The Upside-Down Side

Yes, the writing life can be tough. From the get-go, authors need to develop tough hides. Maybe we need to “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God,…” (Ephesians 6:10-18).

This month, we’ve opened up our hearts and minds, shared our low points and high points. We’ve shared with our readers what we’ve learned from those high and low places, in hopes that we can encourage and strengthen someone else along the way.

In my humble opinion, it’s worth the trouble, the emotional turmoil. The upside is this: Our words appear in print, somewhere, whether in a published novel or right here. Someone will read my thoughts and decide for themselves whether or not I’m truly a writer. Scary thought, yes.

Still, it’s worth it, because I’ve taken the chance and by that chance, made something of an impact.

Click-to-Tweet: The downside of the upside is that someone will know our thoughts and think we should keep them to ourselves.

We’ve opened ourselves up to the world as a poet does, or any other artist sharing their life’s work. We know not everyone will see what we’re trying to convey. But to keep to ourselves what we’ve been given to share is not an option. That’s the same as burying the talent we’ve been given in the ground (Matthew 25:25).

Image by expresswriters via Pixabay

So, the upside is an accomplishment, be it great or small—whether it’s a published article in a local newspaper or a full-fledged novel. Be encouraged to overcome all the emotional turmoil that is a definite downside to the writing life.

Some of the best points we may glean from this month’s discussion is to be strong and courageous. We can overcome the downside doldrums by putting ourselves “out there” in critique groups, writers meetings, and conferences, establishing strong and sometimes lifelong relationships. That’s a definite upside.

Feel free to share experiences in safe places like this one. Comment on our posts and let us know we’ve helped someone along the way. Be encouraged to stay the course. Invest your talents. It’s your time.


A writing prompt for you to finish: You’re sound asleep when the doorbell rings. It’s barely dawn. You open the door to find a large watermelon on the doorstep.

The Emotional Highs and Lows of Writing

I went out for a walk after a long night of rain. The sky overhead was a brilliant blue. On the sidewalk at my feet, an earthworm washed up by the rain writhed in agony. I felt sorry for it, but I couldn’t bring myself to touch it. Yuck.

I couldn’t help thinking about it, because sometimes I feel like that earthworm. Ecstatic one moment, curled up in a fetal position hours later.

We’ve all been there. It’s not just you, and it’s not weird.

I remember the euphoria when I’d met an actual published writer at my first regional writers’ conference who befriended me like I was someone with promise. She was an encourager, and I basked in her attention. She suggested I go to the ACFW conference. “You’ll meet big names, agents, publishers!”

I thought long and hard about it. This conference would be an investment. It was expensive and I’d have to fly there. More expense. My husband decided we should both go. He could play golf while I attended the conference. I was beyond excited and so, so nervous.

I prepared everything I would need for my very first meeting with a publisher. I had recently completed my novel, a wonderful fantasy with a strong spiritual message. It was gonna WOW him!

Photo by Wokandapix via Pixabay

Some of you can probably guess what happened. He smiled politely. “This is not ready, and not only that, it’s not even believable. And fantasy in the Christian market,” he shook his head. “It’ll never sell.” And then he proceeded to tell me not to quit my day job. I wasn’t ready, my story wasn’t ready.

Not ready, not believable? It’s fantasy, for goodness sake!

I’m stoic. I don’t like to show my emotions, especially in front of strangers. So, I plastered on a smile and thanked him for his time.

My husband was playing golf. Our room was empty so, I left the conference and went there. I curled up in a fetal position and cried. My heart was broken. Crushed. I was convinced I would never recover. It was over. (Only stoic in public, quite dramatic in private.)

The fantasy I had been living for the past year had ended in a devastating crash.

I got up, washed my face and repaired my makeup. Then, I put on my mask and returned to the conference. Weeks and months would pass before I fully recovered from this experience. Weeks when I never touched my manuscript. Why should I? It was over. I was not a writer.

Gradually, I crept back into the world of writing. I read about writing. I attended local writers’ meetings. I talked to other writers. And after that long, hard year passed, I went back to that regional writers’ conference. I took the classes and soaked it all up. I began to breathe again. And hope. And dream. And finally, to write.

Such is the life of the person who dares to identify as an author.

Our proclamation of, “I have a fantastic idea for a story!” is met with, “Meh! It’s too cliché. It’s been done. Blah! Don’t waste your time, because it’ll never sell.” Yada. Yada. Yada.

Don’t even get me started on what happened when I joined a critique group. Talk about trauma and anguish—oh my!

Thankfully, my story has a happy-ish ending. That original fantasy is Indie published. I completed two three-book series for Write Integrity Press and I’ve started a third series, soon to be contracted. I LOVE my critique group!

My sales haven’t rocked, so I still experience the highs and lows associated with our chosen profession. It’s never been easy. Each new story brings fresh challenges and sometimes, I’m convinced they will never work. I’m wasting my time! What makes me think I can write? There’s so much competition! When I’m all “Woe is me,” I’m still that earthworm.

Then, I’m stopped by a reader who gushes over my latest book and my emotions soar! Maybe I can write, after all.

I sit down and begin to write and the joy returns, especially when I get to write posts that will ultimately encourage young writers and help them understand the struggle we face.

Click-to-Tweet: The Emotional Highs and Lows of Writing might be your everyday reality, but you don’t have to let them rule you.

Writer’s Prompt: Close your eyes and imagine yourself sitting in a chair, conversing with your prospective agent. Your heart pounds, you take deep breaths and struggle to remember your elevator pitch, then something happens. You start talking, but it’s not what you’d planned…

Start The Year Out Right

By Tammy Trail

January is the month of new beginnings. We celebrate a new year and make resolutions that most of us will follow for a few weeks, and then our resolve disappears like melting snow. For some of us, those promises made to ourselves don’t come with consequences. But for others who need to make major health choices, the consequences may be detrimental.

