After Success

Everyone wants success, right?  One of the definitions I found in the dictionary is, “the gaining of wealth and fame.”  I suspect that is the interpretation most people put on success.  The other two definitions I found are, “favorable or desired outcome” and “one that succeeds.”  Most people who have achieved the “gaining of wealth and fame” are what we think of as a success.

This year I accomplished the publishing of my book, “Dangerous to Love” in both e book and print.  So I would argue that the “favorable or desired outcome” is by far the most important definition.   When I was growing up my father always grew a large garden.  It was beautiful, with straight rows devoid of weeds and hoed to perfection.  I was drafted to help with this and while I would rather have curled up with a good book somewhere, there was always a feeling of satisfaction to look back on a row and observe what a good job I had done.  I had done it.  It didn’t just happen to be that way and nobody helped me, I did it myself.  I felt the same way when I learned to sew and to cook or turned in a particularly well done homework assignment.  Of course, at the time I didn’t think about it as success but just that I had done a good job.

When I began to write, it never occurred to me that I would ever publish anything.  As time went on I began to think maybe I could after all.  It was a long learning curve to write a book.  When I was finished I had to decide if I was going to publish it myself or depend on getting an agent or editor.  I decided to go with self publishing even though I knew there was a lot involved.  You have to understand I am not a techie, I face my computer every day like we are adversaries.  It took me several months.  The only part I had done for me was the cover and I got a wonderful one from cover artist and romance writer, Kimberly Van Meter.  When it was done and I finally looked at it on my computer screen on Amazon it was a truly magical moment.  I had achieved the “desired outcome.”

I don’t expect to achieve wealth and fame, but I am a success.  I had a dream and a goal and I did it myself.  My husband and my family encouraged me but I was the one that had to do it.  Am I happy?  Yes, I am.  Am I proud?  You bet, I am.  But the success of accomplishment has another gift it brings with it  —  confidence.  If you achieve a goal, even a small one, it gives you a feeling of self empowerment to go on to the next one.  Finally, you reach for the big one.  For me that was writing and publishing a book.  Now I am into writing my second book and when I hit writer’s block or it just doesn’t read right I will cling to my confidence that I did it once and I can do it again.

How much happier we can all be if we think of success in terms not of material gain but in terms of accomplishment of our dreams.

Psychology of Desk Management

Wow! That title sounds impressive doesn’t it?  It’s one of the elements of writing, the management of your desk or whatever place you choose to write.

The ideal of the perfect desk is, of course, to have a surface area unblemished with clutter and only the shiny laptop or similar instrument you use to record the diamonds of the mind.  Anyone out there whose desk fits that description raise your hand.  Now let’s take a poll on who has rings from sweaty glasses?  Sticky places left by sweet rolls or snacks?  A printer share the desk?  Is there a stack of miscellaneous printouts on top of the printer?  And maybe a stack of clean paper because when you filled it last time you knew you would need it so why not just leave it handy?  Do you have what started as a half dozen books or binders that you use often and want within reach?  And did they grow until they are a long line of various tomes that are now unmanageable and fall over or are in stacks that have to be moved hither and yon around the desk?  Sandwiched between them here and there do you have pamphlets or printouts or other information that you think, or know, you will need sometime — just not now?  There might be a pile of pictures and clippings destined for the family album that you didn’t have time to deal with and ‘just put it on the desk’ until you do have time to deal with it?  Have you had time yet?  Every desk has to have the bill holder or organizer or in and out box, whatever holds the unpaid bills or unanswered mail, sometimes from the last Christmas, or other things that will need your attention, right?  Have these things spilled over their container and now require a second pile?  There may be a business card file?  A container with pens and pencils and other miscellaneous?  A phone?  A desk lamp?  Kleenex box?  I personally can add a tape and CD player and a stack of items and binders and such that I fully intend to read before they are filed away in their final resting place on the bookshelf.  Now in the case of a writer you can add to all this your writing materials, the laptop or computer or whatever you use, your notes, charts, books and other resource materials, large paper or posters to keep track of things are used by some writers, (I do) and various sticky notes pasted everywhere the eye might catch them.

