After You Sign the Contract

You did it! You succeeded in acquiring an agent, your book sold, and you just signed your contract. Ahhh. Life is amazing.


David Schwartz Magic of Thinking Big

Little Thoughts Keep Your Writing Small

There’s more work to do. Maybe the hardest work of all. This is where an author truly needs encouragement, practical ideas, and inner strength. But it all starts with thoughts.

“Success is determined not so much by the size of one’s brain as it is by the size of one’s thinking.” The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

Allowing any task to become daunting can deter us from doing all we are capable of. Especially when there’s a lot at stake — like the completion of a life’s dream. I know, I almost let it happen to me.

I was approximately 85% finished with my final manuscript and three weeks from deadline. Then I froze. There’s no reasonable explanation I can offer as to why. My outline was solid, and until that morning, my words flowed smoothly.

At first, I attributed it to exhaustion. After all, I was still working over sixty hours a week as the general manager of a large river resort, and it was early September. But after taking a couple of extra days off, catching up on rest, and trying again, still no go.

I panicked. A swell of fear felt like it was swamping over me. In a choked voice, I told my husband, “I guess I’ll send the advance money back.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I can’t finish.” I felt my chin quiver. “I don’t know why I ever thought I could write a book. It isn’t good enough to send in, and I can’t get any new words on the page.”

“I thought you wanted this.”

I ran out of the room. My husband meant well, and he was right. It was what I wanted, but in that moment, I didn’t know how to get it done.

First Hired Last Fired

Available online, at Barnes and Noble, and select midwest Walmart Stores

The next morning, I awoke feeling no less anguished, but one thing had changed. My determination not to give up. My husband’s final words on the subject resonated in my heart. I did want this. So I got on my knees and thanked God for helping me finish what He had started. Then I took advice from my own book, First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market, and resolved to get the job done, regardless of how I felt.

I won’t lie and tell you things suddenly got easy. Those final pages were excruciating, and to this day, I can pick them out of my book by the weakness I see in the sentences forced into existence. But I did it. Exactly on my deadline date, I submitted the full manuscript according to contract. And I learned something.

I’m not the first author to experience soul-crushing panic deep into the book writing journey. Many have relayed similar experiences, including best-seller Michael Hyatt.Michael Hyatt Video

But I also learned how to push past my fears, and whether the world likes it or not, to put the message out there. It was hard, but the satisfaction is sweeter than my earlier efforts and emotions.

I’m not sure where you are on the path to publication. But if you’re new to the process, be prepared for some emotional bumps after you sign the contract. And remember — sometimes we need to do what we love, versus what feels safe.

Have you ever panicked in the middle of a big accomplishment? It’s never too late to start again.

Anita Fresh Faith

Writing Life Survivor Tips

Karen Jordan:

Once again, I’m struggling with some setbacks in a few areas of my life, like some writing projects, my exercise program, and a few others that I won’t mention on this forum. And I needed to read this article again myself. So, I thought I’d share it with my StoryWriting Studio friends. Hope it encourages you, too.

How do you deal with setbacks and discouragement in your life?

Originally posted on WordServe Water Cooler:

Photo/KarenJordanHow do you endure setbacks in your writing life? If you’ve embraced writing for publication, you’ve probably faced discouraging obstacles in your journey.

I’ve also faced a few stumbling blocks in other areas of my life, such as my health. After every health or family crisis, I struggle to get back on track with my exercising and walking program.

I discovered my desperate need for exercise after a minor foot injury last summer. As I climbed the very first hill on an asphalt trail near my home, my heart raced. I resisted the temptation to sit down at first. And by the time I made it to the top of that hill, I felt like I’d been walking over an hour. As I plodded on, in pain, the trail leveled. But I continued to struggle with each new hill.

Since I carried my camera, I paused several times to capture an…

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Space Travel Memories … Have you Written Yours Down?

- by Mary May Larmoyeux -

space launchDo you remember when the first man walked on the moon … or the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded … or Expedition 41 was launched?

Have you ever written your memories of outer space down?

It was 1969 when I stood with my dad in the dark of the night. From our backyard he pointed high into the sky, towards the moon, and said something like, “Mary, a man is walking up there.”

I was amazed. Spellbound. … A man — on the moon!

