Writers! Having a Hard Time Staying Focused? You Are Not Alone!

pexels-photo-93405Too many times when I mention that I am a writer, the individuals I am speaking to tell me they want to write a book. And when I ask them why haven’t they, I hear the same excuses. You know the ones, not enough time, don’t know what to write, experiencing writer’s block, don’t know if they can, and on and on and on and on. I understand precisely how that individual feels because I have used the same excuses over and over when I am not writing.
You see, it’s taken me years to write four books, literally. When I left Philadelphia over 20 years ago, I trashed boxes of manuscripts. Looking back, I regret that wholeheartedly. I had written on hard copy pages using typewriters and word processors to generate thousands of pages of the written word. But, on my move, I decided to give up the writing dream and follow the career path that was taking me somewhere. An organization had recruited me in Atlanta, and I was happy. But, what I didn’t expect was to realize that the dream of becoming a writer would never fade. It would haunt me until nine years ago as I was searching for something in my basement in a box that had nothing to do with writing when I found a manuscript that hadn’t gotten tossed. It had survived, and it was a tale of a young southern girl facing the trials and tribulations of adapting to life in the City of Brotherly Love. I sat down on another box and started reading it. The fire in me reignited. I had to finish this book. And I did. That was my first attempt at becoming a writer and an independent author, though I wouldn’t have called myself that then. I stumbled through the journey and gave up again.
But, the writing bug kept biting me. So, three years later, I released number two in the series. Then dropped off the radar again. After that, I wrote a non-fiction book. Out of sight, out of mind is the term that comes to mind as I dropped off the writing radar again. Are you getting the drift here? One minute I wanted to write, and the next minute I was giving the hard work to my career. Why?  I told myself I had to make a living. I needed to earn money. Can’t earn money writing books. Right? So I lost focus, once again.
That bug was still biting though, so I wrote number three in the novel series and recently released it with an entirely new perspective. Over the years, I learned so much about the publishing world, and now I feel more focused. You see after all these years, that life’s purpose that I tried to ignore kept popping up anyway. My desire to be a writer had become an integral part of my jobs, writing policies and operations manuals, even newsletters, so I was writing anyway. It was just that type of writing wasn’t what I wanted to do. With that said, I hope, if you have the same struggles, staying focused on your life’s purpose, especially writing and publishing, that you stick around and see what we can learn from each other. Maybe we can encourage each other to STAY Focused. That’s my goal. All I want to do now is WRITE OUT LOUDER AND LOUDER. How about you?
Dilsa Saunders Bailey, the author of The Sperling Chronicles and A Comprehensive Guide to Finding the Right Doctor, loves to blog as “simplydilsa,” a woman who loves to write out loud. The third novel in The Sperling Chronicles, No Tears for Dead Men, is now available in Print and on Kindle.

