A few days ago I had an urge to do something I have not done for years. I wanted to curl up with one particular book, listening to one particular type of music. Forget about bills, work, ironing … all the grown-up stuff. The catalyst was a very old friend who reminded me some of the things I loved when I was thirteen.
It is incredible how being reminded of something you once cherished can take you straight back in time to the last time you held it so close to your heart. It got me thinking about being thirteen again. On the brink of a whole new world, a pristine path with no mistakes stretching out before me. A whole life to build. Everything so fresh and new.
Thinking back, what I missed most about being thirteen was being able to lose myself in my passions. To, as Jean-Jacques Rousseau said, start a ten-year project and abandon it after ten minutes. To be filled with enthusiasm, confidence, dreams … To throw everything into the air and see where the pieces landed.
When did we stop doing that? When did living for the moment become living for the future. When did everything become “one day” and not “today.”
My son was telling me about what he wants to do when he’s older. Where he wants to study, what he wants to do afterwards. Maybe that is when it starts. We ask our children, ‘What do you want to be when you grow-up?’ As soon as we start doing that, we force them to live in the future, not in the present. We make it sound as though childhood is just a place-filler before their real lives begin.
I know what I want to do when I retire.
Maybe I would be better served thinking about what I want to do in the thirty years before I get there.
When I asked Peter at Bespoke Book Covers to come up with a cover for Chocolates in the Ocean, I had something very specific in mind. I wanted to illustrate a specific scene from the book from Anne dreams of her baby for the first time. Actually that scene, if you take out the dream part, is how my son gave me the title for the book. The only difference is that we were parked behind our old apartment in Esbjerg and not by the beach in Langeland.
I wanted the Langeland bridge on the book cover because that bridge is magical.
You wouldn’t think it to look at it. Joining one little Danish island to another and built in 1962, there is nothing remarkable about it.
And yet …
The moment you cross that bridge, it’s as though you’re crossing over into a different world. A world where there is no stress, no worries, no unpaid bills. Life slows down and everything you left behind does not cross the bridge with you.
My father told me he felt it the first he crossed that bridge almost 40 years ago.
I feel it every time I come to Langeland.
In the early days of the New Year, I watched an interview with a Danish celebrity, Joan Ørting, who has a house here, and she said the same thing. The moment you cross the bridge you relax. Yesterday I read an article in the local paper about a couple who have recently returned to Langeland from Copenhagen and they said the same thing.
This morning I was editing the scene in the sequel when Anne comes back to Langeland after the death of her husband. She pauses on the bridge for a long moment to allow the memories of her marriage to fly free.
Everything you left behind does not cross the bridge with you.
The bridge is magical.
I kept thinking about everything I have learned as an author entrepreneur. In the end, I decided to focus on the one thing that has made all the difference to me.
So that’s what I am doing at the moment. Putting together a useful little email guide that shows authors how to start making money on Amazon. Not ‘Ten Secret to Six Figure Success’ but how to go from nothing to something.
That encouragement made such a difference to me and my writing.
Would I like six figure success?
Of course I would, I’m not an idiot.
But what I really would have found most useful in the beginning was knowing how just to get some sales. Not a guide to experience exponential growth in your email list (what email list?) or how to turn your first book into a freebie. (I haven’t finished the second one yet!)
Very basic but things I know work.
And I’ll share it for free.
Including how AMS (Amazon Marketing Services) is more destructive than being in a mentally abusive relationship, because you compulsively check your stats every few
minutes hours days and want to tear your hair out when nothing happens. Like today.
Just one more sale. Come on …
Just read a few more pages. Come on …
I need help!