Reasons I Shouldn’t Self-Publish

My writing and publishing journey has been an incredible learning curve. Even after everything I’ve learned…I feel like I’m about to fall into the ocean of things I don’t know.

However, after years of writing, editing, hitting send, receiving great rejection letters, and an eight-month period of working with an editor from Harlequin Historical, I owe it to myself to see this project through. And then, the gremlin rears it’s ugly head and speaks.

For those of you who don’t know the gremlin, you need to become closely acquainted with it in order to call out the bullshit it feeds you. This is what my gremlin has been feeding me of late and the way I shut it down.

I’m too old – I’m settled in my career as a teacher. I’m a mom. I’m in my 40s…the time to start something new has passed. The time to start from nothing has passed. Then, while listening to Rachel Hollis’ Girl, Stop Apologizing, I heard the Chinese proverb:

The best time to plant a tree is twenty-years ago. The second-best time is today.

Right?!? Considering I plan on living well into my 90s, I obviously have oodles of time to get this second career started. Also, what lesson am I teaching my children if I give up on my dreams because of my age? It’s not like I’ve wasted my time. I’ve built an incredible career as a teacher. I’ve created a wonderful home with my husband in order to give our children a wondrous life full of love. I have become a yoga instructor, an IB teacher, a blogger, a mother…my time has not been wasted. It has been used to build and create awesome things and humans. And, now, I will use my energy to build myself as an author of historical romance novels.

I don’t know what I’m doing – nope. I don’t. But, I’m learning. And, the universe responded to my complete ignorance with a post by a Torontonian romance writer where she outlined how to self-publish, step-by-step. I kid you not. So, I’m following her outline and I’ve hit my first snag…and I will prevail and continue.

My book has sex in it…what the hell am I thinking? Every scene is classy, dignified and oh, so romantic. It is between consenting adults whom are deeply in-love. I will publish under a pen-name. I am not ashamed of what I’ve created. I’m so proud of the years of hard work, of research, of editing – all during nap times…and when those disappeared…after bed time or early in the morning…sacrificing my sleep and time in order to bring my dream to fruition while still being a wife and mom. I’m thinking that I’ve written a beautiful love story and it deserves to be published.

This is too overwhelming – I think I’m more afraid of success than I am of failure. What if it all works out? How will I manage a home, kids, husband, teaching, and a side-hustle?!? In my mind, this will work out. I have so much faith in this book, in this series, that I know it will succeed. And, when I dig into my faith, I have no choice but to keep going because the excitement drowns out the overwhelm.

The gremlin can be loud. My belief in what I’ve written and my abilities is louder. The publishing of my book will occur in the same way it was written. Slowly. Without hurry. With love and commitment. And, one day soon, I will start to post all about the book itself and where it can be purchased.

In the meantime, visit my Alter Ego page or her website: carynemme.net

Do you have a dream your gremlins try to talk you out of? Would love to hear all about it!!!

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6 Things I’ve Learned About Motherhood

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#6. The laundry.

Oh, the laundry! If you’re just starting your family, invest in the best & largest washer/dryer set your budget allows. Stock up on your favourite brand of stain remover and be prepared to rewash a load which has been sitting in the washer for a few days or wear wrinkled clothes that never quite made it to the hanger because life.

#5. Your Calendar will never be your own again.

Play dates, birthday parties, dentist, doctor, eye doctor, practices, rehearsals, games, recitals. Curriculum nights. Due dates. Is it library or gym day today? Book orders, fundraisers, spirit days, food drives. Pizza orders, milk orders, lunch pails orders because making lunches is the bane of my existence (I wonder if that should be it’s own category?)

#4. You will shop incessantly, except not for yourself.

Because growing bodies need new clothes for every bloody season. Shoes can’t be so big they’re a danger to everyone or so small they’re outgrown in a month. You must analyze weather patterns, predictions for how cold or warm fall/winter or spring/summer will be and then say “f*%! it!” and buy whatever they’ll wear anyway because who has time for arguments about clothes in the morning. Regardless if you go thrift, mall, online, discount stores…you will shop. For them. (And don’t even get me started on gear for sports which need to be purchased months in advanced because by the time the sport is in season, every store everywhere will have every size available except the one which fits your child).

#3. The hostile take-over of your home.

Everywhere you turn there will be evidence of the people you created. And, I don’t mean the play pen, high chair, bouncy chair kind of take over because you decide where those actually go. I mean the toys. The toys! In every corner. And you may swear you will never spoil your child with toys, but everyone else will. And, of course, you will too. Regardless of how many times you sing the damn clean up song, or swear to throw it all away each time your foot is impaled by a sharp object in the middle of the night, or create a game or rewards chart or simply threaten the entire household…the toys will take over your home. (Add to that every single piece of paper they scribble on at school; the problem exponentially grows before your very eyes).

#2. The energy it all takes.

Motherhood is a continuous ebbing and needling and prodding for attention. Everyone needs something. So it’s important to put your energy where it matters.

Weaning them off needing you takes work, too: “You can pour your own cup of milk” “Try the step stool” “Did you check the dishwasher?” “The milk may have been pushed to the back of the fridge” “There’s more paper towels in the storage room downstairs”.

