After recording this podcast for 24 episodes, I think it’s time to tell you Laurie’s Origin Story! Yes, I just referred to myself in the third person…
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Like many other writers, it started many many years ago, when I was teaching kindergarten and I noticed as the years went on that more and more kids were struggling with their self-esteem and with feeling like they weren’t capable. When I talk to teachers, I say it’s the learned helplessness syndrome, and I always get a LOT of head nods.
Kids are not used to being expected to solve their own problems day to day, every day, small problems. And so they arrive at school at four or five years old, assuming that they are not able to solve these problems.
I was inspired to give kids language to help boost their positive self-talk for these everyday childhood moments. And I also wanted to help parents figure out how they could help their kids.
So here I was with what I thought was a fantastic and needed story. I went home one day after work and wrote it all out and then had no idea what to do. I had no knowledge of how a person gets a story published. All I knew was that picture book needed pictures.
I racked my brain to think of who I knew that could draw. I sent my friend an unsolicited manuscript (BAD LAURIE!) to ask if she was interested in illustrating it for me.
Now don’t be mad at her that she didn’t want to. I’m not mad. We’re still friends. I really don’t think it would have gone well if we had tried to work together, either. She wrote me back and said it wasn’t right for her, which was totally fine and valid and in the end a really smart move for her, to avoid that friendship trap.
Naturally though, because she was the only one that I had shown the book manuscript to, I assumed it was GARBAGE. (cue the heartbreak)
I filed it away in my computer. I didn’t look at it again for years. Life carried on, I got married and had three kids.
I was lucky because I had the choice of whether or not I would stay home with them. I decided to resign from the school board which was a tough decision! I became a stay at home mom, and I guess I technically still am.
I had been a stay at home mom for eight years and I used to joke more and more often as the years went on that I really felt like being at home was best for the kids but not best for me. (which I realize now was not a funny joke at all, but I share it here because I know there’s a lot of you out there who feel the same way that I felt!)
Of course I love my kids, but I wasn’t being fulfilled creatively or intellectually. I felt like my brain was leaking out my ears some days. At the time though, I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I was rolling with the punches, in the passenger seat of my life, you know, ups and downs and bumps and priding myself on being flexible for the ride. I guess that is motherhood with young children.
I spent my time trying to fulfill myself creatively by dabbling in a variety of things.
I took a painting course with my best friend and painted for awhile. #Spoiler alert I don’t do my own art because I can’t draw! I can’t really paint well either, but it was fun.
For awhile I thought about doing a soap company with my best friend who went to a workshop with me one Saturday and it was really fun and fairly easy and it seems like a great idea at the time! Notice that I have this common and partner in crime…. and no soap making business.
I watched youtube tutorials and learned how to make hair bows for my daughter because I thought it was easy and then I wouldn’t have to buy them. Sure I ‘could’ do it myself, but they were very globby with the hot glue tendrils all over the place, and it turns out my daughter hates hair pretties!! That fell by the wayside as well.
The last thing I did before writing was I had a direct sales company for over a year and I actually really liked that and it taught me a lot about the new and improved opportunities that are online, that I had been completely unaware of.
This is a good time to pause and to share with you a little blurb of information from Angela who is a writer. Angela’s feelings so closely mirror my own from years ago. I wanted to share with everybody that it’s not just you, you know, it’s not just you that has drawers full of manuscripts and, um, apps on your phone full of book ideas and no idea how to move forward. And you’re not the only one who questions whether or not you should.
Angela is hoping to publish a children’s book and is feeling quite vulnerable, which surprised her. After signing up she felt really great. She was so excited she was waking up in the early mornings with lots of ideas!
After staring the course she began to feel really nervous about sharing her ideas and feeling like they weren’t that exciting.
She is excited and nervous about finding the right illustrator and especially excited about bringing her dream to reality.
She’s always thought about writing books and up until about a year and a half ago, she was thinking about a children’s book based on her experience in the school where she works. She’s also bringing her dogs to school every day and they’re her main characters!
She is excited to finally put this story into action because she didn’t know where to start, or even the difference between self-publishing and mainstream publishing.
