Living a Monet in a year


resoluToday is less about taking stock as an author than it is about taking stock of the rest of my life as a whole. I learned early on that the New Year “resolution” doesn’t work for me. I know me. No matter the subject, it’ll be too vague, too boring, too inflexible, or too all-encompassing and hard to stick to. Instead I make plans. Plans have parts like individual bricks and you can take them on one at a time and pave a whole path for yourself. I’ve plans to make for 2014 — some are adventures that have exhilarating potential, some create solid foundations for the future, and others are downright scary but necessary.

Because the new computer is here I wasn’t going to do a grand post today. But after checking emails I read how a friend came up with a rather unique and inspired way to use Pinterest. Intrigued, I went there this morning to see if there was anything like her idea on the site. Of course I immediately forgot what I was looking for among the bevy of info there. That site is full of shiny things that can hook the attention of a magpie like me. Less than a minute in, I’d pinned a few things to my own boards. It was all I could do to escape! However, I did find something interesting and saw a great potential in it — potential that has to do with perspective. It’s one more brick and I plan to start January 1st.

Before I explain what that something is, I’ll add that an author’s life can be a lonely life sometimes. Believe it or not, it can be perilous. On occasion it delivers a square kick to one’s psyche in the form of savage reviews or rejections.

Lonely: I spend most of my day, 5-days a week, inside my fictional worlds and outside supporting and promoting them. I can relate my experiences and progress to friends and family but they’re not in the trenches with me. Comprehension can only be so much. They try to understand and they support and love me and I’m so grateful because that love and support comes completely from their hearts. I know they genuinely want me to find success. I love that they try. That said, it’s still a lonely life. I’m involved in a day-to-day world that only others like me truly comprehend. Successes are few and far between and mostly consist of a good review, a good turnout for an appearance somewhere, or if you’re lucky, an award and good royalties. Mostly days stretch into weeks and we wait and write and try like hell not to fall into the pit of inconsequence.

Perilous: Authors are driven to do what they do and even from this end of things I have no idea why! I do know this: All authors are artists and all art is emotion. These creations come from deep inside our souls and when we offer them to the world, it leaves us naked and vulnerable. It’s a rough world out there where critics abound and slings and arrows wait around every corner. It’s not enough anymore to simply not enjoy a book. The author who wrote it must bleed for your dissatisfaction. I have author friends who regularly bleed from attacks. It’s terrible and soul-crushing.

Rejection: Many years ago I had a weird and unsettling experience after submitting illustrated children’s books to several New York publishers. Some places never responded. Other places sent a form letter saying they weren’t interested. Three sent me actual letters and frog2that’s what was unsettling. I’d written those books for my kids. And just like A. A. Milne did for Winnie the Pooh, I illustrated them too.
← Here are my three frogs.

Unlike most, one rejection wasn’t a form letter. It was nicely put, but still a rejection. The other two publishers said they loved either the story or the artwork. The letters went something like this: “We are interested in your story but would use our own illustrators.” and “We are interested in your illustrations but have another author in mind.” It was heart-breaking.  Call me picky, but I didn’t want another illustrator or writer. Those books were works of love created for my kids involving the toys I’d sewn for them myself. Those frogs went everywhere our family went. Our adventures were theirs. Another writer or illustrator wouldn’t understand. Like I said, all art is emotion. Those works of art were a mother’s expression of love for her children. Needless to say, I shelved the seven-book series. I plan to self-publish soon. It’s only been 25 years. :D

Perspective 1,2,3: What I’m getting at with all this, is perspective. Life is one huge Monet painting, author’s life included. When you’re too close it just looks like dabs of paint. Stand back and you take in the entire masterpiece.

1. Rejection of the work is not rejection of the person. I didn’t see the compliment in those two letters. I saw something negative. All these years later, I can see where I might have offered my illustration services and maybe even gotten a foot in the door. Clouded by emotion and my immaturity, I completely missed opportunity.

2. As for peril, we need to stop measuring our value as authors by the comments of others. Not every book we write is going to fit every reader. Unless they have real value for pointing out areas in our writing to assess, we need to stop taking negative reviews to heart. One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor. We simply cannot please every reader. We never will. We can only tell the best story we can tell. And that’s the truth.

3. And lonely…I’ve come to the conclusion that it just is. But that doesn’t mean I can’t find dozens of good things that tie my two worlds together each week. I’m making a point to do just that this year. That’s the plan…or I should say, that’s the brick.

So here’s what I discovered on Pinterest today. As soon as I saw them, I imagined the jar in the center of my table.

1It was the “synchronicity” that caught my eye. That I’m even blogging about being an author is due to a synchronistic series of events that put me here. I no longer discount things I encounter that make me pause. Now I reflect. Every time something good or noteworthy happens from small to large, taking note of it will help put it all in perspective. Will I see a larger picture of my life at year’s end? Stepping back to reflect, I’m sure I will.

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all7books-smallloveWaits.cover.swLove Waits in Unexpected Places - Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333971

Sample my love stories for free!

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ny1

If you’re here for the first time, my husband and I are assembling a vintage holiday postcard scrapbook one card at a time. I’ve been posting one or two post cards each day and plan to keep it up from now until January.

New Years cards from here on out. This is one of my favorites so far.  :)

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rb4uAuthor Suzanne Rock’s blog day.
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Meet the RB4U authors!
http://www.romancebooks4us.com/

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b1e43-eqpicSeveral promotional opportunities for romance authors can be found on my Exquisite Quills group blog.
http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/

Exquisite Quills Yahoo Group

First Kiss Wednesday ~ share your best 300 word kiss.
Set the Scene in Six ~ share your backdrop or lead-up on Sundays.
The Genesis of the Story ~ share the spark that ignited your novel
Author Interviews ~
We’re booking 2014 now.

