Grazie, Gracias, Danke, Merci, Thank You

Becoming a finalist in the 2012 RWA® Golden Heart® contest is something I dreamed of achieving, yet never really thought I would. I feel so honored to be recognized by my peers, and I send out my congratulations to all of the finalists, and to the RITA nominees. Winning is lovely, but as I’ve said before, to be recognized is more than enough.

                   Thank you everyone for the wonderful congratulatory emails, messages on loops, and comments on social media sites. In addition, two of my favorite people honored me in their blog posts last week: huge thanks to authors, Jennifer Crusie: www.arghink and and Lynne Marshall:

It means so much to me, to experience this outpouring of love. Between congratulations from fellow writers, family, and friends, it has been an extremely busy week. Let us not even mention the GH Loop, or the requests to guest blog on other people’s blogs. Also, I’ve just learned that The Golden Network will soon be inviting us to join. Oy vay! There is so much to do. And I just started another romantic contemporary with a British flavor. I love the story and crave to shut the doors, go into my cave, and tap away at the keyboard.

There are so many times as a writer that we close ourselves off to the real world and sometimes even from our loved ones, while we pursue this ever fleeting dream. When we finish a manuscript and raise our head to look around for company, we can often find we’ve been forgotten. Maintaining balance between the writing and life, the day job, exercise, chores, family, pets, friends, and significant others, is indeed a juggling act. Then when we do publish we need to find ways to be “discovered.” There is promotion, marketing, maintaining a website and blog, social media, blog tours, remembering to give back to those who have extended a hand of friendship, and the writing of the next book.

It seems the only people who truly “get” us are other writers. But that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse and close ourselves off to life’s experiences. We have to engage in order to fill the well. We need to shed light on our body and recharge our brain with energy. We have to take time out to replenish ourselves and our experiences so that we have something to write about. We chose this dream but we can’t let it consume us. We have to hold it close, keep the vision always in our awareness, and move forward with company by our side.

This week I’ll be blogging at:

Wednesday, 4th April:

Thursday, 5th April:

Please stop by if you get a chance, but you don’t have to show up for all of them. I mean that is asking a lot! Thanks again, everyone. I love my company. Now tell me, if you are a creative person, how do you balance your life and your art?

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20 Responses to Grazie, Gracias, Danke, Merci, Thank You

  1. Nan says:

    So thrilled for you, Roben!!

    I don’t balance my life and my art very well and this is month is clear evidence of that fact. I’ve been so overwhelmed with work that I haven’t had a moment to do anything except edit and I want to write, but when? Seems like this happens, the editing gigs come in bunches and life has to stop while I earn my keep, then I can do the rest of my life when that’s done. Feels wrong, but I’m not sure how to fix it.

  2. Robena Grant says:

    I can imagine your stress, Nan. When the editing gigs come in I’d wager a bet that you’re also deep into your own writing at the time, and to have to put it aside so you can earn a living…that’s hard. At least when it’s a 9-5 job you can get some balance. Got no advice here, other than to edit in bursts and write in bursts. ; )

  3. Hi Robena!
    Spot on blog – as always. I remember hearing a speaker at a workshop I attended say that to write well you have to live well. She said our lives must be filled with rich experiences, travel, people, family, friends, shopping, museums, adventure, etc. In otherwords, we must do exactly the opposite (go outside and participate) of what we must do (isolate ourselves at the computer keyboard) in order to wrtie a good book.

    Made sense to me. If we don’t experience life, how can we write about it? Now, if I can only figure out how to find the balance…

    • Robena says:

      Oh, I like that Lynne: to write well, you have to live well. Very nice. And you are so right. Balance is the key.
      I especially love Barbara Samuel O’Neal’s work because she brings such richness to her stories. I know she has always been a traveller, a hiker, dog lover, and a foodie. She brings so much life to her stories. I want to be her when I grow up. ; )

      • I’ve got to get her RITA final – How to Bake a Perfect Life (I think that’s the title) but the dang e-book is as expensive as the print. that book is worth having in print though, as I suspect it will end up on my keeper shelf.

        • Robena Grant says:

          I will put HTBaPL with my stuff I’m bringing up for the 15th. You can return it later. I don’t think she’d mind a share. ; ) The one I’m waiting for is The Garden of Happy Endings. Out in a couple of weeks.

  4. Dee J. says:

    Hi Robena,

    You sure got that right. It’s a huge juggling act! One I’m not very good at yet, either. Still trying to figure out the balance. I hope I get there one day. LOL. Congrats to you on the GH final! So happy for you and proud of you, my friend!

