Today I am guest posting over at Tracy Barrett's blog Goodbye Day Job! Tracy is the author of nineteen books for young readers and her blog chronicles her last year in her day job teaching Italian at Vanderbilt University.
My experience is not about quitting my day job, but about withstanding the pressure to get one. It’s about going for years between book contracts, making no money and still believing in myself. Hop on over to Goodbye Day Job! to read more, and leave a comment to let Tracy know you visited.
#1—Don’t panic. Seriously, even if you’ve lost your entire manuscript, panicking will not bring it back, it will only cloud your thinking and confirm everything your mother-in-law says about you.
#2—Put your head between your knees and try to take slow deep breaths. Indeed, this will help you stop panicking. If you do it for several hours and your mother-in-law does not witness it.
#3—Recall what back-up provisions you’ve made. If you have no back-up system, go back to #1 and repeat steps one and two until able to call a friend to come and remove all sharp objects from your writing area. Then go directly to step #8.
#4—OK, you have backed up your manuscript. Do NOT let yourself feel cocky at this point. It's still possible you will have lost your most recent work. You have a dead computer in front of you and you really need to get it working again. Do not call tech support. An hour on hold in this situation could result in severe property damage.
#5—Do not use your smart phone to google your error message and try to understand the sixteen different posts telling you how to fix the problem. If you could fix this problem, you would not be a writer, you would be a computer engineer earning a steady living at a much higher standard.
#6—Do not use your teenager's computer to “chat” with tech support. You will spend 47-minutes and 23-seconds speaking with a robot who will eventually tell you to take your computer to a store in your area and get it fixed. Plus, you will see things on your teenager’s computer that you will wish you had never seen and that you will never be able to forget.
#7—Do not click on System Restore. You might think you know what the word “restore” means, but trust me, if you knew anything about system restore…well, go back and re-read #5.
#8—Do not make any important decisions in the next 24-hours. Do not hit anything with a sledge hammer. Do not throw anything out the window. Do not harm yourself or someone you love. Do not take up a new career. Do not consider taking the social security number of someone in the cemetery, committing identity theft and moving to Tahiti. Your mother-in-law will still find you, plus want to move in permanently.
#9—What? You forgot this is a post about what NOT to do? You thought this post would retrieve your manuscript? You thought I would tell you about some magical back-up you didn’t know you had? No.
But if you can do any of these, please get in touch immediately at 555-1212. Or leave a comment below. I'm standing by at my teenager's computer.
Thanks to WindowErrorHelps for the image.
Welcome Author Karen Fisher-Alaniz today in remembrance of all those who served in the War in the Pacific 1941-1945.
I heard my father’s WWII stories all my life. I knew he’d been stationed at Pearl Harbor a few years after its bombing. But I wouldn’t have known the details of his service, if it hadn’t been for two notebooks full of letters that sat on a shelf, in my parent’s home, for more than 50-years.
On his 81st birthday, he put them on my lap. I didn’t know what it meant. I went home that night and cried. I cried for all the times I didn’t give him time to talk, all the times I didn’t listen. And although my father told me I could do what I wanted with the letters; I could throw them away or burn them, those letters were the beginning of a journey that neither of us had intended to take. I was a baby boomer and he was aging. More importantly, he’d begun to have symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. My sweet, gentle father had slowly become depressed, angry and haunted by nightmares and flashbacks. And all I wanted to do was to help him. So I started asking questions – once a week – at a local diner.
Sometimes he had answers for me; often he did not. But we kept meeting, week after week, month after month. Slowly, a story was emerging. It was one I couldn’t fathom. My father hadn’t sat behind a desk during the war as he’d told me many times. My father was a top secret code breaker. He’d served on submarines and ships off of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. He’d experienced a traumatic loss on one of these missions. It took nine years for the whole and true story to come to the surface.
I can’t help but think about how many veterans’ stories are sitting on someone’s shelf or kept locked deep inside the veteran him/herself. Boxes, scrapbooks, photo albums, that haven’t been cracked open in years. They hold a story waiting to be told. The veteran waits for someone to ask. What if each of us chose one person in our life and simply began asking questions? What if we opened those boxes and listened to the stories that tumbled out?
Veterans of all wars deserve our very best, and sometimes that’s as simple as chatting over breakfast once a week.
Listen to Interview about Karen's book on NPR's Weekend Edition.
Karen Fisher-Alaniz is the author of Breaking the Code – a Father’s Secret, a Daughter’s Journey, and the Question That Changed Everything (Sourcebooks, 2011). She can be contacted through her website at http://www.storymatters2.com.
I'm fascinated to discover little-known history, stories of people and events that provide a new perspective on why and how things happened, new voices that haven't been heard, insight into how the past brought us here today, and how it might guide us to a better future.
I also post here about my books and feature other authors and their books on compelling and important historical topics.
Occasionally, I share what makes me happy, pictures of my garden, recipes I've made, events I've attended, people I've met. I'm always happy to hear from readers in the blog comments, by email or social media.