Tuesday, June 2, 2015

What a beautiful morning. The sun is shining, the hummingbirds are staging their aerial battles, and the cats are sleeping peacefully in their respective spots. In April of last year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and have had my last treatment of the series. I am grateful for my family and the many people I met in social media who have helped my journey.During the process, I began to read incessantly, a pastime that has always helped me over rough spots in my life.

We all have rough spots...loss of a loved one, financial woes, the daily aggravations, etc. Finding a diversion to make the road a little less bumpy is a positive thing and for me, that has always been writing and music. They go hand in hand and I couldn't have one without the other. Finding a favorite book and treasured family tapes with me and my father singing began my 'diversion program'. Then one day I discovered an ad on my news feed for a book on Amazon, and I was fascinated. A new world opened and being slightly OCD, my list of 'books to read' grew at an alarming rate. Imagining myself in a bookstore sitting in a comfy chair in front of a fire with a bottle of wine became my 'go to' when I was low. 

Over the last year, I have met, through social media, some incredible people, mostly writers. There is a unique camaraderie among these people, one that comes from a common goal...to be a success at what you love best. And for the most part, all of the fascinating people have been gracious, funny, and quite willing to share stories, posts, and advice. The one thing that I've learned (and I'm still learning), is how to navigate the waters in this competitive endeavor. Finding myself stepping on toes without being aware led to watching carefully what those I admire were doing. They would promote their work while at the same time, give others the same respect. Sharing posts for their friends, being on street teams, posting on blogs, tweets on twitter (that always makes me smile), and buying their books were all positive reinforcements. 

At the same time, however, there were often injurious comments, purposely negative reviews on Amazon and other platforms, and 'pimping' one's book during a takeover event or in the middle of another writer's moment to shine. I can understand the need to succeed. There are so many writers out there who want to be successful prize-winning authors, but to demean another only diminishes you. If your heart is in the right place and you are talented, with perseverance and patience and friends to help, your success will come. It takes work to be accomplished, no matter what field you pursue, and believe me, the respect of your peers is most important. All the work, the countless hours and days and months won't mean anything if you're sitting at the top of your game alone. 

Being a music teacher and professional singer for most of my career, I found other musicians who had the knack for making comrades feel treasured, no matter their level of talent, and I have found the same among writers . This makes my heart glad. The world is a difficult place and life is short and these people are the ones I will remember....for their writing as well as their heart.