Change is growth. I heard Sharon Sala say this during her talk at the recent ACRA Conference. She said a lot of things that stuck with me, but this one, I am struggling to implement. I’ve been a stay at home mom since my son was born in 1988. In 1997, I joined RWA and started seriously pursuing a career in publishing. In 2003, I began working part-time at the YMCA as a fitness instructor. What am I trying to say? For the last twenty five years, there haven’t been many changes in my life.

Now, my children are adults. I don’t need to stay home and take care of them. I am still with the YMCA and RWA. I am stagnant. While the people around me are changing, I am stuck and unsure of how to move forward. I’m sure many moms have faced this and I’d love to hear what worked for you. At present, I feel lost. When the main job in your life has been motherhood, how do you decide what’s next?

I want to be a successful published author traveling around the country, attending conferences, meeting other writers, and connecting with readers. That’s the dream. But I am still waiting for the call. How do I change and grow in the meantime?

9 Replies to “Change is Growth”

  1. I have the same dream as you as far as traveling to conferences, meeting other writers, and connecting with readers and since I have hit a pretty solid brick wall on that front lately, I find myself insecure about my abilities to get there. I am a widow and come home to an empty house every day and that gets old, particularly around the holidays. So what’s a person to do?

    Well, I’ve reached out for help to my writing friends (as you well know) for encouragement and plotting help.

    I’ve bought the Rita winners and the NYTimes bestsellers and am working my way through them so I can pick up some tips on how to be a better writer.

    I have started exercising (ok, I lie. I walk around the block two times a week)

    And for Thanksgiving I have volunteered at a mission to serve dinner to the homeless.

    Little steps. Baby steps. Big dreams.

    And I am grateful for the “present” that I am still alive and have today to take another baby step.

    1. Thanks for the pep talk, Diane. I hope both our dreams come true. You are an amazing writer and I can’t wait to read anything you write. And you make a good point, creating a support system is huge. I am grateful for my friends. Friends like you. =)

  2. Diane is right. When you know you need to change things up, and you aren’t sure what to do, try some little baby steps until you figure out what’s the right new direction for you. I’ve been stagnating with my writing for years. Every November, I would write a new 50,000 word manuscript for National Novel Writing Month, but I was no closer to reaching my goal of publication after six years. So this year, I’m putting my effort toward revising my first manuscript. I’m reading several craft books and doing the exercises to incorporate the ideas into my story. By the time I’ve finished, I know my work will be a lot better, and I will finally be ready to submit it, knowing that it’s the best it can be. Remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Good luck!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Laura. I think baby steps is a good way to start. Like you, my writing has been on the back burner for a while. I’ve been working at it super hard since National, making sure that I get all my requests out and hoping good things are in my future. I hope that for all of us. =)

  3. I so appreciate your transparency, Jan. Realizing the need for change is always the first step. 🙂 So, you’re well on your way. I’ve been fighting some of the same things (why is that not surprising?) and am doing as Diane and Laura suggested and taking baby steps to do some things differently. (Great advice, btw, ladies!!) I believe we’ll all get where we’re trying to go, surrounded by great friends, all taking that next baby step on the road together!

    1. We do seem to be on the same page a lot, Connie. It’s uncanny at times. =) I honestly hesitated to post this because it is very personal. But, putting myself out on social media and trying to network is one of the steps I’ve taken since National to try and make my dreams come true. And, it’s nice to have the support of friends who understand what you’re going through and have your back. Thanks, Connie.

  4. Jan, being an empty nester is a big transition. I’m going through that this year, too. I was a stay at home mom when my girls were younger– we home schooled during their elementary years so that kept me busy.

    Then, as my girls aged into high school I started working part-time at a local community college. I loved my job, and while it took away a good chunk of my writing time, it also refilled my creative well.

    Times have changed and now I’m a single mom so my part-time job has become a full-time one out of necessity. Yes, it keeps me busy and helps me not miss my girls as much. At the same time, it takes a huge chunk of my writing time.

    Here’s where my RWA chapter and online friends prove to be a godsend for me. Monthly meetings keep me motivated. Hearing good news from fellow writers reminds me that if I keep striving, my time will come.

    If you can’t make it to a conference, see if you can get your hands on the recorded presentations and have a mini”conference” or retreat in your home. Take notes and see how you can apply what you’ve learned with your current work in progress.

    Maybe try creating a 1-year, 3-year and 5-year plan for your writing. Break your 1-year plan into the steps you’ll need to take each month to reach your goals. Share these goals with your closest writing friends to help you feel accountable. Or keep ’em to yourself if that works better for you.

    The trick is to find whatever will help you stay motivated and feel like you’re making progress. For years you’ve focused on what’s best for your kids, putting their needs ahead of yours. Think of this time as your time! Go for it!! 🙂

    1. Thanks for the great ideas, Pris. I am a very goal oriented person and I like to have a plan. I think that will work well for me. =)

  5. Great post Jan. A quote I heard recently rings true. “If nothing changes, nothing changes”. I too struggle with many of the same issues and obstacles in life. Awareness is the first step toward your goal. Confidence and perseverance will certainly get you there. Stay strong, my friend. You are on the “write” 🙂 path


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