    • Robena says:

      Thanks, D.J. And yeah, I’ve been so crazy this week I keep getting reminded of that old saying: Be careful what you wish for. Ha ha. I’m trying to compartmentalize my time. Putting it into blocks and trying to stay within them as far as time goes. I refuse to give up writing time. : )

  5. Balance? I don’t. I go in spurts. Lots of writing, then lots of life/family/love. I haven’t figured out how to even it all out, especially with the day job now. And marketing? Becoming “discoverable”? I’ve decided it’s not going to happen overnight – and I’m okay with that, lol!

    Great post as usual hon!

    • Robena says:

      I too am a bit of a spurt writer. Why does that sound dirty? Hee hee. Anyway, I have the discovery stage spurt where all I do is walk around talking to myself while doing research, then the writing spurt, then the revising spurt. I usually forget the submission spurt after about five rejections and go on to the next story. Must take a good hard look at that. That isn’t healthy. : )

  6. Skye says:

    I read something that said “true balance is not actually achievable.” Basically, you can’t have a bit of everything every day or every week and have it all balance out. People do things in chunks and cannot give equal chunks all the time, so you have to hope for a larger-scale balance, like making sure that by the end of the week you’ve had enough vegies even though you had none on Monday and Thursday. So your working in spurts is just how you do it and hopefully it balances out with your travel spurts or your going outside and doing things spurts, etc.

    I can’t wait for someone to publish your book so I can read it!!!! Because they will and I will. I know it.

    • Robena says:

      Thanks, Skye. I’m hoping it gets published too! : )

      Yes, I do understand what you’re saying and that maybe it’s okay to be a spurter or a chunker, and that somehow, if we’re taking care of all things in spurts and chunks, it will even out.

  7. Gina B. says:

    Roben, I’m so excited for you!!!

    Your post really hits home – I struggle to balance life and writing every day, and I’m so glad I’m in good company! It’s interesting how life seems to take away from the writing (at least as far as time), but add to it, as well. I haven’t quite figured out the balance. I try to set aside some time each morning M-F before work to write, so at least I have that little chunk, if nothing else. It’s definitely my sanity time!

    • Robena says:

      Thanks again, Gina. Nationals will be fun. : )
      I don’t know how you all do this with day jobs. But I do remember when Lynne Marshall was still working as an R.N. and she used to get up at 5am and do an hour before leaving for work. And Susan Squires does a lot of travel for her job and said she gets in writing time on planes. I guess where there is a will there is a way.

  8. Hi Robena – Huge Congrats! I don’t know how I missed this when the lists went out last week. I’m so happy for you.

    I’m still trying to find the balance myself. It was easier when all I had to focus on was juggling the writing around the kids. Now, like you said, there’s the blogging and social media and trying to revise one MS while working on another. I think I’ve kind of just accepted that I won’t find balance, but I’ll keep plugging along. 🙂

    • Robena Grant says:

      Oh, thanks Shannyn. I love your blog BTW.

      Plugging away, yes. So far we have spurts, chunks, juggling, bunches, balance, and plugging away. This writing gig sounds like a whole lot of fun. ; )

  9. I’m so, so excited for you, Roben!! 🙂 As usual, you’ve written a great post. I’m totally overwhelmed trying to balance everything. I always feel like I’m not doing enough – not visiting enough blogs, not writing enough new words, not revising, not cooking my family enough dinners, not venturing to have those experiences Lynne said are necessary to write a good book (she’s so right!). Ack! I need more hours in the day. My hubby recently reminded me that this (meaning my writing) is supposed to be fun and I should enjoy it, not stress about it. I took a deep breath and smiled because he’s so right. I can only do so much, and I don’t want to miss out on feeling happy because I’m so worried about keeping up with everything.

    So here’s to taking things one day at a time and enjoying the journey! 🙂

    (Can’t wait to give you a congratulatory hug in person!)

    • Robena Grant says:

      Thanks so much, Robin. It’s funny, you showed up here just as I was getting ready to send you an email. Hah. And I still will.

      Yes. The hubs is right. : ) We just do the best that we can and then call it a day and enjoy our loved ones. Writing has to be fun and we have to show up to our computer with some kind of wonder and joy, otherwise why do it?

  10. This is so great. Can’t wait to check out both of your guest blogs.

  11. Robena Grant says:

    Hi, Judy. Thanks for coming by. Hope to catch up with you on tomorrow’s guest blog post at the ChickLitWriters.