It’s OK for a Writer to …

by | Writing | 10 comments

image by mohamed_hassan

As 2017 ended, I contemplated how I could make 2018 calmer for me as a writer. My word for 2017 was CALM. Focusing and praying on staying calm last year has blessed me. Since January, God has healed me of chronic insomnia and shown me how to receive the peace He offers. So as I leave my year of CALM, I wanted to list other things that will continue my calmness as I go forward.

It’s OK for a Writer to …


Platform, Promotion, and Marketing


image by ArtsyBee

♥ Take off holidays from posting blogs. I faithfully blog once a week. This year I simply wished my readers well at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was sincere in my wishes, and the break in blogging revitalized me. 

♥ Use the learning and research performed during writing, marketing, and platform building as topics for blogs. For me, this quickly produces blogging ideas, and the research is mostly done.

♥ Accept offered help. This may be from several people. After my husband retired, he took over the vacuuming, shopping, and laundry so I could write. Then, he read and offered input on my manuscripts. This year, he has revamped my spreadsheets that track my sales for tax reporting and my inventories. He does several marketing tasks, and he’s going with me to a writer’s conference. Hurray! He’s even learned to make memes! Relief for me.

♥ Say no to disliked promotion activities or those that experience or research has shown aren’t worth the work. For me, that’s TV or Radio interviews, blog tours, and non-reader-related fairs.

♥ Ask for information or help to make progress. I’m respectful of others’ time, but I’ve learned most publishing staff, other writers, and readers want to help. And many who can’t, wish they could.


♥ Write in the style and manner that personally works best. For me, I like to create a thought-out journey, then have the freedom to be creative along the way as I listen to my characters.

♥ Make mistakes in drafts. I was surprised at how many of the “mistakes” I write about in my blogs I did in my latest draft. For my draft, this is OK.

♥ Learn from mistakes. Now, as I write and edit, my critique partner sits on one shoulder, my editors sit on the other, and my writing blog posts perch atop my head. These kind people want my story to be the best it can be. I enjoy hearing them speak to me as I write.


My word for 2018 is BOLD. If I’m truly bolder, I’ll be less anxious and that will contribute to my calmness. And I’ll take better care of myself in this demanding profession.

Writers, give yourselves permission to __. And enjoy the writing profession in 2018. Click to tweet.

If you have a word that represents what you’d like to work on this year, would you share it with us? And what will you give yourself permission to do or not do?



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Amanda Larrowe’s lack of trust sabotages her relationships. The English teacher and award-winning author of middle-grade adventure books for boys has shut off communication with friends and family to meet her January 2 book deadline. Now, in the deepest snow accumulation Richmond, Virginia has experienced in years, Camden Lancaster moves in across the street. After ten years, her heart still smarts from the humiliating aftermath of their perfect high school Valentine’s Day date. He may have transformed into a handsome, amiable man, but his likeability doesn’t instill trust in Amanda’s heart. When Cam doesn’t recognize her on their first two encounters, she thinks it’s safe to be his fair-weather neighbor. Boy is she wrong

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  1. gkittleson

    I think mine is perspective. Keeping in mind that my work is only one part of who I am…it can definitely be used to encourage others, but it’s meant to be a blessing in my life, not a burden. Thanks, Zoe.

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      Hi Gail,
      I enjoy hearing others’ 2018 words. So far with my friends who chose a word, I haven’t heard a repeat. Perspective is a great word. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Tanya Hanson

    What a great post. Zoe. I love the permission to leave behind the things that drag you down. I don’t have a word-yet—still getting the homestead back to order after a terrific holiday season—but maybe it’s breathing-space. After an “anthology” release in June (a very contentious one that didn’t excite me at all—they simply gathered up 7 previously-published stories and stuck the 8th unpublished one in the mix, charging an exorbitant sum that Nobody Will Pay, particularly if they already own the first seven novellas), I decided to leave it all alone, quit my last group blog, and rejoiced n the fact that for the first time in many years I had No Deadlines. The feeling of liberation has been electrifying! I don’t know if I’ll be picking up the pen any time soon. It’s truly a “let the Lord lead” time in my life, with four precious grandkids to fill my time. A part of the writing “journey” I wouldn’t have anticipated but sure am enjoying. Sheesh—I am so long-winded. God bless you richly in 2018, and send you every good thing! Much love to you…

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      Hi Tanya,
      With my word being bold, I loved how bold you were to liberate yourself. I hope your 2018 is filled with joy. You have those grandchildren to help with that.

  3. davidkitz

    Wishing you boldness and calm in 2018, Zoe.

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      Why thank you, David. May your 2018 be full of joy.

  4. Laurean Brooks

    I loved this post. After my first book released, I was gung-ho when it came to promotion. I scheduled a couple dozen blog interviews,and held 20 book signings over the next two years (which wrought little in sales and rarely covered my fuell bill). This led to burnout and discouragement. Nothng worked. At the end of the first quarter, my disappointing royalty check almost finished me. Lol. I even discovered, after I stopped the blog interviews, that my sales were the same.

    Finally, years later, I’m discovering that beloning to the right Facebook group helps. Before I just released my first Western, I joined “Pioneer Hearts.” where both authors and readers meet. Those ladies, and a few gents, lap up those Western Romances.

    Also, I recently found a book promoter who charges a low rate for a lot of promotion. I see my book plastered all over FB book promotion pages through notifications from this company’s consistent Shares and Tweets. And my publisher say’s my sales are climbing.

    So, I guess if I said it in a nutshell, my words to struggling authors would be, “Work wiser, not harder.” You have to go where the “readers” are. Find groups where ravenous readers are waiting for your books.

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      Thank you for sharing your story, Laurean. My marketing story is similar. I think I’m working wiser now.

  5. Marcia Lahti

    AWAKE is my word for 2018. Awake to god’s presence, to His work, His perspective.

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      Hi Marcia, Another great word to carry with you all day, every day. I have a friend who chose HUNGER for similar reasons. Thanks for sharing your word.

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