Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Monday, October 26, 2015

Karen Walker on Turning Negatives into Positives

Today I'm hosting my longtime blogging friend Karen Walker! I really connected with her memoir Listening to the Whispers, so I'm eager to read Karen's debut novel, The Wishing Steps.

Thank you Karen, for hosting me today.

If you’re a glass half empty kind of person like me, if that’s what comes naturally to you rather than seeing the glass half full, you tend to view things from a negative perspective. The problem with this is that it keeps us stuck feeling badly about ourselves and the people and world around us. So I’ve had to train myself to find the silver lining when the bad stuff happens. And the truth is, I’ve either learned something I needed to learn or some powerful insight was revealed, or whatever it was I thought I wanted or needed wasn’t really going to be good for me.

I’m here at Karen’s blog because I’ve written a novel, The Wishing Steps. I actually can’t believe I’m able to write that sentence and have it be the truth. I. WROTE. A. NOVEL. Okay, here’s the negative: Who do you think you are – you think you can write a novel? You’re a nonfiction writer. You can’t write fiction. You get the idea, right. These are the things I heard inside my head through most of the six years I was pulling this story out of the depths of my soul. Now, here’s the positive. I. WROTE. A. NOVEL. I did it. Despite the voices. Despite the doubts. Despite the fears. And here I am telling you about it.

After I completed the book, I decided I wanted to be published traditionally. Nice dream, yes? I knew in my heart of hearts that the likelihood of that happening was slim to none, but I needed to try. I don’t think I was being negative in that regard. Just realistic. Anyway, I heard back from one of the publishing companies that they wanted to read the manuscript. Yippee. I’d never gotten that far before. Days passed and I anxiously waited. Two readers from the company wrote critiques explaining why they thought the manuscript wasn’t okay. I was devastated. It validated all those voices I’d been hearing about my inability to write fiction.

But then I shifted into a peaceful, grounded, meditative state and read the critiques again. Both readers had read the book as if it was historical fiction and every criticism was related to why it didn’t work as historical fiction. Ahhhh! The book isn’t historical fiction and I’d neglected to say that. The positive which came from this experience is my writing an Author’s Note that appears at the beginning of the book which addresses the issues these readers had.

Life is difficult. We have moments of joy, perhaps even days or weeks. But then something happens to pull us off our center. I’m learning, one day at a time, to tune into my thoughts and feelings so that I’m not operating on automatic pilot. When I stay tuned in, I can catch those negative thoughts and shift them before they become stuck in me and I become stuck in the muck of negativity.

Now that my book is out in the world, I know there will be people who won’t like it, who will criticize it and perhaps me for having written such a book. All I know is that I was called to write it and I can’t allow other peoples’ opinions to make me feel bad about something that is so deeply meaningful to me.

 Here’s the scoop on The Wishing Steps, Three Women and a Single Story That Unites Them Across the Millennia

“Totally engrossing. A must-read for today’s wise woman!”Rev. Kathleen McKern Verigin, minister/priestess
Brighid, Ashleen and Megan: Bound through time by a curious light, a mysterious voice and a call they dare not ignore. Yet in obeying this strange force, the women must face soul-searing trials that call into question everything they know and believe — about themselves and about the world around them.
“Guaranteed to inspire you to a deeper level of spirituality and a new appreciation for Goddess.”Rev. Clara Z. Alexander
Karen Helene Walker is a widely published essayist and author of the 2009 memoir, Following the Whispers. When she isn’t writing, you will often find Karen performing in nursing homes and retirement communities as part of the Sugartime or Sophisticated Ladies musical groups, traveling with her husband of 20 years, Gary, or relaxing with a good book at their home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Visit the author’s website at www.karenhelenewalker.com
Author photo
The Wishing Steps is now available for purchase in both print and ebook versions at: Amazon.com. You can also purchase it as an ebook on Kobo, I Tunes, and at Barnes and Noble.

27 comments:

  1. We have to keep focusing on the positive when those negatives hit.

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  2. Hi Karen, thanks for hosting me today -
    Yes, Diane, we sure do if we want to be at all content inside ourselves.

