Writers In The Storm is delighted to welcome guest blogger, Tara Taylor Quinn! She's at the Romantic Times Conference in Los Angeles, California this week and she's blog-hopping as part of the It Happened On Maple Street International Blog Tour. We're so excited she was able to pop in to see all of us.
Tara will be giving away a copy of It Happened on Maple Street to one of the commenters on this blog. Writers In the Storm will throw all the names into a hat at our critique meeting on April 14th and pick a single lucky winner, to be announced by Monday, April 18th.
Writers In The Storm – what a great place to stop. After a week on the road, I kind of feel like a writer in the storm – or one who has what it takes to weather the storm.
I don’t always make it through the storm without getting soaked, but I’ve learned a few things along the way about staying dry when the rain is pouring down. I shared some of them this week on the road and thought I’d bring one of them along here as well.
If I had to put my life’s dictate into one sentence, it would be this: Live life from the inside out. This takes courage. And work. But I believe that the time and work are worth the outcome. Living life from the inside out is essential to deepest happiness. The painful part is going inside, to those deepest places we mostly like to avoid and find out who is in there. What does she really want out of life? What makes her happiest? Or most unhappy?
Not an easy task. Most particularly if what we find there isn’t congruent with our lives. Most times, what we find isn’t completely congruent. How could it be if we spend our lives avoiding that deep place? It’s been neglected. We haven’t tended to that vulnerable being in there, other than to brush it aside because it had demands that were too difficult for us to meet.
Take time to get to know your inner self. Ask the tough questions. Listen for the answers. Just doing that much will help. Once you’ve been self honest, you start to make little choices every day that are more in keeping with the person you need to be to be completely happy.
Maybe you just tend to one little thing. You like the smell of roses. They bring back a memory of something that happened when you were a child – they give the essence of a perfect moment to your deepest self. And so you find a rose scented candle – or rose scented air freshener. A rose scented cachet for your purse. If none of that is feasible, you find a picture of a beautiful rose and put it where you can see it. It’s a small thing, but the sight of a rose, or the smell of a rose, in the middle of a storm, can change the entire experience.
Sometimes, what we find deep inside prompts bigger change. But rest assured, if that’s the case, the change was necessary. It might be painful in the moment – might be uncomfortable, or even frightening – but in the long wrong, if we live true to our inner self, life will be filled with sunshine mixed only with the occasional spring shower.
I was speaking with a woman who has written several books and known a measure of success. She was trying to get another book out and it wasn’t working. She’d written the book of her heart. Was it time to walk away from writing? I had one question. Do you want to write? Do you need to write? Does writing make you happy? Are you a writer?
I don’t know the answers to those questions for her. She might be a writer who is facing the ‘seven year itch’. She’d been successful, what if she kept writing and met with failure? What if she put out a book that didn’t sell? What if she couldn’t find another story as good as the last? What if she let her fears stifle who and what she really needed to do, to be, to be happy? What if the practicality of publishing in a changing world played with her mind and she allowed those fears to rule her life’s decisions, instead of letting the more quiet person inside of her be in charge?
Or she might be a person who is not a writer, but who had a story to tell, that she told, but some other path to take as a career choice – as a life choice.
What I do know is that if she looks inside herself, if she asks the tough questions and listens to small voice inside of her, she’ll find her answers. And the more choices she makes that are congruent to the person inside of her, the person she is, deep down inside, the less she’ll find herself fighting off the downpours, hiding from the thunder, being burned by the lightening.
Life isn’t easy. It isn’t meant to be. But it certainly can be happy. Filled with joy more than sorrow. It’s up to us to find our joy.
But lets start small. I have a list of little things that make me happy. I’ll share, if you will…
Some of mine are: Diet Coke, the smell of roses, pictures of my daughter, petting my dogs, the twinkle in my husband’s eyes, road trips with him, M&M’s.
What are some of yours?
This post is brought to you as part of the It Happened On Maple Street International Blog Tour. For a complete tour schedule visit www.tarataylorquinn.com. All blog commenters are added to the weekly basket list. Gift Basket given each week to one randomly drawn name on the list.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, or if you suspect someone is, please contact www.thehotline.org, or call, toll free, 24/7, 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). The call can be anonymous and is always confidential. There is not one second of life that is worth wasting.
Next tour stop, Tuesday, April 12, 2011. Click here for the Maple Street Cyber Blog Party.
To get your copy of It Happened On Maple Street, visit your favorite bookseller, or www.maplestreetbook.com. Remember, if you comment on this blog, you get a chance to win your copy RIGHT HERE.
Don’t miss The Chapman Files! Still available at Amazon.
Beginning April 1, 2001, It Happened On Maple Street is available on Kindle and Nook, too!
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Tara, you really touched the heart of the matter here. I ignored that small, quiet voice you speak of, shunting aside what I most wanted to do, namely write. After going through the painful process of submitting and seeing my stories rejected, I had pretty much given up. Until, that is, my dear friend Sharla Rae gently nudged me to try again. Thanks to her I began investigating the self-pub route and in November, 2010, I published my first Kindle book, Darlin' Druid. No, it didn't take off like a rocket, but it's out there and it has won some darn good reviews. And I'm finally happy with myself! Oh, and I love petting my furry friends, too, although mine are of the feline variety. Meow! Lyn
Writing, reading a book that's so good I'm unable to put it down, my Pekingese, mild spring weather, music, going to church... If I'm having a bad day or feel like I'm going through a "storm," one of those things can usually make me feel better.
