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When Life gives you Lemons

Throw them back overhand and with force. We all have those lemons in our life that keep us from writing to our maximum potential. Producing to our maximum potential. Having the career we want.

Most often, we think the things holding us back are family. Children, parents, spouses, pets. May I say emphatically they are not the lemons I’m speaking of. Well, not until they get on your last nerve. When that happens, I suggest taking a long soak in the tub with a book rather than throwing said family member overhand and with force.

No, the lemons I’m speaking of are the ones society throws at us. Or that we throw at ourselves. And with the New Year, it is time to throw them back. To reclaim our lives. To live in what Michael Hauge calls “living in our essence.”

So, in no particular order, may I suggest some lemons to toss back.

1 – There is only one Nora Roberts, Agatha Christie, James Patterson, or whoever you aim to have a career just like theirs. Since there is only one – get over it. You may be as successful, but everyone’s life, and career, is their own. Be the best writer you can be and have the best career for you.

2 – Maybe 2017 or 2018 wasn’t/isn’t the year for you to break into mega-stardom, NYT best seller list, whatever. Maybe these are the years your baby goes to kindergarten, or the last years your parent or spouse remembers your name. Savor them. Bestsellerdom will always be there. Life changes.

3 – Maybe, while the “conventional wisdom” says you should get 4 books out in 2018, all you can manage is one book. Or one novella. Make it the best it can be and enjoy whatever writing time you can eke out. You’re ahead of 99.999% of the people on the planet, who aren’t writing at all.

4 – Guilt. Whether it’s brought on by relatives who want to know when you’re going to be published by a “real” publisher instead of indie publishing, or a writers’ group mate who sadly shakes her head at the number of books you’ve published, remember this is your life and your career and not theirs. Your relatives are jealous because you are a writer, even though they won’t admit it. The writer’s group so-called friend could be jealous of the quality of your prose. Don’t give a guilt tripper space inside your head.

5 – Worrying about the dirty dishes or the dust bunnies under the bed during your writing time. If it bothers you that much, delegate. Children can be trained, bribed, or threatened. Maid services can be hired. If anyone wants to know what to give you for a holiday, they can run the vacuum cleaner and dust for a week.

6 – Worrying about your writing when you’re spending time with loved ones. Focus on the people you’re with, because they will grow up or grow old. Worrying about your writing and plot holes is best done while folding laundry or running the vacuum cleaner, unless you are doing chores with someone you love. In that case, I’m jealous.

7 – Enjoy this glorious New Year and your loved ones and your writing career right where it is, and you won’t have lemons to hurl back at guilt or conventional wisdom. Here’s to a lemon free 2018.

Kate Parker is the author of the Deadly Series, including Deadly Fashion, out January 11, 2018, and the Victorian Bookshop Mysteries. She is well-practiced at lobbing lemons, mostly at herself.

24 responses to “When Life gives you Lemons”

  1. PennyH says:

    All excellent thoughts. Very balanced. Thanks for the great reminders. 😀

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  2. I love the gift idea. Keeping that one in my back pocket. As for the others, you’re right on there too. I don’t worry as much about the time I have to write anymore. Doing so causes stress and stress make my muse take a trip. I found it’s much better to enjoy the day doing what I need to handle and be happy with any thoughts about my work.

    Great list of advice, Kate!

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  3. Julia Day says:

    Thanks, Kate. I needed this today.

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  4. Tamara Hogan says:

    Here’s our beloved sister Kate, throwing some zesty, lemon-flavored truth bombs. BRAVA.

    Kate is wise. Listen to Kate.

    If I could wish one thing for each of us, it would be that we happily and confidently work in a creative space where we don’t compare ourselves to others. And honestly? The older I get, the easier this becomes. 🙂

    Happy New Year, Kate! Hurl those lemons with glee.

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  5. Kate, thank you for writing the post I needed to read to start off the new year. 😉 Beautifully stated.

    Happy 2018, everyone! Wishing you all health and happiness…

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  6. I’m lucky that I never feel my family is holding me back – but that also means I have no one to blame but myself if I don’t live up to my potential! 😀 I’m going to do my best this year to live in the moment I’m in, be productive, but also put less stress on myself to be successful NOW. Marathon, not a sprint, baby. Things happen in their own time.

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  7. Addison Fox says:

    Oh Kate – what a wonderful post!!! I love this. Wishing you a very happy, lemon-free 2018!!!

    xo,
    Addison

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  8. Jennifer Bray-Weber says:

    Thank you, Kate! I am at that stage in my life where my teen will be out of the house soon, my youngest still believes in Santa, and my parents are in their golden years. I need to savor my time with them all. Thanks so much for this eyeopening reminder.

    Jenn!

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  9. Kay Hudson says:

    Great advice, Kate!

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  10. Darynda Jones says:

    Love this, Kate! Happy New Year. May it be smooth and fulfilling. And lemon-free. <3

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  11. What a great post, thank you, Kate.

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  12. Cynthia Huscroft says:

    Wonderful words and thoughts for the New Year…particularly for one who is on the verge of disappointing herself.

    Thank you for the reminder of the important “stuff”…it’s not fluff but the fabric our lives are woven from. Once those quilt pieces fade, their original colors will never be as brilliant in our memories as the were in the moment.

    Beautiful and insightful post, Kate. Thank you!

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  13. Lille says:

    Thank you Kate. I love your no-nonsense, straightforward approach. This is something I need to hear as a new person to this world. The WWF is just the thing I need to get my keester in the chair and resume and finish my project. Thanks for helping me with the many lemons I need to toss back.

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