Whew!  I’m exhausted just putting all that down.  Imagine how tired I would be if I tried to clean all that up?  Occasionally I do have a day when I have a chance to work at doing just that.  I start by telling myself that I will get some of it out of the way once and for all.  This is where the psychology comes in.  One has to be a believer when one embarks on a mission.  As the hours slide by you are still stacking, moving, reading forgotten items and picking others up and thinking, “What the hell is this?”  The psychology starts to mutate at this point and you began to think that maybe just organizing the piles is, in itself, great progress.  Finally, you run out of time and everything but a few pieces of paper that made it to the shredder is still there and your psychology has further mutated to the point of being a nasty reactionary attitude.  With a few choice words, that your mama didn’t teach you, you survey the newly arranged piles and decide that is good enough.

The next step is when you sit down and like an animal turning round and round to make his bed before he settles into it, you do the same.  You put the pen container back where it was in the way, but handier, you spread one of the piles out across the desk because you may want to refer to something in it.  You move a stack of stuff off your outline or plot information and back to where it was originally.  Things get nudged here and there until you are back to the familiar and comfortable and you drift into the world of your characters and your surroundings fade and you again become a writer.  Your psychology has come full circle  — your desk never moved.

Technology

I never know just what to write about that sounds like it would be interesting to read.  That’s sort of sad for someone who writes books, huh?  Today it is technology that is on my mind and I suspect is something that most all of you are faced with for good or ill.

ELSA BAYLY cover photoLet me explain my situation.  The word DESPERATE comes to mind!  No, seriously, I am a non techie and past the age of those who were born with the mysterious knowledge of how to work this stuff.  I have over the years tried to use it for the basics of life like bill paying, bank account and other business accounts.  This is, no matter how upsetting and distasteful to you, important to minding your affairs in today’s world.  You would think it would be mostly senior citizens who refuse to even try to learn it but I am amazed at how many middle aged people shy away from anything but the basic requirements that their particular situation demands.  The requirements of our daily lives are gravitating to the internet and if we want to stay in control we better get on board.

The days of going into a brick and mortar building and meeting Mary face to face and saying, “Hello, Mary.  How’s Joe? (her husband).  And Mary says, “Oh, he’s fine, Johnny got an A in math.  What brings you in today?”  NOT A CHANCE!  Mary is gone to the great retirement (or unemployment) list in the computer somewhere, never to be visited with again.  So pull your head out from under the covers and suck it up and give it an honest try.  This is what I have learned over several years of crying, screaming, (both at an empty room and at condescending technicians at the end of a phone line marketed as “Help.”  Yeah, right.

When I started to write in earnest I had to make a choice.  Write with a pen and bury the product in a drawer   —  or  —  face the computer.  Almost everything now in the writing world is done on the computer.  I struggled every step of the way with all sorts of simple problems that often came back to my lack of basic computer skills.  I tried taking classes, some of them great.  The problem is that the workings of the computer are not something that can be mastered in a class.  If you aren’t using it you won’t remember it.  It is not something you learn all the facts and suddenly become computer literate.  You identify the thing you need or want to do and you log on.  You follow any instructions there are and when they don’t work you click on all the things that you can.  Some of them may work.  One of the secrets they don’t tell you is that they call various keys and functions by names that you will never in a million years connect to the function they do.  After all this you won’t have accomplished what you need to do but you will have learned one or two things that will stay with you.  Next stop is friends, family, coworkers, anyone that may be able to help you.  Don’t be bashful and don’t be afraid to ask.  The more you pick up on all of a sudden you will begin to see that it really isn’t that complicated once you get the hang of looking for the key to what you want to accomplish.  It all comes down to it being not a case of learning the computer but learning how to search for things.  And it does get easier, believe me.  If I can do it, anyone can.  So jump in and try.  As for me, I may even break down and get a fancy phone one of these days.  I have a fourteen year old granddaughter that is a whiz on hers so help is available.

The Time Factor

ELSA BAYLY cover photoHello Everyone,

I have been woefully slow in posting again.  The last month has been extremely busy for me but as I think about it I come to the realization that is the norm for most people these days.  Everyone is on a high run most of the time with jobs, children, school, family obligations and/or social organizations.  It also seems that fun and entertainment have come very close to being another chore to get done.  It’s hard not to get caught up in the circle of it all when there is so much we want to do.  That being said, I am going to attempt to turn over a new leaf and combine slowing down with being more productive.  If I don’t have the time to do it all today I will put some of it off until tomorrow but what I do today I will give my full attention to.  Perhaps that will result in actually finishing more chores and also by giving my full attention to each one, possibly doing a better job.

