I started off 2020 completely and utterly exhausted. And because I’m a Type-A tiny business-owning mom of two children under the age of 7, the exhaustion, while expected, is also partly my own doing. I didn’t really need to be out until 2:00 a.m. last Friday singing karaoke … or did I?
In these exhausting early weeks of 2020, I’ve learned and been reminded of these four things:
- The basics of good communication
- The benefits of finding a release
- Why every author needs to find community
- Don’t disregard coincidence
The Basics of Good Communication
I was asked to speak to fourth grade Girl Scouts last week as they work hard on selling those delicious cookies. Here’s what I said about speaking to customers:
- Greet someone
- If you know his/her name, use it
- Maintain eye contact
- Always be courteous
- Get to know your customer by asking questions. (Know not to recommend a purchase of Tagalongs® if the customer has a peanut allergy.)
- Listen to their answers; don’t talk over them
- Always show gratitude
I left those lovely young ladies with a notebook to document their customer’s likes and dislikes, and locations and social media platforms that worked and didn’t for sales.
I also told them not to take rejection personally. We might not always know why someone says no, but that’s their right and there’s a good chance it has nothing to do with us.
The Benefits of Finding a Release
I don’t have a passion, a hobby, anything that I can’t live without. There are lots of activities I like and enjoy, but I can’t say there is much that I love. At some point in my life this really bothered me. But, after some soul-searching and therapy sessions, I let that shit go. What I realized is that my passion is usually towards people. Rather than spending so much time trying to figure out if I want cheese-making to be my thing, I’m going to do what I can to spend more time with those I’m passionate about, and I’m going to do what makes me feel mentally cleansed. Welcome karaoke.
Cluttered brain be gone.
Tense muscles released.
Arched shoulders relaxed.
Stiff legs loose.
Voice…The publicist can’t talk anymore…She’s hoarse…She’s sung too much Pat Benatar.
I’ve unburdened myself for a small window of time.
Does it really help me think better/feel better/be better? Oh gosh, yes.
Do I love Karaoke? Ok, I do. Especially, when I’ve got awesome women by my side.
What’s your release?
Why Every Author Needs to Find Community
Last month at a Zibby Owens/Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books  event, I met the lovely (NYT bestselling) Eileen Goudge  for the first time. Her husband, Sandy Kenyon of WABC-TV  was there shooting a segment. She was also there to support her good friend Julie Valerie , whose debut novel, Holly Banks Full of Angst, was on sale.
I said to Eileen, “I’m not sure if you know but years ago you saved my rear when my client dropped out of going to that Seattle book event Josie Brown was putting together. Thank you for doing that. I felt so bad letting down Josie.”
Her eyes lit up. She remembered the event. She asked who my client was—the late great Jackie Collins .
She then went on to say that because of that event she developed a dear friendship with Josie Brown . (Josie is the bestselling author of The Housewife Assassin and Totlandia Series of books.) Each year she, Josie and other writers go on a beach vacation in Northern California.
Hmmmm, I thought, I’ve heard about these writers who beach group before…Oh, that night I had dinner with Meredith Schorr  (author of Bridal Girl).
I’m always amazed at how small my world gets.
I called Josie. It had been many years since we last spoke, and I was reminded all over again how great she is.
These Beach Babes, as they call themselves, is a dynamic group of authors and editors all at different stages in their careers and lives who have been meeting for a week-long beach vacation for the last seven years. There’s Eileen, Josie and Meredith, but also Julie, Samantha M. Bailey , Francine LaSala , and Jen Tucker .
Apparently, magical things happen at the beach house.
I believe it.
They’ve gained representation, hit lists, celebrated milestones.
Josie said something that resonated:
“Everything in your life as a writer is like being in an ocean. Sometimes you’re riding the wave; other times your having your faced crushed in the sand. I’d grab a life vest and jump in the ocean for these women. We celebrate each other’s successes. We pull each other up when someone needs it. In our career, in our industry, we need more of that.”
We do need more of that.
If you want to spread love, find a tribe, make a new friend, share an experience, and/or learn something new, here are some bookish groups on Facebook that I enjoy:
A Novel Bee 
Tall Poppy Writers 
My Book Tribe 
I’d love to hear about your writing groups, book clubs, Facebook groups, special writer friendships. Drop a line and a link in the comments.
Don’t Disregard Coincidence
I’m going to speak more about this in my next article with Writer Unboxed. I hope. I’m still trying to make sense of it. But have you ever really considered the coincidences in your personal and professional lives?