The Blessing of Help

Coping with My Career Choice Despite Hearing and Vision Loss

Lion Chris St. Johns, presiding over the Lions club who helped me with funding for my audio book -- one of the many great helps I've encountered on my author journey
Lion Chris St. Johns whose group contributed to the current funding of my audio book — one of the many great helps I’ve encountered along my author journey.

35-Day Author Blog Challenge, Day 27, Ultra/ Ultimate Blog Challenge

In September 2011, I dedicated myself to becoming a self-supporting author.

I said goodbye to a long career and started a second one when I turned fifty. Sounds like a midlife crisis, huh?  It was but not the kind you might think. Two little problems stood in the way of my success: hearing and vision loss. Teaching a foreign language wasn’t fun anymore.  I’d stuck it out for a few years but my sister convinced me that I could be more productive doing something where I didn’t struggle so much.

Working at home seemed ideal. Many aspects of my life simplified – no dress clothes, no alarm clock needed. Just wake up and write. Penning another person’s life story  at my computer seemed easy–until my poor vision got in the way again. I had headaches, the words blurred and sometimes disappeared. But I still had deadlines to meet with my ghostwriting client. When we spoke, I used a digital recorder to tape him because my hearing loss made it impossible to get the ongoing details of his story down in person.

After finishing his book, I started my own.My brother took me once a week to receive feedback on my book from other writers. But, my vision loss continued to progress. All my writing tasks took longer to do–in fact, everything did. Somehow I finished it.

Today’s author topic ask authors to share the top three methods they are using to grow their platform. While I share, I’ll also thank the ones who have helped me move forward.

1. Growing my online platform is within my scope of skills. 

I can sit at my computer and with my improved magnifying devices, can see a little better. I also have fewer headaches. Reversing the background color and text helps me focus better. Social media is a boon to my platform. I’m patient with myself, consistent with updating Facebook, sending out emails, following up on contacts and networking in  my groups.

The biggest challenges I have are when I encounter technological glitches. While many vision-impaired people learn to use technology easily since it consists of step-by-step procedures, that doesn’t work with me.

“She’s no techie!” my college student scrawled out on the end-of-course critique, heavily darkening the exclamation point. I could almost see his scowl. That comes from me having just enough vision to get myself in trouble when I pretend to know what I’m doing! 

Recently, I ran into a formatting problem and didn’t know anyone to ask to solve it. Days of unease followed. Instead of praying for God to provide a solution, I tried again to solve it on my own.  A lose-lose situation. 

When I stood back, help came!

Out of the blue, a colleague in one of my groups, someone I didn’t even know, took charge. In light of a deadline I had, she rapidly re-formatted my piece and gave me clear steps in what to do next. She spent a couple of days assisting me on and off.

This wasn’t something she normally had time to do, yet she never once made me feel I was imposing on her. Instead, her words about my writing encouraged me. 

2. Blogging

Though I’ve had my down times of blogging when I couldn’t organize myself to get my blog out, I’ve now developed a discipline and write every day. I think of my readers and what kind of encouraging message will build them up, bridge gaps in knowledge, educate, touch their emotions and entertain them.

I’m so grateful to others who blog and share their stories with me, take time to comment on my experiences,  who invite me to guest blog and help me build my platform by sharing my posts. I’m so happy to have sight support groups to share my messages of optimism and hope with.  Of course, comments help me to feel I’m not writing in isolation.

Help came!

3. Outreach, Networking and Sharing My Objectives

Authors can’t just sit down and wait for sales to come. So, outreach is important to me in building my platform. That means I need to find transport to author events, critique groups to better my craft, and speaking engagements.

I was finding speaking engagements but not asking for a fee.  I didn’t feel like I had enough experience to receive one. In my networking, I became friends with a local woman who had long since left our area. She and her husband travel the country and perform musical variety shows for senior citizens, fairs, and RV parks.

After confessing my lack of confidence in achieving this goal one day, she took on an informal, friendly managerial’s role toward my speaking engagements. She started to set them up, asking for money. She also believed I had an important message to share. A winning combination.

So, more help came! 

In securing transportation, for the past several months I’d been feeling like a marathon runner, going it alone and putting myself out there by asking for rides. It’s exhausting. After I published Mobility Matters, I stopped attending my critique group. I got tired of asking and being disappointed. But now that I’m writing Cane Confessions, I have suddenly found reliable transport again.

Help came!

For the past three weeks, member of my Lions Club have taken me to my critique groups. They haven’t taken any money for driving me in or home, as the case sometimes calls for it. God is making it possible to get the feedback I need through these dedicated colleagues! I’m so grateful. Our leader assured me that they would pitch in and I would get there with their help!