Then years later, in January 1976, the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred. Its seven crew members perished, including Christ McAuliffe, who would have been the first teacher in space. I remember watching television at work that day, attempting to process the tragic news.

Fast forward to yesterday, September 25, 2014. Did you know that Expedition 41 was just catapulted into space?

I was home. Where were you?

What are your memories of space travel?

Copyright © 2014 by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.
Photo courtesy of NASA.

Read more:

When Neil Armstrong Walked on the Moon

Watch Expedition 41’s Launch Into Space

Saving Family Stories

Summertime Memories

Why Consider a Guest Post?

How important is a guest post? From time to time, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to contribute a guest post to someone else’s blog. I’ve also featured guest posts on my personal blog and on the StoryWriting Studio. Why do I think that’s important?

Photo/DenaDyer Make connections. This week, I’m honored to be featured on Dena Dyer’s blog.

met Dena Dyer a few years ago on my way to the CLASS Christian Writers’ ConferenceI’m not sure Dena remembers that moment, but I sure do. My daughter Tara and I sat across the aisle from her on the plane on our flight from Dallas to Albuquerque.

When I realized that Dena had already published a book, I quizzed her about her journey to publication. [Sorry, Dena!] But we also shared our Texas connection–Dena lives in Granbury, just down the road from where we lived in Burleson and Fort Worth.

Support other writers. Now, I’m blessed to be connected to Dena through WordServe Literary Group, and we both contribute to their WordServe Water Cooler every month.

Wounded-Women-Of-The-Bible1I also had the privilege of writing an endorsement for Dena’s newest book, Wounded Women of the Bible. By the way, I would highly recommend it.

Here’s a little bit of information that Dena shared about herself, including some details about her new book and a link to her blog.

I’m a wife, mom, speaker, author of half a dozen books, and contributor to many more. I love encouraging hurting, harried women to find hope and healing in the arms of Jesus…and take themselves less seriously. My latest release is Wounded Women of the Bible: Finding Hope When Life Hurts, co-written with my dear friend Tina Samples. A few of my favorite things: date nights with my hilarious hubby, spending time with my two sons, and hanging out with girlfriends. I’m grateful for a loving heavenly Father, the blessings He so generously bestows, and His amazing grace. You can find out more about my writing/speaking/mentoring at

Showcase your own work. I hope you will check out my guest post on Dena’s blog soon. Here’s an excerpt from my article, “First, Do No Harm: Lessons in Life and Nature.” 

One morning, I noticed a doe hovering over her fawn in my backyard. I watched them from a distance, so I wouldn’t disturb their peace. During the hottest part of the day, the doe nudged her fawn into the bushes of the greenbelt that surrounds our home.

I peeked out the window several times that day, watching the twitching ears of the hidden fawn under the brush. Later that evening, I noticed the protective doe behind a sycamore tree, just a few feet away from her newborn spotted fawn. (read more)

Do you think it’s a good idea to submit guest post for other writers’ blogs? Why or why not?

The Juggling Act of Marketing While You Write

I learned a lot from the publication and release of my first book. Instead of dwelling on what I did wrong or inefficiently, I’m focusing on improving those areas when Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over releases in April, 2015 via Barbour Publishing.

Anita Brooks on Facebook

Mention Tiny Excerpts From Your Work in Progress

For instance, while writing my first release, if I had known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have held my enthusiasm back. I would have let my natural flow of excitement transfer into some of my Tweets, Facebook posts, LinkedIn shares, and Pinterest pins. I wouldn’t have sold to people, but would have offered a few teasers, a new sentence, a punchy line taken from my project, while I was writing it, getting people interested early. Word of mouth is still the best marketing vehicle around.

I would have blogged about the process more. (Something I just started doing on my Writing Wednesday posts.)

Anita Brooks on YouTube

Open Yourself Up to Audiences Through YouTube

I would have posted a few videos on YouTube about struggles, victories, disappointments, encouragements, life interruptions, cave-dwellings, along with other writing downs and ups. Adding more visual author media to marketing efforts enhances the experience for readers. This allows audiences to read tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language, as well as words.

I would have listened to Michael Hyatt’s fantastic audio series, Get Published!, while I was writing, not shortly after my book released. Then I would have acted on many of his insider suggestions.

