Gift of Collaboration
Are you good at accepting help from others? Or do you prefer to try to do things on your own, muddling through because you don't want to bother anyone? Maybe you even think it's faster to do everything yourself.
I used to hang out squarely in the middle of the "don't ask for help" camp . . . but not anymore.
I think part of my resistance to asking is because I hate to admit when I don't know how to do something. I can be a tiny bit stubborn that way. How about you?
During these past couple of hectic years spent chasing this dream of mine to write and publish novels people actually want to read, I've learned some essential lessons. I now understand that asking for help is a crucial component on the road to success. So is accepting help when it's offered. Going it alone makes for a much slower and much lonelier journey. Plus, if you open yourself up to more possibilities, you get to meet some awesome people along the way.
Besides, it should be a two-way street.
We all have ways we can help other people. We have skills we can share, learnings from our own journeys, and encouragement we can offer others.
Writing can be a solitary pursuit. On Saturday, I spent three hours in a coffee shop, took a quick break to enjoy lunch with my daughter, and then holed up for another two hours in my office, working hard on edits of my third novel. But unlike the hours spent writing the first draft, now I'm looking at the book through the eyes of my editor, and his assistance makes it all so much better.
A few months back, I saw a post on a local Facebook group. An author was curious about how she might be able to get her book into local stores. Since I'd been lucky enough to have already done a bit of this, we decided to meet for coffee and talk about how she might be able to take this next step in her author and artistic journey.
First three of us, and now four of us, started meeting monthly to share and compare learnings and help each other out where we can. I'm happy to report Traci's book, sporting vibrant illustrations she does herself, is now available at Zandbroz, the premier independent bookstore here in Fargo, ND.
Her book is the brightly colored one in the middle titled "Eleven" by Traci Sethre. It's so fun to see our books displayed close together! My two are in the bottom left-hand corner (Whispering Pines and Tangled Beginnings). It just so happens that the book next to mine titled "North Dakota Tough" was written by another local author friend and well-known sports writer, Jeff Kolpack. Jeff helped me get my books into Zandbroz.
Yesterday, 4/27/19, was Independent Bookstore Day, a day set aside to celebrate books and those that help bring them to you. If you weren't able to stop in to a bookstore yesterday and get a copy of that book you've been meaning to read, go do it today.
But I apologize, talking about books distracts me. Now to get back to my "topic of the day" on collaboration.
Traci is a talented author and shares her work on Instagram. I've been wanting to get started on the Instagram platform but struggled to make the time to figure it out (of course, I tried to do it by myself first, but got nowhere). Traci has been kind enough to meet not only with me but also a small group of other local business owners to share pointers about how best to utilize the social media outlet. Thanks in large part to Traci, I now have an IG account, and I've even made a few posts, with many more to come as I learn the ropes.
I'm loving the visual aspect of Instagram and discovering all the other authors and avid readers, sharing books and inspiration. If you are already on Instagram, I'd love for you to find me there so we can follow each other. You'll find me at @kimberlydiedeauthor.
Our collaboration is helping us both, plus it's fun to make new friends at the same time.
Recently, another author reached out to me when she stumbled across my author page on Amazon. In addition to penning her own novels, Susan Winters writes a blog featuring people who work to balance creative pursuits with a full-time job. How cool is that?
When I checked out her website, and her header was this artistic shot of a pine cone, I knew I needed to find ways to work with Susan (I often use pine cones when displaying my books-it was a good sign). Susan kindly offered to feature an interview of me on her blog, and it went live yesterday. Please click here to check out my interview and Susan's other work.
If you or someone you know is also enjoying a creative pursuit on the side while working a “day” job, please reach out to me and I can help you connect with Susan. Or reach out to her directly. Another ND author friend of mine, Katherine Pendergast (Kat Socks), is scheduled to be featured in Susan's weekly blog on June 15, 2019. I was delighted to help connect the two.
I won't lie. Sometimes it's hard to balance it all. But connecting with others that find joy in similar pursuits can be so rewarding. They can help light your path when your own light dims under the weight of the pressure of not knowing enough or when you're feeling like you're stuck.
There is always someone out there that is able, and willing, to help show you how to get unstuck.
Isn't making connections with others what life is all about?
In the words of Albert Einstein: Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.
If there is something you want to learn more about, find someone willing to give you a helping hand.
