3 Ways to Conquer Fear in 2013

On Christmas Day, while most folks were enjoying a holiday meal with their families, I was glued to the television, watching the approach of a dangerous line of tornado-producing storms.

photo from 9wows.comI chewed my nails to the quick, clutched the flashlight to my chest, and made frequent trips to the window to check the deteriorating conditions.

By the time the sirens went off, I was nearly hysterical.

My fears overtook my sanity in a sweeping avalanche as I ordered my family into the hallway of our hotel to seek shelter.

We stepped into the empty passage and heard voices — in particular, the voice of an old woman across the hall reassuring relatives on the telephone that she was fine and the storm was no big deal.

When no one else emerged from their rooms, we returned to ours and watched as the tornadoes moved north and south of us, but left our area completely untouched. We never even lost power.

In retrospect, I realize my fears may have been slightly overdone.

Even in the areas where tornadoes did hit, no lives were lost because people heeded the warnings and sought safe shelter.

Was my fear completely unnecessary?

Look, fear is a natural reaction — it’s the brain’s way of keeping us out of trouble.

Fear should have motivated me to be prepared for the storm, but not to avoid my normal activities.

Instead, I wasted an entire day — *Christmas* Day! — ignoring my family so that I could memorize the Doppler radar movement and stalk my favorite storm chaser on Facebook (yes, I have a favorite storm chaser, there’s nothing wrong with that).

That’s not what fear is meant to do.

As Toni pointed out to me when I returned (accompanied by a dramatic eye roll) I got myself all worked up hours before the storms arrived even though there was absolutely nothing  I could do to stop the advancing weather.

Nothing.Continue Reading

Feel Like You’re Running in Place? 4 Simple Ways to Track Your Book Marketing Progress

progressBoy, time flies by.

Back in April, I brought my daughter home from the hospital. I’m not going to lie: I was scared out of my mind.

Would this fragile creature ever get any bigger? Could I figure out how to change messy diapers? WILL I EVER SLEEP AGAIN?!

Some days, I feel like we haven’t really made that much progress. After all, she’s still so little!

But, then I take out photos of Olivia as a newborn, squishy and tiny in my arms. Looking at those, I can’t help but think…

Wow.

In the eight months since that first scary night, she’s grown twice as big, I change diapers like a pro and we sleep eight hours a night. Now that’s progress! Continue Reading

The Surprises of Self-Publishing: How to Roll with it and Still Kick Booty

The following is a guest post by Cara Alwill Leyba.

To say self-publishing feels a bit like the Wild West would be an understatement. After the gut-wrenching, obsessive decision to independently publish your work (should I just wait? What if I find an agent that can sell this? Am I ruining my career?), the real work begins.

I thought I had it all planned out. I had dates. I had launch parties lined up. I had blog tours scheduled. I was extremely neurotic organized.

And then Amazon published my book a month early.Continue Reading

The 5 Key Personality Traits of Successful Indie Authors

http://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/3751544831/sizes/l/What does it take to be a successful indie author?

I’m not talking about things like a great cover, professional editing or a dedicated fanbase — I’m thinking more along the lines of the introspective, self-helppy (sure, that’s a word) qualities which set you up for success.

Looking at that self-helppy side of things, there’s plenty written about habits of successful people. You know, things such as being proactive, rarely complaining, focusing on solutions, creating success and never playing the blame game.

While those habits also sound like a pretty good recipe for self-publishing success, I want to tackle this subject in a different way — kind of like you would, as an author!

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Making the Time to Write, Blog, Do Social Media, Finish School and Be a Parent [Guest Post]

The following is a guest post by writer Yesenia Vargas.

It’s hard work being a writer these days.

You have to be on a gazillion social media platforms. And have a website. And keep them updated. Plus: the dishes are piling up, and you can’t remember the last time you worked out.

Now, try doing these things when you’re a parent and in college as well. The baby’s crying from her crib (even though her nap isn’t supposed to be over for thirty more minutes), and the ten-page paper due next week for your African Studies class isn’t even started (it was imperative you update your Facebook page!).

You haven’t even gotten to the writing part (or simply reading about your craft)!

How is the modern adult supposed to do it?

Your young days are over (if this doesn’t apply to you, sleep in while you can). You can’t pull all-nighters anymore!

While following strategies may not be the magical cure you’re looking for, they’ve helped me tremendously.

I’ve gone from barely being able to keep up with writing-related tasks (like blogging and social media) to finishing homework assignments, meeting my daily writing quota, keeping up with social media and working on the next blog post. Not to mention getting the baby and myself fed!

Continue Reading