Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Reflections

on December 14, 2019

At the end of every year, I always like to look back and reflect on the challenges and successes of the year. However, this year is also the end of a decade and I thought I’d look back at the last decade.

I began 2010 as an unpublished book writer. Ten years later, and I have published six books and a handful of romance novellas. I’ve had book signings at local bookstores and given talks and workshops at schools and libraries. I wrote and published my hardest book during the last decade, Kids in Orange: Voices from Juvenile Detention.

The biggest challenge has been the last two years when I moved to Portland and restarted my life. I didn’t write for about a year and couldn’t even think about writing. I was too absorbed with learning a new city and trying to find a job which proved to be much harder than I thought. I have been working as a substitute teacher for the last year.  And although at times, I question what exactly I am doing, I have written a middle grade book currently on submission, two picture books and outlined fifty pages of a non-fiction memoir about substitute teaching.

During this decade, my books didn’t publish the way I thought they should. First, I published with small epublishers and as those contracts expired, I moved my books to Indie publishing and built a strong team of editors, cover artists, and book designers around each book–many of whom I met while being an author in the epublishers.

Slowly the more books I published, the more I saw results. Kids in Orange has traveled farther than any book and I’ve had readers contact me from all over the United States.

This summer I got involved in two Indie Author groups in the Washington and Oregon areas and learned how to sell my books at local art events—something which has been fun as I get to meet new readers.

As the decade closes, the hardest thing for me and so many other writers is how to make a living at doing what we love—write books. And there are no easy answers. There is no one path.

I find myself juggling a handful of “gig economy” jobs—subbing, tutoring, and contract work while trying to continue to write and find the best avenue for publication for each book.

Some days are not easy. And I question what am I doing? Yet, when I step back, I see many many pages written in teacher prep periods or at lunch.  I have done impromptu author visits in many, many classes of all grades and subbing has given me access to a whole new bank of stories. It has brought first grade alive for me and reinforced my love for writing for children.

When I look back to who I was in 2010, I see how so often the path that seems curved or out of sync has really turned out to be a straight one after all and perhaps that is the biggest lesson of the last decade.  Trusting the process and it’s a process that evolves with time.


4 responses to “Reflections

  1. Susan Lampe, author "Parsing the Dragon: A Memoir" says:

    Congratulations on living outside the box, filling your life with many rich and varied experiences, touching many lives.

  2. Melanie says:

    Wonderful reflections Mindy. So glad you are following your dreams. Sounds like you have many people supporting you I your writing community. One of my brothers is also a writer and has some of the same struggles! I love to write and don’t make the time or step out of my comfort zone. Your reflections inspire me!

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