Give Yourself a Break — Bonnie Leon
Today I’m thrilled to welcome author Bonnie Leon with a timely message for all of us, whether we write, read, or both.
Through the years I’ve met and worked with many new writers. Common traits I’ve seen are—
- Insecurity (that one seems to hang on for a while).
- Passion for their work.
- A driving need to be published.
- Unrealistic expectations.
- Lack of knowledge about the process to publication.
- Hard workers, but often stunned by the many hours required to produce clean manuscripts.
- Overwhelmed by first edit.
I’ve been writing and publishing for more than twenty years, and I still struggle with some of these. When I stepped into the writing life I was naïve, with little or no understanding of what it took to be a published writer. I had unrealistic expectations, and longed to write the “Great American Novel”. Writing was a newfound passion. Mornings and afternoons flew by while I lived out adventures in the pages of my books. But, I was soon to discover the blood, sweat and tears of being an author. This is not a profession for wimps.
I’ve been comforted by other writers and have also been the comforter. Writers are hard on themselves. This profession is difficult enough without our own inner voices tearing us down. Too many days have been wasted while berating our own hard work and doubting ourselves.
Certainly, we must do the labor, be prepared, listen to those who know and be willing to hear what they say. We need to keep our rear ends in the chair and put in the hours. And accept the truth that not everything we put down on the page is gold … no matter how much we may wish it so. There will be eviscerating edits. We will be required to write and rewrite. And to work harder than we ever thought possible. And there will be days when we’ll ask ourselves what were we thinking when we thought we could write. Even so, push on.
If writing is part of who you are or something you believe God called you to do, keep working and learning. Rest in Him. He will bring people to your side who will help and encourage. We authors help one another because we know what it means to be a writer.
If I were going to give one piece of advice it would be this—Give yourself a break. There’s a lot to learn … about writing, about the business of writing, and about what’s real and what’s not. And one of the realities is that only a small percentage of writers make the “big time”. Most of us work hard and create quality books that quietly touch lives. And that is good. We cannot judge our work on dollars earned or numbers reached, but rather on whether or not we did our best and did what God asked of us. We will make mistakes. Not every story will be sterling. Not every sentence, paragraph, or chapter will shine. We cannot be perfect writers any more than we can be perfect human-beings. All we can do is our best.
So, quiet your hearts and have fun. Enjoy the gift given, the learning and growing, and treasure the people you meet along the way. Remember it’s about the story, not the punctuation. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be unique and wonderful.
Grace and peace to you from God.
Bonnie Leon is the author of twenty-two novels, including the recently released Return to the Misty Shore, the popular Alaskan Skies and bestselling The Journey of Eleven Moons.
Bonnie’s books are being read internationally and she hears from readers in Australia, Europe, Poland, and even Africa.
She enjoys speaking for women’s groups and teaching at writing seminars and conventions and especially delights in mentoring young authors. These days, her time is filled with writing, being a grandmother and relishing precious time with her aged mother.
Bonnie and her husband, Greg, live in Southern Oregon. They have three grown children and eight grandchildren.
You can find Bonnie at
About her book:
In the spring of 1885, Luba Engstrom meets Nicholas Matroona, a strong, brooding Native from the island of Unalaska. Against her parents’ wishes, she elopes, believing love will be enough to bridge the gap between the civilized world of Juneau and the primitive culture of Nicholas’s small village. After all, before Luba was born, her mother lived on a wild Alaskan island until she was forced to leave when a tsunami destroyed her people. But from the moment Luba arrives at Nicholas’s home, she struggles to adapt and learn the village ways.
Will the conflict between her husband’s belief in ancient gods and her faith in Jesus Christ the Redeemer destroy Luba and Nicholas’s relationship?
Return to the Misty Shore—the third book in the Northern Lights series.