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12 X 12 June 2018 Featured Author – Michelle Cusolito

12 x 12 June 2018 Featured Author – Michelle Cusolito

Thank you Julie and Kelli for welcoming me to the blog today. I’m a longtime 12 x 12 member who’s been reading these featured author posts for years. I’m honored to be this month’s author.

I’m sure many of you have read my interviews on KidLit 411 and on other blogs hosted by friends and fellow writers. You’ve probably heard the “behind-the-scenes” story of Flying Deep enough times already.

I’ve decided to take a risk and share something that has been on my mind a lot these last few weeks. Something a little less sunshiny, because I think it’s important to be honest. I’m not sharing this to seek sympathy and support, but instead to share a truth that we don’t always hear: published authors do not have perfect lives.

Part of my challenge as I become a published author is learning to manage the private crisis that has been happening right alongside the very public celebrations.

I’m in the throes of book launch season—launch parties, book store events, and school visits. There’s been a blog tour, newspaper interviews, and even a public radio interview. To many, it looks like I’m “living the dream,” and of course, in many ways, I am. I’ve been working toward this day for more than a decade.  I’m thrilled. I can’t believe publication day is finally here.

But that’s just the public face that showcases only one aspect of life.  I tend not to share much personal stuff on social media. With people I know in real life, I’m fairly open, but I’m uneasy about online sharing. I don’t post long, thoughtful messages to my husband on our anniversary, or mushy thoughts about my kids. I also don’t post when a loved one is diagnosed with epilepsy, or has cancer, or struggles with Alzheimer’s. There are some who share these personal issues openly, but I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable sharing such personal stuff online.

What that means, however, is that if you don’t know me in real life, my life might appear perfect.  Don’t get me wrong: I live a wonderful and happy life. So much so that I sometimes sit back and marvel at the people I have who love me and support me and the amazing experiences I’ve enjoyed.  I know how lucky I am.

But my life is also complicated like everyone else’s.

Right in the midst of launch season, my family has had to manage a very difficult, private situation. A situation that has taken countless hours to deal with. A situation I am unwilling to discuss publicly. But there it has been, happening in the background, while publicly my life looks perfect.

In addition to that, on the day of my launch party, a loved one underwent emergency surgery. It was not life-threatening, but it was still surgery (She’s doing well, by the way). My mind was far away with that loved one all afternoon.

I decided to share this as a gentle reminder that all of the public celebrations we see do not reveal what’s happening in private. When people only share good things, it can appear that their lives are perfect.  It’s easy to feel envious or like you’re doing something wrong if your life isn’t smooth. Every single person who creates books has their own dramas or traumas happening in the background.

So if life is kicking your backside lately, don’t think you’re alone. Maybe you simply cannot find the space to write or draw right now. If that’s the case, cut yourself some slack. Take care of yourself. Spend time with family. Get out in nature. Maybe set the work aside for a bit. I know, I know, Jane Yolen says BIC. She’s absolutely, right. You’ll never sell a book if you don’t write it first, but giving yourself a little breather sometimes is ok.

I have been unable to do any creative writing in nearly a month. Between book launch stuff and this private matter, there simply has not been enough time. I’ve had to let some things slide. Even now, I’m writing this post at the 11th hour, just barely squeaking it out before Kelli prods me to ‘please send it ASAP.’

I don’t mean you should let life’s hardships overwhelm you. Quite the opposite, really. Take care of yourself in the ways YOU need. A few years back, when faced with a difficult time, I realized that the best way to support myself was to make time to write every day. It was one of my most prolific periods. At that time, writing was self-care for me. Right now, however, self-care means giving myself a break from writing. It means not feeling guilty because that shiny new picture book idea isn’t getting attention. It will be there in a couple of weeks when I have the space.

Yours will too.


Michelle is the debut author of FLYING DEEP: CLIMB INSIDE DEEP-SEA SUBMERSIBLE ALVIN, illustrated by Nicole Wong. Her “deep research” included interviewing two Alvin pilots (one retired, one current) and climbing inside Alvin when it was on dry dock. Michelle writes for children because she wants to share the wonder of the world with them. You can find Michelle at or follow her on Instagram and Twitter @mcusolito.

