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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. The ones that make us dissatisfied with what we have. And with the New Year, it is time to throw them back. 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. Don’t give anyone like this 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.

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.