Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Toni Pike

I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.

I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

My guest today isToni Pike who writes for both children and adults and I can recommend both genres. Today Toni shares a number of areas that she feels have impacted her life and would have benefited from her experience gained over the years.

I wish I knew then what I know now! by Toni Pike

Thank you so much, Sally, for the wonderful invitation to write about things I wish I had known long ago. I always try to look forwards rather than dwelling on past regrets. But over the last few years I’ve made quite a few major changes in my life and feel like I’ve learned so much. There are quite a few things I deeply regret not knowing earlier in my life, and some other things it would have been nice to know.

So, I hope you’ll excuse me if I ramble on and share a whole series of things that I wish I’d known long ago. If only someone had told me!

Healthy bones

My peaceful, happy life was disrupted late last year when I fell over and broke my elbow. I’ve made a good recovery but still dealing with the consequences of that, and now having treatment for low bone density. If only I could have my time again, I would try to do everything I could to prevent my current issues.

Too late in life, I realised the importance of exercise and the value of making sure I had all the nutrients my body needs for healthy bones.

Tolerating bad behaviour

For so many years, I tolerated mean behaviour and manipulation from a certain person in my life. It was as if I couldn’t recognise their manipulative and blame-shifting behaviour, and would feel upset but didn’t know what to do about it. I actually believed that person’s words when they criticised me. But in the last few years I’ve learnt so much and now realise that I should have had firm barriers, not tolerating being badly treated and instead valuing my own opinions and feelings.

That part of my life is over now. I know the sort of person I am, and if someone is rude, critical or disrespectful, I’m able to say that I won’t tolerate being spoken to like that and will only talk when that person behaves properly. I also will not have relationships with people who are not interested in treating me with kindness and respect.

Now, if someone criticises me, I consider my own opinions and whether I agree with them. I’m able to tell them that while I appreciate that is their opinion, I have a very different viewpoint. That is so different to the sort of reactions I’ve had for most of my life!

I’m also able to recognise manipulation, in a way that I never could before, and I won’t be swayed or affected by it. If only I’d been able to do that a long time ago, my life would have been very different.

Learning to love myself

The way I treat myself now is a world away from the way I have for most of my life. Previously, my self-talk was horrendous: filled with self-criticism to the effect of how silly or stupid I was, or how dreadful I looked. Now that has changed, and I treat myself with kindness, love and support. My self-talk is full of encouragement and I’m always telling myself that I can cope. I know I’m deserving of the good things in life if I can afford them, and don’t suffer from any guilt about that. I no longer feel that I should be doing things for others, yet not for myself.

I find that a much better way to live, and wonder what might have happened if I’d known it all my life.


Now for some words of wisdom I’ve garnered from my writing career. I feel like I’m a world away from the person who had just published their first book in 2015. I’d like to share the top tips I’ve learnt since then. They’ve been said many times before by other people, but it never hurts to hear them again.

1. Writing might make some people rich and famous, but I’m not one of them. However, I’ve found much richer rewards meeting so many other writers and supporters who have been the most amazing and wonderful friends.

2. You always need an editor and some beta readers.

3. Try to use a professional cover – it really makes a difference.

4. You will have to market your book and that will mean an ongoing commitment of time and energy from you so long as your book is on the market.

5. You need to have your own website and social media presence to interact with others, but try not to let that take over your life.

6. Your first book is just the beginning, and your writing will almost certainly improve with every book that you write.

7. It’s a lot like the mafia – once you start, you can’t stop and you can’t get out of it, so be prepared.

I know there would have been no point in me knowing all those things when I first started out. I would not have believed them, and it wouldn’t have stopped me.

©Toni Pike 2022

My thanks to Toni for sharing these wonderful examples that most of us can relate to and agree with… I know she would love to hear from you.

Meet Toni Pike

Toni Pike is a multi-genre author who enjoys writing exciting thrillers for adults, non-fiction, and hilarious books for children. She also loves travelling and being with family and friends. She lives in Australia and firmly believes that coffee and long walks are an essential part of any day.

Do you like books that you can’t stop reading? Pike is the author of DESOLATION BLUFF, DEAD DRY HEART and The Jotham Fletcher Mystery Thriller Series: THE MAGUS COVENANT, THE ROCK OF MAGUS, THE MAGUS EPIPHANY and HOLY SPEAR OF MAGUS.


She’s also the author of two non-fiction books. THE ONE WAY DIET is a no-nonsense guide to losing weight and coping with the journey. HAPPY TRAVELS 101 is a short book of travel tips with great advice for anyone who wants to travel overseas.

Connect to Toni and buy the books: Amazon AustraliaAmazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Toni:Goodreads – Website: Toni PikeTwitter:@piketoni1

A selection of books by Toni Pike for children and adults

An early review for Linda’s Midlife Crisis

Frankly speaking 5.0 out of 5 stars Sensitive development of plot and character  Reviewed in Australia on 27 April 2022

‘Fifty, frumpy, and a few extra kilos’.

‘Ron doing something so expensive and nice for her was so out of character.’

So there, on the very first page of Toni Pike’s medium-length new novel, we discover some of the reasons for Linda Lockwood’s midlife crisis. Linda’s husband, Ron (‘He was the sort of person who brought joy whenever he departed’), doesn’t seem too enamoured with her, and it soon emerges that he is a constant criticiser and belittler of Linda.

As the story develops, we discover more reasons why Linda is undergoing a mid-life crisis, and the book expertly develops our understanding of her situation – some readers might even find it evocative of their own experiences.

