Seasons and legacies

seasons

Seasons in Life

Life does not always go as planned. You see yourself doing one thing, and then all of a sudden you end up doing something else. 

At the beginning of this year, I vowed I would continue writing. I would blog regularly, submit write ups, seriously begin writing my second book… 

The plan was to travel and then write about my travels. The plan was to write about my fitness journey. The plan was to chronicle my every day and write about the new things that I learned from the business I am running. The plan was to write about the people that I meet and the experiences I shared with them. 

It is already the last week of November. It is almost the end of the year. So far, I think this is only my fourth blog for the year. Okay, so I was able to have another published write-up elsewhere. But no new book… No draft even. I have (ghost)written several business letters. That’s about it.  The longest I have written were — grocery or laundry lists. 

Yey to the writer! 😦 

Contrary to what some people think, I don’t just spend my days working out at the gym. Actually, several months back I said I will write about my fitness journey, but I never got around to doing that, as well… *sigh*

I have been running a business for eleven months now and it pretty much takes up my every waking moment. There are days of the week that I get so exhausted, I get cranky, I get so stressed. I go to the gym to de-stress… which, come to think of it, is basically why I go to the gym a lot.

It is hard to compose anything when your mind’s all over the place. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about having and running a business. Though it’s a start-up and it’s small, I consider it a blessing.  I also have every intention of making it grow. Thus, my full attention.

I am learning new things and I interact with people on a professional level. I am reminded of how it is to deal with subordinates. I get to boss people around. (Okay I am kidding on the last one… sort of.) 

But when I am on work mode, I am on work mode. Sadly, my writing has taken a back seat.

Yes, I sometimes long for those peaceful moments when inspiration just comes easy and I can write nonstop. I do miss those moments. I haven’t had that in a while… 

SO I was having quite a crappy difficult week last week… then this came in the mail…

Unexpected, unannounced…

20

I have been immortalized. 

…or at least, my published work lives on for fifty years after my demise. 

God has a sense of humor… and His timing is always perfect.

He reminded me of a personal accomplishment, something I should be proud of.

Yet I also think it’s His way of telling me that if I was able to do it before, then I can do it again. When it’s time to seriously go back to writing mode, I will know.

But I am to learn what I am supposed to learn right here, right now. 

I think He’s telling me to go with and through this season and just chill. 🙂

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…” Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV

 

*****

photo credits : Seasons via google images; Copyright Certificate of the book Twenty Years in Between via author’s iPhone. ❤

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Celebrity for a Week

Betsy.jpg

Photo of the week

Hey there blogverse (blog + universe… is there such word?!). 

A lot of things have been happening and I don’t get to blog as often as my heart wanted to… But it doesn’t mean that I haven’t been writing.

So, two special things happened this week…

First, I was interviewed by Bookbed.org and was featured on their website. We basically talked about my book, Twenty Years in Between. They asked how the book came about and I also shared about my writing practices and processes. I also shared some pieces of advise for aspiring writers.

I am truly grateful that there are there are groups like Bookbed that appreciate and support Filipino authors. It inspires us — me — to write some more. 

You may read about the whole interview here —  Writing, Feeling, Believing: And Interview with Author Betsy G. Ochosa. 

If you guys have been following my blog, you would know that I am a happy mother to a now-19 year old son. I am sure you know, as well, that I take motherhood seriously. 

I have written about my experiences as a (very) hands-on mom, and I have shared tons of pictures of my son — sometimes to his embarrassment. Well, what can I say? I am a proud mom… 

Here is an essay that I wrote for Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s Brew Your Best Year online magazine. This is for all the mothers out there who, like me, are just delighted (pleased, satisfied, content…) to be called Mom.  Because truly, it IS the best job in the world! 

Mothers, remember you can be anything and to the family, you are everything… and you are never Just a Mom. 

So, go and check out those links! Told you I have been busy… 😉

Catch you all later!

 

**********

Selfie photo via my iPhone

Dream a little dream

It was 12:30am and I couldn’t sleep.

I was tired of watching Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones reruns… so I thought of reading a bit ’til I fall asleep. I decided to reach out for the book nearest my bed side… 

Lo and behold, I got hold of MY book. 

20yrsBGO

my 12:30am companion

I didn’t start reading right away, though. Instead, I think I stared at the cover for a good ten minutes. I looked at the front, then the back… I took a couple of photos then posted them on Instagram.

I marveled at the thought that this book I had in my hands bore my name on it. I was the author. It was my creation. My thoughts, my ideas, my words, on paper. My childhood dream realized. 

So this was what my bestie-cousin meant when she said, “It is different when you have the actual book in your hand. Something you can reread and bring with you everywhere you go.” And to emphasize further, “Your work. In your hands.”

She told me that at the time I needed encouragement… at the time when I was full of self-doubt and a voice in my head kept asking, “Why am I doing this again?”

It has been a year since the book first came out — though it wasn’t until the latter part of last year when well-known local bookstores started carrying it. 

Looking back, it was quite an experience, really.  From the first rejection of my manuscript, to the time I met the special people who worked with me to improve the outcome of the book… And then there was the challenge of how to distribute the books once published  (thought balloon: I might run out of family members and friends to sell to)… And all throughout, I had to deal with internal struggles — basically self-doubt and fear of being unworthy and being criticized. 

The whole process was a journey with moments of highs, and not exactly devoid of lows.