Michelle is offering one 12 x 12 member a shrunken Styrofoam cup that went to the seafloor on the outside of Alvin. It went down 4400 meters (roughly 2 ¾ miles) off the coast of Bermuda on May 5th. Before it went, FLYING DEEP illustrator Nicole Wong drew an adorable Dumbo octopus on it. Michelle colored the octopus in and both of them signed their names.  (See the photo).

This Post Has 197 Comments
  1. Michelle,
    Thank you so much for this! I’m so excited for your book launch! But I definitely understand the flip side of this too. Life really throws us curveballs sometimes. Thank you for your honesty and friendship.


  2. Michelle, thank you for your honest and very candid commentary. I am a private person as well and I understand not sharing personal details of your life on line-I am the same. On another note, I love your book, Flying Deep ! I will bring this book and Candace Fleming’s, Giant Squid, into my classroom at the same time-I think the books will complement each other! I have written a creative non-fiction manuscript and currently writing a non-fiction…I love researching and discovery!

  3. Thanks for sharing your personal experiences on dealing with what’s under your own water, and how you stay afloat during overload or stressful times. It is always helpful to remember that life and writing intertwine, but usually life comes first.

  4. Thank you, Michelle, for saying that it’s okay to take some time out for your personal life. Trying to spread yourself around over career and home is a daunting task. I’m thankful your loved one is alright. Congratulations on your new book. Take care <3

  5. Dear Michelle,
    Thank you for being open and sharing that you have struggles. Similar to you, I don’t share negative things with the world–just family and close friends, and maybe not as often even with them as I should. It is so easy to see others’ posts and hear their news and assume only good things without realizing there can be struggles behind the scenes. Your post serves as a good reminder that we’re not alone in having tough times and we can persevere. Sending you strength to get through the difficult times and wishing you continued success with your writing and in life.

  6. A perfect life is an illusion. You are so right that we all have something going on behind the scenes, and I’m so sorry that you’re having a difficult time right now. I hope things get better for you soon.

    Big congratulations on your book! I can’t wait to read it! And that shrunken Styrofoam cup is so cool!

  7. Thank you SO much. It is hard to remember being out in public means you only see people’s “public” faces. I know my “public” face is exhaustingly happy. So much so, when I get home, I’m in a mood! Just from trying to be the pleasant person everyone expects:)

  8. Great post, Michelle! Thank you for letting us know that it is okay to take care of ourselves and our families first… writing will be there when we come back to it, and often it’s with new insights

  9. Thank so much for such an honest heartfelt post. You are so right about self care takes many forms and we need to be sure and check the guilt. We are our hardest critic. Sometimes drinking that extra cup of coffee, or watching a favorite movie, or simply looking at the four walls doing absolutely nothing is what the doctor ordered. We will get back to a routine after the situation is resolved itself. Thank you for your concern for fellow writers. Best of luck with FLYING DEEP!

  10. Thanks, Michelle, for sharing this candid and thoughtful account of juggling the public and the private and the importance of finding time to take care of yourself. And congrats on FLYING DEEP — can’t wait to read it!

  11. Lovely and loving words, Michelle. Sometimes our creative side needs a break to focus on something else. But it’s hard not to feel anxiety when we aren’t constantly putting forth effort toward our craft…especially when we see others’ (perfect, or so they appear) successful journeys. Thank you for the reassurance that we ALL have “back matter” that sometimes takes precedence!

  12. Michelle, thank you for sharing this perspective with us. It takes so much courage and persistence to keep writing day after day, especially when there are bumps in the road. It’s good to be reminded that even the folks who are hitting high points are often contending with lows, as well. It’s nice to be in the supportive embrace of this community. I hope your private matter gets resolved with minimum distress. Good luck with Flying Deep, and thank you again!

  13. With school letting out, it means the kiddos are home and i’ll have to get creative with my writing time. thank you for sharing this. I really need to remember to not beat myself up when life kind of takes over. Also, your giveaway is AWESOME!!! 🙂

  14. Your words are just what I needed to hear. I too try to write or draw every day as part of my self-care and have found when life hands me difficult situations I use my writing to cope and focus on something greater than myself and gives me purpose. Thank you, Michelle. It’s so validating for me to read this right now. I wish you success and happiness on your writing journey.