Thank you, Susan, Traci, Kat, Jeff, and others for helping me along this path. You all inspire me with what you've already accomplished, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for each of you!
How can I help you? Kim
Gift of the Written Word
How often do you actually write something down on paper? In our fast-paced world of emails, texts and gadgets, do you ever stop to think about the ramifications of recording so much of our lives only in the electronic realm? As the online world continues to evolve at a rapid pace, will essential bits of history be lost forever? Are things becoming too generic?
The benefits of electronic communication are many. Speed, convenience and efficiency are all improved. Less of the world's forests are lost to the production of paper. The list of benefits is long.
But there are almost always pros and cons to everything.
There is something to be said about the ability to hold something tangible in your hands. Something that won't be lost among the massive amount of online information. Photographs, books and personal correspondence are all things we can now enjoy in electronic form, but I think we need to keep a balance.
How information is passed on from one generation to another has been evolving since the beginning of mankind, but the leap from physical to electronic formats is a giant one.
When we write something down on paper, it bears our own unique handwriting. When we dash off a note in an email, that small piece of personal flair is lost.
Handwriting itself is an evolving art form. Personally, I love old documents bearing beautiful penmanship. Imagine for a minute the amount of practice that had to go into learning to create such intricate, stylistic writing. When I was a child, we were required to learn cursive. I’m thankful for this. Many kids aren't even taught to write in cursive anymore. Taken a step further, when they don't learn how to write in cursive, they can't read it either. I found this gorgeous workbook at an auction. The pages are full of someone's practiced letters.
For years, I've been tossing various greeting cards we've received into a box. There is a box for each of us, and at this point, they are overflowing. During my more practical moments, I consider tossing all of it. After all, the boxes take up space. We seldom go back to look at what is in them. But if I take a step back from the urge to purge, I think the best answer is to weed through them and keep the special ones.
A card or note from a loved one suddenly becomes more precious when the sender is no longer with us. Gazing upon a quick greeting they dashed off in their own unique style links me back to the person they were, and I'd hate to lose that, no matter how much space I'm giving up to house the memories.
My mom's sloppy handwriting was legendary. Now when I read things she wrote to me over the years, and I still struggle to make out the words, I can't help but smile. Those cards provide me with a tangible link back to her. I'll never again be able to pick up the phone and talk to her, but I can feel her presence in those notes.
My dad, on the other hand, is an artist. His handwriting is unique, bold, and I'd recognize it anywhere. Similar to so many things he's created through the years, it's all him.
Have you ever written in journals? Maybe you kept a diary when you were a kid. If you did, and you're lucky enough to still have it, stashed somewhere among your old mementos from earlier days, pull it out and take a look. Revisit yourself, back when it felt like you had your whole life ahead of you. What was important to you back then? Did those things evolve into your core values or were they fleeting thoughts of a child?
Or maybe you have journals from five, ten, or twenty years ago. Take a few minutes to glance through them to remind yourself of what your life looked like back then. What's changed? If those journals were a way for you to record your hopes and dreams, has the reality of the years measured up?
Similar to the reminder we get when we attend a funeral, that life passes much too quickly, reading our personal thoughts from fifteen years ago can serve as a wake-up call to make the most of our time. Maybe it can even serve as the impetus to get going on that one thing you always dreamed of doing.
Can we get the same kick from something we recorded in an electronic document ten years ago? Could you even find anything you put in an electronic format ten years ago? I doubt it.
Today's blog isn't meant to bash the convenience and efficiency of online communication. Both my day job and my writing career revolve around it. But it is intended to serve as a reminder that putting things down on paper still has merit. And if you can record it in beautiful, practiced handwriting, even better!
I touch upon this issue in my fiction series. Each book is about how family members expand on the legacy left by their great aunt, Celia. She is dead now, and the only form of direct communication they still have from her is in the form of letters and journals. If not for those written documents, it might be as if she never even existed.
Maybe today's finally the day you should sit down and dash off a handwritten letter to a loved one. Or what if you take a few minutes to record your thoughts on how important your family is to you in a journal they'll find when you are gone? Think about how priceless that could be. There's no time like the present! Kim
Kimberly Diede Author
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Kimberly Diede and I'm a fiction author and family girl. When time permits, I am happiest with a great cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. I love to alternate between reading and writing. Winters here can be long, dark and cold. Summers are unpredictable, lovely and always too short. Every season of the year, as in every season of life, is a gift. Let's celebrate it together!