Thursday, March 16, 2017

Pressing on When Life Pushes You Back

This month marks the release of my debut Harlequin Heartwarming book, Her Texas Rebel. As exciting as this month has been, part of me is scared to death that it also marks the end of my writing career. Wait. What? You just published your first book and you’re already talking about it being over? Hogwash, you say? 

No, I’m not throwing in the towel and quitting. I love writing and couldn’t stop if I wanted to. But I will be the first to admit that I wasn’t as ready for my dreams to come true as I thought I was. Part of being a published author means that now I have to prove to my agent, my editor, and my publisher that I can produce. No one wants to throw a party to celebrate a new, upcoming author and then have to wait five years for the next book. It’s bad. Trust me. It’s bad. 

The day I announced I’d sold my first book to Harlequin, I got a wonderful note of congratulations from our friend Tina. Along with a few words of wisdom. “It’s time to make some hard decisions. You can’t go on like this forever and be a published author.”  

 Boy, was she right. (Isn’t she always?) I’m a public school teacher during the day. I own and run a tumbling business in the evenings. I babysit my granddaughter on the weekends. And last year I ran a national contest for my writing chapter. Every moment of every day was packed. I was right in the middle of all this when I got my contract. Throw in buying a new house and moving in there somewhere too. 

So at the peak of what should’ve been the most exciting time of my life, I felt like I was at the bottom of a well that I couldn’t get out of. By the time I got home at night, I was drained. The last thing I wanted to do was write. Weekends were out most of the time. Saturday’s were spent with my granddaughter and although I was able to write a few words in between naps, the day was usually unproductive. And Sundays? Forget it. Even though my husband tried to be supportive of my writing career, every time I sat down at the computer on Sunday, he rolled his eyes and said “So this is all we’re going to do all day?” or “At the computer again?” Feeling guilty for neglecting my husband, I often closed my laptop to go wherever my husband wanted to go.

Shortly before I got my contract, I’d submitted a second book that was about 75% done, to the same editor.  She thought it had potential and wanted to see it when it was finished. As badly as I wanted to finish the book and turn it into my agent, my writer brain wasn’t working. After a few weeks of not writing, my characters began scolding me, guilt set in and stress shot up. I started resenting my husband, my job, my business and everyone that posted those glorious “THE END” pictures on social media. 

I looked at other writing friends who had more than one job, some of them also attended school full time and were raising a family, and thought, I can do this. I just have to manage my time better.  Getting up earlier in the mornings to write before I left for school? Did that for months. Staying up late and working after the hubby went to bed? Did that too. But my heart wasn’t where it should be. I was drained. Totally. Completely drained. Life had pushed me into the dirt and all because of my own doing.

But I pressed on. Getting up earlier. Staying up later. When my agent emailed me to tell me that my editor was getting really antsy for my next book and wanted to know when he could expect it, I was so excited. It refreshed me and I got excited again. Because it was about 3 chapters until being completely done, I told him it would be done in three weeks. Easily doable. Right? HA!

Being mentally and physically exhausted, my immune system was down and for the first time in fifteen years as a public school teacher, every little germ my darlings came to school with found its way to me. I spent over a week in bed and even more days fighting illness. My critique partners all scolded me for letting myself get so worn out. One of them even threatened to hold an intervention to force me to get things off my plate. 

Even though it took a little longer than expected, I finished as quickly as I could and promised it to my agent that weekend.  Finally. Almost done. Then, Saturday, my granddaughter pulled my laptop off the table and the flash drive that holds all my information was broken off into the computer and the computer refused to turn on. Add a couple of weeks for the computer to be repaired and the contents of the flash drive to be restored. Except the file was corrupted. And the motherboard had been replaced so the automatic saves that my programs did was lost. Thank goodness I’d backed up some of the manuscript to Dropbox and was able to recover it, but I still had five chapters that were gone. 

Lost. 

By this time, I was ready to throw in the towel. Because, after all, by this time, I’m sure my agent has lost complete faith in me. My editor will just laugh and say “LeAnne who?” the next time she sees my name. Yep. Stick a fork in me. I figured I was done. No one will ever want to work with me again. I felt pressure from all sides. 

For months I’d been pressing on while life was shoving me back. I got so determined to break through the obstacles in my way that it became all about me. How could I manage my time? How could I arrange my schedule for me? Can you guess what I was leaving out in the midst of all my stressing, worrying and running around? Or I guess, the correct question is who. Yep. I was so busy trying to prove that I could do it all myself, that I’d left God out of the equation. And all because I didn’t want to admit that I couldn’t do it.


