Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Guest Post from author Melissa Goodwin

GUEST POST by Melissa Ann Goodwin, Author of The Christmas Village
(and a book give-away!)

 Finding Your People
In recent years, actress Shirley MacLaine has become known as much for her unusual beliefs about aliens and spirituality as for her movie roles. She lives here in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and when her book came out a few years ago, I went to the book signing. Yes, she has some offbeat ideas, but I discovered that she makes a lot of sense about certain things. The one thing she wrote about that really resonated with me had to do with this idea of “finding your people.”

The gist of her point was that we are born into a particular family, but that we spend most of our life looking for “our people” outside of that birth family. Some of our family members may be “our people” and some may not. I think there are many people who feel so different from their other family members that they wonder if they were adopted, or if they really were abducted by aliens!

So, off we go into the world, seeking out those to whom we feel connected on a deep soul level. In romantic relationships, we call them our Soul Mates. But this idea of soul mates can go beyond just romantic partners – it can apply to all those in our lives whom we truly call Friend. These are the people who see our flaws and still celebrate us; the ones who show up for us; the ones who sincerely root for us; the ones who “get” us.

A few years ago, I became a yoga teacher.  I started teaching at a studio here in Santa Fe, where the teachers have well-established followings. I began by subbing classes. Sometimes no one would show. Sometimes a person would come in, see that there was a sub, turn on her heels and go. Ouch. But then, new people came. And the next time I subbed, they came back. They told people the new teacher was pretty good, and the next time, a few more came. Eventually I had my own classes, and I developed a following. My people had found me and I had found my people – the ones for whom my style of teaching yoga resonated.

I think it’s very much the same for us as writers. Sometimes we want to achieve some concept of “success” so much that we write things that we think will please a certain audience. Are vampires still in? Should I write about vampires? I heard that zombies are the new vampires – shall I write about zombies?

What we need to do is take a deep breath, pause, and ask ourselves: What kind of books do I like? What kind of book have I dreamed of writing? If I love zombies, and have a great idea for a story, I should write it! But only because it’s truly what I love, not just because I think there is an audience for it out there. Because if my heart isn’t in it, then I won’t truly find “my people,”  and my people won’t find me .

So, like the yoga teacher, showing up to share what I know and hoping that students will come, find something of value, and return again, as a writer I write what moves me and hope that among the many readers who try me out, one or two will like my work enough to return. Like yoga students, our readers may not show up in droves, they may show up one by one. But over time, those ones and twos become threes and fours, and eventually, we’ve got a following. By being true to ourselves, we’ve found our people.

Thank you, Melissa for sharing your beautiful thoughts with us. I totally agree with your idea about us searching for others who will "get" us in life. You and I somehow found each other in Blogland and we definitely "found our people!"

I've always found Shirley MacLaine fascinating, too. I loved her book, Out on a Limb, about her spiritual travels, and the movie that was made about it. Whether we believe what Shirley believes doesn't really matter. It's the search for spirituality.

I'm highlighting Melissa on my blog today because, well....she's my people!....But, also because she's just published a fabulous children's book, The Christmas Village. 

** AND One lucky winner will be randomly chosen to receive a signed copy! All that is necessary to be eligible is to leave a comment. That's it. So please get in on this fun, book give-away and tell all your friends, too!**

** The winner will be chosen next Tuesday, November 8th. **

I received my copy last week and it is beautiful. It's not a picture book, or what I would really refer to as a "children's" book. Its size is approx. 5x8 with 189 pages. Melissa said the reading level is ages 9 and up, which is technically middle grade, but younger advanced readers can read it, too. She's also known teens who read and liked it, plus parents and grandparents can read it to the younger ones. So, I'd say it's a book for all ages to enjoy!

Click on the link below to see the incredible book trailer, and then below that is the link to Amazon.

*Note: I've been forgetting to thank my new followers, so I'll catch up right now!
Welcome to my newest followers, Rebecca, Clarissa Draper, Patti and Cheryl. I hope you'll stop by often and always enjoy what you read and see! Thank you! Actually, Patti has been a follower for a long time, but her little picture keeps disappearing! Thanks for noticing, Patti. I wondered why I lost a follower the other day! :)
“I hoped that the trip would be the best of all journeys: a journey into ourselves” -- Shirley MacLaine


  1. Oh, I enjoyed this post...so much of things I love: family beyond blood kin, yoga, writing, and OH! Santa Fe!!!

    I wonder if Melissa has seen Christmas in Santa Fe, the book? It is something I treated myself to after this year's visit when DH mumbled next year, the trip as to be somewhere else.

    I would love to win this book so toss my name in the hat. Thanks Becky and Melissa!

  2. Hi Bookie! Yes, I've seen that book and it IS beautiful. Christmas in Santa Fe is really special. The cathedral looks so lovely, and La Posada, when we all walk Canyon Road on Christmas Eve, is so nice. I'm delighted to meet you, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  3. Becky, thank you again for hosting me - you are totally MY PEOPLE! Hope to meet more of them here.

  4. Hey, Becky, what a wonderful post; Melissa's part and your part. Melissa, I really enjoyed how you explained things; it resonates with me and totally makes sense.

    Last year I discovered meme parties and wore myself out trying to and get more visitors, commenters and followers by participating in many each week. It was fine and I got lots of photography practice, but not very many friends from it. My true blog friends like Becky have trickled in little by little over time. The others are long gone, and some even dropped me in bulk! I still participate in a few linky parties, but only those that mean something to me.