An important part of my ‘new leaf’ is to plan in a bit of time for something that seems to be missing these days from fun and entertainment.  It’s a little experienced thing today called relaxation.   It’s fun to go to a sports event or a social gathering, it’s entertaining to watch a movie or take a trip to see something.  But it’s not always relaxing.  Everyone will have a different idea of what to do to relax but I think of it as anything that will let the mind take precedence over the daily planner.  With me that is usually a book.

This past month saw my book, ‘Dangerous to Love,’ become available on Amazon.com.  It is now published as an e book for Kindle but I hope in the near future to have the print version out also.  I have just started working on my next book which so far has no name.  So — having worked on it today I am going to let my ideas for it ‘simmer’ in the back of my head and go do some quality relaxing with a good book.  I wish you the same enjoyment.

Elsa Writes Romance

Hello All,

Had a great time last Saturday at the Jane Porter seminar. She is a fantastic speaker as wel as author. I came away encouraged and enthusiastic and ready to write, write, write. Hearing about the experiences of successful writers helps me, and I believe others also, to enjoy the highs and minimize the lows. To know that those who are successful have had their own trials and tribulations as well as triumphs and achievements serves to keep us all pulling together as writers.

I have found the writing community to be full of kind and giving individuals ready to help their peers, be they newbies or those who have been around a while and have hit a snag in the progress of their writing. If I were never to achieve any success in my writing I would still feel grateful to belong to this group of people.

So, that being said, I am ready to move on. I am finding that while I am progressing toward getting my book up on Amazon that my mind is more and more turning to the next book. Some writers work on several projects at once but I have always been rather a one track person. I suppose that makes me less productive but different ways work for different people.

This is a busy month as I am taking two online classes. That makes things a bit crazy in trying to get everything done but I always enjoy taking classes. You always learn something that you come away with that you can’t wait to put into practice.

Until next time.

Elsa Writes Romance

Hello to all you readers and writers out there. Time to update this blog a bit. As a newcomer to blogging I have been reading up on it and the advice seems to go like this: write about writing, write about personal things, write about what’s happening?? Okaaaaay!

Today was hair and nail day. Getting ready for Saturday. My writing chapter in Fresno, Yosemite Romance Writers, is giving a one day seminar with Jane Porter. I’m looking forward to it. I love classes and talks and hearing what others have to say. Even when I think it is a subject that has nothing for me there is always something I come away excited about. I had thought that I might get home today in time to suggest we go out to eat. (New hairdo and all, you know?) As usual I was running behind and it didn’t seem worth it to tear hubby out of the news and away from tonight’s episode of “Survivor.”

My book “Dangerous To Love” is back from the editor and I am working on a few changes. Next will be navigating the path for formatting and uploading to Amazon. To most people that is no big deal. To me it is a mountain of stress! I am a button pusher. As long as the button works, I’m good with it. I have been thinking about kids these days, my grandchildren for instance. I have decided that some alien being has found earth and when mothers are carrying these babies these aliens invade their bodies and implant a high capacity microchip in the kids brains. Then when they pop out at birth the first thing they do in the delivery room is ask for a cellphone with internet access. The first time one of my grandaughters told me I needed new wallpaper, I was shocked. I asked her, “You don’t like the paint?”

Until next week. All of you keep reading.

ELSA WRITES ROMANCE

MY FIRST BLOG
FROM ELSA BAYLY

Welcome to the first entry in my new blog. I’m not sure what I’m doing with a blog except that everyone tells me as a writer I should have one. So now I’m a blogger. I’m not sure what bloggers do. From what I understand I think it has to do with marketing or promotion or advertising yourself or something like that. My entire experience with marketing has been the display of items at my yearly garage sales. Scary when you think about it, isn’t it?

Some of you are probably shaking your heads by now, thinking it’s hopeless, but I like to look on the bright side. I have so much to learn that I’ll always be improving. Right? Well, we can hope so.

I have my first book, “Dangerous to Love,” about ready to publish. I hope to have it on Amazon as an ebook soon. A couple of my test readers have made comments about making it into a series. I’m still thinking about that. In the meantime I will join my next two lovers in moving on with my second book, “Law of Love.”

I leave you for now. I’ll try and write here each week. I do hope you’ll join me.