Good Morning Tara,
This is a great way to start a morning. Thinking about small things that make you happy. I need to connect with my inner self more as well. My List:
Flowers any kind anywhere, my cats, tomatoes fresh off the vine ~ only available at my house in the late summer and early fall, blackberries, sunshine, blue skies
Hi Tara, thanks for the article and I can definitely understand your feeling like a writer in the storm, this has been a whirlwind week for you and Tim both (how is the poor guy holding up). I've told people I know about the book, I've told people I don't know about the book and I've told people to tell people about the book, to spread the word, to break the mold, to have faith in ourselves and listen to our hearts. Like you listened to yours, it may have taken a while, but just look where it got you.
You Go Girl!!!
Would the storm you feel like you have been in be a hurricane? Any way I hope you and Tim are rested. I will be looking forward to your Cyber Blog Party which just incidentally falls on my birthday. 🙂
To answer your question about little things that make me happy:
Dr. Pepper, books, a message from a friend just to say hello, the sound of wind chimes, watching squirrels chase each other across the yard, chirping of baby birds to name just a few
Just to name a few of my favorite small happies...the look on my grandaughters face when I tell her were going for ice cream, watching Arachnophobia with my grandson, reading a good book, taking pictures, playing with my dogs, the smell of lilacs, a hug from my kids or grandkids.
Very inspiring post. Thanks.
What a great start to the weekend!
My list would include: spending time with my husband, my cat, carnations, the smell of lavender or vanilla, cooking/baking, music, snuggling up with a cup of coffee and a good book, and having a little bit of time during the day to call my own.
I've had a lot of rain in my life. Slowly but surely, I'm learning to dance in the rain.
Chocolate chip cookies and milk, a good romance novel, walking on the beach, butterflies, animals (my furry children have gone home to God but memories of them make me smile), good friends, music... I need to ask myself more questions and find more little things.
Tara ( and Tim),
the things that bring me comfort in the "storm" of life are spending time with family, gardening (flowers and vegetables) ,my dog, quilting and warm sunshine on my face.
What great lists everyone!! MUSIC! Should have been one of the first things on my list. Today, alone, I've asked Tim twice to turn on the music in our hotel room. Just need the peace it brings. And blue skies and sunshine. Two other things that top my list! I'd add mountains, too. Chocolate chip cookies - homemade, right up there. And good books - we just took a tour through the 'goody room' here and had lots of choices of good books.
Congratulations on the sale! And on having the strength - and the friends - to help you find self actualization!
Dancing in the rain! I like that. Though I'm sorry to hear you've had a lot of practice.
You are a great advocate. Thank you so much. Together we're going to make a difference. I really believe that.
I love the term, 'small happies.' I'm taking it with me!
As for sleep - hopefully soon. We've been trying. Tim's been succeeding.
And speaking of Tim, here he is...Sleep is for the dead! When we depart from this earth there will plenty of time to sleep, so while I'm still alive I want to live the part of alive, and sleep when I need it. As for me I want to start my days knowing I am doing what I love to do, not what I have to do. For many years now I've gone to a job that requires me to be inside four walls doing what is necessary to provide, don't get me wrong I've enjoyed my work, but still I feel I have missed so much on the outside. I want to feel the sun on my face as we're riding our Harley down Ventura highway, or the sand between my toes as were walking along the beach in St. Augustine . Finally my dream is to travel the country in our RV, our address will change every two weeks. I will keep you posted on the progess of all this, wish me luck!
Tim ~ I hope one day you manage to make your dream to travel the country in your RV......Although I don't travel in an RV and rarely stay one place two weeks I really enjoy traveling the country. There are so many things to see along the way including our National Parks so if you haven't been to see them I hope you get to some day.
Awesome and deep post! I love my daughter, reading, writing, chocolate, and feel-good romantic comedies. I have written books of my heart that I now believe aren't likely to sell to publishers. (tons of rejections but good comments on my writing and the characters.)
I'm about to do something that will make me happy, I will self publish my stories so others can read them.
Teaching makes me happy, too, so I tutor.
Tara, your blog hit home for me right now in my life. I need to get some balance. Slow down and appreciate all the the wonderful things in my life. Just stopping to think and list them here is a great first start: hubby, grandkids, great friends, sweet kitties, horses are back in my life, southern California, strawberries, In-N-Out Burger - to name just a few!
Reading, good music, walking....help me through a storm! Would love to read your book....sounds great.....wishing you and Tim safe travels this week!
Tara, this is a very timely and touching post. We should all stop to remember the little things that make us happy. Thanks for sharing.
Tim and I have responded several times here, but aren't seeing anything come up. Please know that we've read all comments and appreciate every single one of them.
Things that make me happy
I am happy when I see that my children are happy. I love to see smiles on their faces and I love to see them excel at something they love. I love to read books with happy endings. I adore Peace and Quiet and dream of the perfect cup of coffee.
Tara, thanks for the timely reminder:) I've always loved Tulips and I'm enjoying the scent of one right now. I have my copy of It Happened on Maple Street next on my TBR list so please don't enter me in the contest.