Tony Pike’s sensitive development of character and plot make us wonder throughout, ‘What will Linda do next?’ A highly engaging read so that you can find out. This reviewer had the advantage of an advance reader copy.  

Thank you for dropping in today and I know that Toni would love to hear from you. If you could also share the post that would be amazing .. thanks Sally.


123 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Toni Pike

  1. This is a lovely positive post, Toni! Still looking great, btw.

    I have been preparing my post, Sally – sorry to take so long, I’ve had a lot of stuff going on. Also, have developed a sudoku addiction. Being honest here!!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. It took me years to hear my self talk, and even more to truly appreciate how damaging it was. Well done, Toni, for having the strength and courage to make such big changes. Thanks for sharing your story and spot on advice 💕🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I can certainly relate to your challenges, Toni. In spite of the difficulties you did a great job in taking back control of your life and that, in and of itself, is admirable. Bravo. Thanks for sharing your story with us. Hugs
    Reblogged on Improvisation – “The Art of Living”

    Liked by 3 people

  4. This makes such an important point about valuing yourself and putting other people’s comments in perspective. Love that picture as well, Toni, and I’m completely with you on that last comment as to whether you’d have paid any attention to this at the time. Great review as well!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Your post illustrates that we can’t go back to thepast, Toni but it also shows that we can be in charge of our future. I liked how you compared writing to being in the mafia. I am currently reading and enjoying Linda’s Midlife Crisis.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Number 7 cracked me up. Ha ha ha. I love that description of writing as similar to belonging to the mafia. And the fist part of Toni’s learnings seemed so familiar. So many of us, especially young women, struggle with boundaries and self-respect before wisdom and experience give us the tools to change. A wonderful post, Sally and Toni. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  7. ‘I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now!
    It is cetainly ineresting to see what those words conjour up in someones mind.
    How many different lines of thought it can take you on. Both personal as well as professional.
    Thank you for sharing

    Liked by 4 people

  8. HI Sally, thank you for sharing this post, I learned a lot more about Toni. I have read two of her children’s books and enjoyed them a great deal. I will be embarking on my first of her adult books within the next few weeks. I was sorry to read about Toni’s issue’s with a manipulative and mean person and salute her from making a break and moving on with her life. I was a little surprised about her low self esteem, given how pretty she is, but that is probably linked to the mean person. I’m glad she’s found a path to personal acceptance and happiness. She deserves that.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I like where Toni took us on this post. I have to say that my discussions with myself have not always been kind. Her point is well taken. We need to be kinder to ourselves. Her advice to writers is very wise. Thanks, Toni and Sally.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I loved this. I love that Toni has gained the power of self-love and set boundaries and will not allow anyone else to steal her power. I remember when she put out her elbow and thrilled she’s on the mend. And I love the writing tips because of course, like Toni said, if we would have heard those things before beginning our trek through authordom, we may never have ventured any further, or we would have gone full steam anyway. Either way, we only learn by living. And congrats to Toni for the great review on her new release, which I too was excited to be gifted an ARC copy, coming up next in my reading list. Beautiful post. ❤ xx

    Liked by 3 people

  11. All great points, Toni. I especially like your writing tips. Being kind to yourself is a start to a healthy life, sadly many of us tend to learn that later in life.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Sometimes we don’t recognize or make excuses for the behavior of those around us. Not everyone can remove themself from the situation like Toni has. Lots of great wisdom in this post. I can identify with being hyper-critical at times. We need to cut ourselves a break and realize that life is about learning from past decisions.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Tori – wonderful words for life and publishing.
    wishing you well on your latest.
    I’m never surprised at the quality people (many writers) who I meet in the blogging community.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Oh I so agree how many of us would have listened way back in the day certainly not me…lol…you have highlighted so much I can relate to and well done for taking control, Toni… 🙂 xoxo

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Reblogged this on Toni Pike and commented:
    Thank you so much to the amazing writer Sally Cronin for having me as a guest on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine this week. I’m talking about things I now know that I wish I had known long ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Nice musings Toni! Life is the greatest teacher… I too learned self-love later in life and it has helped me in many ways. I also agree with your self-talk and writing tips. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Great post and insights, Toni. It is hard to start that postive self talk, but so necessary to find that voice. Also important writer pointers we need to learn!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – April 25th – May 1st 2022 – Ella Fitzgerald, Chart hits 1993, St. Kitts, Calcium, Poetry, Book Reviews, Guest Posts, Health and Humour | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  19. I’ve been following Toni’s blog for a while, and I knew about her recent accident and some of her experiences. It is great to know that things have worked out for the best, and I’m sure we all have much more learning to do. Thanks, Toni and Sally!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Wonderful piece. I can relate to your earlier life. Suddenly, the light bulb goes off and we ‘find’ we have a right to be who we are too. Takes years, but we get there. Congrats, have a fab new life. and
    wishing you congrats with your writing. Much success too. And I love your photos. xx Tweeted

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Loved reading more about Toni here. I have enjoyed many of her books along the way, and have to say Linda’s Midlife Crisis was a wonderful read. Loved the honesty of how she has overcome many of the issues mentioned here. Well done Toni!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! – Guest Round Up – Part Three – Jacquie Biggar, Harmony Kent, Jan Sikes, Gwen M. Plano, Darlene Foster, William Price King, Toni Pike, The Story Reading Ape, Jennie Fi

  23. These are amazing and relatable thoughts and ideas. I agree, as a female, we often put up with behaviour and comments that we shouldn’t, and it takes a while to realize we don’t have to accept it.

    Liked by 1 person

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