  15. Thanks for sharing Michelle. I too am fascinated by the ocean depths. I’m looking forward to reading your book! Wishing you all the best – in your writing life and in your personal life. Jacquie

  16. Michelle, Thanks for a thoughtful and honest post that reminds us all that first and foremost we take care of ourselves and our families, then we use writing to remind us that we can give back to the world through the picture books we write. These picture books can speak to a child in unseen ways, just the way we as writers manage success and challenge in unseen ways. Let us all continue to take care of ourselves while also being reminded that our ideas, and our writing friends, will be there when we are ready to return to them.

  17. thank you for your insight. thank you for letting me know-its ok if life is over whelming your “art” life, its ok to cut myself some slack. I tend to forget that. hope all is well with you and your family.

  18. Michelle, many congratulations on the book birthday! I’m personally looking forward to reading it soon. And thanks for the reminder that although many of us must put on a brave, happy, public face, behind the scenes, life gets messy & dirty & even downright sucky. But that’s why it’s Life. May you & your family move through this difficult time with grace & speed.
    And kudos for offering one of the most unique 12×12 rewards ever! 🙂

  19. Thank you Michelle for making this very personal statement about the times when writing cannot be done well and focused on due to other things going on in your life. The celebrating is wonderful and takes you to new heights but you have to come down and manage the rest of your life and the everyday with the real drama taking place. Good luck with your successes in writing and your personal journey behind the scenes.
    This is encouraging to me and other writers.

  20. Such wise words. Thank you, Michelle. I have been totally exhausted from my work demands the past couple of weeks that I haven’t been writing like I want. Your post confirms that rest is such a necessary part of the creative process.

  21. My thoughts are with you during this difficult time. Glad to hear you are giving yourself a break from writing to tend other important life events. Thanks for sharing. Barb

  22. Thank you for this frank post, Michelle. It is indeed impossible to tell what is going on inside another person’s daily life. Success and failure coexist and are the twin engines of all of our lives. Congratulations on all fo the attention your terrific book has captured. I look forward to the next!

  23. Thank you Michelle for this reminder that everyone is human -even published authors – and that it’s okay to step away from writing when you need to. I also appreciate that for a very private person, keeping the private private is okay too. Congratulations on Flying Deep… and I hope you enjoy all of the first you will experience with this book!

  24. This is a great post, Michelle. Thanks for sharing the other side of life amidst the writing life. I hope everything works out fine with your private situations.
    I have a feeling ‘Alvin’ will be loved by many many children.

  25. Thanks, Michelle, for reminding me that “life happens.” It happened to me last month, mostly happy, although not without stress. I hope that the struggles you have been facing get easier. I look forward to reading your book!

  26. Great post, Michelle and thanks for sharing the other side of the writing life. I hope everything works out well on the home front.
    I have a feeling Alvin will be enjoyed by many many children.

  27. Michelle, thank you so much for your honesty. Actually, this comes at a perfect time for me because I was just getting ready to beat myself up for not having a ms ready to share with my critique group. Those styrofoam cups have piqued my interest!!! I’m hoping the story about their shrinkage is explored in your book (which I need to read!)? Regardless, congratulations on your publication, and bravo for tending to you.

  28. Thank you for the reminder that sometimes we only see what people want us to see. It’s good to keep that in mind. Congrats on your book.

  29. Michelle, a friend of mine recently said she had thought it was just her life that was a roller coaster and she has realised that everyone else’s life is too. It’s easy to think writers’ lives are perfect. Thank you for sharing. Sending you all positive thoughts. And congratulations on FLYING DEEP.

  30. What wonderful advice. I know my writing has been compromised over the past two years because of my husband’s health. I needed to hear your words. Thank you.

  31. Such a great reminder to not compare ourselves to others and to not assume that someone else’s life is perfect. Thank you for sharing some of your “behind the scenes”.

