|"Flying High" ©Mary Montague Sikes|
Years ago, when my first novel, Hearts Across Forever, was released I was overcome with excitement. I was now a published author and could be part of the RWA published author network. I soon discovered that nothing could be further from the truth. There were far too many stumbling blocks down the road. The simple truth was if you are published by a small publishing house, as far as RWA is concerned, you are not published at all. While our publisher tried to meet the standards, it was an impossible task, even years down the road when she attempted application again.
However, like my little spinoff books from Hotels to Remember, RWA was "A Snapshot in Time" for me. During my early years of membership, I traveled to many cities I might never have visited otherwise. It was in those cities that I discovered many of the hotels that eventually became part of my coffee table book. I also met other fledgling authors who became my friends. I attended workshops where I learned a great deal about writing and the writing industry. I had the opportunity to dress up and be part of the Rita awards ceremonies that are the "Oscars" for romance writers. Although I have never gotten recognition as a published author, membership in RWA was well worth the time and the money.
For those concerned about recognition, I believe you should focus on what you have within your grasp. We are fortunate to have Jeana as our marketing adviser and pusher extraordinaire. Having a plan at our fingertips is the perfect tool to guide us in this crazy profession we've chosen. If we can gain success marketing, then who cares about recognition that probably means less now than it did all those many years ago when I was so disappointed?
We also need to always remember the importance of good health. No matter what kind of recognition you might gain, if you don't have good health you will never have a chance to enjoy the glory. I try to work out in a fitness center or take classes at least three times a week. Right now, I'm taking Shock Wave twice a week, a Tabata class, and Zumba. At one time, I played singles tennis outdoors for at least three hours every day during the summer. Now I can't find anyone with whom to play singles. If you don't have a gym membership, walking is a great exercise. Also, think about your diet. Gluten free, concern about what has happened to the grains we now grow--a lot has changed about our food supply in recent years. If you haven't already, do some research to see if you want to change the way you eat.
Whatever you do, stop worrying about those things over which you have no control. You do have control over your marketing and your health. And don't forget your imagination. Let it fly high. These are the real keys to living the good life for an author.
Mary Montague Sikes