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Write What You Know

TSCDTA-StandingKALINA HUGGED HER pillow even tighter as sunlight invaded the darkness of her room. She buried her face in it to hold onto the peace that had enveloped her before the bright intrusion of the spring morning. The sun’s warm rays streamed through her lace curtains creating psychedelic patterns on her pale blue wall, teasing her to get up and get going. It was Sunday and, as usual, her day was already loaded with activity. She wished she could be like many of her friends who didn’t have to get up and go to church every Sunday.
Above is the first paragraph in my first book, Dreams Thrown Away. It’s a prime example of writing what you know. Not every detail, of course, but what you know is what you can translate into emotional and visual manifestation on a page. Was this me in the first paragraph? Was this me in my first book? Partially, yes. Kalina Denise Harris (Kali) shares some of my characteristics, but let’s not get confused. Kali’s parents were a Baptist minister and a choir director. She had grown up in the church, so had I. My grandparents were my primary caregivers and they were very active in the church. They were so involved I felt that I only lived in one of three places, home, school, and church.
Are you with me on this? How many of you who grew up in a Southern Baptist church and had friends who didn’t have to be in church every Sunday? Call me a heathen, but my hand just shot up, high. As I said, I lived in one of three places and church was a big chunk of my existence. I can recall being in church, literally, all day long. My grandfather was a deacon and custodian at the church. He had to get there early to turn on the heat or the fans, etc. So we were at church before anyone else arrived. After that, Sunday School would start, and it would always run over. Shortly after Sunday School, there was a prayer meeting or a pre-meeting of some sort before regular service. That would last almost an hour and then, then, then there was the service that could run from two to three hours. Whew!!! Some of you can relate, I know.
If that wasn’t enough, there were other reasons to go to church during the week regularly, choir practice, deacon meetings, and custodial duties are what I remember off the top of my head. I am sure there were more, and I have filed them away in my memory. I still have visions of that church and the feeling of begrudgingly walking into it. To make matters worse, I know I shouldn’t complain, but once a year there was the weeklong revival where there were two services and two prayer meetings on the first Sunday of August, then there were prayer meetings and services Monday through Friday. Whew, you couldn’t wait until Saturday, but the next Sunday morning came quickly.
Yes, I lived in the church until I became a teenager and my grandparents got tired of the struggle. Happily, I became one of those friends who didn’t have to get out of bed so early, anyway, on Sunday morning. Not all of it was bad; I did enjoy my friends and the family I made there. Sometimes I miss that familiar feeling, but these days I don’t have to wonder about friends who don’t go to church. I’m not there every Sunday myself, and I am okay with that.
Dilsa Saunders Bailey is an independent author who has not only self-published three novels and a non-fiction book; she has spent most of her medical services career writing policies, bylaws, operations manuals, and more over the last 27 years. Dilsa is now coaching writers through the self-publishing journey and helping them to set up their businesses using their books as a marketing tool to build their platforms. If you want to learn more about how she can help you, contact her at dilsa@simplydilsa.com or join her blog below to keep up to date with her books and seminars.

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Creative Con Spiked My Creative Juices

MaryBMorrisonTamikaNewhouseAs I weaved through traffic or should I say as cars weaved around me on my way to attend Creative Con at Atlanta’s Auburn Research Library, I kept asking myself what value will this provide. Shortly after I arrived, I began to network naturally with other attendees patiently waiting to be let into the event. The first person I met was there to learn how to get published and the second person was like me, already self-published and aware of the mechanics of how to get a book written and into production. As soon as the event began, I realized many of us were there for the same reason, looking for the details on how to sell your books and the mechanics of reaching your target audience. Some of us already had a foothold, an audience, but also a desire to spread our voices wider. So as Tamika Newhouse, the founder, and creator of this conference, gave us a glimpse into her world and her vision to share her successes, we sat eagerly at the edge of our seats for the nitty gritty about the writing life. Soon after the event began, the answer to my question about the day’s value was answered. I walked out of Creative Con with three pages of notes. That may not seem like much to some, but the value in those almost illegible scribbles and some fuzzy pictures of PowerPoint are all there as I ponder putting them into action.
What did I learn? The first thing I learned was that I was not off base in my efforts to introduce everyone to The Sperling Chronicles. The second thing I learned was that there are many voices just waiting to be heard by the masses and the statistics of those thousands of self-published books had faces behind them. The feeling that our faces teetering on the edge of a cult, a society of those who need to be heard, to teach, to entertain, and to share had this universal, spiritual pull rising in the rooms. But, most of all I learned that networking with other writers, picking up tips from each other was as valuable as what the speakers taught us. One of the speakers, Mary B. Morrison, author of 26 books who is signed with Kensington Publishing, gave us hope that we, too, can become full-time writers. Other speakers gave us insights on social media, branding, marketing, and even the personal style and image we need to present to the world. All of it was worth my Thursday. There is more to come this weekend, but unfortunately, I can’t be there. You should check it out if you can! Remember, whether you make it to any of the Black Writers Weekend events or not, and no matter who you are, “don’t quit.” WRITE ON! WRITE ON!
Dilsa Saunders Bailey, author of The Sperling Chronicles and A Comprehensive Guide to Finding the Right Doctor, loves to blog as “simplydilsa,” a woman who loves to write out loud and share her journeys in the self-publishing world. The third novel in The Sperling Chronicles, No Tears for Dead Men, is now available in Print and on Kindle.

