March 26, 2014

Made It Moment: Julie Lindsey

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 7:50 am

Murder Comes Ashore

You know that bar? The one we keep setting for ourselves? It’s like a horizon in some ways. As soon as we believe we’ve neared it, there it goes, slipping off into the unreached trammels of our lives again. In this Moment, author Julie Lindsey talks with pain and raw honesty about how that bar can become a noose around our necks, strangling our own sense of accomplishment. It took Julie’s son to remind her, Wizard of Oz-style, that really she had made it all along. And you know what? Julie’s son reminded me of that, too.

Julie Lindsey

My made it moment came in September when my 10 year old son asked to take a copy of my new release, Deceived, to show his teacher. That book is prettier than my others. It’s a young adult suspense novel. It’s hardcover with a fancy black jacket. There’s a picture of me in the back. All the things I’d dreamed of, but none of that impressed me because I was too busy seeing all the things I hadn’t accomplished. Then, my son who has zero interest in reading the book, asked to show it to his teacher. My heart collapsed. It was a moment I’ll never forget and one I hold onto in the other, tougher times of author life. This is the moment that I realized I made it.

As an only child and dogged over-achiever, I’m driven to reach goals. All goals. When I made writing for publication a goal, I had no idea I was shooting for the impossible. I may as well have decided to move to LA and become an actress. I know that now. I didn’t then. Couple the reality with my personality and I was all set for tears and disappointment. And they came. Regularly.

In the beginning, I thought finding an agent would be when I knew I really made it. I found an agent. It wasn’t the moment I’d expected. She still had to sell my book. That made me nervous so I targeted a small press, hoping for a contract so I could learn, work with an editor and maybe gain a readership. I landed a contract with the small press soon after. Made it moment? Not really. The contract was for a novella. I wanted print. I wrote more for that press. I now have three novels in print with this press, plus three novellas. Made it? Not really. They were a small press. Meanwhile, my agent found a home for my YA and I signed a contract with Merit Press for Deceived. Made it? No. Merit Press got me invited to book events, put on panels, reviewed by the big guns. Made it? Not really. ARCs came. Made it? No. Author copies arrived! Made it? Not really. It’s on bookstore shelves! I have a theatrical-style trailer! Made it? Nah. Deceived wasn’t in most stores. Sales weren’t what I expected. Editorial reviews were lukewarm. The bar in my mind kept raising out of reach. Then, I signed a three book contract with Carina Press (a digital imprint of Harlequin) for a cozy mystery series. Made it? I didn’t know. At that point, I’d worked myself into a funk.

You see, when I look back at all the moments that I thought would matter, they didn’t. They came and went in a haze of “meh.” And I did that to myself. My eyes weren’t on the real point of publishing – or life – anymore, so all the milestones I ran toward seemed insignificant once I arrived.

And then, September.

My son asked to take my book to school and show his teacher. Poof. Everything else fell away. He was proud of me.

It was a much needed moment of clarity.

I’d “made it” the moment I decided to write a novel and then saw it through. I wrote a freaking NOVEL. Who does that? How many people have lots of great ideas for a novel and never begin. Or never finish? Too many. But I did it. I set a goal and I accomplished it. And my kids were watching. They saw me chase a dream. They saw my efforts pay off. Saw that anything is possible. Learned hard work and determination can take you anywhere. My kids don’t care how much money I make or what reviewers think. All they know is their mom is an author and she loves what she does. They’re proud of me. Without even trying, I taught them a priceless life lesson. Go after your dreams. They are attainable. All the other author-life hoopla is just noise. There’s always another goal lingering just out of reach, but focusing on that meant missing what I already had.

My kid taught me that.

Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd with a penchant for words and proclivity for fun. Julie lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three small children. Today, she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world.

Murder Comes Ashore is a sequel in her new mystery series, Patience Price, Counselor at Large, from Carina Press.


  1. Great post, and a real wake up call. I write the Ellen McKenzie real estate mysteries and was jolted by what you said. It’s far too easy to be so absorbed in the goals we haven’t attained and miss the ones we have. I started to think about those, and took a deep breath. Miles to go, but think of the wonderful miles behind us. Thanks. And thanks to your son. Aren’t kids great?