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  3. Just ignore the ones who don't like it and focus on the ones who do.

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  4. I tend to be one of those glass half full optimists, but that can lead to let downs so I guess a middle of the road realist might be the best way to be. I think the bottom line is that we can't expect to please everyone and who we do please is the audience we want to nurture. More fans can come with the next book and the next.

    Keep the attitude you have now and just refill your glass when you finish drinking it.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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  5. Critics come in many forms and it's always difficult to face. I've grown a very tough skin with both my writing and also in my personal life, when my choices are criticized. Excellent post, Karen, thank you for visiting my blog today!

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  6. Arlee Bird, love that- just refill my glass - will do!
    Karen, I'm honored to be here - thanks so much

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  7. I'm a glass-half-empty person too. I don't wallow in it though. Once those negative thoughts are out, I can start seeing how to improve, and the positive thing about the half-empty perspective is that I am not as easily disappointed as most people who consistently view the world with optimism. Nice to see you learned something from the critiques. All you can do is hope to please your target audience. Good luck Karen, congrats on writing A NOVEL :)

    Hey Karen; have a good week.

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  8. Dolorah, love hearing how others deal with this. That's true for me as well, not being as easily disappointed. Thanks for the congrats on writing the novel. It's a huge accomplishment.

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  9. Whether you're an optimist or a pessimist, those negative voices get to you. Especially once you start getting reviews. You can get 1,000 good reviews and one bad review and all you'll think about are the words in that one bad review!

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  10. Oh God, Stephanie, that's so true. Darn!
    Karen, thanks so much for hosting me today. It was really fun.

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  11. You wrote a book! I am in awe with that statement alone. Regardless of the negative thoughts, feelings or criticism, you wrote a book and put a lot of your heart into it-Good for you!

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    1. Birgit, I know. I'm in awe as well! Thank you.

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  12. Great post! Love everyone's comments. Nice to be able to brush it off, with how you can't please everyone. Congrats on publishing your novel, Karen. It sounds like an interesting read.

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    1. Thanks, Jacqueline. Not easy to brush it off, but I'm doing it.

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  13. Most important is you persevered and achieved your goal. Congratulations.

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    1. Hi Liza, yes, I agree - it is most important for me to remember what I accomplished.

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  14. Congratulations on the novel! That is a major accomplishment, especially since many people say they're going to write a novel but then never write anything.

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    1. I know. And so many say they want to but never even try. Thanks.

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  15. Hi, Karen.... Hi, Karen...

    I ALWAYS try to keep on the positive side. It gets me through life's obstacles a bit easier. I slip at times... I am human, but then I smack myself in the back of the head and say "Get over it! You are a lucky man..." And I go on.

    Congrats on your debut novel! I am looking forward to reading it when I get a chance to breath. The next month or two will be NUTS for me with finishing my loft rehab and moving in just a few short weeks.... YIKES! MY positivity will really be tested! LOL

    ALL the best!

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    1. Hi Michael. Your optimism is contagious.

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  16. I'm a pathological optimist. Can't help myself. Doesn't mean I've never had dark days, but so far, I've been able to bounce back quickly. Needless to say, I am VERY optimistic that I'm gonna love this book. So much so, I just bought it! Then again, concerning your book, maybe my attitude isn't so much optimism as it is realism.

    Best wishes to both of you Karens. :)

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  17. Writing a book, seeing it though, getting it done! Congratulations, you did it.

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  18. Congratulations! Way to stick with it. When the glass is half empty, it's time for a refill.

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  19. This sounds like a book I would love... I like the positive feelings... it isn't easy to stay positive all the time but living the moment is only way... I too get stuck from time to time.... xox

    Congratulations on writing the book and getting it published, that is awesome xox

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  20. So happy for you! But thank you mostly for your words about that fear most writers come up against at some point in the process. Been there and still find myself there at times.

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  21. Dear Ms. Walker, I'm so happy for you that after all that work, your fortitude paid off. You. Have. Written . . . AND . . . Now. Have. A. Novel. Published! So wonderful. Your story inspires the rest of us would-be novelists! Peace.

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