I guess you could say God finally got tired of waiting for me to remember that he was ultimately in control. One morning, I drug myself to the bathroom and got in the shower. My favorite Bible study program was streaming through my tablet and the message as so powerful and so directed at me that I shut off the water and hit my knees. He’d given me the desire and ability to write and in my thirst for success, I’d forgotten Him. There is nothing in this world more powerful than that moment when you are finally still and know that He is God. After some private time with the Lord, I emailed my critique partners and prayer warriors, asking for their continued prayers. That same day, I listed my business for sale and contacted a couple of former tumbling students to see if they were interested in teaching some of my classes for me. The following week, a girl that had taught gymnastics for me contacted me about coming back to work and eventually taking the business over completely.

My schedule still isn’t as clear as I would like to be, but as soon as I relinquished all to the Lord, He removed a lot of the obstacles in my path. Now I can press on knowing that He has my back. I’m making the final edits on my book right now. Whatever happens, I’ll press on. But this time, I’ll let God lead the way.

What about you? Have you experienced a time when life seemed to be pushing you down? Did you turn it over to God immediately, or did you need a “gentle” nudge from Him to get you back on the right path? What tips do you have for keeping the stress down and motivation up? 

Today, LeAnne is giving away a copy of Her Texas Rebel to one commenter. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition!



He left so fast, she never got a chance… 

He abandoned her when she needed him most, just as she'd discovered she was pregnant. And now, ten years later, struggling single mother Sabrina Davis has come home in search of refuge for her at-risk son. Except Tony Montoya, now a cop, has also returned to Salt Creek, Texas. 


Recovering from being shot in the line of duty, Tony plans to use this time in his hometown to make amends for the trouble he caused as a youth. Amends for breaking Sabrina's heart. But trouble seems to follow the police officer no matter where he goes, and he doesn't want to hurt the woman he never stopped loving…or the son he's just found.



LeAnne Bristow may have been born and raised in central Texas, but she’s a desert rat at heart. After calling Southeast Arizona home for more than twenty-five years, her husband finally let her claim the title of an Arizonan. Her day job is teaching kindergarten, but her favorite pupil is her granddaughter and LeAnne is determined to teach her how to catch lizards and love the desert as much as she does.

127 comments :

  1. LeAnne, I'm so excited about your book release! Congrats!

    Thanks for sharing your story. As for your question... I ALWAYS need a nudge. I never seem to turn over the worry in a timely manner. I'm awful about trying to control everything around me. Definitely a growing edge with me!

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    1. Hi Missy! I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only one that needs a nudge every now and then. Why is it sometimes so hard to let go? If you figure it out, let me know.

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  2. Up on the east coast, as my son is not feeling too well.

    I agree with Missy. I usually need a nudge as well.

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    1. Hi Walt! I'm sorry your son isn't feeling well. I pray that he recovers quickly. Thanks for stopping by.

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    2. Walt, I hope he's better this morning!

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  3. LeAnne! Woot! Shooting off fireworks. We love happily ever afters, when a Villager who is hard working sells. Congratulations!!!!

    I brought donuts to celebrate. With chocolate sprinkles. And maple bars!!

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    1. Chocolate sprinkles!!! YES! My comments may be a little sporadic today. It's my mother-in-law's birthday today and we are leaving in a bit to spend the day with her and have a big family get-together. She doesn't have internet,and my phone doesn't have service in her small town, so forgive me if I'm not quick on the draw with my comments!

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    2. LeAnne, I totally understand that! It happens when I'm visiting in KY.

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    3. Now I want a maple bar.... Badly.

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  4. Hi LeAnne:

    One thing I learned early on: when life throws more things at you than you can handle, do what writers do when they have too many words in a manuscript: cut!

    Cut...even if you have to learn to say 'no'.
    Cut...even if your best work hits the floor.
    Cut...even when the teardrops fall.

    Also are you sure your best event is the 70,000 word marathon? Many lines are 50,000 to 55,000. Please enter me in your drawing.

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    1. You are so right, Vince! I've really struggled with learning to say no. Recently, the local junior college called, desperate for me to come back to work teaching classes in the fall and I had to say no. At first I felt bad because I know how hard it is to get teachers in our rural area, but I'm so glad I did!

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  5. Love this story, LeAnne! I so needed to hear it (and glad I got to hear your voice yesterday).

    Here's a teapot of steaming water with an assortment of teas, fresh clover honey, and cream. <3

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    1. Thanks Laurie! I look forward to many more conversations with you! (Emailing you now, by the way!)

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  6. I have needed a nudge from time to time.

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    1. Hello, Mary. I'm pretty sure I've needed a good hard shove occasionally and I'm so grateful that he restrained and just gave me a gentle nudge! Thanks for stopping by.

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  7. LeAnne, I definitely can relate to what you've shared and appreciate your encouragement. Life is messy and way too complicated. For me. For everyone! I'm clinging more and more to God. His is the one and only source of peace I can count on. He has gotten me through some tough times and will get me through more. He will get you through major hoops as well.

