#IWSG Plentiful Publication Pitfalls

Happy August, writers! Join the Insecure Writer’s Support Group at Alex Cavanaugh’s blog.

Thank you to this month’s courageous co-hosts:

I love this month’s question: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

I’ve faced publication pitfalls galore so I hope that sharing them will help newbie authors avoid them. Here are beliefs that put the pain in publishing:

1) “I’ve got this writing thing.” I thought my debut novel was well-written. It wasn’t. WRITING IS A CRAFT. It takes years of developing the craft even to knock on the door of good writing. I feel more confident in my day job after over twenty years of experience, so why did I think I was competent at writing after only a few fledgling years of fan fiction? Fortunately I had the opportunity to re-edit my debut novel seven years later, so at least now I can read it without cringing.

2) “My book should hit the shelves soon.” I pride myself in finishing tasks efficiently and often feel impatient when others don’t do the same. The fact is that publishing is full of excruciating waits. Waiting for…responses to queries, publication contracts, multiple rounds of editing (fortunately my editor is super speedy–love her!), proofreading, cover design, book design, marketing materials, marketing assistants…and that’s before the book is even released. Not to mention it’s rare (and often requires years of persistence) to publish with a large publisher who gets your book on shelves.

3) “It’s clear when a book is good or bad.” Reading is so subjective! What one reader loves, another hates. Regarding one of my brash heroes, one reviewer said, “Where can I get a Dane in my life?” whereas another said, “Dane is the WORST hero I have ever read about.” I felt proud of the writing in my latest release–too bad it has been my worst seller. Considering the subjectivity and flooded market, we need to write the stories in our hearts instead of wondering what readers will like or buy.

One common thread through all of my pitfalls is expectations. I wish I could quiet my planner brain and live more in the present. I don’t know much about Buddhism, but one friend described it as “letting go of expectations”. Sounds like a good way to live and write.


Power Pose Your Way to #Confident #Writing #IWSG

It’s July already and the rain won’t stop in Ohio, waah. How can I train for swimming in a triathlon relay when thunder closes my outdoor pool? Time for July’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. Join us HERE.

Last week I delivered a presentation to swim campers about ways to build their confidence. I mentioned the technique “fake it till you make it”. In other words, if you don’t feel confident, sometimes acting confident on the outside can boost confidence on the inside. Head up, shoulders back, add a smile or serene facial expression, and you’re good to go.

Then I heard about a TED talk by social psychologist Amy Cuddy that takes confident body language a step further. According to Dr. Cuddy, our nonverbals affect how others see us. But can nonverbals affect how we see ourselves?

Since I know you’re busy and may not have time to watch the 21 minute video (it’s worth it if you do have the time), I’ll summarize her research.

Holding “power poses” for just two minutes can significantly increase testosterone (feelings of power) and decrease cortisol (feelings of stress).

What are power poses? Here’s one:

Here are two more:

Are you mired in insecurity when writing? Knees knocking before pitching to a publisher? Try a power pose for two minutes and you’ll feel more assertive, confident, and optimistic!


Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

How do you feel about exercise? Love it? Hate it? Obviously, exercise is great for our physical health . . . but did you know that exercise can work even better than medication for reducing anxiety and depression?

I’m one of those strange people that actually enjoys exercise. (If only I enjoyed eating right.) And the main reason I love exercise is the stress relief. Exercise makes me a happy camper.

Today, Ken Myers — President of Morningside Nannies — is here to tell us more!

Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Everyone knows that exercising has great physical benefits for ensuring your own longevity. However, not many realize the mental benefits that can come from regular activity as well. Exercising can do more than build strong muscles as it solidifies a variety of brain functions. There are several ways that your mental acuity can be healthier by exercising regularly.

1. Blood Flow – First, exercising in any form gets your blood pumping throughout your body. As your brain requires a continuous flow of oxygen, getting the blood moving faster will help it function on a higher level. This movement of blood increases a wide variety of mental operations, which can prevent depression. Some speculate that exercising benefits mental capacities because the blood moves nutrients faster to the brain in order to boost productivity.

2. Self-Confidence – As the source of a great amount of anxiety, stress, and depression, your dislike of your physical appearance can be detrimental to your mental health. All too often people look at themselves in the mirror and feel disgust by what they see. Exercising regularly can help people feel stronger, and focus on what their bodies can do instead of how they look. If people are happy with themselves, then confidence will be sure to follow.

3. Release of Negative Emotion – There are many people that harbor feelings such as anger, frustration, or anxiety on a regular basis, and stuffing these feelings down can be harmful. Regular exercise is a way to help reduce these feelings as your energy is spent on other tasks. It is a common belief that pushing yourself to exercise while you’re angry or frustrated helps reduce these feelings as you become too tired to feel anything else by the time you’re done. Because exercise helps decrease these negative feelings, some believe that exercise creates a happier you.

4. Not Just Your Muscles – Exercise does far more for your body than simply building muscle. When you focus on the task at hand, working your mind and body in concert, you strengthen your brain too.  In fact, activities like Yoga and martial arts have been known to alter brain structures due to the deep breathing, meditation, and coordinated movement. Exercise can bolster the mind-body connection.

Though it’s a challenge to squeeze in a workout in your busy schedule, exercise is definitely worth it. Not only will you impress others with how ‘ripped’ your body is getting, but they will also notice a change in your attitude and emotional state. Keep your body and your mind fit and a better lifestyle will be yours.

Author Bio:
Ken holds a master’s in business leadership from Upper Iowa University and multiple bachelor degrees from Grand View College.  As president of morningsidenannies.com, Ken’s focus is helping Houston-based parents find the right childcare provider for their family. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his three children and his wife.


Thank you, Ken! I often help my psychotherapy clients incorporate balanced exercise into their lives for all of the reasons you mention above.

Do YOU wish you could motivate yourself to do more exercise? Check out the Exercise is Medicine website. HERE is an assessment you can complete to identify your barriers to exercise.