While I juggle writing, marketing my current book, pre-release marketing for my new one, family, friends, speaking, coaching, and the occasional unexpected crisis, I’m also celebrating a few things I did right on the first go around.

Michael Hyatt's Get Published

I Highly Suggest This Audio Series for Publishing and Marketing

I made new connections, and built some solid and life-long relationships with people who can benefit my writing career, but more importantly, are now my friends. We help each other, encourage, pray, and genuinely care about what happens to each other, more than we care about what happens with our careers.

I proved myself capable as a professional writer and marketer. Building credibility and practicing integrity at the foundation of your career provides a solid footing to propel you forward as you move ahead with new books, articles, and posts. I see myself as a slow and steady author, who will win the race through consistency and solid growth. I’d rather experience longevity, versus a fast start that sputters in a flash.

I made some marketing mistakes, but didn’t let them become catalysts for giving up. Instead, I evaluated where things fell apart, and used those insights to make informed decisions and new plans. Some things I need to cut out completely, but most only require a few tweaks, and my updated marketing plans will prove more profitable.

God Can Do the ImpossibleBelieve God. But the most powerful thing I did right the first time, and am continuing to do now, is this: I am not leaning on my own understanding. Instead, I am asking God where to invest my talents. Who are the readers? Where should I market? What is the best use of my energy? When should I time marketing efforts? How should I balance the juggling act of marketing while I write?

In the end, none of us knows the perfect marketing plan. But, those who succeed exhibit similar qualities. Guts, consistency, resolve, humility, a teachable spirit, listening ears, watching eyes, and a quitting-is-not-an-option determination. No matter how much juggling is required.

What do you know now that you didn’t know before about marketing?

Anita Brooks Getting Through What You Can't Get Over

Releasing on Amazon and at major bookstores in April, 2015.

Anita Agers-Brooks is an international speaker, Business and Inspirational Coach, Communications Specialist, Certified Personality Trainer, and Certified Training Facilitator. In addition, Anita is the author of, First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market. Her latest book, Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over, releases through Barbour Publishing in April, 2015.

Anita also co-hosts a weekly podcast, Engaging Life and Leadership with Darren Dake, available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcast platforms.

She’s a partner in The Zenith Zone, a business consulting firm. Member of the National Association of Professional Women, Christian Writer’s Guild, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and Toastmasters. A graduate of CLASSeminars for Leaders, Speakers, and Authors, a co-founder of The StoryWriting Studio, and speaker on circuit for Stonecroft International Ministries.

Anita is passionate about work with integrity, healthy relationships, healing hurts, and issues of identity. She travels the country teaching others from her personal experiences and research. She believes it’s never too late for a fresh start with fresh faith.

Follow her FreshFaith blog You may contact her via website or email

American Christian Fiction Writers Conference

keyboard- by Mary May Larmoyeux -

The 2014 American Christian Fiction Writers Conference (ACFW) is almost here! It will be held on September 25-27 in St. Louis, Missouri. You can read all about it here:

Although I won’t be going this year, I have attended this conference in the past and it was outstanding!

And here’s some news. The 2015 ACFW Conference will be held in Dallas.

If your budget is a little limited like mine, you might want to consider ordering a flash drive with all of the conference sessions. Here’s the form for last year’s ACFW sessions:   online form for flash drive of the 2013 ACFW Conference

Post and photo copyright © 2014 by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.

Read More:

Why Should I Go to a Writer’s Conference

More Contests: Imagine Winning a Publishing Deal

I Wish I Could Google God

Karen Jordan:

I wanted to share this post with my StoryWriting Studio readers in case they missed it on the WordServe Water Cooler in June.

Originally posted on WordServe Water Cooler:

Photo/KarenJordanIf only I could “google” God for answers to life’s problems. Then, I could just type a question and get one right answer—the Truth.

As a writer, I don’t always come up with the best questions to ask to find the solutions I need. And at times, I don’t know what to pray when I’m burdened by life challenges.

So, I wish I could enter a word or phrase into my Internet search engine, trusting that God would grant me the exact direction I needed.

As I share in my family’s struggle with their painful issues, I don’t even pretend to know how to help them manage their lives. How can I intercede for someone else, when I don’t know how to pray about my own problems?

Many days, I can’t even express the concerns of my heart. But I’ve discovered some powerful promises in the Bible that help me navigate through the turbulent waters…

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