Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Do Authors Need a GPS Device?

A few years ago a dear friend of ours, a retired university coach I'll call Coach M., bought a new Buick. He invited a buddy to lunch and volunteered to pick him up. When they arrived at the restaurant—Herbert's Taco Hut, which has been a small popular restaurant in town for decades—Coach M. said to his friend: "Before we get out, I want to show you this amazing little gadget that came on this car. It's called a GPS and believe it or not, it will guide you to your destination, in case you get lost. I haven't used it, but I know how it works. Now. Watch this."

Coach M. reached up and punched a button. A woman's voice came on and asked, "How may I help you?"

Coach M. replies, "I need to know how to get to Herbert's Taco Hut."

Pause…then the woman's voice said, "Sir, you are in their parking lot."

We've all laughed at this story many times. But you see, he had reached his destination. He did not need the GPS device, at least for the moment. However, he might possibly need it when traveling to a new destination.

I thought of this story because, you see, I may have lost my way. Maybe I made a wrong turn back there somewhere, and now find myself wandering around, wasting a lot of time.

Does some company make a GPS device for authors? Some little object we can carry with us, store in our memory, or install as a pop-up on our computer screen? STOP—YOU'RE GOING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION!

For three years, I did nothing but write. Not knowing one thing about publishing, I only had a grand time finishing one novel-length story and beginning another. To date, I have eight releases with two more waiting in the wings. Ten books. Five publishers. I knew where I was going.

The fast pace of the last few years may have knocked my world a little askew. Now, I wonder what to do next; I begin one thing, lay it aside and begin another; I write one genre, then switch to another, wondering which should get all my attention.

So, I need to quiet down a little. Things are just a little too hectic. Maybe then, I can understand what's important and stick to it. I need clear boundaries and make them work.

We have an internal GPS system, but we need to listen to the directions. If we hear only silence, maybe our batteries have run down. If we hear: "You have reached your destination," then reset the device to guide you to the next one. A new one always, always waits.

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas


  1. Hi Celia:

    Interesting idea: writers needing a GPS.

    I don’t think it would work with many new writers because they don’t want to plot a novel. They want the freedom to be pantsers. There is an old saying, “If you don’t know where you are going, any direction will do.”

    As far as a general writing view, I would suggest asking yourself this: “Where do I want to be in five years?”

    If things worked out perfectly, how would your life be in 2016?

    Tailor life goals to writing goals and see if that takes you anywhere.


  2. HI, VINCE--I love your old true. As to where do I want to be in five years, I might be flippant and say, "At my age...alive."
    In five years I'd love to still be writing and producing a novel, maybe two each year. I'm greedy. You give very good advice.

    What I really loved to do was to write anecdotal childhood stories--I call them that, not knowing if it's correct. At the top of my blog are two examples--blog pages with those titles. The one titled A Permanent Memory I sold to Texas Co-op Power Magazine when Kaye Northcott was still editor. For a two page spread in the magazine, I was paid an astounding $500. I struggle to make that in a year on a novel. The other one--California Cousins--I just wrote as a silly thing, taken from two childhood memories and made into one story. I sold a second to Texas Co-op, again for $500, titled Uncle Brother Falls in Love. Both these pieces had the neatest artwork.
    But the magazine changed course, and my kind of stories no long carry so much weight. It's difficult, if not impossible, to find magazines to publish such things.
    So...I continue to write, changing a little more to Women's Fiction, but not giving up romance, either.
    How about you? Where do you want to be five years from now?

  3. Great post Celia. Five years from now? Five years closer to retirement and then I can put more time into writing. That day job really messes with my time, but I appreciate it.

  4. Celia, I so understand what's goin on with you. I haven't got your wonderful ten novels under my belt, but I do have several that are waiting for revisions and edits, but... I start one and.. sound familiar?
    As for your childhood stories, I do hope you follow through on those. I love reading the snippets you share with us online.
    Have you thought of creating an Anthology of stories?
    Whatever happens, best wishes. In the mean time take a deep breath, relas, enjoy the moment and then when you're ready, hopefully things will fall back into place.

  5. Hi Celia- I asked myself the same question two weeks ago. What's next?

    I need to finish three books that were stopped half way for various reasons. By then I would hit ten books. I'll have to take a break from romance novels to write a bibliography that my kids requested and a motivation booklet that my former employer asked for.

    But you never know. Sometimes stories popped in my head at the least expected moment, in which case I'll let the characters take over and the scenes unfold. i am sure this may happen to you too.

    Plus my daughter gave me a book to read, The Road to Lost Innocence and insists that as a writer I have the duty to get involved in a humanitarian project she's now sponsoring. I will tell you more in a blog.

  6. BTW, the 'where do you want to be', question was good during the full-time job. Now it's more 'take one day at a time and enjoy it'.

  7. P.L.--I admire you. I could not write and work. Teaching high school kids takes your life, anyway, and if I had tried to write back then, I would have to do it in the middle of the night. Keep on writing! Celia

  8. SHERRY--enjoy the moment--a very nice sentiment and great advice. We don't do that enough, do we?
    I have thought about putting this stories into an anthology--I've heard this from others, as well. Now that I know Rebecca Vickery, I'm thinking about it a little more. It would be for my own entertainment, because I doubt anyone would buy it. But it would be great fun!
    I'm glad you understand and are in the same boat. Celia

  9. Celia, you're not lost, you're exhausted! Take a deep breath and relax, then the words will flow again. You're going in the right direction!

  10. Ahh, thank you, Caroline. Maybe that's it--I'm tired. At least, my brain is tired. Celia

  11. You should be exhausted - you have been busy doing editing, writing, promoting, and visiting all your friends' blogs and yahoo groups. Plus you have had so many new releases close together. You need to relax a bit and get refreshed. Btw, love your post - you are so creative!

  12. DIANE--thank you, my friends. I look back and wonder how I filled my time before I wrote so much.I do fun, though, even if I sound like I'm complaining. Celia

  13. Celia, we have talked about this and I'm glad to see that you have put it into words for others to read. I think both of us may be spinning too fast but personally, I'm reluctant to stop even though the number of current published and soon-to-be published books is getting out of hand. Why? Because I well remember wandering the wasteland of rejections for too many years between NY pubs and digital pubs. I'll take too busy every time! Linda