  32. Thank you Michelle for making this very personal statement about the times when writing cannot be done well and focused on due to other things going on in your life. The celebrating is wonderful and takes you to new heights but you have to come down and manage the rest of your life and the everyday with the real drama taking place. Good luck with your successes in writing and your personal journey behind the scenes.
    This is encouraging to me and other writers.

  33. Thank you for this post Michelle. Whether our barriers to writing our major or minor, they are always cropping up, and they do you make me feel sorry for myself sometimes. I am happy to know we are all in the same boat, and all rolling with the punches.

  34. Michelle, you are so right that the world rarely sees the whole of our lives, nor should it. Comparing our failures and struggles to everyone else’s successes is just self-torture. Everyone goes through difficult times, and something that one person can shrug off could totally throw another. We shouldn’t judge others or ourselves if we have trouble coping. We all have different degrees of resilience, and beating oneself up doesn’t help the creative process. Thanks for reminding us that there are real people behind the public faces, and congratulations your beautiful publication!

  35. Thank you for such a personal post. It is an important reminder for all of us, and not just about writers. Best wishes to you and your family.

  36. Thank you for such an honest post. Sending hugs your way. Congratulations on your successful book and launch!

  37. Thank you for your thoughtful post, Michelle. It’s so tough to keep on a cheerful public face when life behind the scenes is delivering a haymaker. I hope all of your crises are short
    lived soon resolved.

  38. Thank you for sharing this, Michelle. It’s a good reminder to treat everyone with kindness because you never know what they may be going through.

  39. Thanks for sharing that real life goes on outside of the excitement and rewards of being published. Your book sounds wonderful. Can’t wait to read it. Best wishes to you and may you find strength in the loving support of family and friends sharing life’s ups and downs.

  40. michelle,
    Thanks for reminding us that suffering and being present with the universe of feelings that accompany it are a genuine part of life. I too share your desire for privacy. I will send you positive energy that your loved ones recover and that you can be at peace with what happens to those who cannot.

    Congratulations on your book birthday.

  41. Thank you so much for being willing to share this. In the last year, I’ve experienced a lot of the “self-care” side of writing, but it’s important to be reminded that sometimes writing is the thing you need a break from.

    And I hope that things get better –whatever that might mean– for you soon.

  42. Thank you for sharing your struggles. It’s comforting to know we are not alone in this journey throughout the ups and downs.

  43. I sometimes refer to “Christmas-card life.” It’s the life many of us present in our Christmas cards where we highlight all that went well during the year but leave out all that didn’t go so well. With the advent of social media, it seems as though we hear about people’s Christmas-card lives all year long now. It can have the effect you mention, Michelle, of making us think that we are the only ones struggling. Thank you so much for reminding us that everyone is dealing with issues.

  44. Thank you so much for sharing this with your 12 x 12 friends. Your wisdom and experience help us all during our writing journey.

  45. Thank you for your honest and heartfelt post Michelle. So true that people’s lives depicted on social media can seem so perfect but the hard truth is that life is not perfect and we all deal with difficult situations at one time or another. Great advice to cut ourselves some slack. Hoping all turns out well for you and your family.

  46. Thank you for “Flying Deep” into real life and for your honesty. Congratulations on your beautiful new book and the admirable way you have brought it into the world.

  47. Thanks Michelle for sharing your story with us. It is a great reality check to listen to what’s going on in our own lives and learn to take care of ourselves first. All the best with your new book!

  48. Michelle,
    Thanks so much for this post. I’m very private on Facebook too and sometimes it makes me feel uninteresting. But I don’t want to go into personal stuff in a public way. I appreciate you addressing what many of us feel.
    Best of luck with your book. I’m am so anxious to get my hands on it! It sounds amazing 🙂

  49. Michelle, bravo for your honest post that we all have imperfect lives with highs and lows despite what others may think. And your advice to take time to do what nurtures you was spot on. Thanks for your very persona, encouraging words and hope your newest book really takes off…in a good way.

  50. Hey Michelle,

    Best of luck for your new book! It does look super exciting. Many congratulations 😛
    Also I loved tha fact that you were honest about life. It never really is black or white though Facebook paints unachievable ideals. Sending you positive thoughts in order to stay strong, sailing through hardship to better tomorrows.
    Take care,

  51. Thank you, Michelle, for a lovely post. I think sometimes people forget each of us has a private life that we may not want to share with everyone. Whatever we choose to do, it’s okay because that’s what keeps our lives balanced. Congrats on your book! I have it, and I love it!

