Anxiety comes before Vulnerability.

I am normally a confident person. But something about the process of writing, editing, and publishing has brought out some interesting insecurities in me. I couldn’t nail it down, or where it was coming from, until I finally realized it. I’ve been reaching out to reviewers and trying to prepare myself for my first negative review, (because let’s be honest, it’s gonna happen,) when I figured out why I was feeling this anxiety.

Vulnerability.

Even though this is a fictitious story that takes place in some fictitious places, I put so much of myself in this story. In some weird way, I feel like I’m laid bare on these pages. And the idea that someone might not like it… or like me… makes me feel a bit anxious. But that is what happens when we create art of any kind, right? We put little pieces of our soul in our work, that is what makes it good. At least that is what I hope makes it good. 🙂

I know this is a part of the process, but it’s new territory for me. Thankfully, I came across a quote on an Instagram feed.

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It’s so true, and it’s a great reminder. Because we were not made to do nothing, say nothing, or be nothing. We were made to create, so we must be able to handle criticism.

I would love to hear how you guys are feeling about the things you are working on. What are you creating or doing that makes you feel vulnerable? Is this something that you struggle with from time to time as well?

How you can help!

For the first time, I have been a small part in helping a friend launch a book, and am genuinely invested in wanting it to be successful. I’ve seen first hand just how important friends and family are to getting books out there. (And how much fun it is to see someone buy it that otherwise might not have!)

I guess the one thing I never thought about is how authors are just someone’s friend or family member. It’s easy for me to think about all of the big name authors and how they just write a book and BAM it’s a bestseller, but that’s not how it works; and it’s especially not how it started. They had a ton of help, which is why I have so much hope.

Because you guys are flipping amazing.

I have already had so much encouragement and support surrounding my upcoming book release and it’s still 5 months away! But just in case you want some tangible steps to help me, or any other of your author friends, here are 5 ways you can help us!

  1. Buy our books. Buy on pre-sale, Amazon, or at the bookstore. If it’s not in your local bookstore, feel free to pitch a hissy fit because they don’t carry it. Even better, have someone film it so it can go viral, like that poor lady wanting to find Paul Sheldon’s new book. “How can you not know Steen Jones?!” 😉
  2. Review our books. Reviews are super important, especially on Amazon (although, you can’t review books on Amazon until they are released…so you will need to wait until The Door Keeper comes out. Also, you can’t say you are my friend or they will pull the review.) But you can review it on Barnes and Noble, or Goodreads if you have an account. Just copy and paste that junk, easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.
  3. Follow us on social media and Share! I will tell you right now, I plan on doing some fun things involving social media, giveaways, and special offers leading up to the book launch. So if you want your friends to have the opportunity to win some free stuff, you will need to share it all with all of them.
  4. Recommend us. If you have a Goodreads account, a blog, or you’re part of a book club, or your small group at church. Recommend our books to your friends. I’m way more likely to buy a book because my friend told me I’d love it, than any other reason. Well, that or I saw the movie, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. 😉
  5. Offer to help! Most all of you have done this already, so thank you! I will most likely put together a launch team to help plan and execute my Book Launch Party and help promote for my blog tour, etc. If you would want to be a part of that team, shoot me an email at steen@thedoorkeepertrilogy.com

I’ll make a deal with you, if you complete all 5 tasks on this list, I’ll make sure you have the opportunity to be an extra in the movie when it comes to film in Woodstock.

Now who’s getting ahead of herself?! Lol

Author interview w/ The Salonniere’s Apartments

Thank you so much to Marilyn for featuring an interview with me in her “Writing Room” part of her online apartment. She has curated an interesting, and quite frankly, awesome new online environment. (At least new to me!) She has created a space for you to browse, learn, and simply enjoy reading about everything from writing, art, health, food, and her favorite subject; books.

I encourage you to check out other parts of her blog after reading our interview! The link to the interview is here!

Interview pic with Salonniere

 

Writing: Always be reading.

Of all of the books and articles I’ve read on writing, from many different types of authors/bloggers, the ONE piece of advice that has come from all of them are: If you want to be a great writer; you must read, read, and then read some more.

This is so freeing! Having loved to read to my whole life, it has always been a hobby or a extracurricular activity. Now, I actually consider it a way to improve my writing and as an investment. Now, a book just isn’t an escape or pastime, but a lesson. A lesson in grammar, character developement, prose, dialogue, world building, and plot. Reading is now a part of my work and nothing makes me happier!

In an attempt to really take this task seriously and learn as much as possible, I joined a Goodreads group “50 books to read before you die.” You can check out the group here. This list ranges from Tolkien, to Jane Austen, to J.K. Rowling, to Shakespeare to everything in between. I’m super excited to take on this list, although it will definitely take years to accomplish.

I just bought Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Alice in Wonderland to start. I also picked up Little Women (not on the list but it was Rachael’s favorite book in Friends, so why not? Don’t worry, it won’t end up in the freezer.)

I’d love to know what books you would put on that Goodreads list! What book have you loved that is missing???

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Unfiltered Podcast.

Do you have any friends that simply allow you to be your crazy, goofy, immature, and unfiltered self? I’m fortunate to have several, but Melanie Dale is one in a million. Maybe because she is likes to talk about pooping and farting as much as I do. So you can imagine, it was pretty dangerous when she asked me to join her on her podcast. Well, dangerous and entertaining!

Check it out here!

We talk about my book, my business, my kids, my faith, and other wildly inappropriate things. I think you will love Melanie as much as I do after listening.

Let me know what you think!

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Open your eyes.

White Butterfly

Yesterday, I sat in a lounge chair by the pool while my kids splashed and played. Earlier that afternoon, a blue and black butterfly had flown around the pool, sending the kids on a wild goose chase trying to catch it. As I sat there, listening to the kids laughing (fighting) and the birds chirping, a white butterfly flew up beside me. It landed on the flower pot next to me, then flew off into the woods. A white butterfly. It was so beautiful and for a split second, time froze as I looked at it perched next to me. The whole encounter lasted less than 5 seconds. But it sparked something and it was all I needed. Before it had reached the tree line, I thought “What if there was a world that was completely white?” Boom, a new world was born. Then, of course I spent the next hour researching the science behind the color white.

Sometimes we just need to open our eyes.

My friends asked me where I come up with this stuff (different worlds, fictitious stories, etc.) And to be honest, this is it. I just notice things, things that trigger something else; an idea or a thought. This is where almost everything I have ever created comes from. Once I sat on the beach, watching the gentle lapping of the waves pulling and pushing each other in different directions when I was inspired to create an entire world around that idea. Not too long ago, I sat by the Chattahoochee River and watched a huge swan (could have been a goose, lol) fly and gracefully land in the river,  which inspired a major detail in that same world. One of the other worlds I’d imagined had been inspired by sitting in a hammock by the lake staring up into the trees. One time, I woke up after having the most vivid dream of skipping rocks on a lake. It was so beautiful I wrote it down immediately because I thought it such a beautiful scene. It ended up making it into the book.

You never know when inspiration might strike. It could be on vacation, or at work, or while cooking, or dreaming in your sleep. All I know, is if we are too busy to notice, we might miss out on a beautiful opportunity or a beautiful moment of inspiration and creativity.

Are you a writer? Or a creator? Artist? Or are you just curious if you could be any of those things? My advice for you today is simple.

Just open your eyes and take notice of the things around you…then of course, make sure you write it down.