One thing to remember is that every battle doesn’t need to be fought: yes, you may wear a t-shirt and shorts to school on the first cold day of autumn because the cold will get you into warmer clothes faster than I ever can.

Everyone needs something. All the time. And while daddy is sitting right next to them, willing to address their needs, mommy is always the first resource. Even on the good days, the energy required to mother two children, maintain a home and a career is almost miraculous. Never mind this ambitious endeavour of writing on the side.

#1. Self-Care is paramount.

I always loved going to the gym and having “me” time…who doesn’t? I didn’t realize that it would become vital to my very survival. Making time for myself is the only way to keep from breaking down. I do that by (in)consistent yoga practice, (not so) daily meditation and writing, sprinkled with a few outings with dear friends when I can get away. I can feel my entire being rebelling when I haven’t spent the time on my mat, at my keyboard or chatting away with someone I love who is not a part of my family. It’s easy to be swept up in the feeling of being needed by your family, of being indispensable to them…but one day, they will be their own independent people (because that’s the goal, right?) and I want to still have something that’s mine, that can’t be taken away when they’re continuing their journey without my everyday care & guidance.

I think I could write on this topic forever because with motherhood the learning curve has been steep…and, oh so worth it. After all, I wouldn’t be the woman I am without my two and I have to admit, I kinda like her.

Any lessons you’ve learned you’d care to impart? How do you self-care in order to keep going?

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Get Messy, Be Unmessable #YogaLessons

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Hearing the words “get messy”, followed closely by “be unmessable” when I started practicing yoga made the English teacher in me raise a brow…oxymoron much?

Get messy.  It implies disorder, inefficiency, chaos. Everything which makes me cringe. I like order, calendars, ticking off boxes. Getting messy wasn’t what I was about. Little did I know, it was exactly what I needed.

It wasn’t until I embraced Get Messy and allowed myself to Get Messy did I see just how Unmessy it made me.

The freedom to allow myself to try, to learn to recognize fear of falling and failing (something I still struggle with on and off my mat), to look like a complete fool because the pose is completely wrong brings with it the promise of peace. Of quiet. Of telling every outer and especially inner critic to gth because I’ve got this.

Getting messy helped me tap into my confidence, my sense of certainty that regardless of how messy life can get or I get as I navigate it, I am okay. And, therefore, I can be unmessable.

When I accepted a position as a Guidance Counsellor, an area of teaching I had tried so many times to get into, I almost talked myself out of it because of the visibility of the position within my school. I was afraid that my mistakes would be known by all. I might have to do presentations to staff (something I find terrifying…yes, I’m a teacher…I know). I could make a decision which others would disagree with or an oversight could affect a student’s academic pathway. My reasons were endless. But, I also knew I couldn’t let the opportunity to learn something new, to stretch myself as a teacher pass me by. Well, I made (and am still making) mistakes. I asked (and keep asking) a lot of questions. I presented to staff and a group of parents…and, I survived. I gave myself room to be messy and in the process became un-mesa-ble. (see what I did there?)

Yoga practice offers insight about who I am and how I live my life almost every time I hit my mat. The nuggets of understanding are invaluable. But, this one…becoming messy and un-mesa-ble at the same time has enabled me to bring to fruition my biggest dream: to author a novel.

After two years of assessing my life on and off my mat, I can confidently advise anyone who is feeling off course, to get messy and become unmessable. Fearlessly embrace who you are, what you want to do, and then don’t let anyone stop you from doing it…especially, yourself.

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Writing Time

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I am not a best-selling author.  I am a mother of two.  I am a wife.  I am an English teacher. And, I am also a writer.  I love writing.  I love blogging and lately I have had to literally scrape together minutes of writing.  I have had to carve and beg and steal time to put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard).

I can’t be ruthless about protecting writing days – because in my world a day devoted to writing is a fantasy.  But I can be ruthless about protecting those precious twenty minutes I told myself I would use to write.

Writing is my happy place.  It nourishes my soul and revives me.  It gives me a little bit of space where I can be me.  I do something that is just for me without the tug of all the people in my life who incessantly need a piece of me.

It is my selfish, unapologetic, self-indulgent time.  And I wouldn’t be able to survive without it.

I keep this quote by Rowling within reach everyday because it helps to remind me how important writing is to me and it is something I will not compromise on.

I’d love to hear how you remind yourself to do the things you love – regardless of the struggle it may create.

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Wednesday Quotables: Writing

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This week’s quotables are about my passion – writing. I love to write. I write personal essays and short stories and I have written two manuscripts.  I may choose to self publish one day, since the traditional way isn’t exactly working out for me, but that’s alright because regardless, I will never stop writing.

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My inner life is normally bursting. I must unleash it onto a page – any page (or screen) at any given moment.

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Need inspiration? Pay attention to your life and it will offer all the inspiration you need.

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“Make the best of your talent” I love that line! If we are privileged with talent or an ability in any area, we owe it to ourselves to fully explore and develop it.

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Enough said.

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This is a tough one for me, but oh so true. When you let go…the words that flow from your fingertips are unbelievable…you never know what’s inside you to write until you just write.

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Um, see above quote.

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A bit excessive, but I understand the sentiment. Writing can be tortuous but when done with abandon it leaves you exhilarated and empty. You must refill and spill it out all over again.

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What are you passionate about? What do you love to do that is woven into your soul?

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