Friday, August 20, 2010

Tip of the Week - Never Give Up on Your Dream

KJ Dahlen’s Tip of the Week is to Never give up on your dream. I put my writing on the back burner for years while life interrupted, having a family and raising kids, but after twenty years I finally got back to it and I can honestly say I love what I do. I can finally call myself an author.

I made mistakes along the way but I learned from them and became a better author and with every new book I write, I learn a little more while the mistakes are getting less and less.

My first publisher wasn’t a good person so I basically got screwed with her but I found another publisher I could trust. At the moment I have six books with my second publisher with another two in the next six months. As with any endeavor you have to start with baby steps and writing isn’t any different. It’s what you do to build yourself up that counts.

When I got back into writing after my kids were grown I took a refresher course. Being away from the craft for so long I felt I needed to regain my bearing. I finished the course long before I was supposed to but that’s ok. I learned what I needed to learn. Only you can decide that for yourself. I have always been a quick study so it didn’t take me long to get where I felt I needed to be. If it takes you a little longer that’s ok. Like I said only you can decide how long it takes you.

At first I didn’t know what I wanted to write. I’ve been an avid reader all my life so deciding what I felt I wanted to offer the world was a hard decision. I tried writing articles but could get the hang of that. I decided I liked writing fiction better. I tried romance but it wasn’t meant to be. I tried Sci-fi but I couldn’t make that work either. I tried mystery/suspense and I had my niche. I found I loved putting my characters in life and death situations and they did the rest. My characters come alive for me and eventually they take over the story and I write down what they want me to. That’s when I sent my work into a bigger publisher and they liked my story. I was thrilled. So now I had two publishers and my books were lining up. I sent another book to yet another publisher and now I have three publishers.

I love my work. I love finding unique situations for my characters. Being published is wonderful, granted I started small and I’ll never regret that. I don’t have an agent and maybe I never will. At this point I don’t know yet. My books are getting noticed and people are reading them. I donated a copy of my books to the local libraries and some people told me that was a mistake, but I don’t think so. I live in a small town. They can go to the library and get a copy of my book and read it. That to me is more important. I figure if they read one, then they’ll read another one. Word of mouth is a great tool to get your work noticed. It doesn’t result in a sale sometimes but getting people to read what you write is something I enjoy.

What’s even better is when the people that have bought your books ask, when is the next book coming out? I love that question!

People have asked me how I handle a critique. To me a critique only makes your writing stronger. Oh I know you’ve worked as hard as you think you can and then somebody rips it all apart and at first you’re mad, then you think to yourself, this is the only way the story makes sense. Guess what? Maybe what the critique is doing is giving you another way to look at your story. You can’t take offense at what another person says about your work. Use what he/she says to make your story stronger and better. Maybe some of the critique won’t work but maybe some of it will. Only you can decide that, but be open minded about it. Maybe the person that gave the critique knows the markets a little better than you do.

My last point would be to never give up. Keep an open mind and don’t allow the set backs to get the better of you. Keep writing!

Author Bio:

Kim lives in Wisconsin with her husband and her dog, Sammy. She likes to place most of her stories in small towns because that’s where she lives. She writes under the pen name K.J. Dahlen. K.J. are her first and second initials and Dahlen was her husband’s family name when they came to America from Norway. It got changed to Dahl when they arrived.

Her publishers are Rogue Phoenix Press, Avalon and Bucks County Publishing. Her books are suspense books and you can see them at her web site. Her titles are Bones; The Darkness Within, Meghan’s Legacy; Shadow Chaser; Witness; Legacy of Murder; and Secrets and Lies. Her upcoming titles are, The Unknown Son, The Prophet and No One to Hear You Scream. You can see her web site at You can email her at Kim loves to hear from people about writing and her books.


Sherry Gloag said...

I truly admire author who come up with great suspence and mystery. Yes I know all books need a measure of both in various guises, but I watched both your book trailers and they are intriguing.
Thanks for sharing this great post.

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi KJ,
I love your tip to never give up on your dreams. Out of all the things we hear and read about writing it may be the most important one, and at times, the most difficult. I'm glad you have a good publisher now. Best of luck with your books.

EA said...

How important is it to have that motivation and determination when it comes to writing. There are so many times down this road where I thought, "Why do I even bother?" And there are other times when that can-do-ism really pays on. Congrats on your work and your publisher.

Miss Mae said...

Wow, congratulations on being such a prolific writer! My hat is off to you! :) Wishing you even more success!

Laurean Brooks said...

Anne, this is one of the best posts I've read. I could feel KJ's heart and soul in the write-up.

KJ, if your stories are anything like this interesting, informative post, you are going places.

May God guide your steps and bring your dreams to pass.

Gina said...

Hi KJ and Anne, this is really fine advice! The idea of "do not lose heart" is one I love! The time frame might not unfurl the way we envision it, but keep the faith,things do work out. Great post. Thank you both and best of luck with your books :-)

Anne Patrick said...

Thank you for all the wonderful comments, ladies, and thank you Kim for your great post.

‘If you work hard dreams come true. Believe in yourself. Don’t let others make you doubt yourself or what you can do!’ Author unknown