Nodding at the Monster

BigorneI have a Thursday ritual. It’s called “nodding at the monster.”

See, as some of you might know, I was unemployed while I wrote A Hidden Fire, This Same Earth, and outlined the rest of the Elemental Mysteries. I was applying for technical writing jobs, copywriting jobs, editing jobs, and no one was interested. It was a hard time in the economy and most businesses were cutting back.

Naturally, I signed up for one of those online resume services (in this case to help me look. And every Thursday, they would email me a list of positions that had opened up in my area. And every week I would apply. And I got maybe… four calls in all the months that I was doing that.

But of course, I kept writing. In fact, it was only the month before A Hidden Fire came out that my unemployment insurance completely ran out. It was pretty tight for my ex and I, but we managed.

I would have loved if my very first book hit big and soared to the top of the bestseller lists and answered all my problems, but that didn’t happen. It rarely does. Still, I kept writing, kept publishing, and in less than a year, I had published five books and was making a living from my writing.

Mind-boggling success from my perspective.

A lot has changed about my life since then. Finances are more comfortable. I own my own home. I have a pretty consistent reader base who look forward to my books. These are all very real dreams come true for me.

But every Thursday, still emails me a list of technical writing jobs. And I take a moment, look it over, and appreciate what I have and how far I’ve come. I remember how lucky I am to do this job and how much work it took to get here. Then I delete it. And that’s my nod to the monster.

Life can change very quickly. For good. For bad. Nothing is certain. I could wake up tomorrow and find out everyone has stopped buying my books. I don’t think that will happen, but it could. It’s possible. And if that happened, I’d pick things up, scowl at the new monster, and figure out a way to beat it.

Don’t hide from the monster. That’s when it will bite you hardest. And don’t forget that life changes. Whether you’re in a good place or a bad.

Nod at your monster and move forward.

Posted in Life, Writing.


  1. Love this post. Also, love all your books, but this post is right on. My monsters are still there, but I also give them a nod and move on.

    God’s peace and blessings, Nancy

  2. Great post! I am glad you stuck with it and kept writing! Amazing books! Can’t wait for more!!!! Thanks again for the great books you give us!

  3. Love this post! I too still get my monster emails and browse through them…every Tuesday. Keep writing and living your dream, as one of your readers I thank you for writing!

  4. Love how you put this. Shortly after my divorce I had to leave an intolerable job. Being a nurse, I thought I could get a job quickly but to my surprise, I couldn’t get hired. It took 8 months and all my savings to support myself and my son. My faith was the only thing that kept me going despite the continued rejections from the job market. Nodding at the monster is an excellent metaphor! Thank you for sharing.

  5. Monsters come and monsters go. It’s important to celebrate your victories over them. You are an over comer. My job is my monster right now. After 24 years, I’m going back to school. It’s never to late to slay, slay, slay! Give me a bronze blade!! 🙂

  6. Timing- serendipity? – I am out of work now at 70 (have to keep working) and back on I have started over so many times and body is weakening but I can keep on keeping on until I cant 😉 >> best of luck to all out there in same boat. This was a real pick-me-up.
    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Great post Elizabeth! Thank you for reminding us that it’s important to remember what you have, where you’ve been and realize how far you’ve come, and know that you can work and get to where you want to be.

  8. Thanks so much for this article Elizabeth. A year and a half ago i left my financially stable job of 15yrs to pursue working without daily extreme stress caused by the job but mostly my workaholic, perfectionist, crazy demanding boss. Things have been tough but i keep looking for clients and jobs and they keep coming. Sometimes i feel i want to throw in the towel and go back to the rat race, and i probably will one of these days, but for now i will nod at those positions too. At least, my process has a name thanks to you. I want to find and then post a youtube video of a commencement speech i enjoyed about how we should all strive to make good “art” every day.

  9. WONDERFUL reminder for all of us. As Marie Morgan said… Monsters come and monsters go… My job stays my monster and I really need a bronze blade on some days… or a little Gio or Baojia ;-).

  10. Elizabeth – Happy New Year. You will ALWAYS have a reader base who wait with anticipation for your next book. I’m impatient to see The Singer out. Love your books and will never stop buying them – well, while I’m on the planet I suppose!
    Sue (UK)

  11. Thank you for this post, Elizabeth. I now have a wonderful metaphor ‘Nodding at the Monster’ to remind myself of the usefulness of monsters – whether they be or the monsters in my mind.

  12. What a lovely story. My daughter, step daughter and I are especially glad you beat the monster and may you long continue to do so.

    Many Regards from the UK.

  13. Thank you Elizabeth….a great post…a great metaphor. We should take time to appreciate what we have. Only by a ‘nod to the monsters’ can we truly do this. 🙂

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