On Wednesday I attended a book fair at our local community college to represent and sell my books.
I have to tell you that as a writer, these experiences are the worst and the best. The worst being the preparation (packing, finding everything, schlepping it all over there) and then sitting there hoping people will stop at my table. Many people hurry by, averting their eyes, or smiling apologetically, making me feel like a sleezy salesman pushing overpriced, cheap products.
I feel awkward, uncomfortable, ridiculous, and I pretty much always tell myself I’m never doing this again. The handful of sales I’ll make are never worth the time and torture. And really, why do I have to do it? Will it make any difference in the big scheme of things? Will it make or break my ‘success’ as a writer? Probably definitely not.
But then there are moments that remind me of the best part of writing. A little girl, probably 10 or 11, appeared in front of my table with twinkly eyes and a shy smile. “I found you!” she said.
Thanks to the pandemic, though, it feels like any other day. There is no launch party, no celebratory signing, no champagne with friends even.
I’m planning a Facebook LIVE at lunchtime on my writer page, but I’m certain it will feel as lonely as every other LIVE I’ve done—talking into the abyss and wondering when I finish if I’ve connected with anyone.
Releasing a second book during this ‘unprecedented time’ feels like the final nail in the coffin of my dream to ever make-it-as-an-author. I had such high hopes for this year. I thought it was the year that I would ‘arrive.’ The less-than of every moment leading up to this book feels unfair and personal, as if God doesn’t think I can take a hint.
These are the thoughts spinning through my selfish mind. But then my heart says, “Get over yourself; this isn’t about you. It never was.”
On the mind vs heart equation, I usually operate at about a 40-60 ratio, but I think I’ve finally realized that if I want to be happy—really happy—in my life, I need to get to a 20-80 or even a 10-90 on the mind v heart battle.
So, shoving aside all the business and planning and success factors of my writing career, I’m overjoyed that Blind Turn is out in the world. It’s a book I have poured so much into and a book that has saved me again and again. Not only did it land me both of my agents, it has pulled me back into the fight again and again when I’ve all but given up and gone to work at Walmart.
Blind Turn is a story that sums up my own philosophies about life—everyone deserves a second chance and no one is irredeemable; we need to be present in all the moments of our life and conscious of the fact that any single moment can change everything; and more than anything, real love requires forgiveness on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis.
Those might be the three tenets of my life. And there they are in this story. I never set out to write a story about any of those things, though. I simply dreamed up a few characters, tossed them into a situation that scared the heck out of me, and wrote through what happened.
And as I wrote, my heart spoke its truth, sometimes surprising me on the page.
Blind Turn isn’t a classic or a parable or even literary fiction. It likely won’t find its way onto a bestseller list since it is coming out with an independent press few people have likely heard of, but it’s finally real. It’s loose in the world, my heart’s message to the masses.
Incredible thanks to the people who have always believed in this book, and in doing so believed in my heart, and in my mind’s ability to tell a story worth reading.
Hey, thanks for reading. I know you’ve got lots of options, so thanks for sharing a few of your minutes with me.
Blind Turn is a mother-daughter story of forgiveness in the aftermath of a fatal texting and driving accident. Learn more about it and read a few early reviews here.
If you’re curious about what else I’m up to, check out my website, CaraWrites.com.
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My book, 100 Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues was released this past July from Pegasus books and is available anywhere books are sold, but if you’d like some help finding it (or want to read some lovely reviews), click here.
This was the first year in five years that I didn’t have a new book released.
(And yes, it does feel kind of surreal to say something like that and yes, I am one lucky writer and no, I am certainly not complaining. My cup and saucer runneth over.)
2019 was a year of growth and pain and frustration for me in terms of writing, and maybe in terms of life, but that’s for another post.
It wasn’t that I wasn’t writing. Oh, I was writing. Working like a little devil. I had a book contract for 100 Dogs & Counting and the manuscript was due December 1 and will be published July 2020, so the work has only just begun.