To reach my speaking engagements, I have a former work colleague who drives me to the various locations. She’s organized, good with directions and is a problem-solver. When I arrange for my talks on her days off, she gets me where I need to go. Not only does she drive me, she helps me set up my table, my easel. I can’t thank her enough.

Yes, help came! 

The car is smiling here. In real life, all my drivers smile and put me at ease.
The car is smiling here. In real life, all my drivers smile and put me at ease.

When God sends me help to specific needs, I feel enCOURaged!

As I continue to build my author platform, I will trust God in meeting those needs through loving hands and hearts. I won’t take them for granted. He promises that if I do my part, He will do His – and supply all my needs according to His richness in glory.

How has someone helped you recently? Did you expect it or did it come as a surprise? Share in the comments below.

You have just read, “The Blessings of Help” by Amy L. Bovaird. Copyright October 9, 2015. Don’t be shy! Leave a reply!

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10 thoughts on “The Blessing of Help

  • October 9, 2015 at 9:24 pm
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    A beautiful blog post. Over the past few months, helping to care for an elderly mother in law, we have found help coming seemingly “out of the woodwork”. Or, maybe it wasn’t just “out of the woodwork”. On at least one occasion (and I am not exceedingly religious) it was almost like someone had picked us up and was just carrying us along for the ride. It was the strangest feeling.

  • October 9, 2015 at 9:51 pm
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    Hi Alana,
    Thank you. Yes, it was the same way with my sister. She had help show us all the time. I like that, “It was almost like someone had picked us up and was just carrying us along for the ride.”
    Nice to see your comment again.
    I have been posting too late to connect with many here lately.
    Have a great day!
    Amy

  • October 9, 2015 at 10:26 pm
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    People have been more considerate towards me in the public domain. For example offering to help me even before I’ve had occasion to ask. In shops, the bank and buses. A man got up and offered me his seat at the front of the bus. This has happened since I have been out with my white mobility cane and has surprised me.

    I am still in the habit of apologising to people all the time, because it’s usually been my fault, or I have always assumed it so because of my poor eyesight, In reality though it could sometimes be the fault of another barging about in an inconsiderate rush, or some other reason.

    Tell us about your critique group and what happens there. In England there are restive writing groups, although I have never attended one..

    God bless
    Linda

  • October 9, 2015 at 11:26 pm
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    Hi Linda,
    Lovely to see you share your experience here!
    Yes, it’s been the same for me. It’s hard to get out of the habit of always feeling you must apologize. It’s habit as you said, but it’s also a mindset. We have to consciously change it and be kind to ourselves. I wrote a song about that. You may have listened to it already. Let Them See You
    about my critique groups, there is one with about 5 people and the other, maybe 10. Each of us reads our work out loud and then the others look back over it for a couple of minutes, then offer feedback, ask questions, clarify, tell you what they like, etc. they might also make some suggestions. Are you from England? I forgot that you are a writer, too. Is that right? What is a restive writing group?
    Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment.
    Amy

  • October 10, 2015 at 3:32 am
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    Thanks for sharing this. You are an exceptional writer. May God continue to bless you.

  • October 10, 2015 at 4:10 am
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    Thank you, K. Wayne!

  • October 10, 2015 at 9:13 am
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    I love the simple way you tell about your experiences. No self-aggrandizement from you. You have a need and God fulfills it. You admit your failings and others flock to help you. Bless you Amy. May God continue to give you the strength you need. And, I hope you will one day be a successful and wealthy writer.

  • October 10, 2015 at 2:32 pm
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    Thank you, Francene!
    You are such an uplifter!
    Amy

  • October 11, 2015 at 9:23 pm
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    This was so great Amy.
    🙂
    Help came. I know how you feel, even in the moments when I start to forget that people want to help, so now I will recall this post.
    Not sure if there are many critique groups in my area, but I would love to find one. Keep meaning to search one out if possible.

  • October 12, 2015 at 1:16 am
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    I’m glad you could relate to it, Kerry!
    I found my critique group by luck. I couldn’t find one and posted a notice at the bank to see if anyone wanted to join one and we could meet at a local area. Instead, I received a phone call from a woman who invited me to join Pennwriters, a professional writing group in PA. I don’t know why I never found one on my own. But I guess the time was just right and God decided to open a door.
    That woman continued to bless me by driving me there herself.
    I know you will find one!
    Maybe look on the Internet in your area. Check at libraries, coffee houses, restaurants with wi=fi.
    Let me know when you find one and I’ll celebrate with you!
    Amy

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