    Funny, as I was falling asleep last night the name Sabrina crossed my mind... your heroine?

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    1. Good morning, Elaine! Love your comment! Thanks so much for the encouragement. Yes, Sabrina is my heroine....great minds think alike! ;)

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    2. Elaine, I hope life settles down for you soon.

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    3. Elaine, I agree. When I forget who's in charge, I tend to make things complicated... and when I realize that it's okay to make time for this dream of mine... I realize that he had this dream waiting, all the while.

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  8. Thank you for the post LeAne. It has come at a time where I really need it. I'm always the first one to tell people to "Let Go and Let God" but then when it comes to me, I don't always put into practice. Thank you for the reminder.

    I would love to be entered into your giveaway. Thank you for the opportunity.

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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    1. Hello, Cindy! I'm so glad to hear that my post touched you. Isn't it funny how God puts just what you need, exactly when you need it? You're entered in the giveaway. Good luck and God bless.

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  9. Hi LeAnne! I appreciate the honesty in this post as they are words I could have written myself. Funny, people think once you've published a book, you're forever floating on a glory cloud. Or for those of us who work full-time, we hear comments such as, "Oh, now you can retire." Uh...wrong. It's such a challenge to juggle family, the day job, writing under contract, social media expectations, and all of the other unexpected events life throws our way, but when we put God first, eventually things fall into place. Congratulations on your debut! I can't wait to read it!

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    1. Jill!!! My release buddy!!! Yes! I've heard the same things. I've heard it all. My favorite one was: "I guess you're going to quit teaching now that you're rich and famous." HA!!! Not sure about you, but I think the second book may be harder. At least more pressure.

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  10. LeAnne, a big congrats on this debut publication! Your story is already in my hands! Now to find time to read it. I always need that nudge because I feel as if I am in control until something happens and I don't. Here's hoping all will be well for us both.

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    1. Hi Laura! Nice to see you here! I enjoyed having dinner the other night. Is your sister still here? Control is something we try so hard to hold onto but we seem to have more of it when we let go a little. Isn't that strange? Talk to you soon!

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  11. So proud of you LeAnne! Your book is next up on my TBR pile. I'm so excited about it - to read it and for what this means for you and your writing career. Last book? I hardly think so. You go girl.

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    1. Thanks so much Cindy! Isn't it amazing how Seekerville has brought so many of us together? I'm so grateful for your friendship and support!

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  12. Congratulations on your debut book, LeAnne! A big dream of mine...to have my fellow authors saying that to me.

    Although my life isn't as hectic as yours I sometimes wonder where all my time goes. I'm retired...all the time in the world, right? But, sometimes, when I crawl into bed at night I'm so mad at myself for not putting a single word down in my WIP. Letting go is hard, and I need to spend more time on my knees remembering that.

    May the rest of your writing career be blessed with nothing but bestsellers!

    Marcia

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    1. Thank you so much, Marcia! I can't tell you how many times I've crawled into bed with those same thoughts. But each day is a new chance! You'll get there! Good luck in your writing journey.

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  13. Congratulations on your new book.I will have to look for it.

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    1. Thank you Wilani! I hope you enjoy it.

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  14. Life has many twists and turns, and I wish my first reaction during life's down moments is to turn it all to God and trust Him. But unfortunately that is not my first knee jerk reaction. Or my second, third, or fourth thoughts (maybe somewhere up there in the fiftieth thought region).

    One time I can specifically think of off the top of my head, was actually a time when my first reaction to the situation was to trust God, and I was all the better for it. It was when our house flooded two summers ago. It was the third (and fourth- we flooded twice that summer, but that was actually good because when we first flooded the water didn't make it to the furniture or anything important and so we were able to put everything up and move it upstairs before the second far larger flood came so we didn't really lose anything to the flood) time we had flooded and my mom was a mess. There was so much work to do, we had to move everything from our basement and keep it in the garage, we couldn't live in our basement, our house smelled like mildew, did I mention that my mom was a mess?

    And yet thinking back I can only remember a few times I was happier. More at peace in my spirit. I placed my trust in God during that summer and He got me through the long toiling hours of working, the hopelessness of the situation wondering if we would just flood again as we try to put down new carpet, my mother's temper (did I mention that she was a mess?). And of course my inability to write all that much that summer.

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    1. Also congrats on your debut. First book publication is VERY exciting.

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    2. Nicki, thanks for your honesty and sharing your story. Like you, it's not always my first reaction. I wish it was because I think I could've saved myself a lot of trouble over the years if I did. I've never been through a flood, and I'm sure I'd be a mess too!

