Monday, July 11, 2011

Managing Expectations

Today I have a very special guest, author and woman extraordinaire, Karen Walker. We met a few years ago through a blog tour class and I soon discovered we’d lived in Albuquerque for a whole five months together - although we never met. Karen’s book, Following the Whispers, is a powerful memoir, and I recommend that everyone pick it up. It recently became available as an EBook, so I asked Karen to share today about managing expectations.

First of all, I’d like to thank Diane for helping me format “Following the Whispers” so that it could become an e-book. She is awesome to work with. It’s funny how you come to love people you’ve not met in person through an online relationship, but it’s true.

This is the first stop on my virtual book tour and the topic is managing expectations.
Expectations get me in trouble. If I expect to either: have a good time, have the best vacation ever, meet the man of my dreams, lose those 20 pounds, fill in your own particular thing here, I’m doomed. Because we cannot control results.

What we can do is have a dream and hope for a certain outcome. We can set our intention and place our energy and attention on whatever it is. But to expect to get what we want sets us up for disappointment and for me, puts me on an emotional roller coaster--one that doesn’t stop.

As a writer, I wanted to be published. I had dreams of being on Oprah. Those dreams were dashed when I couldn’t even find an agent after almost two years of trying. I had to ask myself what I hoped to achieve by publishing my book. The answer came: I wanted to share my story with others in hopes of helping those struggling with similar issues. It wasn’t about making a lot of money or becoming famous. If I had expected those things as a result of publishing, I would have failed.

So dream away, hope all you want, set goals and take the steps to reach them. But don’t expect anything, accept what does occur, and your emotional journey will be a bit more peaceful.


BTW - you should hear the spunk in Karen’s voice! Matches that red hear perfectly.

Karen can be found blogging at Following the Whispers

Following the Whispers can be purchased at:
Amazon or SmashWords


Jessica Bell said...

Excellent advice, Karen! I think all writers' expectations are too high when they start out. But we all learn eventually :o)

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Wonderful advice Karen, without hope there is nothing.

Have a good day.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I think that's wonderful advice, Karen--we should keep our expectations very opens the door to being pleasantly surprised!

Liz Fichera said...

Great advice and so glad you did not give up on publishing your book.

Joanne said...

Wise words, Karen. And I find that as I go, I also adjust my expectations, depending on how my writing journey is going, where it's taking me with agent response, reader response, that sort of thing.

Thanks Karen and Diane ...

~Sia McKye~ said...

Karen, setting reasonable goals is always hard. Takes time to learn what is reasonable,just as it takes time to stop and realize that many things are out of our control.

There are always aspects of situations we can control.

Super heroes are fables. No one is going to leap up the mountain in a single bound. The only way we get up that mountain is one step at a time.

For sure, don't be afraid to dream but set goals, or reasonable steps, to make the dream a reality. Know when to make adjustments in expectations.

The cover for the e-book is beautiful!

Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

Karen Walker said...

Jessica, yes, for me it's an issue - no expectations works.
Yvonne, so true. We must always dream and hope.
Elizabeth, yes, thanks
Liz, me, too
Joanne, good point - adjusting expectations along the way is very helpful
Sia, thanks so much for these thoughts. You are so right. Set reasonable goals, take one step at a time to reach that goal, and make adjustments to expectations along the way. Thanks about the cover. It is a photo hubby and I took at Lake Louise in Canada.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

We all need to stretch, but if we set unrealistic expectations, we'll only be disappointed.

Excellent post Karen and glad I could kick off your tour.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Love that, Karen!
Have a dream and hope for a certain outcome is wonderful because you have to have dreams but if they don't come WHEN you want or HOW you want, you'll be at peace.

Karen Walker said...

Yes, Diane, that's it - unrealistic expectations. It's not the goal that's unrealistic. Thank you so much for allowing me to kick off my tour with you.
Jennifer, yes, that's it. Peace - for me it about not being on an emotional roller coaster.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Diane and Karen .. so pleased Diane was able to help you get Following the Whispers into an eformat book - though I'll be buying the print version .. and am so looking forward to reading it.

Amazing the opportunities now .. and that learning curve in the process - so good for you to continually stretch your boundaries ..

Oddly - I'd always imagined Diane's voice to have character ... now Diane you're saying Karen definitely has it!!

One day we'll hear them .. cheers for now - Hilary

Jemi Fraser said...

Nice! I agree - remember WHY you're doing something in the first place, and follow that dream :)

Karen Walker said...

Hilary, Diane's voice is just as "spunky" as she is. I would never have characterized my voice as spunky, but then, we don't perceive ourselves the way others do, do we?
Jemi, yes, the why is key for me.

Jan Morrison said...

Thank you so much for hosting Karen, Diane - I think she is the absolute bee's knees. We need to ask ourselves every day what our intentions are - wonderfully put!
Jan Morrison

Hart Johnson said...

