Monday, August 6, 2018

Writing Success Takes Time

I read something interesting the other day. Chinese Bamboo takes 5 years to root before you see a sprout come to the surface. When it does, within 6 six weeks, this bamboo shoots up to 19 feet tall! Nature is amazing. That waiting period is a nourishing period. While it may seem like nothing is going on, in fact, everything is going on. The root system is hard at work building a firm foundation.

Writers can apply this to their work as well. I know so many people who want to spend a few weeks, maybe a month, writing a book and then expecting to see amazing financial results overnight.

Yeah, it doesn’t work that way.

Writing is an art. It takes time. You need to build a foundation of followers who enjoy reading what you write. It takes a lot of effort and time. I spend one day a week concentrating on marketing. I hate it. It’s the worst part of my job. I don’t like to promote or talk about myself, but how am I supposed to get new readers if I don’t? That is part of my foundation.

Another part of my foundation is to keep on writing smaller pieces while working on the larger books. Books take a whole lot more time to write than an article. When writing articles, I find new readers who can link back to my website and see what else I have done.

So, for all of you new writers out there, don’t expect fame and fortune to happen immediately, if it happens at all. Make sure you spend some time working on your foundational platform. Take notes of the things you do as well as take notes on how much response you’ve had. For example, post a short story on your blog. See how many people actually read it and, even better, leave comments. You have to find what works for you and helps you get your name out there.

Don’t get discouraged. Keep on working. It will be worth it in the end.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Quilt Scraps

Anyone who knows me, knows I enjoy quilting. It's my "thinking time" for writing. I grew up watching my mother sew. In fact, many times she sat me down at the other sewing machine and gave me a project of my own on which to work. Sometimes she gave me work to do that I didn’t like and wished that I were doing something else. Now that I am an adult, I’m glad that my mother taught me to sew. I enjoy making gifts for other people, especially quilts.

 My mom did make a few quilts in her lifetime. We all had quilts on our beds to keep us warm on cold winter nights. Quilts are my specialty. While sewing one day I thought about all the quilts that I had made for people over the years. Some I liked, some I didn’t, some I hated to give away when they were all done! 
I was making a quilt for someone one day, while the neighbor girls were at our house playing with my daughters. One sat and watched while I cut out all the pieces that I would need. She asked, with a rather disgusted look on her face, “Are you going to use that material?” I had to admit that it was rather ugly, but I just told her to “trust me.”

So often when I am making scrap quilts, there are downright ugly fabrics that I use. Somehow in the end, though, the finished product turns out being one of the nicest quilts I have ever made.

Isn’t that the way it is with our lives? Sometimes there are so many bad things that happen to us and we wonder why. I am sure that many of us ask these questions. Why did my parents die when they were so young? Why was there abuse in my household as a child? Why can’t my marriage work? Why did I ever try drugs or smoking?

There are many more questions that we can ask, but the answer is one and the same: to make us who we are.

The quilts of our lives are all different. There are no two that are the same. That makes for a diverse world where there are people that only we can help. I was rather a goody-goody when I was a child. I can’t relate to these young girls today who are having babies when they are still babies themselves. I can’t give any counsel to those who have been so high on drugs that they almost died. I have my own “scraps” from life that make me unique in my experiences.

 If it weren’t for the ugly scraps of life, our “quilts” would not seem completed; it would look as if something were missing. Even those who appear to have perfect lives have ugliness that they try to hide, but it does not change the past and who they are.

 I like those ugly fabrics in my quilts; they pull the whole project together and make it seem just right. Next time you are about to complain about all the bad things that have happened to you throughout your life time, just remember, it is your scraps that could make someone else’s life beautiful.