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    3. Nicki, thanks for sharing your encouraging story!

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  15. LeAnne, I need this today. I am in a similar leaky boat, too much of everything. I don't know when I'll get "The Call," or the e-mail or the whatever, but I'm prepping now by writing drafts of the sequels of my two series, so I'll have something to show when the editor or agent asks for more. I don't want to be caught in that "second book" quicksand.
    I want to retire from my day job in four to six weeks, so I'm shoring up some things there, lining up some part-time gigs that will better accommodate the writing.
    Seekerville is always a pep talk to some degree, but the blogs this week have been unusually encouraging. Did you Seekers decide on a theme, or did it just happen that way? Honestly, I NEEDED what I GOT HERE this week.
    LeAnne, I also know what it means to come so close and then have life torpedo you. I've got three chapters left in my Speedbo WIP. It looks like a straight shot from here, but Anything Can Happen. And does, and will. My "anything" at this point is a revise-and-resubmit request, but I think I can do both if I stay on top of things, and with the Lord's help.
    I am daily reminded of the need to turn it over to Him.
    Back later, need to do something that isn't this,
    KB

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    1. Kathy, congrats as you near retirement! As for the theme this week...that's a God thing! :)

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    2. Oh, KB, you are such an encouragement to me! And Seekerville has been my rock over the years and I'm so honored that I get to be a part of that for others.

      I'm counting down the days until I can retire. (9 years!!!) Congrats on getting your first three chapters done. Speedbo is the best motivator isn't it?

      Good luck with your writing! Anything is possible with God on your side!

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  16. Hi LeAnne,

    Her Texas Rebel is such a great book, and I'm glad you figured out how to continue writing! It'd be a shame not to read more of your books.

    Congrats on your first book, and I look forward to more!

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    1. JACKIE!!!! What would I do without you?!? My critique partner. My prayer warrior. My friend. I'm so grateful the Lord let our paths cross because I don't know what I'd do without your support and prayers.

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  17. Love this post! I'm in that season right now. I've been talking to God, and finally this morning I head "wait." So I'm waiting and trying to smile cheerfully even though I'm sure it's coming across more manic, lol.

    Congrats on your debut!

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    1. Toni, hang in there. Those times of "wait" can be difficult. But I do believe in God's perfect timing!

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    2. I will second what Missy said. Waiting can be hard. But plowing through life with His guidance is a lot harder. I'll be praying that your answer comes soon!

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    3. The waiting is the toughest part... and we're really blessed to have open door opportunities with indie publishing now. I know there's a tendency for folks to publish too soon... but how nice to have options. Imagine those 19th century trailblazer authors... They'd be fist-pumping the air for us!

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  18. LeAnne, I so appreciate your transparency in this post. I'm not at the published stage, but I know the struggles of trying to do too much and in my own strength. Been there too many times. I think I can do it all, and so God lets me try . . . for a time. That time usually ends when I come to Him, weary and overwhelmed and beg for His help.

    I loved reading how God opened doors for you to get things off you plate. We truly do need Him on this journey, don't we?

    For me, I'm being more intentional about getting more writing time ONTO my plate. I've had to say no to some things, get off my screens more, and be focused about spending time with Jesus every day. I haven't always been able to do this, but I also try to schedule writing time on my calendar and not let other things usurp this time. With boys who are sometimes home sick or for teacher inservice days, this can get tricky. But they're old enough now that I'm explaining to them that I need that time. I'm not consistent in keeping that time sacred, but I'm working on it. It's a change in mindset, isn't it?

    Congratulations on your book release and on the near completion of your next one! I look forward to reading them. :)

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    1. Hello Jeanne! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Honestly, it was a hard post to write. Isn't it always hard to admit our shortcomings? I, too, need to be more intentional every day. And like you, I'm not as consistent as I need to be. We'll work on that together!

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  19. LEANNE, just reading all you had going on while trying to get a book completed made my stomach clench. I have less going on, but have less tolerance for pressure, too. I have to turn to God for His wisdom and help with writing, with every area of my life. I tend to lose my focus and get sidetracked, which wastes a lot of time.

    Your book sounds wonderful. I love reformed bad boys! Wishing you all the best juggling all the balls.

    Janet

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    1. Thank you, Janet! My focus definitively got lost for a while. I'm trying to be more intentional so that I don't do that again. I love bad boys too and tend to write about them a lot.

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    2. LEANNE, we're big on One Words in Seekerville. Last year mine was mindful. Mindful of time, of Divine Appointments, of the beauty of this world.

