"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Friday, August 18, 2017

If you don't invest in yourself, who will?

I am in the midst of writing two books (possibly three), marketing my latest mystery, agent-shopping for the one book I've completed, and preparing to teach three workshops at September's Southern California Writers Conference. 

As you can tell, my mind is in a complete whirl and the more I try to focus my attention on one thing I could get done, I feel compelled to click on that article about the Best Examples of Payback on some clickbait site.

This is why, instead of completing the form for the latest contest for my book, I clicked on "Why You Should Do Your Yoga Teacher Training at a Yoga Retreat." 

I'm not interested in yoga teacher training. I don't know why I clicked on it, other than work-avoidance. But I do know I'm glad I did. 

I know all the technical reasons to attend the Southern California Writers Conference. There are writing skills to be gained, business savvy to be learned, agents to be approached. 

But the yoga article gave me four new and excellent reasons to attend the SCWC, beyond the physical, to address why you go to any kind of "retreat" for yourself. 

1. You'll connect with like-minded people.

I know you have your writer's group. Or maybe you're an introvert. Maybe you deal with anxiety issues. 

When you attend SCWC, you can't help but meet people and you don't have to be a party animal. One of the nice things about the workshops is that the rooms are all set with tables. You sit around the tables, pull out your notebook (or laptop), and someone is bound to sit across from you and say, "Hi." 

Just say hi back to them, maybe give them a bit of a smile, and continue to write. You are among like-minded people, often people who are introverts with anxiety issues. They understand. 

And if you want to talk about your latest writing, or what you like to read, or what you dream of, we understand that, too. We speak your language.

2. You'll get to fully absorb and immerse yourself into yoga writing.

Think of it--three whole days to do nothing but think, speak, dream of writing. Maybe even three whole days to write. Picture a jacuzzi filled with words. Dip your body in and let them swirl about you. Bathing suits optional.

3. Change old thought patterns and habits.

I hadn't really thought about this one, but it's true. When you are present in the moment, it's easier to recognize when you veer off-road. When you're given permission to focus on your writing, you can see what you do to sabotage yourself (like clicking on random articles).

4. Come back with new, daily rituals.

Well, yes. You've recognized where you're going wrong, and after three days, you will be energized to go out and do it write right. 

*  *  *  *  *

Join us this September in Irvine, or next February in San Diego. 

Immerse yourself. 

Feed your passion. 

Invest in you. 

Here's the link:


September 22-24, 2017. Friday until Sunday. Do it.

I will be teaching three workshops. I hope to see you there! 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Episode 612: Gayle whines

Lordy, I feel bad for being selfish.

I think everyone is, but I still feel the weight of my sin when I realize I'm thinking about me-me-me nonstop. But I'm having a rough week.

On the horse front, I'm shopping for a new show horse. I've had to retire my love, my baby, my Snoopy, due to the fact that he can't be shown or even ridden without the kind of medical intervention that is sometimes called illegal doping. Which I would never do, for the simple reason that numbing a horse's pain can leave him open to further injury. So Snoopy is in a retirement ranch in Temecula, where he is sharing a paddock with two bachelors and is quite happy about not working anymore.

I visit him once a week.

A couple of weeks ago, I tried out a horse. She is everything I want, and does everything I want, EXCEPT...she won't lope to the right for me. As soon as I ask her, her back humps, she throws her head in the air, and we either long-trot, or "boing," which is a short-strided, quick-legged gait, only suitable to Pepe Le Pew when he's in love.

I know this horse has been shown by a darling young woman who suffered a brain injury when she was young and now wears the sturdiest of helmets to ride. No one would put her on an unsafe horse.

So if she could get the mare to lope, why couldn't I?

To compound my problems, there's the little matter of my manuscript. Between April 20 and May 29, I sent out 50 queries. I've gotten 30 responses. 28 were "No." One request for a full is still waiting for a response. One agent seems interested, except that he's only ever emailed me, and we can't seem to make time to talk (he travels to Germany a lot).

I told myself I'd give this querying business until October. I know this is the way it all works. I know of all the manuscripts that were passed on, yet survived to become bestsellers (hello, Harry Potter). I know this. And yet...

As the doctor told me, I'm older. Even if I get the agent now, they have to get the publisher, and they have a year or so to do that. Even if they get the publisher, my books may not get on their production schedule for two years. That's three years, folks. Do you know how old I'll be?

Maybe not quite hella old, but older.

So I'm in this horrible, downward spiral of, "If SHE can lope this horse, why can't I? If THEY can get an agent, why can't I?"


Tomorrow I shall meditate and do my yoga and go about my day, meeting my appointments, and I shall feel better, I'm sure. Because somewhere along this line I shall take up the reins of my own life and do SOMETHING.

Thanks. I feel better.

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