(This post was originally posted on the soon-to-be wrapped upÂ Girlfriends Book Club on April 26th, 2016)
Two years ago when author Sylvie Fox asked me if I was interested in joining the Girlfriends Book Club I was flattered, honored and terrified. The technology was baffling â€” how did I log onto someone elseâ€™s blog? All the authors were impressive, intimidating and did I really have enough to say?
Nonetheless, Iâ€™d entered my 50â€™s with the firm resolve to say â€œyesâ€ and step beyond my comfort zone. It was one of the best decisions Iâ€™ve made in a long time. Not only was I able to figure out the whole tech side, I found myself eager to log on and see what the author du jour had going on in her life. Often what I read hit me in the gut â€” I was going through the exact same thing. It was humbling and reassuring to see that these authors struggle with the very same things.
10 Things I learned from the Girlfriends Book Club:
1) Everyone gets stuck. There is no going around the mud. Just keep your eyes on the prize. And in the immortal words of Donna from Parks and Recreation â€” treat yoâ€™self. Lattes, chocolate, long baths and yes Barbara Claypole White â€” gin.
2) Everyone gets to the point where they hate their manuscript. But they donâ€™t give up. Thatâ€™s what makes us professionals. This might be the Novel That Will Kill You but actually, youâ€™re just be dramatic. Shut up and write.
3) Every book is going to drag you across the rocks. They donâ€™t get easier for anyone. Not even Judith Arnold who is close to hitting the 100 mark. New book, new challenges.
4) Even seasoned authors get kicked to the curb by their publisher/agent/editor. It happens to the best of us. Stella Cameron told me this but then again so did the Girlfriends.
5) Writers, at least the ones in this blog, are big-hearted. Need an agent? Some encouragement? Sympathy? Free books for a fundraiser? Tweets? These ladies had/have my back every time.
6) Writing is a job for multi-taskers. Everyone on this blog juggles multiple hats (and parrots.) They have kids, ministries, aging parents, day jobs, teaching, consulting and editing gigs. Holly Robinson has something like 5 kids. Tonya Kappes runs her own publishing empire. And yet all these ladies produce tons of books not to mention handling social media duties. Itâ€™s called time management and these ladies could put corporate executives to shame.
7) There are no short cuts to success. The more Iâ€™ve learned about the Girlfriendsâ€™ writing and personal lives, the more Iâ€™ve realized the formula is hard work + stamina (plus some luck) = success. Iâ€™m not talking big sales numbers either. Writing great books is job number one.
8) Follow your own voice. Although many of us write in the same genre, our books vary wildly in style and content. One thing we all have in common: we found our voice. And it lifts us up out of the crowd. We might not be selling millions (all of us) but as Frank Sinatra says, weâ€™re doing it our way.
9) It take a village. I cannot believe how much support, cheer leading and great advise Iâ€™ve gotten from the Girlfriends. Find your people. Theyâ€™re in person and online. And theyâ€™ll get you through rough times and celebrate with you when hit the bestseller list.
10) Writing is an act of hope. Every single day Iâ€™ve logged onto the Girlfriends Book Club I have found words of inspiration, hope and consolation. Writing is having the audacity to believe that your words matter. And they do.
Thanks for including me ladies. Itâ€™s been fabulous.
Ellyn Oaksmith is the bestselling author of 50 Acts of Kindness and other books. Sheâ€™s an eternal optimist, dog lover and always plotting something. Â Visit her atÂ EllynOaksmith.comÂ and join her newsletter for free books, new releases and great reading suggestions.