  52. Michelle,

    Your post was so touching and real. I will pray for the storms in your life to calm, and I personally can’t wait to read this exciting book. I know my two boys will love it! Thank you.

  53. What a beautiful, thoughtful and meaningful post. This is great. Thank you so much for your honesty.

  54. Thank you for sharing this with us, Michelle. I appreciate the “permission” for each of us to cut ourselves some slack when needed- guilt-free, Nice to see you at NESCBWI conference. Enjoyed your classes.

  55. Michelle, I’m so grateful you shared your personal story. I am sorry you are dealing with a difficult situation right now. Every one of us has personal challenges, and no one’s life is perfect. Congratulations on your wonderful book. Your writing will be ready for your return, when you are ready.

  56. Wishing you congratulations as well as patience and self care. Thanks for the insight and candor.

  57. I appreciate your honesty and heartfelt post, Michelle. It is relatable. I’m sending warm thoughts your way. Your book is on my TBR list and I can’t wait to get my hands on it! Nice to meet you at the NESCBWI conference.

  58. Wow. I SO needed to hear this right now. I’ve been having a rough time myself and haven’t been able to be as creative as I want to be (write, draw, etc.) and I’ve been beating myself up for missing deadlines. I need to take a step back and that’s okay. Thank you for sharing.

  59. I love the observation you made with these two lines – “At that time, writing was self-care for me. Right now, however, self-care means giving myself a break from writing.” It’s important to recognize which time is which.

  60. Michelle, like a coin, people have two sides: their private life and public life. I opened a large part of my private life (only the positive sutff) to the public when I was on Facebook and Twitter, but now I have sequestered it more by deleting both of those accounts. I empathize with your post and applaud you for sharing it with us. And I took a sabbatical from writing for over two months to concentrate on private stuff and my health, I am now back to writing which is more fulfilling since I deleted those two social media accounts.

    I am looking forward to reading your new book! Good luck with everything and know we have your back.

  61. Thank you, Michelle, for being brave.
    I’m personally having my own struggle and have seldom been visible online for some time now, and I’m getting closer to giving up the impossible dream.
    I’m glad for you and wish you much success with Flying Deep – which I`m looking forward to reading.

  62. Thank you SO much Michelle. It seems lately I’m only doing self-care. FINALLY I began capturing all those story thoughts on whatever was at hand, since my usual “organized” way seem to have gone on vacation. Sending you some good vibes. I FULLY understand.

  63. Great reminder that you should never wish for the life of others as you do not know what lies behind the scenes.

  64. Hi Michele,
    I am excited to read Flying Deep and thank you for your honesty. I am also not a huge sharer on social media in terms of personal stuff but I do appreciate understanding other people’s writing journeys. I hope to meet you one day and have my book signed.

  65. I am so excited for Flying Deep! You are an inspiration, Michelle! My son just spied this post and his eyes popped out of his head…. 🙂

  66. Thank you so much for writing this, Michelle. I have also experienced times when life has been very stressful and writing daily was what kept me sane. On the flip side, I’ve experienced trauma that left me unable to put words together for days and months at a time. It’s good to know I’m not the only one. I hope your situation resolves itself in the best way possible and congratulations on your new book. Looking forward to reading it.

  67. Thanks for this honest post, Michelle. It’s an important reminder about dealing with all the dualities along this journey. I love Flying Deep! Wishing you all the best with the book and in life. #Epic18

  68. I truly appreciate the honesty of this post, Michelle. You’re right – people tend to carefully curate what they share publicly, so it’s easy to feel that we’re not doing it right if our lives don’t compare. But there’s always another side. I’m very happy for your success with Flying Deep and I also hope the stresses in your personal life ease up soon.

