Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Last Five Years

by Julie Coulter Bellon

I sort of wish there had been some sort of futuristic time capsule of the blog, or famous future sayings by each of the bloggers that we could pull out today. Perhaps, something like this:

Jeff: You should definitely listen to me more, and I’ll tell you how it’s done. My character bible classes are going to be popular and I’ll let you be first in line.

Rob: Those dang Canadians.

Stephanie: I’m going to make you think I’m a sci-fi writer and then stun you and become a creepy mystery writer. No one will see it coming! Bwahaha!

Kerry: Believe in yourself! You can do it!

Sariah: They weren’t sheep! They were birds!

I don’t know what mine would be. Probably, it’s Thursday so I have to blog. I don’t want to ruin my perfect record of making sure there’s a blog every Thursday.

But seriously, it’s been really fun to go back and read some of my first blogs here. It’s so hard to believe it’s been five years. Five years ago in March I was awaiting the release of my third fiction novel with Spring Creek books and my first non-fiction book later that summer and I was blogging about finding time to be a writer with six kids. Crazy! Now, here I am, five years later, I publish with Covenant and have two more books under my belt, and oddly enough, I also have two more children, so I’m finding time to write with eight kids. Wow!

If I could go back in time, knowing what I do now, and give myself some advice about things I’ve learned since then, it would be this:

First, enjoy all the little moments more. Savor them. When that box of books arrives, take a moment to hold your novel that you’ve worked so hard on, and then grab a pen and write down everything you’re feeling in that moment. Someone, (I forget who, sorry!) told me once to write it in the front cover of one of your books so you’ll always remember that feeling.

Second, don’t stress so much. The books will get written. The editor will answer your email. The dinner will get made. The kids will keep growing. Adding stress and worry doesn’t do a thing for you.

Third, let people get to know the real you more. Be less of a hermit. Laugh and have fun with your friends, especially your writer friends. It adds such a richness to the writing experience.

Fourth, don’t be afraid to stand firm about what is important to you. Editors and publishing houses are more flexible than you think. You won’t regret it.

The last five years have been such a great ride for me. Like riding a unicycle on a tiny balance beam ledge. I found my groove and lost it. I wrote horrible limericks, crazy fanfiction, and silly short stories so I could laugh with my friends over them. I’ve written characters I loved and hated. I’ve changed publishers, editors, and jobs. I’ve presented in conferences, classes, book clubs, and libraries, and I’ve met so many wonderful people who have become friends. It’s been a journey, on a twisty, turny, road filled with both dark and sunshine, but it’s been one I can look back on and say I’m glad I took it.

I’m so grateful to be part of this blog. I’ve looked up to all of these bloggers for years, and count myself lucky to be a part of this group. What a great five years it’s been and here’s to another five.


At 3/31/2011 10:56 PM, Blogger David G. Woolley said...

I see a really good "canadien" novel in these eight kids. Cheaper by the...? Just four to go Julie.

At 4/01/2011 12:01 AM, Blogger Taffy said...

Thanks for the tips, Julie! It's been fun and educational reading everyone's posts!

At 4/01/2011 12:42 AM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

One thing I've learned over the past five years: Julie Bellon is Wonder Woman. Seriously. I've seen the cape.

At 4/01/2011 2:14 AM, Blogger David G. Woolley said...

I've seen it too, Stephanie. Hanging in the BYU museum of art. Second floor, superhero collection. Its a masterpiece.

At 4/01/2011 11:15 AM, Blogger Debra Erfert said...

I love the smell of a new book. I'll love it more if it was written by me. (grins) The first thing I'd do is hold it up to my face and take a deep breath. I'll have a pen in my hand, and I'll do what you suggested and write down my feelings at that moment, although it goes against my grain to write in a book. I didn't even take notes on the pages of my college books.

At 4/01/2011 7:07 PM, Blogger Jennie said...

Julie, Congratulations on five years of great accomplishments. Your wrap up kind of reminds me of my five year anniversary as a cancer survivor. There was so much in that five years to be grateful I didn't miss. It's good to have an anniversary every once in awhile to measure the progress we've made. You've done really well!


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