 





HAPPY 4TH OF JULY

4thJuly-frank-mckenna-184340-unsplashGrowing up this was one of the happiest days of the year. It was only second to Christmas. This was the day that family and friends got together to barbecue over hot grills, hang out in the hot sun, play games, and to dance, dance, dance until it was time for the fireworks. The loud, brilliant bursts of color would prance over the night sky reminding us to file in our memory banks the good times we had celebrating our country’s birthday. I am sure many families and friends are still doing the same, some adding morning races, parades, as well as still preparing for that great backyard barbecue, that big roasting pit where the pig has been turned all night, or the trying to get to the park for the perfect spot and the widest picnic tables. Either way, this is still a day that needs to be celebrated with the one common thing that we all share as residents and citizens in this country, our freedom! Freedom is something we should never take for granted nor deny anyone else. Happy Independence Day, America. May we never forget why our country became a free country!
Dilsa Saunders Bailey is an independent author who has not only self-published three novels and a non-fiction book; she has spent most of her medical services career writing policies, bylaws, operations manuals, and more over the last 27 years. Dilsa is now coaching writers through the self-publishing journey and helping them to set up their businesses using their books as a marketing tool to build their platforms. If you want to learn more about how she can help you, contact her at dilsa@simplydilsa.com or join her blog below to keep up to date with her books and seminars.

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Is Ashton Taylor Sperling a Psychopath or a Sociopath? The Answer is…

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At a book club event, a psychologist announced that Ashton was a sociopath. My mouth dropped. It hadn’t occurred to me that his characteristics were that of a sociopath. Another fan suggested he was a psychopath. Now what? Could either of these monikers describe a man who loves his wife and family as much as Ashton? Do you understand my confusion? Since I am thinking about the direction of number 4 in the series, I decided I needed to do some research to determine if he was either, or maybe one of the characters could be designated that more so. But, as I sit here thinking about my next blog and my next book, I wondered, could either be a family trait? If Ashton is a sociopath, has one of his children inherited the gene? Or, did he inherit the gene from his grandfather? Is it a gene? How does one become a sociopath or a psychopath? Do I really want to know? Of course, I do. I want to make sure my characters are true to life. That’s how they keep haunting people after they have put the book down.
Here is what I found out about those individuals? The sociopath has very similar traits of a psychopath. However, the psychopath’s characteristics are more extreme. And, those traits make neither of them an automatic serial killer. Some of the characters in my book have killed more than once, and the murders were not justified. But, whose killing is justified? Both the sociopath and the psychopath exhibit a lack of guilt or remorse. They don’t feel what the average person feels. For instance, if I hurt someone’s feelings, I feel remorse, and if I did it on purpose, I feel guilty. Not those antisocial personality types, they think nothing. It’s your problem, your fault if your feelings are hurt. Ah, your poor feelings keep getting in your way, not theirs. Though many traits are defining these personality disorders, what struck me most about the Ashton character was that he was very precise, minimizing the risk to himself, at least in the beginning. That trait leaned toward psychopath. However, his twin brother was more reactive and erratic in his behavior making him more of a sociopath, but he was more violent. Was either of them attached to anyone, did they have feelings? The answer was yes, which makes me consider that though they were dangerous men, did they fit the molds of sociopathy or psychopathy. I am still on the fence. Looking at the other traits is what confuses me. Ashton loves his family, he rarely lies outright but does keep a lot of secrets. He is not aggressive, yet is determined to have his way, i.e., possibly manipulative and somewhat intimidating. Most women he encounters find him very charming and sexy, especially his wife. After all, his looks take their breath away. If you are a psychologist or someone who has experienced living with one of these personality disorders, maybe you can help me out. I want to show the world how the dark side has affected his children. If you haven’t read the books, start with Dreams Thrown Away and get to know him better. Most of my readers love him, no matter how often his darkness appears.
Dilsa Saunders Bailey is an independent author who has not only self-published three novels and a non-fiction book; she has spent most of her medical services career writing policies, bylaws, operations manuals, and more over the last 27 years. Dilsa is now coaching writers through the self-publishing journey and helping them to set up their businesses using their books as a marketing tool to build their platforms. If you want to learn more about how she can help you, contact her at dilsa@simplydilsa.com or join her blog below to keep up to date with her books and seminars.

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