I have had good reviews and I have had so-so ones. I have readers clamoring for a second book — and yes, I have had one reader telling me that the book’s “not for her.” Short of telling me that she found it so juvenile.

It was a form of rejection, but I have long learned to take everything in stride.  

No, I didn’t turn into an instant celebrity author. I’m quite far from it, really. But I consider myself blessed for having those people who read and appreciated my work.

You see, all I really wanted was to tell stories and to entertain the readers in the process. I wanted to make them feel something. I thought of all the novels I read that somehow stayed with me long after I have placed the book down. I wanted to share that same feeling with my readers. If I can make even just one reader smile and feel good while reading my work, I knew I’ll be happy enough.

Truly if we allow our fears to take control, we will never be able to do anything. If we allow one rejection to get the better of us, then our goals — our dreams — will forever be out of reach.  

The other day I received a sales report from one of the bookstore chains distributing the book. So far they have sold about half of their inventory (based on total sales from various branches). Not bad… At least this time I know people other than my relatives bought the book!  Not bad for a newbie nobody like me. 🙂  

I started feeling sleepy even before reaching Chapter Two… But I know I fell asleep with a smile on my face.

Leaving you with this excerpt…

excerpts20yrs

Together they waited for the night to end.

❤ ❤

Fellow writers, artists, dreamers, I read this article on ‘rejection‘ online and it really struck me to the core. If you have been rejected or are afraid of rejection, this article is for you!! Sharing it with hopes that it can enlighten you the way it enlightened me: Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections a Year, by Kim Liao, Literary Hub.

Twenty Years in Between, available at select National Bookstore, Powerbooks and Fully Booked branches. Also available online at Bookbed.org.

To God be the glory always. Photos are mine 🙂 

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Eph.2:10 NKJV

 

 

 

Slow down, take time, breathe in…

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This book just turned 1!! 

Over the weekend we were at this popular bookstore near our place to look for my son’s assigned books/textbooks for college. I knew that the said bookstore carries my book (uhm, my published novella) —   I personally delivered their copies sometime in January of this year. Out of curiosity, I tried to check where my book was displayed and yes, I wanted to know how many copies were left on the rack.

I walked around the store but couldn’t find one copy, so I went and asked Customer Service. So the staff checked their computer, then asked me to follow her… and led me to a pushcart, not so far from the counter. When I asked where they were supposed to move or display the books, I was told, “Oh, these are for pull out.”

Okay, so my eyes opened wide, my jaw dropped (and yeah, my heart pretty much broke). Casually I asked the salesgirl, Who ordered the books to be pulled out – and why? Basically she couldn’t answer. She looked at the other clerks who at that time were all listening in and staring at us. Nobody could offer an explanation. They just said the books are to be returned to the supplier. When I told them I am the supplier and I was not told about the pullout, they just all gave me a blank stare.

Calmly I told the salesgirl that I will just get in touch with Purchasing department. Hopefully they have the answers. I turned to leave before I ended up saying something mean – or throw a fit, or have a meltdown.

A LOT of things ran in my mind… Only a few people bought my book… Maybe it was too expensive?… My fault for not really marketing it…  Maybe I suck as a writer?!… Why do I even write when no one reads me anyway?! … What a loser… And so on, and so forth.

On my way out of the bookstore, I told my son, “Now I feel bad.”

At that time, I pretty much allowed eight unsold books to define me… and to ruin my evening.

Don’t we all experience those days?

Nothing seems to be going your way… Expectations are not met… Prayers are left unanswered… People disappoint… You feel lost… You don’t know your purpose… People do or say things that mess up your psyche… Circumstances strip you of your confidence, make you question your worth… People are hurtful and insensitive… We don’t know the answer to our many why’s.

The world can be cruel. It can weigh you down.

That is if you will allow it to.

For the past several weekends, our Worship Team in Church had been singing the song “Take Courage” by Bethel Music.  Over and over.

It’s about taking courage, holding steadfast, holding on to hope. It’s about waiting and watching for your triumph to unfold.

I kept hearing the song in Church. Over and over.

It was when I started having those days — Those seemingly bad days… Those I feel like such a loser kind of days… It was then that I realized that the song was being played for me. Over and over.

My God’s reminder that something good is about to come. Just wait.

When I got home from the bookstore that evening, I found a message waiting in my social media account. From halfway around the world, someone was telling me how excited she was that she finally got hold of a copy of my book. I believe God sent this angel to cheer me up. I hope she knows she was my angel that evening.

And to further make me feel better, a few minutes later, I received another message from another time zone — from someone I hardly talked to — telling me how much my blogs inspire her and that she enjoyed reading them. Totally unexpected.

Right when my self confidence was starting to spiral down, it was like I was reminded to just chill.

It happens. We get tired and weary. The world can be mean. 

But as the song goes, Slow down, take time, breathe in… He’d reveal what’s to come.  

In the meantime, God sends angels to comfort us, remind us that everything will be well.

Sharing with you the link to the song ‘Take Courage’… Because someone might be needing it right now.

 

It’s all good

I spent a big part of the morning talking to several people on the phone regarding the sales and distribution of my book. 

Being a self published author, and a first-timer at that, I had to learn about the whole book publication process on my own.  And it doesn’t stop at the printing of the actual book. I am also on top of the distribution, promotion, and yes, collection of earnings/royalties.

I will not pretend that the whole process is easy or that everything is a breeze, because it’s not. I need to talk to and deal with people. I have had challenges along the way. It is a test of patience for the most part. Nope, not easy.  Continue reading