About four years ago I found out that I am a diabetic. At first, this didn’t mean much to me because I had no symptoms. My overall health was not affected. There were no outward appearances that made a person think, “Hey there goes that diabetic.”

I didn’t fully understand diabetes until I took a class a few months ago. This class taught me the causes of diabetes and why my lifestyle choices can make my diabetes manageable or suffer some pretty awful health issues if I don’t pay attention and make good choices.

I have Type 2 diabetes. That means my pancreas produces too much insulin and dumps it into my bloodstream. When I have too much insulin (sugar) in my system my body can’t use it all for energy. I need to help my body out by not eating foods that cause even MORE insulin because my pancreas is working too hard. That insulin will be delivered to other organs that can’t use it and may cause damage.  Your nervous system, kidneys, eyes, and eventually your heart can be damaged from not managing your diabetes correctly.

I’m not up for more doctor visits, medication, or medical tests because I can’t control what I’m putting in my mouth. Now for some folks, no matter what they do, diabetes controls them instead of the other way around. It’s hard. But I’m willing to try and make a difference for myself.

Another fact that this class taught me is the kinds of foods I can eat, and the ones to stay away from. That is so hard.  Who doesn’t like mashed potatoes and gravy, or bread? Those are two of my favorite carbs. But carbohydrates are just as bad as sugar for a diabetic. There are carbs and sugar in almost everything we eat. The trick is to find foods that are very low in sugar and carbs.

What I am trying to do is to stay away from processed foods. Eat more vegetables that are lower in carbohydrates, like cauliflower, squash, broccoli and green beans. More lean meats, like turkey, chicken, and fish. I do eat brown rice, and sprouted grain bread, but I try and eat those only occasionally. I cut soda pop from an everyday beverage to once in a great while, maybe twice a month.

It’s hard to say no. But I keep telling myself that one day I may be able to stop taking my diabetic medicine altogether if I work hard. And if I don’t stay the course? Well, I don’t like to think of the consequences. I would like to be around to see my grandsons graduate from school and have families of their own someday. I won’t be able to do that if I don’t take care of myself.

So, I’m here to encourage you too.  If you have health issues, stop and think about the consequences. We have more power over our health than we may think.  It’s all in how we look at it.

Better health this year #2020 @trail_j https://ctt.ac/MehL0

Farewell to October

A brooding calm in all the air,
A dreamy quiet everywhere…
A golden glow to light the day
That fades in purple mists away—
This soothing calm, this presence bright,
October’s sweet and mellow light.
~Phebe A. Holder, “A Song of October,”
in The Queries Magazine, October 1890 – courtesy of Quote Garden

And so October is on the wane. This final, eventful week will pass in a rush of activity for most of us. November is upon us and Ho! Oh no! Just a few more weeks to prepare for the holidays.

What a month we’ve had here at Inspired Prompt. I hope you’ve enjoyed our posts and added a few books to your TBR pile. Jennifer’s resources post should have you well supplied with the best in writing help. I have a few of those on my desk, ready to help in a moment of need.

As we leave fair October behind and gird ourselves for that which lies ahead, let us hear from you. If you’re a follower of our blog, what has helped you this year? What would you like to see more of in the future? Please leave us a comment and let us know, because you are the reason we’re here.

The goal of the Inspired Prompt blog is to educate and inform writers, with an emphasis on new and Indie writers. We provide clear, basic information in four areas: how-to, marketing, encouragement, and our “signature” prompts, thoughts, and ideas. We hope to inspire writers/authors to reach for and attain their personal best.

Inspiration. Encouragement. Education. Those are what we strive to present to you, our readers, to share what we’ve gleaned and learned along our own “write road.” Some of you are about to launch into the NaNoWriMo season. If so, I salute you. It’s a great challenge for a writer. And I would like to issue some challenges of my own:

  1. Focus on the positive.
  2. Write with abandon.
  3. Nourish the joy of writing.

November’s coming, and with it, a brand new theme. Join me here on Friday to find out what’s coming up in November besides NaNo, pumpkin pie, and turkey. Together, we’ll learn more about this wonderful calling—the path of the writer.

Click-to-Tweet: Inspiration. Encouragement. Education … are what we strive to present to our readers, to share what we’ve gleaned and learned along our own “write road.” #amwriting #inspiration

Writing Prompt: Begin a story using the photo below as inspiration. Remember to answer the questions: who, what, when, where…

Image by Matthew Morse from Pixabay

Closing Comments on Indie Publishing

August is at an end. Can you believe it? Looking back over the month, we’ve shared our stories, interviews, comments, and suggestions about Indie publishing. If you’ve read our posts this month, tell me, what stands out to you? What helped you most? Inspired you?


To wrap up the month, we’d like to hear from you—our readers. Share a short comment about your own “Indie” journey, tell us what you liked best from our posts, or if you still have questions, ask us. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll find out for you.

Our greatest desire is to be of help to you along your writing journey. Be encouraged to prayerfully consider your next steps. Your dreams are important, so don’t rush it, and don’t cut too many corners.
Writing Prompt: Just for Fun – Write a haiku about the above photo. Don’t know how? Here’s a helpful post from Creative Writing Now: How to Write a Haiku

Throughout the month of September, we’re going to talk about “Working with the Industry.” I hope you’ll join us.

Click to Tweet:  To Indie publish or not? Your dreams are important, so don’t rush it, and don’t cut too many corners from Betty Owens – @batowens via @InspiredPrompt #IndieAuthors #SelfPub