You know, I’ve been blessed. Especially with everything that has happened in my life in the last year I am incredibly blessed with a fantastic support system now. And that’s a big thing for an artist. We all need a little bit of support once in a while. And I learned to surround myself with people who build me up and encourage my dreams rather than pull me down. It was a hard lesson, believe me.
It takes a special sort of person to be married to a serious writer. You see, there are different sorts of writers. There are the type who write in journals and keep blogs that are primarily for themselves. There are the sort that write strictly for the gratification of knowing that they can. There are others who write for the social interaction. And yes, I do know that is contrary to everything that Hollywood has put out about the writers. Then there are the type, like me, who actually write to put our work out for the public to read. We’re an odd lot that take a lot of time to ourselves and sometimes seem a bit aloof. Even when we’re spending time with the family we’re usually off in our heads thinking about plots and characters. Then there is the obsession with actually getting things out into print and marketing what work you do put out. So, no it isn’t easy for many people to deal with dedicated writers. My ex-husband certainly had a hard time with it. So much so that he was engaged to another woman before ever letting me know that there were even problems with our relationship.
Not going to lie, I was devastated when that marriage came to an end. More because I was blind-sided by all that happened than it actually being over. The being alone, I could deal with. The feeling like I wasn’t good enough for anyone was another matter entirely. My esteem sunk to an all time low. I didn’t understand how it could have happened or why. I’d put everything I could into that relationship for six years. And you can bet that there is a short story going to come out of what happened. But what came out of that experience was nothing short of amazing.
I realized very quickly who was going to be there for me. Who would help me pick up the pieces of my life and myself and come back from it stronger than ever. I learned who supported my efforts as an author and who just wanted to go along for the ride while I worked my butt off. And I definitely learned that if I did get into another relationship, I needed to find someone who genuinely shared my interests, got my quirky habits, and loved me either because of them or despite them. They needed to be able to spend time alone and not need for me to be hanging on their every movement and word. I needed that person to be interested and believe in what I was doing the same way my family did.
Honestly, I didn’t think I would fall in love again. I think part of me didn’t want to. God had other plans though because I only wanted to meet some friends and get a social life back. Putting up a profile on a dating site seemed to be a logical step since I had no car, no home, and no money. Meeting people was going to be tricky and I really didn’t want to start the bar scene again. I’d had enough of that in my 20’s. Then there was a message and a profile that I couldn’t ignore.
Yes, it was my now fiance.
We had so much in common. Our lists of interests only varied by a few things which were so superficial that it was just funny. We actually argued about reasons for being on there and talking to people at first. Once we got past that small argument, and started really talking, we both wanted to meet. We were so close in location that I finally talked my mom into dropping me off at the local McDonalds to have coffee with him. I expected an hour or two of conversation what happened was completely different.
First of all, when he got my attention and I looked up from my notebook, I was just sort of struck. Here was this really good looking guy who was apparently there to see me. I instantly became self-conscious because, well, you know, hot guys aren’t supposed to fall for the fat chick. It’s some sort of social faux-pas after all. I’d seen pictures of him and thought he was good looking but they really don’t do him justice. Or maybe they do and its just a chemistry thing. The fact that he met my mother and I sent her on another errand so we could continue talking was an indication of how well we hit it off.
We started dating in December and while we both had other obligations with family we really haven’t looked back. The more time we spent together, the more we opened up and the more we realized that we wanted to build a life together. So when he actually proposed on Mother’s Day I was super excited to say yes.
He is definitely a different sort of man than I am accustomed to. He’s a man of principle and who respects women. He’s sensitive to the needs of others and a man of faith. He enjoys time with family and appreciates what he has more than he pines for what he doesn’t. He’s an optimist, loves to work with his hands, enjoys being outdoors and spending quality time together with me and his daughter. He’s interested in what I do, wants to read my work, and is actually willing and able to bounce ideas with me. Mostly he lets me talk things out when I’m stuck for which direction to go.
