Guest Blogger: Julie Hedlund

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When I first started blogging back in April, I had no idea I would connect with so many amazing writers.  Today, I am pleased to host a blog from Julie Hedlund, a writer who truly inspires me with her gumption, creativity, and optimism . . .

First, a big thanks to C.B. for hosting me today.  I only “met” her (in the online sense) a few months ago, but I’ve fallen head over heels with her blog.  It seems like everything I think, she writes.  So it is a pleasure to contribute to the blog in this small way.

Part of why I am here is to spread the word about a story I entered with a children’s e-publisher entitled, A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS.  But it’s been a little over two weeks since the contest began and I’m so tired of listening to myself talk (or write) about it that I don’t want to belabor it more than necessary.  So a quick spiel: finalists will be selected by a combination of individual votes and editorial staff judgment.  I figure the more votes I have, the better my chances of catching the editor’s eye.  So if you would be so kind as to click this link and if you like the story, vote for it. If you feel inclined to share it with your Facebook friends and ask them to vote, so much the better.  Thanks!

Now, that out of the way I want to talk about something else that happened to me this week.  For the past four months, I’ve been participating in a coaching group with Cynthia Morris called The Creative Leap Club.  It’s meant for people who are launching any type of creative venture.

This Monday, we had our final call and I was lamenting that I hadn’t gotten as much done on my CLC project as I had hoped, and I blathered on and on about this contest – how promoting it had taken so much more time than I had expected and yada yada yada.

Cynthia interrupted me and said, “You don’t have to apologize. I think it’s great that you’ve taken a stand for something you’ve written.”  You could replace the word “written” in that sentence with painted, sewed, composed, crafted, drawn, etc.

For a long time, I mulled over those words.  I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing, but Cynthia was right.  I was (and am) taking a stand.

Putting our work out into the world, much less promoting it, is the hardest part about being a writer or any artist.  Each work is like a tiny soul imprint – no matter how irreverent or far removed from our public selves it may seem.  How will the world react?  Will they like it or hate it?  Will they take this piece of my soul and crush it? (By the way, I have gotten NOTHING but positive support and encouragement as I’ve shared this story.  It’s shown me how unfounded many of our fears are.)

But you know, this experience has taught me that taking a stand is just as important as creating.  We don’t need to be published or earning a living from our art to be a “real” writer or artist, but we do need to create it, to believe in it, to nurture it and to praise it when praise is due.  We need to send it out into the world to whatever reception it will meet.  Then we need to sit back down and do it all over again.

Each time you write, you’ve taken a stand.  Each time you submit to an editor or an agent, you’ve taken a stand.  Each time you spread the news about a project you’re working on or have completed, you’ve taken a stand.  Each time you write a blog post about your journey, you’ve taken a stand.  Each time you reach out to help someone else in his or her journey, you’ve taken a stand.  Each time you tell people, out loud, “I am a writer (or artist),” you’ve taken a stand.

So remember the next time you sit down at your desk to create that you’re not taking a seat.  You’re taking a stand.

Julie Hedlund blogs about the writing life (and regular life) at Write Up My Life. She writes picture books, travel articles and personal essays and WILL write a novel one day. When she is not mothering, writing or reading, she enjoys running, hiking, skiing, cooking, yoga, and savoring a great glass of red wine at sunset. She especially likes to do these things while traveling.

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I highly recommend visiting Julie’s blog . . . especially on Sundays.  🙂

39 thoughts on “Guest Blogger: Julie Hedlund

  1. elizabethannewrites

    Thank you, Julie! “the next time you sit down at your desk to create that you’re not taking a seat. You’re taking a stand.” What a wonderful, affirming way to look at it! That certainly recharges my writing batteries!

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  2. C.B. – so nice of your to host Julie 🙂 I’m glad to have discovered your blog!

    Julie – You’re so right. Putting your work out into the world is hard. But the writing community is the nicest place to do it because people are so supportive and they understand what it is to be a writer and how vulnerable you are when you allow people to see what you’ve written. It is also really hard to “stand up for your writing” – it’s like tooting your own horn, and I’ve found it’s MUCH easier to toot someone else’s than my own 🙂 But if you want to succeed, you have to do both. And you can (as you have shown so nicely) stand up for your writing without being obnoxious about it. Good luck with the TROOP!

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  3. I love this post! I too believe in nurturing our work and truly believing in what we create. No matter what anyone thinks of our creations, if we believe in them, then that is the most important turn on our writing journeys. *waving*

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  4. Another great post Julie. I never thought about in terms of taking a stand, but you are so right about that! Every blog I post, every page I write, I feel as if I’m sticking my neck out and placing it on the chopping block for all to take a hack.

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    • That’s right, Tim, but how many times have people actually hacked? That’s the beauty of it is that 9 times out of 10 you are going to be greeted with open arms. So this apprehension we all have doesn’t seem to match up with reality.

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  5. I loved your post Julie. I wonder what it is about myself sometimes. I do not have a problem taking a stand when, for instance, I see someone being bullied. Or to take action by voting for a particular candidate…or to stand up and give a speech or training session to a roomful of people. But to get people to read or buy something i’ve written? I suddenly turn so shy! Perhaps it will help me to consider it a form of taking a stand…..i think it may help that.

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    • Kate, I sure hope it helps! I’ve learned all of this because I had to “take a stand” or let my story sink into oblivion during this contest. Once I decided I believed in it enough to fight for it, it changed everything.

      People don’t bat an eyelash when businesses promote their goods and services, some of which come from a far less honorable place than our creations. I think it’s time we writers and artists stopped thinking of promotion as a dirty word.

      I especially like what Stacy said – promoting it is a way of “honoring” it.

      Thanks for your comments!

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  6. Thanks Julie… This is such a helpful way of seeing it. I struggle with the whole self promotion needed in our work, it is a real antithesis to a European approach. This puts things in their right perspective for me and I really needed to read this. Let’s continue being a windbag of bloggers taking a stand!

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  7. An artist friend of mine recently posted a link to her work on FB, with an apology for the self-promotion, something she isn’t yet comfortable with. I know how she feels, as that was me a few short months ago. But something clicked at some point, the idea that no one really gives a crap about what I do, and they’d care even less if they didn’t know about it. And I thought, Well, darn it, they SHOULD know about it and they SHOULD care about it because it’s GOOD and WORTHY. And thus I said good-bye to the shyness, and encourage others to do the same. No apologies, damn the torpedoes.

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  8. I will also be taking a stand now when I write and market. I just recently had some good news, that will be secret for now but I will be taking a stand soon.
    Thanks for this inspirational post. I needed to hear it. 🙂

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  9. Nice dialogue Julie! Self-promotion is difficult but if you believe in your “product” then it’s easier to sell. I’ll check out your site and read what you have to say. I like the motto “take a stand”. It speaks of acceptance and personal belief. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Such powerful words! Thank you for giving affirmation to what we feel in our hearts, but are somewhat reluctant to express outwardly. And thanks, C. B. for inviting Julie.

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  11. Understand your anxiety. I will have a hard time putting myself out there. Even though I’ve done PR for years, it’s different when it is personal promotion. That’s why you have the support of all of us. Your numbers are growing.

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