Janet Sumner Johnson
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Getting Vested


13, 2012 |

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Just before the new year, my friend talked me into signing up for a half-marathon with her. Up to then, we’d casually exchanged running time (taking turns watching our kids), but she was ready to get more serious.

Honestly, I have never had the desire to run a marathon or even a half marathon. I ran for soccer or basketball . . . running with a purpose I called it . . . but never just to run. Only crazies do that.

But then some stuff happened and I needed a distraction. Something I could do to completely get away from all the whirrings of my mind (so you can see why writing wouldn’t really fit the bill this time). I paid my money and suddenly, I’m vested in the craziness of running to run.

I quickly learned that if I wanted to be successful, I needed to make some additional purchases. Appropriate running clothes (because believe me, you run for an hour or more and it’s essential!), the right shoes, plus a little gadget (I use Nike+) to track my progress. If I want to succeed, I need to know where I stand and how fast I’m improving.

Because time is of the essence here. March 17th, I have to be able to run for 13 miles.

I’m guessing you know where this is going. The writing thing.

Are you vested?

Are you so anxious to succeed in your writing that you’re willing to put up some hard cold cash to get there?

Do you make sure you have the right equipment, the right training (think critique partners, conferences, seminars, writing books)? Are you tracking your progress so you know that you’re improving (think multiple drafts, multiple books)?

Just something to think about. 😉

Speak up:



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Life’s Too Short to Dry Tupperware


12, 2011 |

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Today I’m going to do something I don’t often do, which is to write a serious post. This past week has been full of craziness, and I’m feeling kind of somber.

Last week, my really good friend got the call. Not the good kind we author’s often dream about. Just the opposite. The worst kind you can get . . . her mother (who had been suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease) was fading fast, and could she come?

Then, completely unrelated, Tropical Storm Lee paid us a visit. And let me tell you, I have never seen rain come down that hard for so long. Truly, it was astounding to watch. So I really can’t blame the mother who went outside with her son and daughter to enjoy the amazingness of something I had surely never seen in my lifetime.

My heart still breaks when I think about it. A flash flood—right through their backyard—that swept away her 12-year-old son.

And of course, the week culminated with Sept.11. The tenth anniversary, no less. I sat at my computer last night and I looked through National Geographic’s 25 indelible pictures, and I felt the horror of that day once again.

The point of all this is that life is too short to worry about things that don’t matter (like drying the tupperware). It’s also too short to NOT worry about the things that do. Play with your kids, call your parents or siblings. Tell them you love them, and don’t let things that really don’t matter get in the way.

And you know how you’ve been putting off editing that book you wrote? Or writing anything past the first chapter? Or querying the book you just finished? Well Nike knew what they were talking about:

Just Do It.

Don’t wait. Because life’s too short.

Speak up:



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