Maybe most importantly, he makes sure I work on the writing and have time to do what I need to do. Yet, he somehow knows when I need a break or a laugh and will distract me with corny jokes or cheesy music or videos. It amazes me how in-sync we seem to be most of the time. Oh! And he makes the best sweet tea in the world and keeps me in a glass when I’m working. Honestly, its mostly the little things folks.
So, yes, I am incredibly blessed. I have family who has always stuck by me, even when I may not have wanted them to. I have an amazing partner in life now who gets me, loves me, and enhances my life rather than drag me down. In the midst of this, I’ve managed to get two pretty awesome girls in my life too. One may be the best thing to come out of my previous marriage and I’m pretty sure that she was the primary reason for me being in that situation. The other is a bundle of energy and curiosity that inspires me to continue working like I do. But yes, I’m blessed and I wake up thanking God every morning for another day I get to appreciate all those little things that really and truly are just the biggest things in life.
It’s no secret that writers keep journals. We have them everywhere; online, in our purse, in our car, in our backpacks, our desk drawers, and you can even bet that there is likely one hiding in the bathroom. Yes, we’re odd like that, keeping pen and paper within arms reach at all times. But, this little habit serves us well. It allows us to capture our thoughts, put down ideas for characters or plots, and it even allows us to record life events that we don’t want to forget. I had such an event happen to me this past weekend and I was so excited that I had my handy-dandy planner with me so that I could write the details down while it was fresh in my mind.
The month of May is turning out to be pretty eventful for me. Not only will I be releasing my first novel under my pen name (Anne Belle) but I also got engaged this past weekend on Mother’s Day. All these changes in my life are one of the main reasons that I decided to write under a pen name to begin with. I think that readers need consistency so, a fictional name is ideal given the fact that I don’t want to put my career on hold. In fact, I am very motivated to forge ahead with my plans to build up a readership and get this show on the proverbial road.
I took the time to write down my account of the proposal. It really was memorable and the roses that my ring was tied around are still beautiful in a vase where I can see them. And while I don’t think I’ll ever forget it, I still wanted it on paper so I could read it all over again and smile. And now, I’m signed up on http://www.theknot.com and thinking about planning a wedding and getting things organized while trying to start promoting the new book being released this weekend.
The truth is, I don’t know where to start. I’ve set up all these accounts and am feeling overwhelmed that there are so many things for me to update. I came upon Hootsuite once and then I promptly forgot about it during all the craziness that was the end of last year for me. Now that I’m back to trying to build my writing career and organize my life in general, I find that Hootsuite might just be the marketer’s best friend. I certainly intend to make good use of it. I am starting to live by my planner again. That’s very likely a habit I should have never gotten out of in the first place.
So, in other news, the book is about to release in print and ebook format. So I am rushing about to finalize all the little details and create some sort of plan to market it. I’ll be doing a major post on the book in the next few days just to commemorate the release. But, I’m sort of just jumping in feet first to figure out the best way to reach potential readers. I have read all sorts of things on platforms and marketing but the fact is that most of what is out there is information geared for non-fiction work.
It is easy to build a platform when you have a set subject. To write a book on a particular topic you have to be something of an expert in your field or have some unique perspective on it. I don’t claim to be an expert in anything. I have too many interests to really be an expert in any one thing. If I am well-versed in any one topic it would be the paranormal. That topic shows up quite often in my work but, every piece is different. For example, this book is about a woman with a supernatural power and a mystery to uncover with a bit of romance thrown in. My next book/series deals with apocalyptic scenarios and angels. While another project is more steampunk. I’m sort of all over the map and I don’t want to hinder my creativity for the sake of putting myself in a marketing bubble. So, I’m going to have to start somewhere and just build on it and see where I end up.
I am excited though. There is so much happening all at once for me. There is a wedding to plan and an amazing man by my side to share the journey with me in all of this. It seems like things are really taking off and I find myself wondering if I dare try to get back into singing on top of it. I think that might be a bit much on my time though except for the occasional karaoke night or singing at church. But, you never know with me. We’ll just see.
At any rate things are going super in my neck of the piney woods of East Texas. We’ll see what else comes my way in the weeks to come. So, stay tuned!