      Janet

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  20. Congratulations on your debut LeAnne and thank you for this post! As someone said, Seekerville's had a real "theme" this week and all of it has blessed us. The fear of success is as bad as the fear of failure because we do recognize the increased expectations from everyone on the writing team. Write 3 to 4 books a year? Yikes! I'm finishing/polishing my one book...and second book syndrome's already flashing through my brain. Thank you for the reminder to put it all in the Lord's hands. Thankfully, I've got a hubby who does a lot to encourage me, and remind me of these same things. Being intentional is hard, no matter what's on your plate. Looking forward to reading your book! have a blessed day here.

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    1. Thank you Laurie! That second book syndrome is tough. I never thought about that before getting a contract. I'm glad to hear you have a supportive husband. That in itself takes off a lot of pressure!

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  21. So glad to have you with us today, LeAnne! Wow. I'm amazed by how much you were trying to juggle!

    I totally get the Sunday afternoon thing with your husband. Mine would be the same way. So I rarely write on weekends, and never on Sundays. In fact, I hardly touch my computer from noon Saturday until Monday morning. (Although the iPhone and iPad are never far from reach. Gotta keep my email inbox pared down as much as possible or I'd never catch up!)

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    1. Hello Myra! There have been times when my grown children call and scold me for neglecting their dad. Apparently, he gets bored and calls them when I'm shut in the writing cave. Too many phone calls and they start nagging me, lol. Do you have any tips on organizing the emails????

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    2. So funny about your husband calling the kids and then YOU getting scolded!

      I'm on a Mac, and Apple Mail lets me sort incoming messages in various ways. So all my loop mail goes in one Smart Mailbox, bills in another, mail from the Seekers in another, and so on. I also use multiple email addresses for different purposes (shopping online, writing business, personal stuff, etc.), which also helps keep everything sorted.

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  22. Good morning, LeAnne!

    I'm thrilled for you. What a scrumptious cover. I love the blurb. I'm on subscription, so I'll be getting it soon. I can't wait to read it.

    I'm still revising my R&R from Heartwarming Blitz. I remember rubbing elbows with you on that Twitter pitch right before the contest. Seems like yesterday. I was so excited for you when you sold.

    Thank you for sharing your experience today. I've heard similar stories from veteran authors (50+ books), so you're in good company. Life is full of tough choices. It's refreshing to know that God is already ahead of us and all we need to do is start our day with Him and He makes our paths straight. Keep up the good work.

    ~ Renee

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    1. Hello Renee! The R&R from the Heartwarming Blitz is the one I've been working on too. Good luck getting it finished and submitted! I'll be rooting (and praying)for you.

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  23. One of the hardest things for me IS turning over my writing to God, because I also write nonfiction for a living. If I don't do it it doesn't get done, and I've had to develop a certain amount of discipline so that it will get done. And there are results. It's tricky to transfer that to spiritual writing and realize that I still need the discipline, but CANNOT control the result, and really it's best if I shouldn't. Food for thought...
    KB

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  24. LeAnne, wow! What encouragement today! Thanks for sharing from your heart and BIG CONGRATS on your debut!

    So many times we think we are the only one doing the tremendously hard parts of life. I think for writers it can sometimes be worse because, often, what we do is so solitary. Those who work outside the home, TOO? Extra kudos!

    Over the years, I've become a better multi-tasker. I've learned to tactfully say "No, thanks" and "I'd like to, but I'll have to pass." (Wish I'd done it a long time ago, but there's a learning curve...) Like you, I've pared down some of the things on my plate and life is just a whole lot easier.

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    1. Hi Cynthia! So glad to see you here today! I wish I'd learned to say no to more things before I got so overwhelmed. But, I believe sometimes the Lord uses those things to help us set better priorities and better goals.

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  25. Congratulations, LeAnne!

    1 Peter 5:7 is a great reminder for tough times. But I think we all need God nudges here and there.

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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    1. Thank you Phillis! I love that verse. Have a blessed day!

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  26. Such a wonderful post, LeAnne! With a powerful message that I believe wholeheartedly! I had to learn to live in God's perfect time a few years back. That's made all the difference. I give everything to him...and he makes my schedule work. Time after time after time, I'm in tight squeezes when it doesn't appear that I could humanly accomplish what needs to be done. Yet he provides...and the work gets done. Almost miraculously.

    For the last two weeks, I've been walking along a precipice, but He's walking ahead of me. I knew if I took my gaze off him, I would plummet over the edge. Thankfully, the end is almost in sight. He's still in the lead and the work is getting done. The best part is that keeping him at the forefront allows me to remain at peace, which is how I gauge whether I'm doing his will or mine.

    So glad you didn't give up the writing! I know God wants your stories to touch his world and bring joy to the hearts of his people.

    Sending hugs and love!