EQ-RR.bannerComing January 2014
A place for your old stars to shine

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About ~RoseAnderson

Rose is multi-published award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and discovering interesting things to weave into stories. She lives with her family and small menagerie amid oak groves and prairie in the rolling glacial hills of the upper Midwest.
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20 Responses to Living a Monet in a year

  1. Lovely words, Rose Anderson. Especially the “stand back and look at the whole”. Sitting in front of our computers, our noses practically on the screen (at least mine is) keeps us too close to the minutiae. We must revel in what we’ve accomplished instead of agonizing over what hasn’t been done yet.

    • Thank you, Jane. It occurred to me that I spend a lot of thought on what needs to be done next. How beneficial to a busy life to see proof of achievements large and small. There’s nothing wrong with a jar full of good things to remind us of what we’ve accomplished either. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  2. Melissa Keir says:

    I posted that photo of the jar on my page yesterday. It seemed right for me too. I get stuck in a rut about what hasn’t happened and have to learn to let go and love what I’m doing. Of course, right now I’m writing notes in blogs rather than words in my own story but I’m not procrastinating, just taking a break to fortify! Yep… that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

  3. jdfaver says:

    Thanks for your lovely and positive thoughts, Rose. I passed the link on to a number of others. It’s way too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and not see what we actually accomplish. *hugs*

  4. wordactress says:

    A great breakdown, very succinctly put.
    I feel so lucky that I am using my gift.
    After half a life of taking care of everyone
    else, my life is now all mine, 100 percent
    creative. I love it.

    Love the good things jar. Gonna pass that on
    to a lot of my friends and their kids.
    Great. great idea…

    • Oh you’ll do great things being 100% creative. It’s necessary to me, draw, paint, sew, sculpt, cook, and write. If I wasn’t making something life would be very dull. Thanks for stopping by. Best luck with your projects.

  5. I think you have the right idea about reviews, Rose. I’ve learned some very positive things from some negative reviews. As long as the reviewer states clearly where the story went off the rails, I’m good. It’s only when the reviewer just makes some snarky remarks for the purpose of seeming cute or edgy that I grow a bit exasperated.
    It’s so wonderful to have author friends to give support and positive input.
    I wish you a bright new year and every success with self-publishing your work.

  6. E. Ayers says:

    The writer in me likes being alone with my computer. No one needs to drag me away. Writers understand it, but the rest of the world doesn’t. Most folks are suck in dull jobs. Mine changes with the wind and I control the wind. Success in this business is measured in tiny increments which is why negativity is like a pin to a balloon.

    But the creating is such a huge part of what we do. We are dream weavers We build dreams for other people to experience. For a little while, they are someone else, doing something totally different, with a sexy guy who is willing to give them the moon and the stars.

    Yes, make plans because plans are flexible. Goals are met and goals change. Goals are nothing more than dreams with achievable plans.

  7. I loved reading your post. I can relate. :) As writers we do get the bulk of the criticism. I have eleven reviews on my latest release. I was so happy to read them, most were wonderful reviews, but the last four depressed me for days. :( I can see why some writers refuse to read their reviews. There is no way to make everybody happy so you might as well please yourself. :)

    • Thanks, Janice. The best shot in the arm for poor reviews is to go look up your favorite or famous authors. They all have them. Even Jane Austen! Critics are a part of what we do so it’s better to keep one’s perspective about pleasing everyone. We should just write our best and know there will be readers who see the story they way we do, and hopefully there will be more of those than the mean ones. Thanks for stopping by.

  8. Another wonderful post, Rose, and this postcard is my very favorite so far. I relate to everything you said, and love the jar idea, too. My balloon lanterns arrived today for New Year’s eve and the whole family is excited. Thanks for sharing that tip recently. Your blog posts are an oasis for us dream weavers.

    • Thanks Gemma, what a wonderful compliment. Come to my oasis anytime. :)
      You’re going to have fun with your balloon lanterns. Our balloons for prosperity crashed and burned again. *sigh* At least healthy happy wishes stood strong.

  9. rosgemmell says:

    Another excellent post, Rose. Love that jar and will probably repost it on my Pinterest! Although I love the solitary nature of writing, I also attend a wonderful local writing group, many of whom are now close friends. Makes a difference – and I like having coffee out with friends occasionally. But I’m easily distracted! Have a happy and successful New Year.

    • Thank you and the same happy and successful wishes to you Rosemary. I wish I had a local group to bounce story ideas off of. I live in a rural area and nothing is close enough to make it worthwhile. Our local bookstore closed and with it the coffee shop. Boy I sure miss sitting there with friends discussing books and magazines.

  10. Kaye Spencer says:

    Rose,
    It was fun reading your blog thoughts today because my reflections at Tabby’s Nocturnal Nights yesterday (Dec 30) touched on many of yours (brilliant minds…? lol) I wrote about the movie ‘What About Bob?’ and the five important life lessons we can glean from the chaff of what, on the surface, is a delightfully silly Bob Murray comedy, which it really isn’t once one delves into the story.

    Your statement, “The author who wrote it must bleed for your dissatisfaction” is sadly more often true than not, which is why I love the “Happy Jar” idea.

    I, too, have to stay away from Pinterest because of all the ‘shiny’. This is me on Pinterest: People say I have ADD. They just don’t understand… Oh, look! A chicken! – And then I fall down a Pinterest rabbit hole and get no writing done at all. ;-)

    Thanks for brightening my morning.

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