Thank you so much Angela for being brave enough to share that. I actually asked quite a few people to share with me their feelings about how they were feeling right now before publishing a book. And uh, I appreciate people who are brave enough to put their voice out there and to share those feelings of vulnerability and insecurities and I can assure everybody that book idea is fantastic and, and she’s going to do just fine. Now, Angela referenced a course, so this is kind of a side note. She referenced a course that I’m currently running.
It’s called Profitable Picture Books, How to Self-Publish a Children’s Book, but don’t get too excited about it because I’m opening it, at the end of June. But only for teachers. You have to be a teacher to work with me during the summer. And so for everybody who’s not a teacher, you’re going to have to wait until the fall. So don’t get too excited. But I will link the information to the course below in case you just want to check it out to see what she’s talking about.
Okay. So let’s continue on with my story.
A few years ago I joined an online group that was all about getting your Mojo back as a Mama, which is what I felt I needed. Exactly. And working in that small groove with people in a similar situation helped me begin, you know, the seating change from the passenger seat into the driver’s seat in my life
The lady who runs these fabulous courses is called the Mojo Mama. And you can find her over at Instagram and I highly recommend that you do because she’s amazingly motivational. So it was while I was working with these Mommas, these other mamas that I finally got up the guts to share about the book I’d written and kept secret for so long. And they were very encouraging. They were motivating. And you know, they gave me just the right amount of love and a kick in the butt to, to take a chance finally on myself and on my story. So it was at that point, both three years ago, I did the research and learned, you know, how you get traditionally published and as it turns out, it’s not the straight road to fame and fortune as so many people think it is and they don’t just come knocking on your door after you’ve written a book.
Then I learned about self-publishing, which up until then I didn’t even know was a thing. The information that I learned about it was mind blowing and life changing because it turned out I didn’t have to wait two or three years from my book to be published. Remember I had sat on this book idea for 10 years already. And at this point after having made the decision to get it out there in the world, to take this chance on myself, I didn’t want to wait even a minute longer than I had to!
At that point I found an illustrator which was one of the main things that had held me up for years because remember I can’t draw, and I can’t paint either!
I found someone who could do the illustrations and I ran a crowdfunding campaign to pay for her and then lickety-split! I had my book published within five months.
(If you are interested in running a crowdfunding campaign, leave me a comment under this and I will decide if there’s enough interest that I’ll do a podcast episode about Kickstarter and gofundme’s and Indiegogo’s. If you are interested in hearing more about these crowdfunding campaigns write some questions. I know someone who’s an expert in crowdfunding and I will see if I can sweet talk her into coming on the podcast with me to answer some of your questions. But only if people are interested in what more information.
Let’s hear from one more writer at the beginning of her publishing journey:
Like many other people, I’ve had story ideas and even full stories rattling around in my head. Jot It on scraps of paper and written into full manuscripts, but I always got stuck at the same place. What do I do next I didn’t know how to get from ideas to a finished product. Then the wonderful world of self-publishing came on my radar and now I feel so energized by all the possibilities. Sure. It’s a bit overwhelming to learn a whole new business model and to create an outstanding story, but I love that I get to be in charge of my writing career and not spin my wheels hoping for a big break in the traditional publishing world. Yes, I’m having to dig deep for the courage to share my writing, become comfortable with my insecurities about trying something new and overcome a fair bit of overwhelm, but I am loving this journey. This path has already been tremendously rewarding and it feels wonderful to see my stories come to life.
I’m going to end episode number 25 of The Writer’s Way podcast here, if you’re already feeling like you can identify with my story and you resonate with the words of our friends who shared today, maybe you’re ready to take the next step. Maybe you’re ready to decide if it’s time to ditch your doubt about your story.
Is it ready to come out of the drawer? Is it ready to be brought to life?!
Head to creativewrighter.com and take the ditch your doubt course, but because you’re my special friends and you’ve listened to this fabulous podcast that I’ve done for you today, make sure to use the 50% off coupon, which is simply the word ready. As in I’m ready to ditch my doubt.
Ready for the next episode? Click here!