    BTW, I lived for two years in the Mojave Desert with my military hubby who is such a desert guy! That's his happy place. Mine includes trees and water! :)

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    1. Hello Debby! I have your writer's prayer posted in my writing space, just above my computer so that every day it is the first thing I see before I open my laptop and write. I'm praying your challenge is met soon as well. And bless your military husband! I love the Sonoran desert. I think it MAY have a few more trees than the Mojave. :)

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    2. You're right! More trees than the Mojave. :)

      I'm glad The Writer's Prayer is part of your writing routine! It's the first place I turn when I arrive at my computer each day.

      Hugs!

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  27. Hi LeAnne:

    I had to smile at your, "I left God out of the equation" illustration. Probably the most famous version of that idea was a cartoon showing a classroom with all the blackboards filled with one giant equation and right in the middle of the whole mess was this comment, "a miracle happens here". I guess Christian writers can actually have that happen.

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    1. Amen to that, Vince! Once God intervenes, everything makes sense. Have a blessed day!

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  28. LeAnne, thanks for sharing such inspiring post. You made me cry. :) I don't work outside the house but I have five kids and writing often times stays on the back burner for me. It used to bother me a lot, But I have come to terms that I'm doing exactly what I need to be doing in my life, so I get to enjoy my kids as well as I get to enjoy my writing time, even if it only happens a couple times per week.

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    1. Kudo's to you Yoxani! You may not work outside the house, but I'm willing to bet you work harder than almost anyone I know! You won't get that time back with your kids. God will provide the right time for your writing. Good luck!

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    2. Yoxani, I hear you loud and clear... I have six kids (grown now) and I was working outside the house and there was no time to focus on writing... but I knew if I waited, if I let God chart the way, it would happen.

      And it did, in more blessed ways than I would have even expected, but the clincher was waiting and getting my kids launched... I took a page from LM Montgomery with "I was writing living epistles" at the time.

      Now I get to write print epistles and the living epistles... all six of them... are proud.

      Hang in there!!!!

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  29. Congratulations, LeAnn! And, thank you for the post. I needed this today!



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  30. congratulations, LeAnne on your debut book. what a cool cover too! I so understand what you wrote about in your post today - well, except for actually having a book to write *heh*. I appreciate you sharing your experience to help remind us that we need to keep God in the loop. He is, after all, the reason we do what we do. Thanks again. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who's felt drained and brain dead when needing to write.

    And aren't the Seeker ladies awesome???? That's what makes Seekerville the wonderful, blessing that it is. Tina does great with her notes. Well, all the Seekers do, for that matter. So glad they are here.

    I hope and pray your next book finds good favor with your editor and that your writing path smooths out as you follow God's plan. Congrats again on your debut book. I would love to be in the draw for it.

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    1. Hello Deb! Thank you so much! And you are right...He is the reason for all we do! And the Seeker ladies are AWESOME! I actually heard from my editor this week and although things didn't work out like I expected, it did steer me down a different path that will be even better!

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    2. I like your positive spin on the response from your editor, LeAnne. So many times over the years, I've been reminded that we need to think in terms of redirection, not rejection.

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  31. Oh my goodness. I didn't know the half of what you were going through. So glad you and God are figuring it out. And I LOVE the book. It's on my keeper shelf.

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    1. Hello Beth! I'm so glad you liked the book! I can't wait for yours. :)

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  32. LeAnne, great post. I can't say I'm looking forward to the obligations that accompany publication. Always a good reminder that we're not in this alone. God gives us the passion to write and He's there to sustain us through whatever comes. Congratulations on your book! It sounds really interesting. Please put me in the draw. Thanks!

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    1. Hello, Lara! I really like the way you put that. "God gives us teh passion to write and He's there to sustain us through whatever comes." What a fabulous thing to say! You're in the drawing! :)

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  33. Congratulations!! Sounds like a great read.

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    1. Thank you! And thanks for stopping by. Have a blessed day!

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  34. Oh, my gosh, LeAnne. I am very happy for your ending, but my heart broke for you, reading what you went through. I had snippets of it through our contacts, but I am so sorry I had no idea how you were feeling.

    I am thrilled to be able to share a release month with you, and I look forward to many, many more releases from you!

    (Please do not put me in the draw.)

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    1. Hi Kate! You are a wonder of efficiency yourself and I'm so lucky to be working with you this month and can't wait to do it again!

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  35. Such powerful words today LeAnne, thank you! I'm glad you persevered and I'm sure you're glad too.

    I have a bad habit of thinking I can handle a lot of the small things myself and just going to God with the big things thinking somehow I'll get better results that way, but He cares about everything that concerns us. So yes, I'm learning too, always keep God in the equation!

    Your book looks like a wonderful read, congrats!

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    1. Wow! You just hit the nail on the head! I think the same way! I can handle the little stuff and safe the big stuff for Him...until all the little stuff piles up, Because you know, the abominable snowman as made out of tiny snowflakes!

