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Things No Writer Should Do

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Bracelets used to be super popular that said WWJD (What would Jesus Do?). I’m more prone to looking for a WWSD bracelet–What would Sioux do?… and then advising everyone to do the opposite.

You name the wrong fork in the road, and I’ve not only taken it, I’ve dilly-dallied along the way, I’ve backtracked to go along the wrong fork several times, I’ve bought houses situated on the wrong fork,  I’ve set out a lunch on a blanket on the ground and gazed at the sights along the wrong fork in the road, I’ve… well, you get the picture. 

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve fallen into some incredible luck lately. A novel–one that I spent five years on–debuted in April. My publisher is an author’s dream come true. I have a wonderful teaching job. But still, I’ve made countless mistakes along the way, and hopefully, you can learn from my screw-ups.

Here are the bad choices I’ve made recently:

1. Allow my field to lie fallow. I’ve been coasting along–writing-wise–for the last six months or so. There’s a newish manuscript I should be working on. I’m not. I need to sow the seeds and nurture the new growth, while simultaneously tending to the harvest at hand.

2. Give up too early. I’ve been trying to set up book events in Tulsa for the 100-year anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, hit some roadblocks, but just last night, I contacted an event coordinator, and I’m hopeful things will work out. (I might even get to go to a brunch with Alfre Woodard in the same room. Alfre Woodard! I’m gonna have to pack my drool bucket.) 

3. Miss out on photo opps. The Amazon guy delivered 7 boxes of books. My books. Too late, I thought of getting a selfie with him, my book and me. Too late, I thought of running after the truck. (Okay, stalking the deliveryman would have been one of those WWSD things). Get a picture of you and your favorite teacher. You and the grandmother who always sang your praises. For goodness sake, you and your delivery guy. 

4. Check Amazon for new reviews 942 times a day. Hoping for new reviews of my book won’t make them magically appear. 

5. Hesitate in approaching a publisher. Or anybody. This was a wrong fork I almost took. However, I made an inquiry, held my breath, and received this unbelievable email: “I would love to publish your book.” What is the worst she could have said? She could have said “No… I’m not interested… Thanks, but no thanks.” It’s not she was going to hit me upside my head. Likewise, the friends I sent emails to, letting them know about my book. The ones who wanted to buy it, would. 

I’ll be back in a moment. It’s time to check Amazon again.

Uh oh. No new reviews.

How about you ? What little side-trips have you taken, due to choosing the wrong fork in the road? Meandering minds want to know.

Sioux Roslawski is a middle-school teacher, a dog rescuer, and the author of Greenwood Gone: Henry’s Story.

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