Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1100 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine.
The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics. This series is along the same lines… but is a ‘Lucky Dip’
In this series I will be sharing posts from the first six months of 2021 – details of how you can participate are at the end of the post.
This is the first post by Jan Sikes and I have selected a post that featured in March 2021 on Writing and Wellness. There is increasing awareness that working from home does impact our health in several ways, and since for writers this is the normal way of working… I thought you would find this post helpful.
Emotional challenges of being a writer by Jan Sikes
For me, one of the biggest emotional challenges of being an author is that of maintaining confidence in myself and my work.
I know we all experience moments of crippling doubt at times. It has the power to halt all progress.
There is such excitement when a new story idea comes. The adrenaline rush is intense, and we can’t wait to start transferring those vivid images in our heads into words that convey the scenes.
However, as the story goes along, we can lose that momentum and begin to doubt whether we have written anything worth reading.
Some refer to that doubt as a Raven sitting on your shoulder whispering in your ear. Doubt comes to me in the form of childhood memories. I was a misfit and heard people refer to my sister and me as those Smith girls who would never amount to a hill of beans. That’s what it sounds like in my head.
How I Cope with Self-Doubt as a Writer
One of the most effective ways to cope with this emotional challenge is to take a minute and glance at the walls around me, where book awards hang.
That always bolsters my resolve to continue.
I also read positive affirmations I have pinned to my bulletin board next to my computer and absorb them.
I love working with gemstones and find that sometimes just holding a Mookite stone or Silver Leaf Jasper boosts my creativity and confidence.
I practice daily meditation, which is an invaluable tool for staying grounded and keeping emotions in perspective. It’s almost as if I become an outsider looking in at those thoughts and feelings. That makes it easier to let go of them and move on.
Tips to Help Writers Dealing with Scoliosis
I was born with scoliosis. I didn’t know it until I was eighteen, but over the years, it has, at times, given me great pain.
Sitting for long periods can exacerbate that. As an author, I spend hours per day in front of the computer, which can become quite challenging.
Taking the time to stop the flow of work and do the yoga stretches that ease that condition’s pain is another part of the challenge. I often push myself past the point of no return and suffer from it.
Some basic yoga stretches help immensely with my back pain. One is the simple cat/cow. If you’re not familiar with that one, you get on your hands and knees, and with the flow of your breath in, engage your core and start the upward phase of the movement.
Then exhale and push your spine toward the ceiling, allowing your back to round and your head to fall forward toward the floor in alignment with your spine.
Another excellent tool I’ve found to help alleviate long spans of sitting is an affordable adjustable desktop that I can raise or lower, allowing me to either stand or sit to work. That is probably the most remarkable solution I’ve found so far that helps me to keep working. I paid around $150 for mine.
Music Inspires My Writing
I discovered that I have a natural talent for interviewing. It was always my goal to uncover something personal that our readers might enjoy knowing.
So, interviewing music artists and writing their stories was such a wonderful and rewarding experience. Unfortunately, due to the COVID shutdowns, the magazine (Buddy Magazine, The Original Texas Music Magazine) has taken a hiatus, and it is doubtful that it will make a return. The most significant difference between writing for the magazine and writing fiction was simply the story itself. All other rules of writing apply to both.
Music can be very inspiring to me, and many of my short stories are direct extensions of a song. A good example is “Jewel,” which I took from the Bobby Gentry song, “Fancy.” Another story directly inspired by a song is “Brazos Wind.”
I also find that I often include music in my novels, as well. For instance, my character in “Ghostly Interference” plays keys and joins a band. It is an integral part of me that I am unable to separate.
When It Took Three Years to Land a Publishing Deal, I Often Thought of Giving Up
When it took three long years to land a publishing deal for “Ghostly Interference,” I often thought of giving up. But every time I did, I’d get a new idea for a short story, or I’d get a pep talk from my sister, or I’d win another award.
I see no way to stop writing as long as the creative valve is open.
My Most Successful Book Marketing Tool: My Blog
By far, my most successful marketing tool is my blog site.
I have built up a substantial following over the years, and it’s such an excellent way to interact and engage. My “Tarot Tuesday” posts were instrumental in gaining new followers without shouting, “Buy my book!”
And, I just recently came off of a month-long tour launching “Ghostly Interference,” where it was supported strictly through the many blogging friends I’ve made across the globe.
Another tool I am trying to get better at using is a monthly newsletter. That’s still a work in progress.
My Biggest Struggle in Life: Finding Time to Write
That, my friends, is my biggest struggle in life [finding time to writing into a busy life].
I have an obsession with keeping my email inbox cleared out, and because of the number of blogs I follow, it is an almost impossible task. I’m working on rearranging my workday to write first and then go to emails.
The only way I can do that successfully is simply not to open my email until I’m ready. Otherwise, I’m off chasing rabbits down holes.
Also, my workday ends at 3 pm as I take care of my two granddaughters every day after school until around 7 pm. So, it’s a juggling act for sure!
Advice for a Young Writer: If the Story is There, Write It
Absolutely, go for it. I believe that if you are given a story idea, it is your responsibility to do something with it. So, if the story is there, write it. What you do with it after that is strictly up to you, but in this day and age where self-publishing is super easy to do, there is no reason not to share it with the world.
One word of caution, though ― Please do not publish your work until it is thoroughly polished and edited by a professional editor. Because of self-publishing, there is a lot of work out there, greatly in need of an editor. Typos and grammatical errors can kill you before you even get started.
©Jan Sikes 2021
My thanks to Jan for allowing me to share her posts from earlier in the year..and I know she would love to hear your feedback.
About Jan Sikes
Jan Sikes is an award-winning Texas author who has been called a wordsmith by her peers. She openly admits that she never set out in life to be an author. But she had a story to tell. Not just any story, but a true story that rivals any fiction creation. You simply can’t make this stuff up. It all happened. She chose to create fictitious characters to tell the story through, and they bring the intricately woven tale to life in an entertaining way. She released a series of music CDs to accompany the four biographical fiction books and then published a book of poetry and art to complete the story circle.
And now that the story is told, this author can’t find a way to put down the pen. She continues to write fiction and has published many short stories with a series of novels waiting in the wings. Jan is a member of the Author’s Marketing Guild, The Writer’s League of Texas, Romance Writers of America, and the Paranormal Writer’s Guild. I am an avid fan of Texas music and grandmother of five beautiful souls. I reside in North Texas.
A small selection of books by Jan Sikes
How you can feature in the series?
- All I need you to do is give me permission to dive in to your archives and find two posts to share here on Smorgasbord. (email@example.com)
- Rather than a set topic, I will select posts at random of general interest across a number of subjects from the first six months of 2021. (it is helpful if you have a link to your archives in your sidebar by month)
- As I will be promoting your books as part of the post along with all your information and links so I will not be sharing direct marketing or self- promotional posts in the series.
- If you are an author I am sure you will have a page on your blog with the details, and an ‘about page’ with your profile and social media links (always a good idea anyway). I will get everything that I need.
- As a blogger I would assume that you have an ‘about page’ a profile photo and your links to social media.
- Copyright is yours and I will ©Your name on every post… and you will be named as the author in the URL and subject line.
- Previous participants are very welcome to take part again.
- Each post is reformatted for my blog and I don’t cut and paste, this means it might look different from your own post.
- If I do share a post which contains mainly photographs I will share up to five and link back to the original post for people to view the rest.
N.B – To get the maximum benefit from your archive posts, the only thing I ask is that you respond to comments individually and share on your own social media.. thank you.
Thanks for dropping in today and I know that Jan would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.