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    2. Amen to this Tracey and LeAnne. He even cares about my DIET!!!! HAHAHA!!!

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    3. "The abominable snowman as made out of tiny snowflakes!"

      Love this! Worth remembering. Or somebody should put it on a bumper sticker or make a meme!

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    4. Myra has a new profile image!!! Love it!!!

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    5. Myra, it's a great photo but I had to click on your name to make sure someone wasn't impersonating you. :-)

      Janet

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  36. Wow LeAnne, you packed a powerful post. And a convicting one. I think we all have been guilty of go, go, go and not listening to what the Lord said to do. I'm so thankful you listened. And congrats on selling your business. You can do it. You will do it. With His help. And now I'm feeling guilty that I took up some of your time. smile. But it was a blessing to me as it got me inspired to write again too.

    Hang in there. You will do what needs to be done. Hugs

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    1. Time with you is always time well spent, Sandra! You have no idea how badly I needed that day with you! Can't wait to do it again!

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  37. And don't let me forget to congratulate you on your awesome accomplishments. Your novel is wonderful. I love your writing and know you will be one of Heartwarming's many blessings. Yay! SUPER CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

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  38. Sorry for being MIA. Flat tire. All fixed. Brought cupcakes with me!!!

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    1. Oh no! A flat tire in Arizona is awful! But i wont complain about the cupcakes! Glad your tire is good now!

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  39. This is a powerful post. Thank you for sharing your journey. All the way to the end, as you listed one thing after another getting in the way, I was thinking, where is God? Yes, going after what you want is hard, but where is what God wants for you? I was struggling with you trying to find time for your writing lol. You have accomplished so much! Sometimes we have to take stock, write down what we do, and pray about what we do and what God wants us to do. I definitely need God nudges. When you're in the middle of it, it's hard to see where you should go and what you should do.

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    1. You are so right, Sally! Thats why having grwat prayer warriors are helpful, too. They see things you don't. You juat have to be willing to listen to them and Him.

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  40. Thanks for the heartfelt post today, LeAnne. The days I struggle are clearly the days I put praying for the project down the list after I began the project.
    I was rear-ended last July, and lost months of productive writing due to whiplash. I prayed and I struggled and I tried, to no avail. Yet I believe God has been with me every step of the way. Whatever was "caught" at the base of my skull was finally relieved by a wonderfully gifted physical therapist.
    I was forced to slow down and pretty much am back on a writing schedule that is as productive as God ordains. His providence prevails in good times and bad. I'll get done what He wants me to get done as I press on.

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    1. Hi LoRee! LeAnne here (on a borrowed phone) I'm glad you found some relief. Whiplash is so painful. I'm sure it gave you lots of experience to write about though. Jave a blessed day.

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  41. I'm so glad you're here with us today, and I'm so happy for you... And I agree, this business isn't easy. It's fairly unforgiving. It can be brutal...

    So why do I love it so much??????

    Because it's a challenge. A daily challenge. It's like a double-dog dare I refuse to let best me, and as childish as that sounds, I don't care... because every stepping stone is just a fun path to my new tomorrow.

    Stay heartened.

    Stay strong.

    My husband isn't one of those supportive types, either. I'm still pretty sure he doesn't think of this as work... But we know better.

    And I learned to totally separate myself from the negatives because I know I put my best foot forward with family, jobs, kids, grandkids... and this is for me and God. And we both love it!

    I worked two jobs (full time one and a part time one) the first two years I was published, and then went to just full time job until this past year.... I wanted to make sure I was established enough that if the contracts dried up and blew away tomorrow that I had enough of a readership that I could go indie and make a living.

    And I've met that goal.

    The nice thing is the contracts have not dried up. YAY!!!!

    So don't let the guilt and the naysay and the negatives get to you... and I hope you have fun with this, the way I do. It's got to be a dreadful chore if it's not fun, and you deserve fun and satisfaction.

    And that's my Ruthyism for the day!!!!

    Bless you mightily, and congratulations again!!!

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    1. Ruthy! (LeAnne on a borrowed phone!) I love your goal and thats so awesome that you were able to get rid of one of your jobs. I love following the pictures of your grandchildren! You always have so much fun!

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  42. LeAnne! congratulations on your debut release!! Love those bluebonnets in the background on your cover -- so Texas :-)

    Nancy C

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    1. Hi Nancy (LeAnne here!). One of the things I really miss about Texas is the bluebonnes! I was so glad they put them on the cover. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

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  43. LeAnne you did a beautiful job of telling your story. All your writing skills are right there for us to see.
    Thank you for sharing all of that. The book sounds wonderful. I'm glad you're finding time to keep writing.
    God bless you.