  69. For those of use who care so deeply about the craft of writing, and about our own journeys to publication, these reminders of the importance of “time out” and self-care are treasures. On those days when something has to give, and we beat ourselves up for “not doing enough,” with our writing, we can find solace in the truth that sometimes, it’s okay to let things slide a bit. We can always pick back up when we’re ready. And how lovely to think of the universality of this truth: life gets messy, and we’re all just doing the best we can!

  70. Your words read like what I’ve been writing in my mental diary. Life is a complex-layered joyful, sorrowful beautiful mess. <3 for you sharing.

  71. Thank you for the reminder. I felt guilty because I didn’t get my May draft done. I know I can make it up later, but I’m also reminded that there’s a balance between work and self care by your post. Congratulations on the book launch and the balanced view of life.

  72. I’ve just read this post today and it is so spooky that sometimes you get just what you need! I have not written anything in nearly two weeks following a family bereavement and had started to feel a little guilty about it. Your post has been a soothing balm, and confirmed what I already knew in my heart (and what we all should remember) is that it’s okay to take time out and be with family and do what you need to do at various times. And when I come back to my stories, I know I’ll have a fresh perspective from that time where they’ve been quietly waiting in the back of mind. Thank you Michelle and I wish you the best of luck with Flying Deep.

  73. Michelle, thank you for your words on honesty and self-care. We should not be concerned with stepping out of writing once in a while to deal with our personal lives. I feel we become better writers when we return.

  74. Thanks for sharing such an honest story Michelle. It’s good to know when to take time for yourself and then take time to write. I look forward to reading Flying Deep. Plus I love that a shrunken cup went to the deep sea outside Alvin and traveled back again! It is a story in itself. The research story is also inspires me. Getting to sit in Alvin and talk to the pilots encourages writer’s to find their own great stories to write about.
    Take Care!

  75. Michelle, you’ve inspired me once again! I feel like I know you from our brief long-distance phone chat about the styrofoam cup I won as a result of pre-ordering “Flying Deep.” I love my cup, I love my signed book, and I love your real-life inspirations. Keep flying deep and you’ll find the bioluminescence amid the darkness, I’m sure.

  76. Thank you for reminding us of the importance of self-care. We will all encounter difficulties in life and in this business. We need to remember to be gentle with ourselves and others. Blessings to you on your journey.

  77. Michelle, Thank you for sharing. This is real life. Writing picture books is the only way I can balance it all out. All the best to you!!

  78. Your book looks like it will answer a lot of questions.
    It’s important to be present when needed and to give oneself time to cope. Best wishes, Michelle.

  79. Hi Michelle,

    Thank you for being so open and so honest. I can definitely relate. I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts and sending you hugs for all the dramas and traumas that take place behind the scenes. Thank you for your lovely work and I hope this time off helps you to feel rested and replenished when you are wanting to write your next beautiful book. It was lovely meeting you at NESCBWI in April. Thank you for this post and reminding us how crucial self care is and that it’s okay, and necessary to do.


  80. Thank you so much, Michelle, for your words. They come at a time for me when I really needed to hear them. 2018 started off well, but in the spring I started hitting set-backs and in these past three months, I’ve grown positively despairing that I have not been able to think one creative thought or keep up with my fellow 12x12ers in the monthly quest to write something new as well as revise. But you emphasize self-care – so that’s what I’m going to do. And let this be the fallow time that I apparently need. Thank for you for the reminder.

  81. Thanks, Michelle, for your frank post about how life intrudes. And man, it does. But thanks for being honest and allowing the rest of us to know we aren’t alone in that.

  82. Thank you so much for this honest (and freeing) article. I have sons with special needs and some days I don’t have any time or energy left to get my BIC. I know it’s a season and things change, but for me your article is a breath of fresh air.
    Thank you.

  83. Michelle, sending you virtual hugs through the computer! Give yourself the time and space your heart, body, and mind deserve and need. Remember, they always tell you to put YOUR oxygen mask on first!
    Keep spreading your magic…..when you are ready!
    Prayers for your personal situation.

  84. Michelle,

    Thank you so much for your honest and real post. All the more admiration for you as you juggle your writing with real life events. Sending all the positive thoughts your way. Looking forward to hearing more from you.