Congratulations on publishing your book, Karen! I have Oprah dreams too, which will be hard to meet, since she is no longer on the air... I also fantasize about Diane Rehm (erm... not that way). But you're right--we need to dream and work toward it, and can't get bogged in the uncontrollables. (Thanks for hosting, Diane!)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I know I didn't have high expectations! And since then I've been pleasantly surprised. Wise words, Karen.

Eric W. Trant said...

I live by two quotes on expectations:

1) Keep your expectations low and avoid unnecessary disappointments. Franklin (I think), paraphrased.

2) I find my life is easier the lower I keep everyone's expectations. Calvin, of Calvin & Hobbes.

I've learned exactly what you posted. Don't belittle your little victories, and don't over-extend reality into dreamscape.

- Eric

Shari said...

Congratulations on getting your book out there. The cover is beautiful.

Karen Walker said...

Jan, why,thank you ma'am.
Hart, we can dream on, can't we??
Alex, yes,exactly!
Eric, love those quotes. Thank you.
Shari, thanks - the photo is one hubby and I took at Lake Louise, Canada.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Hilary - LOL! There's a couple interviews of me online if you really want to hear my voice.

Karen, you have spunk, believe me!

Eric, I remember Calvin's quote!

Matthew MacNish said...

It's awesome to hear how you two have managed to have a friendship and a professional relationship.

The writers I've connected with online are now some of my best friends. Much cooler than the people I know in "real life."

Karen Walker said...

Matthew, yes, isn't it amazing how close you can be to people you've never met in person.

Karen Walker said...

I just wanted to thank everyone who stopped by here today to make my first book blog stop a success. And Diane, you are the best - thanks for everything.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I know my expectations were lowered after a few years of searching for an editor and then a publisher. I'm still trying to reach the big time but I'm also happy to be where I am. Good luck with your book, Karen.

Ann Best said...

Diane: I'm so glad you helped Karen get her book formatted for the e-reader. It's beautifully written, and I hope it gets the wider audience that it deserves.

Until tomorrow, when I'll be hosting Karen....
Ann Best, Memoir Author

Trisha said...

Indeed, this is great advice. And really that's all I want too - to have my stories heard and enjoyed by others!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

I think expectations get us all into trouble. And, usually, if we examine our disappointment, we find we didn't do our homework so we'd have some idea of what we were getting into to begin with!

Glad to see a memoir doing so well!


L. Diane Wolfe said...

Karen, thanks again for letting me kick off your tour!

Karen Walker said...

Susan, thank you so much for your lovely comment.
Ann, can't wait to see you tomorrow!
Trisha, I wish it for you as well.
Carolyn, thanks, me, too
Diane, it was fun being here. Thanks so much.

Kristin Rae said...

Great post. I especially needed this today, because I have been struggling with expectations, but I shouldn't expect anything. I can hope for them, but I don't control results, and I don't want disappointment to break me.

Thanks :)

p.m.terrell said...

Excellent advice, Karen! Next year, I'll mark my 40th year since my first manuscript was completed. I've seen more authors than I can count think they have written the finest book that ever was and they are outraged or crushed when the rest of the world doesn't rush to their doors. It isn't so much about keeping expectations low, but keeping expectations realistic. I've learned that Staying in the Game is an accomplishment all by itself.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Kristin, glad Karen's words inspired you for another day.

Trish, can't win if you don't play the game.

Talli Roland said...

Great advice, Karen. Many writers have unrealistic expectations of what success will look like. Unfortunately.

Stephen Tremp said...

Great post Karen! I still have those kind of dreams and will continue to do so. Glad to see your great attitude through everything.

Jules said...

I've learned if I expect, I do not achieve. Better to just go with the flow.

Great post girls! :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Karen Lange said...

Thanks, Diane, for introducing us to Karen! Her book sounds inspiring. :)

Morgan Mandel said...

Too true. It's great to have dreams but we need to be realistic about the outcome.
Still it doesn't hurt to aim high. Just don't get disappointed if you don't make it that far.
Morgan Mandel

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thank you to everyone who commented - Karen is amazing!

RaShelle said...

I had dreams of being on Oprah, too. Dang! Too late. Can't wait to check out your book.

Thanks for sharing with us!

Arlee Bird said...

I tend to dream a lot, but keep my expectations very low so that whatever does come my way exceeds whatever I did expect and I can feel a glow of success.

Tossing It Out

DEZMOND said...

I like the title and the cover of that book.

Sandy said...

Thanks...I hold onto the dream!

Michelle Fayard said...

Karen, what I love about your interviews is that you share valuable words not just about your book but about how to live life more gracefully. You're truly the best. Thank you very much, Diane, for hosting Karen. I'm glad to be a new follower!