Jacqueline Patterson’s Key to Success

Jacqueline Patterson’s Key to Success

by Jacqueline Patterson @jacpatterson

Frankly, My Dear . . . Jacqueline Patterson's Key to Success

Frankly, My Dear . . . Jacqueline Patterson’s Key to Success

“The more we work to help others,
the more we begin to enjoy the life we’re living.”

I raised my heavy-lidded gaze from the laptop screen and the quote on the coffee cup stared back at me. Like I really have time!

My eyes shifted to the blinking light on the phone, the sure indication that yet more messages were waiting for me.

I couldn’t take care of the rest of the world.

I turned my phone so I could no longer see the blinking light.

I had too much to do, too much to plan and consider and rewrite if I hoped to finish my book by my self-imposed deadline. After all, this was  my story,  my words, and that meant my work was most important, right?


And I wouldn’t let this distract me.

I turned back to my laptop, but my fingers were lead on the keyboard. I added a solitary word here, a phrase there, but my gaze continued to stray back to the quote.

“The more we work to help others . . .”

“No,” I said, and my voice was firm with resolve. “You will finish this story.” My friends would take care of themselves, the way they had a hundred times before. I would pray for them, then check up on them once I finished these edits. Surely things weren’t so severe they needed me right now.

I started at the half-empty page on the screen, and found myself rereading the words I had added since spotting the quote. Most were repetitions, rambling and distracted. How long had I been locked into this writing frenzy anyway? Days? Weeks? I couldn’t remember the last time I sought out contact with a friend other than with a quick writing question. I had simply burrowed away into my writing shell, where all that mattered was my story . . . and me.

As if friendship wasn’t even important.

But . . . Wasn’t it my duty to put my book first? After all, I was the one who went around reminding everyone they were the only ones who could write their story, and how would it look if I didn’t keep up my reputation for busyness? I shouldn’t step back from my writing. Even for an hour.

I had work to do.

I glanced between my laptop and my phone, my mind rebelling as I made my decision.

There would be time to work on my book later. I would always make time. There were no guarantees that all my friends would last until tomorrow.

The key to success was not to push myself forward, but to care for others. Even my writing was not for myself, as much as I wanted to hold to the comfort of that illusion. Why seek publication except to reach others?

It would be an empty journey without friendship. Without sharing dreams.

I closed my laptop and reached for my phone.

CLICK TO TWEET: Frankly, My Dear: Jacqueline Patterson’s Key to Success.

Jacqueline Patterson

Jacqueline Patterson

Jacqueline Patterson wrote her first book at the age of five: the tale of an assassin hen on the trail of a crafty fox. (OK, so the story wasn’t that epic, but the hen was mean.) That first story hooked her, and she hasn’t stopped since. She is currently editing Primate, the first book in her Forever in Time series, in the hope of publication . . . If she can ever convince herself that she’s found the perfect draft. Talk to Jacqueline about books, and she will be your friend forever. You can connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.

And Frankly, My Dear . . . That’s all she wrote!


FIVE THINGS FRIDAY: Finding the Write Gift

The gift giving season is upon us and there’s always that one person who’s difficult to buy for. Am I right? And usually, it’s the write person. (See what I did there?)

On this week’s upcoming Firsts in Fiction podcast, we’re talking about that very subject. Over the last week, we (and by we, I mean Aaron, Al, and myself, along with our merry media elves) have posed this question:

What’s a great gift to get the author in your life?

Finding the Write Gift

Finding the Write Gift

While I don’t want to give away the store (err, answers) here, I thought I’d at least share some of the FIF Family’s suggestions.

So put on your Santa hat and have a ho-ho-holiday time as we count down the best gifts to get your writer.

1. A private island. (Molly)

A Writer's Paradise - a Private Island

A Writer’s Paradise – a Private Island

Seriously. How often has your writer tried to get away from it all by locking themselves in the back room, sitting in a car, or running away to a coffee shop? See No. 3, below. Seclusion is necessary for the writer. In order to create our own worlds, we have to shut out the real one. A writer’s island holds no distractions like TV, ringing phones, or ~ dare I say it ~ the occasional familius interruptus.

