I’m delighted to welcome Marcia Richards to do a guest post today. Please leave a comment and make her feel welcome!
A veteran blogger and author of Marcia Richards’ Blog…Sexy. Smart. From The Heart, Marcia writes about Sexy, Sweet Obsessions, 20th Century American Historical moments and people, and the path to realizing your dreams. She also has a Historical Trilogy in progress and is the author of a collection of Short and Flash Fiction stories. When she’s not writing, you can find her playing with the grandkids, traveling or turning old furniture into works of art. She believes there is always something new to learn.
Marcia shares insights here into how she found her “path” in life. Everything doesn’t work for everyone, as we know, and Fate has a way of intervening when we least expect it. As a result of her own experience, research and reflection, Marcia has a strong voice with which to offer words we might all put to good use. Thanks so much, Marcia for sharing this with us now.
Life is akin to one of those Choose-Your-Own-Adventure stories, don’t you think? For example, your decision to turn this corner alters the outcome in the chapter. If you hadn’t made that turn, who knows what might have happened instead? Would it have been a better story, or not?
I’ve long been one to study self-help books and learn more about myself and the people I associate with. I spent all my adult years with loved ones, friends and coworkers/employers who were afflicted with generalized anxiety disorder, an unhealthy ego and a need to control and manipulate each and every situation, or a victim mentality. We grow to be what we know.
It’s no secret that we have the power to change ourselves and our life circumstances, if we so choose. I sought to do that, as well as to understand those around me better. There are three behaviors that I adopted many years ago (many thanks to Dr. Phil McGraw).
I live by them and know that they have shaped all my decisions and helped me carve out the life I’m happy living. That’s not to say that I have been perfectly diligent in carrying them out every single day of my life. I don’t claim to be perfect at anything, but if my mistakes and learning curve can save you, or someone you love, a little angst then all my head-slapping moments were worthwhile.
1. You create your own experience ~ We create the results of our lives, whether they be happy or sad, successful or failed, good or bad, we made them that way. In a college class, my professor put it a different way, “If there is a problem here, I am the cause of it.” In other words, you are accountable for your life.
If you are overweight, unhappy, hate your job, always short of money, or distrusting of people, you’re accountable. Whatever your life circumstance is, it’s your responsibility and you’re accountable. If you think this doesn’t apply to you, trust me, it does. It applies to every one of us. You must acknowledge it, if you want to change your circumstance. The alternative is behaving like a victim. As long as you behave like a victim, your circumstance will remain the same. This is how the world works.
Be prepared to ask yourself the tough questions that will get at the crux of the problem. What is it you have to do or change to turn things around? The solution lies within you. Don’t be a victim. Take control and make the changes necessary.
2. We do what works ~ Do you know someone who has health problems but continues to do the thing that will make it worse? Do you see people in relationships push each other’s hot buttons even though they know the consequences? Knowing what we should do and doing it are two different things. The fact is that the undesirable behavior generates some level of satisfaction or value to us, or we would not do it.
We need to understand what the pay-off is for the undesirable behavior in order to eliminate it. Stopping for fast food is easier and faster than cooking at home. Pouting makes her husband feel badly for arguing with her. Reading emails is more comfortable than staring at that blank page that is your WIP. Find and control the pay-offs and you control the behavior.
3. We teach people how to treat us~ Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” When we allow a person in our life to treat us in an undesirable way, they learn that behavior is okay and continue forward in the same manner. Rather than complain about how others treat us, we need to look at what we are doing to get these results.
We must commit to change in the dynamics of the relationship in order to fix it. The other person will fight the change since he/she won’t be getting the same satisfaction from their behavior. Stay the course and don’t sell yourself short. You get what you give.
Choose your own life adventure…which road will you take or help someone else take? Interested in this philosophy? For more, read Dr.Phil’s book, Life Strategies. Public opinion about Dr. Phil is mixed, but I think he’s spot-on target in this book.
INTERVIEW: I knew you would want to know more about Marcia. Enjoy her responses below!
We have all become writers through such different paths, how did you begin?
As a teenager, I wrote poems to soothe my angst over boys and rules, etc. I continued to write throughout my life – mostly job-related projects. In 2003, I began my first blog, Sage Seeds, which grew out of a difficult experience in my life. I wrote self-help topics, hoping to pass on what I had learned about relationships and myself. I blogged seven days a week, then burned out after a few years. In 2010, I began my current blog and followed one of my passions again – helping people with their life struggles. I soon realized I wanted to write books, specifically self-help and historical fiction. As an author, I learned I would need a platform from which to sell my books. My blog, Marcia Richards’ Blog…Sexy. Smart. From The Heart., has evolved to incorporate several passions, as readers will see when they visit.
What projects are you working on now?
I’m blogging 3-5 days per week. One day every other week is devoted to The Life List Club, which encourages readers to create their own life list and work toward their goals. We have some wonderful writers involved, and we all take turns guest posting on each other’s blogs. That gives readers a lot of fresh articles and many points of view.
I’m in the process of creating writing projects that will be free to subscribers on my blog. I am also 30% into my debut novel-the first of a trilogy, The Dance and The Dancer, set in a time of turmoil, it’s the story of a young woman fighting her way through early adulthood to become what she was told was not possible.
In addition, I am writing short stories based on my book’s characters, and flash fiction stories to compile in an anthology. I’m writing an inspirational self-help eBook, and I’m in the very early planning stages of a narrative non-fiction about overcoming life’s difficult moments.
What inspired you to write historical fiction?
My mother was born in 1924 and suffered a difficult childhood, then found her way to become a chorus line dancer. That career led her to my father and settling in New York State. Her story has always fascinated me and I felt I had to write about it. So, the 2nd book in my trilogy is loosely based on her life story. I’ve always loved history.
What advice do you have for writers building an author platform?
1.Realize an author is a professional and an entrepeneur. You are growing a business.
2.Seek out the “experts” for lessons in effectively marketing yourself and your work. Then filter out what doesn’t work for you.
3.Create a blog that reflects you and your work. Your readers will appreciate your professionalism, but more than that, they’ll appreciate your openness, honesty and accessibility.
4.Do begin social networking. Make real friends. Writing is a solitary career. Only by enjoying the company of others can we hope to keep the creative juices flowing, as well as develop a community of support.
5.Naturally, a platform means nothing if you don’t have a product to sell. You must write and finish your WIP, but do take the time to develop your platform. Set your insecurities aside when it comes to being social, and do your best to balance writing, socializing, and home life. Persevere; it will get easier.
What is your workspace like?
I have an office on the second floor of my home adjoining my bedroom. My windows provide me with a gorgeous view the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. In that office, I’m surrounded by my favorite things: my books, collections, and music. Oh yeah, and my cat, Rocky, is always at my side – snoring.
What do you do when you aren’t writing?
My husband and I visit our family and friends, explore the quaint towns in our part of the state, and we try to make time to pursue our hobbies: for me, taking old furniture and painting it with personality; for him, restoring our 1885 Victorian home.
What is the one thing you know for sure?
We all have a deep, abiding strength. We may have to reach way down and yank it out, but it’s there. That strength gives us the power to overcome anything life throws in our way.
Marcia is one of an incredible group of writers who came together in a blogging class led by Kristen Lamb, Social Media Goddess extraordinaire. I hope to feature many more of them in the coming months. Kristen is offering the course again. Hurry and sign up!
Visit Marcia at: http://Marcia-Richards.com