    ~ Mary

  85. Thank you so much for sharing this Michelle. I can most definitely relate. My family owns and operates a retail store. Despite what is going on for us personally, the store is still open, people are still shopping, product is still arriving.
    Recently I broke my elbow at our second busiest time of year. I manage the social media, and am also a buyer, all of which is accomplished through typing and now I was down to one hand. This was a major wake up call that although I generally operate in HUSTLEHUSTLEHUSTLE mode, I would simply have to slow some things down. I quite literally could not move at the speed I was used to. Shortly after that my father in law passed away suddenly while on vacation. And then our store flooded during a flash storm. It felt like life was just piling and piling things on. Someone commented to us on Facebook “If God doesn’t give you more than you can handle he must have a very high opinion of you!” The only writing I could manage at this time was a portion for the Eulogy.
    All of this is to say, I empathize with you. It is a great and extraordinary challenge to continue with “business as usual” while personally dealing with a matter in private. And self care is of the utmost importance at these times, particularly when you are having to put on a brave or happy public face–it can be very draining.
    Hoping your situation is coming to resolution, and that you are able to get back to writing when you are ready. Thank you for the post.

  86. Thanks for the reminder to Take A Breather, Michelle, and to focus on self-care. Loved your PB. Thanks for the signing my pre-ordered copy. Wishing you all the best!

  87. Dear Friends,
    Thank you for all of your messages. I read every single one and cherish your words. I started to reply to everyone directly, but the system was being wonky. I spent about 10 minutes trying to get it to post correctly, but I think my technology was reaffirming what I already knew in my heart but was ignoring… I don’t need to respond to every singe message directly.

    So, instead I’ll say thank you to everyone in this one comment. Thank you for your kindness, compliments, and words of support. This is why I keep signing up for 12×12- for the amazing community that Julie has built. (Because… I know you won’t be shocked to hear this… I have never written 12 drafts in a year, nor do I really intend to).

  88. Thank you for all you do on the book club. Even in blizzards etc. I still remember your school visit webinar from a year or two ago. K

  89. Thanks for the great advice. Best wishes to you, and I can’t wait to read your book. It looks so cool!

  90. Thanks for your honesty! No one has a perfect life, but it’s easy to imagine people do when we only see the highlight reel on social media. Your book looks fascinating!

  91. Michelle, your book was perfect bedtime reading for my kids after a submarine ride during our summer vacation. Thank you for taking the time to write this post despite the hard times you’re going through. Wishing you the best. I hope things resolve for the better soon.

  92. Michelle,
    Thanks for the meaningful, wise words. This writerly life is new to me after a long, rewarding career where I went after and achieved a great deal. It’s difficult to put my all into manuscripts to receive less than desired outcomes. Having said that though, I know that patience is a virtue and that perfection is rare. I appreciated reading that perfection is sometimes an illusion. ✍️

  93. Thank you for the message from the heart. It hit home for me. Congratulations on your accomplishments and prayers of strength for your struggles.

  94. Balance is key, that’s for sure! Sending you lots of positive energy and a hallelujah for all the wonderful things accomplished!

  95. Thanks for your honesty and vulnerability. It’s always good to be reminded that we’re all human and don’t have to be ashamed when our lives aren’t perfect. It’s also a good reminder of the need to take care of ourselves.

  96. Like you, I find it hard to share on social media, especially when life is throwing you lemons. Your book sounds intriguing. I’ve always been fascinated about the deep blue sea. Thank you for sharing, Michelle. Wishing you the best!

  97. Hi Michelle.

    Thank you for your inspiring notes! And what an interesting way to promote your book. I don’t usually lean toward non-fiction, but this month, I’m definitely re-thinking this!

  98. Thank you Michelle for reminding us that behind everyone’s smile there is a story to tell, sometimes happy sometimes sad. Keep writing and smiling!

  99. Thank you Michelle! I really needed to hear this! I too have been struggling in my personal life and trying to write in that time was making me more stressed – so I decided to take a break and sit back with a good book (or two) for now.

  100. In recovery rooms for co-dependents, they have a saying, “Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides.” Thank you so much for being willing to share your journey.

  101. Thank you, Michelle, for this post. For all of us in the trenches, reality checks are as inspiring as any other kind of post, and probably among the most helpful.

