Hello there! I’ve missed you guys. I mean, I’ve really have! I hope this summer was all you hoped it would be—or at least some of what you hoped it would be. I hope you were able to read a little, write a little, or even travel a little. I hope you were able to enjoy the sunshine and spend time with your favorite people—or revel in some alone time too.
The last time I checked in with you, our family was in the process of moving. My husband and I sold our house of twenty six years (I know, right?!), packed it up, and moved with our two college kids about thirty minutes east to a brand new area—a brand new house. No small task when you’re dealing with so many years of memories and so many years of life. The move was some parts easy, some parts stressful, and a really long process. Some days I was an emotional mess, some days I was physically wrecked, some days I floated on cloud nine, some days I worked on auto pilot. My writing and blogging took a back seat, that’s for sure. But now that we’re in and mostly settled, I’m so glad we made the move. I love our new home and even though a few boxes are still sprinkled throughout every room and we have projects galore to tackle, I feel energized by this new space and refreshed. And definitely ready to get back to writing. How lucky am I that this is my new writing view?
I had a long conversation with my husband and son about goals recently. It was the night before my son moved back to college for his second cross country preseason. He was struggling with his running goals, trying to pin-point what he hoped to accomplish this season. He was worried that after running for so many years, he had lost his love for the sport—not a good feeling the night before his official training was to begin. My husband had some wise words for him…ones that got me thinking about my own goals for writing.
He asked him why he had joined the cross country team way back in seventh grade. Was it because he loved running? Or something else? He responded, “I joined because I wanted to be on a team with nice kids and I had a feeling I could be good at it… I wanted to run in college.”
We proceded to talk about goal setting and my son soon realized he had set a goal for himself way back in seventh grade. His whole high school life revolved around doing what it took to achieve his goal. And he did it! He was recruited to run for his first choice college and he did. He achieved his goal.
But the funny thing about goals is that once you achieve them, what’s next?
I think sometimes there’s a bit of a letdown. It happened to my son and it happened to me.
I know exactly how it feels to flounder and lose focus after you achieve your goal. It feels awful.
As some of you know, I spent 8 years trying to get an agent. If you don’t know my story, you can read about it here. It was ten years before I got a book deal. You can read about that story here. My dream came true when my middle grade novel Spin the Golden Light Bulb debuted in January, 2018 and because my book deal was for two books, the second, Flip the Silver Switch released later that summer. It was a whirlwind for sure and I’m still trying to believe that I really do have two published books!
But for the last year, I’ve sort of worked on auto pilot when it comes to writing and all that comes along with being published. I signed a contract for a third book in the series, which I know is a very huge deal, and I’m so grateful. But writing that book was so much harder. I wrote it on proposal. I wrote it on a deadline. I wrote it while trying to help promote two books, do Skype classroom visits, in person classroom visits, a bunch of book signings, and mentor a fifth grade class. It may sound like a dream come true for some writers and believe me, in some ways it most definitely was! I still pinch myself that this is actually real!
But at the same time, it’s been a little overwhelming. My writing hobby quickly turned into a job and a crazy juggling act. And I’m a terrible juggler! I found myself saying yes to more than I can handle and no to things I love. I found myself reacting to my own life instead of choosing my own path. That’s why this chat about goals really resonated with me.
Where was my focus now that my publishing dream had finally come true? What was my goal anyway? To sign with a literary agent? Yes. To get my book published? Yes. But what then? Was my goal to do school visits? Book as many book signings as possible? What were the things about being published that I was hoping to achieve that I couldn’t as an unpublished author?
It took some serious thought, but I’ve realized a few things. One is that I just really love to write stories. I also love to blog here and interact with other writers. And I love talking to kids and writers about chasing their dreams—even when those dreams seem so far out of reach. My goal is to write things that resonate with readers and inspire them to chase their dreams—through my middle grade books and through my writing focused blog posts.
The book signings and in-person school visits are a bonus, but they take time to prepare for—time away from my family and from writing. Skype visits are more manageable and they still allow me time to interact with kids. That leaves me more time to blog to my heart’s content which will hopefully inspire more of you! It also leaves me more time to write middle grade books.
So this fall, I’m getting back to the basics. I’m re-focusing my writing. I’ll be writing more and blogging more. Just saying this makes me feel more energized than I have in a very long time! So stay tuned because the swirl and spark blog is about to sparkle once again! I’ll also be posting more on Instagram (because I love it!) so follow me there if you aren’t already. I love the positive, creative vibe there—so many great accounts to follow! You can find me by searching Jackie Yeager.
I hope reading this post helps you to realize that if you’re in a writing funk or just feel like you’re floundering a little in your every day life, maybe it means you need to find the joy in what you’re doing again. Or maybe you need to re-focus your goals. Fall is the perfect time to do both. We weren’t put on this earth just to flounder. We were put here to thrive. So use this first week in September to re-write your goals. Make a plan to chase your dreams. They’re yours for the taking!
I know you can do it. If I can write a whole book you can. If I can sign with a literary agent, you can. If I can get a book published by a fantastic publisher, illustated by a spectacular artist, you can. If kids all over the country can read my books, someday they can be reading yours too. I believe that and I hope you do too!
If you’ve been clicking around my website, you may have noticed that the release date for POP THE BRONZE BALLOON has been pushed back to 2020. Publishing is a crazy business sometimes and this is one of those times! But it’s all good. This book will be worth the wait , I promise! I’ll keep you posted on the actual release date when I have it. In the meantime, if you haven’t had a chance to read Spin the Golden Light Bulb or Flip the Silver Switch and you’d like to, they are now both out in paperback! I’m still pinching myself about that one too! Click on the links below for the details.
Thanks for stopping by the blog. Now I’m off to work on copy edits for Pop the Bronze Balloon and then my WIP, a new middle grade project that’s un-related to the Crimson Five books. I’m over the top excited for this one! Wish me luck and have a fantastic week, everyone… I’m wishing you luck on your projects today too!