Getting slapped in the face with a message

AKA When the Universe Gives you a Gift you didn’t Know You Needed

I spent this past weekend at the Washington Romance Writers annual retreat, In the Company of Writers. I didn’t go last year because I made a “business” decision that it wasn’t worth my dollars. I figured there were no readers there other than authors who already knew me. And even this year, I wasn’t that enthused about going, but since I’m the secretary of the board of the chapter, I felt a responsibility to be there. My attitude was a Big. Mistake.

Writing is a lonely job. I’m at my desk for hours a day, and I don’t think social media counts as a real connection. People need people. And more importantly, writers need writers. So off I went to Westminster MD armed with chocolate, raffle baskets, and a costume for Romance Jeopardy. I was ready to take notes on marketing and strategize my business plan based on talks from Liliana Hart, and maybe I’d connect with some editors and put in a good word for my currently shopped manuscript.

But something else happened. Something I wasn’t expecting. Sometimes in life the Universe slaps you in the face in such a way you can’t ignore. To ignore it would be akin to blasphemy. It started at Liliana’s Friday night talk. She was passionate. She was excited about the business. She “Knows” me, because we are writers.

The next morning I sat in on Diana Cosby’s marketing talk. I figured we’d talk social media, blogs, and Book Bub. Instead we talked PASSION. We talked AUTHENTICITY. And the buzzing in my heart reignited, because the things Diana was talking about were things that I HAVEN’T been doing. For the last year (maybe two) I’ve been too busy focusing on numbers and branding and a zillion other things that don’t matter if you’ve got what Diana’s got. Passion. I’d lost my passion. My decision to not attend the retreat in 2013 was about my head, not my heart. My heart was hidden behind sales rankings and my number of Likes on Facebook.

And then came Cathy Maxwell’s farewell speech on Sunday morning. It all came crashing home for me. I hid it well, but I was in tears in the back row wondering how I’d let this happen. As Cathy said, I got in my own way. My definition of success was the WRONG one. I need to open my heart and mind and body and be PRESENT.

I spent the hour drive home with a tight throat and tears intermittently falling. I need my passion back. I need to redefine what success for ME looks like, and I need to stop looking at other writers and defining MY success based on theirs. I drove in my car and decided that I will define success if I make an emotional connection for my readers. I’ll write books that matter to me, and I hope to you. Don’t worry, they’ll still be hot and sexy, because I think passion matters.

Have you ever been hit with a message you didn’t even know you needed?

9 thoughts on “Getting slapped in the face with a message

  1. Mindy Klasky says:

    I, too, was moved by Cathy’s speech. I was particularly surprised to see *which* parts of it brought me to tears — those are clearly the things I need to be working on.

    Good luck bringing back the passion!

  2. Lynne Silver says:

    Thanks for stopping by Mindy. It was great seeing you at retreat, and my boys are over the moon about their new Gio bobblehead

  3. Deborah says:

    You made me cry again, Lynne. I was there at Retreat, and it was everything you said and more. I felt that message of needing to connect as writers and friends to support and get support in every way we need it, as well as laughing and having fun together. Thank you for showing your heart in this blog. It was a powerful message and a Retreat that I would not have missed for the world.

  4. Lynne ~ What a great post. I felt the same way about much of the weekend. It was just what I needed, especially Cathy Maxwell’s send-off. Breathing Under Water is an important skill, and I, too, want to make sure I’m living in the Present. Opening my mind, heart, and body to what the Universe has to offer me. I’m so glad you were there. It made a difference! ;0)

  5. I’m so happy that you cried!!! Ha-ha!

    I’m actually happy that you were able to get such amazing moments out of Retreat. For me, that Retreat was JUST what I needed! It’s soooo easy to get caught up in the business side of things and comparing yourself to others. My goal moving forward is to stop comparing my career and start living in the present – mind, heart and body!

  6. Diana Cosby says:

    Lynne,
    I’m humbled by your kind words, and if anything helps, that’s what it’s all about. The Retreat was AMAZING, and I sincerely thank all involved who made it all happen.
    There was SOOO much I needed to hear, to be reminded of, and I’m still on a huge learning curve. Like y’all, on Sunday morning Cathy’s talk moved me and I cried. Though I want to mention that few authors could follow Tim and retrieve the limelight. *G* But she did, in her dynamic, sincere, and insightful way. She’s truly a blessing. Take care and always follow your heart. Only YOU can tell your story. *Hugs*
    Diana

  7. My dear friend, your words from lunch were with me on my long ride home. I’m glad you’ve come to an understanding about where your heart and mind have been and where you will go from here. Sometimes it’s easier for someone else to see things you yourself can’t see. So here I was, “What is Lynne’s passion?” It took me less than a half second to know because it DOES come through in your writing. You love SMART. Smart is your passion. That book you loaned me, that was a smart, sexy book. You love it in what you read and you love it in what you write. You also have passion for your fellow writers. Those of us who have benefitted from your generosity are standing on tip toe right now with our hands raised in the air because we know and we want you to know. And now I better stop because this is getting long! Your passion inspires me. It’s there. It’s super happy that you’ve found this rejuvenation through retreat. Um, in case we’re not clear, YOU ROCK!

  8. Julie Halperson says:

    Wasn’t the retreat filled with moments like that? All of a sudden, the pieces falling into place, so we could see where we are in the picture?
    So glad that you were there, and I could see your smile in person.

  9. Lynne Silver says:

    Thank you all for stopping by. Your words meant so much to me today.

    And Carlene, I had a visceral reaction when I read your comment, because 1. you are dead on. I didn’t see it until you pointed out the obvious. and 2. It amazed me that someone I’ve known for only 2 years *gets* me in ways people I’ve known a lifetime don’t.

    And…in an act of kismet- a review for my latest book was just posted. 4.5 stars and all comments about the emotional pull of the book!

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