More practical:

  • noise-cancelling headphones
  • a gift card for a spa day or one night at a hotel
  • pocket notebooks to jot notes in when your writer can’t get to their workspace
  • GIFT BASKET OPTIONS: white noise CD, postcard, small plant, candle

2. A private jet. (Al)

A Private Jet for Your Traveling Writer

A Private Jet for Your Traveling Writer

Writing isn’t just writing anymore. Now it means book signings, conferences, marketing meetings, publicity appearances and more. A private jet is the ticket to get your writer out the door and back home faster. And with no other passengers to distract him or her, it also serves as a mobile private island. See No. 1, above.

More practical:

  • gas cards and travel expenses
  • writers conferences and retreats
  • offer to keep them company and drive them to their next writing commitment
  • GIFT BASKET OPTIONS: travel journal, map, luggage tags, small photo album

3. A cafe/bistro/restaurant of their own. (Molly, Aaron, Al)

The Write Cafe

The Write Cafe

We all know writers have ink in their veins. Let’s not ignore the caffeine IV they require. How often have you stopped into a Starbucks and seen someone leaning over their laptop, typing frantically with one hand while holding their coffee in the other? A small cafe allows someone else to be responsible for the food and clean up. All the writer has to do is write. And, bonus, when that book contract is finally signed and the manuscript published, you already have a place to invite everyone to celebrate the success!

More practical:

  • treat them (and their family) to a nice dinner
  • gift card to their favorite coffee shop
  • single-serve coffee maker and a month’s worth of coffee
  • GIFT BASKET OPTIONS: creamer, individual serving tray, souvenir mug, tea spoon

4. An office supply store. (Molly, Aaron, Al)

Endless Office Supplies

Endless Office Supplies

Solve the problem of running out of ink and paper by giving your writer full and permanent access to everything imaginable from a new computer to colored paperclips. No more moments of frustration when they can’t find their favorite brand of pen. And when they start a new project, they can supply their writing space in coordinating themes and colors.

More practical:

  • ink and paper
  • computer maintenance program
  • mailing supplies
  • GIFT BASKET OPTIONS: desk organizers, day planner, journal/pen set, stickee notes

5. A private library. (Aaron)

A private library - just what a writer needs - more books.

Just what a writer needs – more books.

Research is essential to writing a compelling story, but small town libraries (and some bigger ones) don’t always work out. Books are checked out by others. Magazines are ripped and torn. Plus, you can’t keep any of them. A private library assures your writer their much needed references will be available any time they need. When one thought rabbit trails to another, at least you’ll still be able to find your writer in the stacks. Information is King, and you just gave your writer the kingdom.

More practical:

  • new computer and software
  • Kindle or other eReader and a gift card for downloads
  • external hard drive
  • GIFT BASKET OPTIONS: books on writing, collector’s editions of favorite books, magazine/newspaper subscription, gift card to book stores

And since we’re in the season of giving, here’s an extra entry. Give. Most writers supplement their writing income by teaching, editing, and a plethora of other talents. It takes time, energy and resources away from their works-in-progress. You can help them hurdle over the starving artist syndrome by donating:

  • Time. Clean their house, run errands, be a once-a-week personal assistant.
  • Resources. Do you have connections or knowledge that can move their story along?
  • Money. It costs a lot to live the write life. Even without the big-ticket items in this post.

What gift ideas do you have for the writer in your world? Leave a comment here and join us Tuesday, December 15 at 6:30 PST for this year’s Firsts in Fiction Holiday Podcast: Finding the Write Gift.

[If you have a question for the authors visit Aaron’s website for Ask The Author and if he uses your question on air this week, you’ll get a code for a free audio download of his novel, The Bargain. You don’t have to be a writer, and you don’t have to view the podcast to participate.]

And Frankly, My Dear . . . that’s all she wrote!