    Anyway, your book looks great. I'll check out your blog!

    Kathy M.

  5. What a fun post! I would so enjoy this book and reading it to my Grandson! Thanks, Linda

  6. This post truly resonates, doesn't every writer start out on that seesaw of wanting-to-connect-while-being-afraid-they-won't-be-accepted-so-they-write-what-others want-and-never-truly-connect? It's exhausting!
    Great post!

  7. Truly enjoyed this post. Right now I'm trying to make some decisions about writing and it can be tough.

  8. Kathy M - I very much relate - when first building a blog its all about getting followers - any followers! Then over time, some real connections are made - with the ones who really are our people. It's a really good lesson...

    Linda - good luck!

    RCponders - exhausting is right..but we do all go through it.

    Patricia -it can be tough. But I can honestly say that I've had the greatest success with the writing that reflected my truest self.

  9. Aloha Becky,
    Thanks for introducing Melissa and spotlighting her on your blog. I enjoyed reading her post. I think it was well said about finding "our people" and "our people" finding us; definitely resonated with me.
    Big warm hugs...

  10. Hi Bookie, Kathy, Linda, rcponders, Patricia & Creative Grammie! Thanks for stopping by. I'm so glad you enjoyed this!

    Hey Melissa! They all "get" you! :)

  11. This looks like a wonderful book -- love to win it!

    I found you through Robert Brault -- love your thoughts!!

  12. Creative Grammie,
    So nice to meet you too! I can honestly say that one of the best things about writing for me now, is finding those real connections. So much of book promotion feels like yelling into a hurricane, but then one hand reaches out to you and you take hold of it and become friends.

  13. Becky: Thanks for hosting Melissa.

    Melissa: What you wrote here is awesome. All my life I too have scouted outside my particular family (which I also love) for those other "souls mates."

    Sometimes I think maybe I'll try another genre, but the one I'm drawn to and the one that is really me is the memoir, the publication of which has led me to many "soul mates." All the scenes from my past feed into this genre, so why should I try something else that I don't really relate to, such as fantasy and science fiction. I can read and appreciate good books in these genres, but they aren't really me.

    I just very much like everything you've said here. And Santa Fe: I have been there many times with my first husband. I love the desert as much as I love the green rolling hills of Virginia! (And I've always liked Shirley MacLaine, as an actress and as a writer.)
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

  14. Ann, thanks so much for coming. You are a wonderful example of someone who follwed her heart to success. I think your book's success is directly related to staying true to yourself. You let your people find you - and they have - in droves!

  15. Hi Jan! Welcome and thanks so much for becoming my newest follower! Don't you just love Robert Brault? He is amazing!

    Hi Ann! I'm so glad you liked this post so much! I swear, one of these days I've just got to visit Santa Fe!

    Hey Melissa! Looks like you've written quite a fabulous post here. Did I ever doubt that?? Heck, no!

  16. Hi Becky! It's great to read the wonderful comments - it's like in my post - when the words resonate, we have found our people! I feel like I've found lots of "my people" on your blog, and I hope they feel like I'm "their people" too. Not surprised that your followers would be a delightful bunch. :-) xo

  17. This is a beautiful post, Melissa, and so true! I loved your story about your start in teaching yoga, and how much the lessons of that experience can apply to our writing as well.

    Thanks for sharing this great post, Becky! And the giveaway is fun too, thanks for the opportunity! :)

  18. Julie, thanks for coming by - always nice to see your pretty face and hear your supportive words. xo

  19. I love the idea of extending the idea of soul mates to friends. This is a wonderful post. And what a great book to win :) Thanks for this terrific review. I enjoyed reading it.

  20. Hi Julie! Thank you! Melissa is an awesome gal in so many ways!

    Hi September Mom! Thanks, I'm so glad you liked it!

  21. I'm so glad I stopped by. Maybe I'm still in for the give-away. But most importantly, I like what Melissa had to say - to write about what you love, and I guess what you know, not just what's popular.

    Nice to get acquainted with another New Mexican. Thanks for highlighting her Becky.

  22. Hi Melissa and Becky,
    Great interview, ladies. Lots of wisdom and good advice.
    I already have a copy of Melissa's wonderful book, so don't enter my name in the drawing.
    Melissa is going to be a guest on my blog this month, and I'm looking forward to what she has to say when she visits.
    Donna v.

  23. Hi Myrna and Donna! Myrna, just visited your blog -wow! what a story!

    Donna - just sent the guest post to you! I'm traveling east for a book signing later in the week, so I wanted to get it to you early. Looking forwar to our visit.

  24. I have hopped over here from Melissa's blog. I think her book sounds great - did not realize it was for a younger audience, but hey I like Harry Potter and Fablehaven as much as my kids do :)

    I loved Melissa's thoughts on being a writer and writing what you like and people will like it because of what you wrote, not because it is the going fad. I am not a writer, but I am an artist, at least I am trying to be, but I keep trying to paint what others want me to paint and obviously it is not working. So I shall go back to painting what I like and be much happier.

    I am now a follower your blog because I think you might be one of "my people". But I must admit that I follow a lot of blogs and don't always get to visit very often.

    I would love to win a copy of this book so thanks for the chance.

    rebeccadunham at hotmail dot com

  25. Becky, my husband is an artist and he never enjoyed doing "commissions" - you're always worried that you won't quite get what the person wants, and you're doing it for them not for you. He was very happy when he stopped doing them! It's very much the same thing, isn't it!


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