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    1. Hi Mary (LeAnne here). Thank you so much! Were you hit by the snow? Im praying all your new calves are okay!

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    2. We dodged a bad storm this weekend. We did get a little snow but it's mostly gone already.
      Our calves are fine. We had two more today.

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  44. Thank you for spending the day with us LeAnne. Praying for your continued success!!!

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    1. Hi Tina! Thank you so much for having me here. Seekerville is always a blessing to me whether I'm blogging or visiting!~LeAnne (on her daughter's phone)

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  45. Thanks for sharing your story, LeAnne.
    So many lessons learned.

    Sometimes it's easy to try solve our own problems until we're drowning. Then we finally remember to reach up. I've been there.

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  46. Congratulations and thanks for sharing this post. I think most of us need to be nudged and reminded that we can do nothing without His help!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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  47. Super late stopping by today, but wanted to say thank you, LeAnne, for sharing your story with us. And a BIG CONGRATS on your book!! :)
    I smiled when I read that you're a kindergarten teacher! My favorite age - - loved my years teaching kindergarten and have sweet memories of those times. I'm sure your students adore you!
    Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

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  48. Thank you for being brave enough to write this post, LeAnne, It's no exaggeration to say I share your story complete with all the frustrations from trying to juggle too much at once. I'm so happy for you that God answered your call and helped you to find the way.

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  49. Oh my goodness, this made me want to faint! Until you got to God. :) Wonderful, wonderful post!

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  50. Loved this, LeAnne! Thank you for sharing, and congratulations on your book!!

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  51. LeAnne, insert a few different job descriptions and I could have written this post.

    And, yes, I have to remember to turn to God when life seems to steamroll me.

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  52. Awesome post, LeAnne.....a great reminder! Thanks! Congratulations on your debut!

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  53. Thanks for the inspirational reminder to give God the reigns of our writing lives. Your debut novel sound very interesting.

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  54. Thank you for a timely post. Always, a great reminder.
    Becky B.

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  55. LeANNE, what a beautiful and inspirational post!! It certainly speaks to my writer's soul because my story is much the same.

    You asked: "What about you? Have you experienced a time when life seemed to be pushing you down? Did you turn it over to God immediately, or did you need a “gentle” nudge from Him to get you back on the right path?"

    Oh yes, ma'am, and the timing was similar to yours -- with my debut book, A Passion Most Pure. My stress level went through the roof, but mine was related more to the drive to succeed rather than the work overload. I was one of those "shakers and movers," so work overload was not a big deal to me at that time. Heck, I once worked 80 hours a week in a part-time job, so what does THAT tell you? Two things: I could handle a ginormous workload and I was ginormously stupid! ;)

    Did I turn it over to God immediately? Oh, goodness, no!! Like you, I thought I could handle it all and well. I mean, I always had before, so why not?

    Why not? Because God wanted to teach me the same lesson He taught you, only it took me close to ten years to get the message. I did everything everyone said you had to do to succeed. Pulled those big-girl panties all the way up to my chest and worked like a fiend. And nothing I tried -- and trust me, I tried it all -- worked to put me where I wanted to be.

    That was when I'd had enough, deciding to take an 8-month sabbatical. I told my editor I wouldn't be submitting anymore proposals for books or series for a while so I could focus more on God, family, and writing for the sheer joy of writing. Best move I ever made because over the last two years, God has finally gotten through to me that it's HIS career too, not just mine, and I need to follow His lead. That's what I've been doing, and enjoying my career, my writing, and my life SO much more!

    Thanks for confirming what I see God telling so many of His Body today -- be still and know that He (alone) is Lord.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  56. I'm a little late to the party...Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! I just couldn't let this post go without commenting! Thanks so much for sharing your journey, LeAnne. It was an inspiration to me! Congrats on your new book! Looking forward to reading it!

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  57. Oh this post. Meets me where I'm at. Thank you for sharing, LeAnne. When I'm stuck, I need constant reminders my fiction writing is His business and I can't do a bit of it without Him. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

    Lately when I'm feeling beaten down, I strive for small, quick achievements early in the day and ride on that motivation for my other projects.

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  58. Oh this post. Meets me where I'm at. Thank you for sharing, LeAnne. When I'm stuck, I need constant reminders my fiction writing is His business and I can't do a bit of it without Him. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

    Lately when I'm feeling beaten down, I strive for small, quick achievements early in the day and ride on that motivation for my other projects.

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  59. Oh this post. Meets me where I'm at. Thank you for sharing, LeAnne. When I'm stuck, I need constant reminders my fiction writing is His business and I can't do a bit of it without Him. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

    Lately when I'm feeling beaten down, I strive for small, quick achievements early in the day and ride on that motivation for my other projects.

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  60. Congratulations, Leanne! I'm so proud of you for keeping on!

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