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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sometimes, #Writing is Hard

Award-winning author Catherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or reading books by her favorite authors. She and her husband have two grown children. Catherine’s novel, Bridge of Faith, won the 2015 Grace Award. Her new novel, The Things We Knew, releases July 12th, 2016, through Harper Collins Christian Publishing. You can find Cathy on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Google+, and her AmazonAuthor page.

This one always makes me laugh.

Because sometimes? Writing is hard. And sometimes being a writer is harder.

Today, I hope to encourage you. You know who you are. You're sitting with your plane ticket or staring at a map wondering what in the world you're thinking . . . you're heading into Writer Land, ACFW in Nashville!!
And you’re just a little terrified.

Yes, it's a big writers conference. If you're used to hanging out with your dog and maybe your spouse on occasion, you're going out of your comfort zone. A little. But . . . ACFW is a blast. It really is. Writers, editors, agents, publicists¾four days of hanging out with people just as nuts as you. (About writing).

But it can also be a scary time. Especially if you're new to this business, and you're still a little starry-eyed over the whole thing. You'll get over it. And if you want to get over it quick, find the group of haggard-looking, glassy-eyed, worn out veteran writers and come talk to us. (We'll be in the bar).

Because writing is hard. 

I know. You want me to tell you all the tricks. How to not be nervous. How to blow an editor back from the table with the best pitch they've ever heard in all their two years of coming to conference. (Yes, most of them really do look like they just graduated college). You want to know how to find your way through a crowded (think salmon season and you're swimming in the wrong direction) dining room and land a spot seated right next to your dream agent or that one editor you've never been able to talk to without crying. You want me to tell you there's no reason to panic, no reason to be nervous or fret or throw-up a couple times before your appointments.

And I wish I could. But I don't have the tricks. I don't have a magic bean and I sure don't have the confidence I certainly should after years in the field. The whole extravaganza still scares the bejeebers out of me. I feel your pain. And I still get nervous too. I'd prefer to just hang out with my friends, and then hole up in my room and read and rest and rewind a little. But that defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

We need to get out there and find the ones just like us, shaking in their boots and wondering what they were thinking coming here. They're easy to spot. Slammed against a back wall, looking a little green. We need to find them and tell them, hey, you know what, you're here, that's amazing. You're amazing! And you can do this. And they might not believe you, but you just keep saying it until they do.

Because writing is hard.

And we need our friends. Sometimes they'll drag us across a room if they have to, because honestly, what fun is it really, plastered against a wall looking like you're facing down a firing squad? And maybe you don't even know for sure that this is your calling, that this is where you're meant to be. Well, that's okay too. But you're not going to find out if you don't get out there and start asking. Seeking. Listening.

And then when it's all said and done and you've done your best, you've put yourself out there, you've prayed and maybe cried a little, and hopefully laughed a lot, you wait.

This is the hardest part. Ask me how I know. 

But . . . trust. Believe. Do the work and don’t give up. Find a little extra faith for each day that comes. And then, one day, you'll know.

One day you’ll find yourself standing in the midst of a dream come true.
And it will be good.

Until then, grab on to your seat, buckle up and hold on, because it's a heck of a ride. But if you let in a little light, love and laughter along the way, it's a really fun one.

Go in peace, friends. Face down your fears and just do the thing.

Because you're awesome.

Are you headed to conference? Tell us how you’re feeling!

The Things We Knew

When their tragic past begins to resurface, can he help her remember the things she can’t?

After her mother’s death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to blame their father for their mother’s death, but nobody will talk about that tragic day. And Lynette’s memory only speaks through nightmares.

Then Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, bringing the past with him. Once Lynette’s adolescent crush, Nick knows more about her mother’s death than he lets on. The truth could tear apart his own family—and destroy his fragile friendship with Lynette, the woman he no longer thinks of as a kid sister.

As their father’s failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets surface that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question their faith, their willingness to forgive, and the very truth of all the things they thought they knew.



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