Real You: The long haul

That's what I'm reminding myself as I sit down to write this post - finally - after a several-month-long writer's block. It's about the long haul, the sum total of what you've done to make a difference in the world, and not about any one period of muck. Or drought. Or in my case, a flood, followed by a move, followed by a huge asthma attack due to the sealant used on the roads in my neighborhood, followed by a massive construction project RIGHT NEXT STORE that has been in full force every day since we moved into the new house at the beginning of April, just after the flood in our new home. How's that for a sentence? To me, it felt good to finally write because during this time, this time of unsettlement, I haven't been able to write, at least not very much. And that, as my fellow writers and creatives will tell you, is THE WORST. I don't know if the final "pass" from editor after editor who I respect regarding my next novel added to my funk. My amazing agent Amanda still has hope, still believes in me and my career for the long haul.

I guess what is just below the surface of this period of time has been the question: Do I still believe in me? In my writing. In this career, the career of my dreams. And until the answer is yes, a firm resounding yes, it's hard to get yourself to do it.

And that goes for everything that requires self-motivation, drive and perseverance. No matter what, you've got to keep at it. Hurdles, and writer's block, are for jumping. For overcoming and for getting through. Because if not, you're just giving up. And you're worth more than that.

And so am I, darn it. Happy Fall. And happy creating!


Making pumpkin pie out of pumpkins

Real You: Reading, writing and to-do lists

Yes, it's a sad fact. Writers must also become business people today. Why is that sad? Well, if you're a writer/creative type like me, you're typically relatively messy. Or, um, very messy. Disorganization is my natural occurring state. Just ask my husband. When we were married, I told him: Love me. Love my piles. For the most part, he's pretty good about my piles...they are sort my major to-do lists. Then there are the random scraps of paper littering my writing desk - those are my actual to-do lists. And finally - much like my protagonist Kelly in Here, Home, Hope - there are the post-it notes covering a number of surfaces around our house. I've got a lot to do, I explain, when my lists and piles get out of control. Today, though, a cautionary lesson on too many to-dos. As I was at my desk writing, somehow, one of those lists fell to the floor and was promptly chewed up by my puppy. Not kidding. The dog ate my to-do list! Ok, but that didn't really have to do with the business side of the writing business. Right now, I'm trying to get organized for the release of my next novel, called All The Difference. I'm excited about its due date in March, but boy do I have a lot to do. And, I have a lot of different lists of action items: Contact bloggers. Reviewers. Create marketing pieces. Eghads. So today, I'm consolidating lists. Trying to piece together the one Tucker tore apart and get organized.

That's part of the business of being an author. So, even though it's the part I am really not so good at, I'm going to try to get organized today. Wish me luck!

It's never too late to tell you about trends, is it?

Ok, here's a funny story. My friend Stefan Swanepoel is THE real estate trends guy. He publishes a well-researched, well-read Trends Report each year and the industry folks who are smart, read it. I realize it's April, and first quarter is over, BUT I am finally reading the report! In my defense, for some unknown reason, it took two months to arrive from California to my mailbox in Ohio. (Yes, even reports don't want to visit Ohio if they're from Laguna Nigel.) But enough excuses. I learned a lot, and here are the trends that resonated with me:

1. Real estate is in the "transformation years", and those years will continue until 2012 (yikes!)

2. Social media is a real estate agent and company's friend! (yay!)

I'm not going to dwell on the negatives surrounding point 1 above, as I'm sure if you live in a home or know someone who does you've heard just about enough even if you aren't a real estate agent. But point 2 is exciting! As Stefan writes, "some 530 million individuals are now participating in some sort of social networking . . .and each person on average belongs to two or three social networks."

That's huge, in my industry and yours. If you aren't out there blogging and tweeting about your expertise in a meaningful and helpful manner—as a real estate agent it is your local market knowledge and your niche knowledge-you're missing out on customers. As Stefan writes: "Real estate professionals have an excellent opportunity to take advantage of this emerging trend by influencing others through creating meaningful content and releasing it through blogs, online communities, wikis and social networks....only 18 percent of online Americans actually create content or publish an article or blog at least once a month."

So get out there and get writing. You are an expert in your field, and you have something your tribe wants to read about. Write it, and they will follow!