    Comment by Kathleen Delaney — March 26, 2014 @ 8:13 am

  2. Wow, what a moment! Well, what a lot of moments. I know that setting goals and achieving them is important and like all dreams it is the dream rather than the reality which has the romance and the desire all pent up in that ‘made it moment,’ when everything falls in to place and all dreams are realised and the feeling is the best ever….until the next moment and desire. It is elusive and so it should be. If we ever achieved all our dreams and goals we’d never get out of bed. However, some moments along the way make it worthwhile and for me I can really understand how that little boy made you feel as if you had ‘made it,’ as for him you had and I think you’d made it many times already, in his eyes. And in mine. If I could achieve a little of what you so obviously have, I would be dancing on air. Enjoy your successes and enjoy the joy of your son in having a mum like you. Most of all enjoy your coming success – as I am sure it will come – and I hope all your books sell zillions too. Thanks so much for making me realise that life is made up of lots of small ‘made it moments,’ if only we care to look for them.

    Comment by Jane Risdon — March 26, 2014 @ 8:22 am

  3. As a fellow only child and overachiever I related to this a lot! I keep trying to look backwards to see how far I’ve come, but it’s my nature to look doggedly forward and add five more items to that list of things that need to be checked off before I’ve really made it! Thank you for reminding me to focus on the now!!

    Comment by Johanna — March 26, 2014 @ 8:30 am

  4. This is my favorite moment ever. It really speaks to me. We keep raising that bar! And sometimes forget to look at what matters most. I would definitely say a Harlequin imprint is “making it,” but that’s not for me to say–making it is in the mind. You had to see what your son saw. And good for him for opening your eyes, and for you for letting him open them.

    Comment by Savvy — March 26, 2014 @ 8:55 am

  5. This is spot on. We are so ambitious we forget to celebrate our achievements. It’s great to have someone else remind us of what we’ve done instead of what we haven’t (yet).

    Comment by Sara — March 26, 2014 @ 9:33 am

  6. This is a great reminder to savor the wins, even the small ones!

    Comment by Windy Lynn Harris — March 26, 2014 @ 9:42 am

  7. Absolutely loved this moment! And you’ve made it because you have a great kid, obviously. :)

    Comment by Judy — March 26, 2014 @ 10:03 am

  8. Thank you all so much for these awesome comments. I have to confess I almost didn’t do this post! After I asked for it, I nearly talked myself out of writing it! Now, I’m so glad I did and that I’m not alone in stealing my own joy. It’s a bad habit I’m working to let go. You’ve made me smile with these amazing comments. Thank you!!!
    And thank you so much Jenny for the opportunity to be brave and just say this about myself. *Curtsy* to you for having such a brilliant blog prompt. These help us get to know one another far more than most. Thank you!

    Comment by Julie Anne Lindsey — March 26, 2014 @ 10:33 am

  9. It’s hard to escape funks in today’s publishing business if you’re the least bit prone to them. I’m glad your son helped you realize how much you have accomplished already! Good luck with your new series.

    Comment by Sandra Hutchison — March 26, 2014 @ 11:33 am

  10. This Moment rings many familiar bells. I have taken a similar journey and your description of the milestones is priceless. Congratulations on being able to find the solid ground in the swamp that makes up a writing career.

    Comment by Liz Main — March 26, 2014 @ 12:16 pm

  11. You’ve just got to slap ‘not really’ upside the head ‘cuz she’s sporting a whole wrong attitude. Listen to your beautiful child, he’s got it right. Thanks for letting us in on this bit of your writing life, Julie. Good luck on changing the world, too. Tough gig!

    Comment by Susan Sundwall — March 27, 2014 @ 10:09 am

  12. Nothing means more than having your child proud of you. We always talk about parents being proud of their children. Isn’t it great when the reverse is true as well?

    Comment by Jacqueline Seewald — March 27, 2014 @ 4:24 pm

  13. Wow, I needed to hear this. I could have written it myself, being the type of person who is never satisfied with my accomplishments. My second published book is coming out in a couple of months and there have been few moments I’ve basked in my success. I wasn’t quite sure what had gone wrong, but after I read this, I looked at my ARC and thought hard about all the amazing things that have happened on my journey here and the obstacles I conquered. Hearing my agent say that the books sold, the crowd that came to my first signing, my kids and all their friends in promo t-shirts on page 2 of the local paper. I’m wishing I had let myself enjoy it more– and knowing I will do so in the future. thanks, Julie.

    Comment by A.J. Colucci — May 12, 2014 @ 2:22 pm

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