I reorganized my office this past week. As I placed signed copies of books by authors I have met at various signing events, I paused in a moment of reflection. Memories like 8×10 glossy photographs flashed through my mind of the moments I met these amazing women. I wondered if they realized the imprints they have made in my life not only at that moment but as time has passed since then.
Two-and-a-half years ago I jumped into the Indie world with a dream in my heart and truly not a clue of what I was getting into. Sound familiar? I know it does to many of my friends. What I have learned since then is perhaps more important than my writing.
I’ve learned that it isn’t a sign of weakness to admit you need help, and that there is usually someone willing that has been in your shoes, feeling the same way. Josie Bordeaux and Deanna Hatmaker were that lifeline for me when I first jumped in the murky waters of writing.
Writing can be very lonely, locked in your cave with your fictional friends with the people who surround you not truly understanding the madness in the process. Signings were an attractive yet extremely intimidating avenue to network and meet like-minded individuals who understood this crazy, emotional yet most exciting ride.
Reaching out – even via social media – was not an easy thing for me. I’m actually a wallflower when it comes to small talk. I suck at it…tremendously. I knew I wanted and needed feedback, but was scared of rejection. I reached out anyway, wanting so much to learn from others. One author was in my backyard and the other across the states, miles away in the desert. AL Jackson is one of the sweetest people I have never met and provided constructive feedback that I hear and use to this day. The other, Samantha Chase, has become a dear friend that I cherish…and she is one of my favorite authors! Without our coffee sessions (and she doesn’t even drink coffee) I would probably have given up.
Relationships have been built and friendships created that I cherish. I love Brenda Kennedy like a sister, even though we are miles apart. The two Anns are more than just two peas in a pod. They are talented, fun-loving women always willing to offer words of encouragement. L.L. Collins is as sweet in person as she appears to be. Chelle Bliss is just amazing and her book are so freaking hot! Becky McGraw, I would drink with anytime, anywhere again. Hilary Storm – well, she scares me a little. Lol. She is fierce and wonderful rolled into a ball of fire. Kristen Mazzola and Rebecca Brooke are beyond talented and full of bright energy. They were gracious enough to let me in and learn a thing or two from their talented selves at dinner.
Why do I mention these amazing women? It isn’t to name drop, even though I am a fan of all of them. I am thankful for the experiences I have shared with them and the lessons I have learned. They are everyday women with families, children, jobs, challenges – just like me- living out their dream to share their amazing stories with the world.
So much negativity exists in this community at times, I’m appalled at some of the stories I hear. People don’t really attack others for the fun of it do they? The reality is sometimes ugly. At the end of the day, it’s always personal. I just want to give a SHOUT OUT to the women above for being amazing examples of just plain good people.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned thus far is I’m writing for the love of it and the need to share the stories shouting to be written. Some of my characters are the best fictional friends a good could ever want. That makes me happy. Do I hope you love my stories too? Of course I do, but whether I sell one or 10,000 books, that’s okay. It’s the journey along the way that means so much more.