 20% that's the problem.

    That's "finishing up". It's always more fun to start a new project. Do you have any ideas on the last 20%? :)


  84. What a great post. My problem is I am sometimes 'afraid' to show up...fearing that I'll fail. I know...if I don't try, I've already failed...and if I try I just my succeed. I need to start doing some good self talk..."I NEED TO SHOW UP".

    Would love to be entered into the giveaway. Thank you.

    Cindy W.


  85. What great encouragement for some of us beginners to keep persevering. Showing up right now means keep peeling away at the manuscript during the naptimes, learning from edits, and waiting on God.


  86. I enjoyed this post!
    Please enter me in the drawing!
    Thank you,

  87. Vince,

    Nice Woody Allen quote!

    I don't have an answer on how to finish. Sorry. It's something I struggle with. I did have some insights while writing the photo history book and am trying to incorporate them into my fiction process.


  88. Cathy,
    You have such enthusiasm for writing! Love it!

    Also love your blouse, hair, and photo! Whoo-hoo!!! You're lookin' good, girlfriend! :)

    Congrats on your success and on your drive. That persistence pays off, as you mentioned.

    I freelanced for a number of years before I published in fiction and enjoyed the work and seeing my byline. Kept thinking I needed to push on any door to see which one opened. Eventually, the big sale materialized. Probably due in part to the small steps I had taken along the way. Each one built up my confidence and my credits.

    So good seeing you at ACFW! Always great to see you in Seekerville.

  89. Cindy,

    I fear failure too. I think it's partly perfectionism.

    Sometimes in nonfiction, I have a paid editor I will send the mss to before sending to the real editor. That gives me a deadline and I tell myself it's just a rough draft, so I don't worry as much about it. I tell myself the paid editor will catch my mistakes and I can just write.

    Actually, I have had both of my aunts do that too. I will make arrangements for them to read something for me on a certain date. Then I have to produce it.

    It has worked well.



  90. Julia,

    Sounds like you are on the right track!

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing with us.


  91. Debby,

    I had forgotten you started out freelancing.

    You give me hope! :)

    I've enjoyed meeting you both times, in Washington D.C. and in Indy. Maybe NYC is next?


  92. "...I know that to reach my publishing dreams will take the courage to Show Up over and over. I’ll need to have the guts to keep reaching for new opportunities and to risk failing time and time again."

    This says it all for me. No matter what I think of my writing, I have to put myself out there, not always an easy thing to do. But every time I hesitate, I know, from now on, I'll hear these words: "Show up."

  93. Great post....would love to be entered for the book and gift card! Thanks!!

  94. I love your hair and the blouse. Thanks for the encouragement! You article was great.

  95. PatriciaW,

    You're right, that it is hard to show up no matter what we think of our writing. And we're also told not to blow our chances and send something that isn't ready.

    All that worry can be paralyzing. Obviously, we don't want to make a bad impression. But if we've put the time in and made it the best we can, we have to let it go. :)

    Thanks for chiming in.


  96. I appreciate your comment, Stacey!

    And your comment, too "Anonymous Jackie."

    Thanks for stopping by today, everyone. Your responses rewarded me well for showing up, not really sure how this post would go.

    "It isn't the number of breaths we take,
    but the moments that take our breath away."

    I'm grateful for a memorable day with lots of good, writerly conversation!


  97. You look great-I like to take one of my classy granddaughters with me and she picks out things for me that people make great comments on,I have to admit it is not what I would choose. I want to write more fiction and have done devotions and news paper columns for years. Thank you for the steps and helping us to dream bigger.INCLUDE ME IN THE DRAWING. IAM OUT THERE!