  102. Michelle – I’m not big on sharing my personal life online either. But thank you for sharing that. We can all relate. I wish you the best with the book launch and all the things going on in your personal life.

  103. Wow, wow , wow. That is such a heartfelt post. Thank you so much for writing that. I really needed to hear that as I can so relate to your situation. You have touched my heart with your honesty. Thank you again.

  104. Michelle,
    That must have been difficult for you to write. It was truly from the heart. Your advice is well taken. There are times when writing has to take a backseat. Life goes on.

  105. Thanks for sharing, Michelle. We all need to take time to care for ourselves, and this made me feel better about my relative inactivity after the loss of someone close to me. Congratulations on your successes, and all the best in all your future endeavours!

  106. That you Michelle for gentle reminder to “cut yourself some slack. Take care of yourself.” Usually the last on the list for attention. Hope everything gets better for you. Love this book & good luck on the next.

  107. Thank you for reminding us to not judge a book by its seemly perfect cover. And congratulations on the book launch!!

  108. Michelle, thank you for this post. It was perfectly timed for me. I just got my June story written at the last minute, because life has been throwing challenges at me from all directions. It’s nice to know life gives us all ups and downs. Through that we grow. Can’t wait to read your book.

  109. Thanks for this honest and open post, Michelle. It’s always good to be reminded that we are all just human, and we’re all struggling with something in the background. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on Flying Deep! Congratulations on it.

  110. I love that you say you never wrote 12 drafts in a year…I did each year I’ve been a member of 12×12…but this year that didn’t happen. And I am good with that. It’s possible I might surprise myself and write several in a month as the year goes on, but I doubt it. But I feel happy in the knowledge of what I have accomplished. You are a shining light of determination, Michelle…and I’m so glad I got to know you a bit at WOW. I remember I was totally blown away with your research for Flying Deep and you inspired me to be a better researcher for my nonfiction stories.

  111. Thank you for your transparency. Your reflections are a powerful reminder that life has many angles and aspects. Thank you for sharing about your perseverance despite obstacles, as we all have them. You are an encouragement!

  112. Thanks Michelle for being so candid. I’m very private person also, and sometimes I feel I should be more open about both the good and the bad, but it’s just not who I am.
    Congratulations on your book, I can’t wait to read it!

  113. Hi Michelle for being so candid. I’m very private person also, and sometimes I feel I should be more open about both the good and the bad, but it’s just not who I am.
    Congratulations on your book, I can’t wait to read it!

  114. Thanks for sharing these heart-felt thoughts, Michelle. There’s a lot of this life
    throwing us curve balls going around lately and it’s important to recognize and honor those personal needs and nurturing. Best wishes.

  115. Thank you Michelle I really appreciate your reminder that the public face is not all what it eludes . Congratulations on your decade journey with a lovely outcome. Best wishes to you and your loved ones in the ebb and flow of the juggles and may they ease off.

  116. Great post, Michelle! I love the BIC reference. So often it’s BIB (Butt in Bed) for me! ha. The only time I have to write is after I get my 3 kids to bed at night. Sometimes, though, the best way to care for creativity is just to get some old fashioned sleep! ; )

  117. Thanks for the reminder that the grass next door isn’t always greener, even if it looks that way. Thanks for sharing!

  118. Thanks, Michelle, for your excellent reality-check. I smiled at one of the comments above about our “Christmas Card” lives as opposed to our actual lives. So true!

  119. Hi Michelle,
    hang in there. Life has a way of turning around and brightening when you least expect it.

  120. Congrats, Michelle on your book! It looks fabulous. (As a kid, submersibles and deep-sea diving were subjects that enchanted me, and they still do today!) Thank you, also, for your candor and straight-talk. Being honest about our imperfect realities in these days of so many Instagram-perfect “virtualities” is precious and absolutely necessary. I wish you & yours success, health, and happiness.

  121. Michelle,

    Thank you for reminding us that life happens to us all, and I hope that life hands you more sunshine than thunderstorms in the future. Thank you for participating in 12×12.


  122. Thank you for sharing such personal feelings. I wish you and your family the best. I received your book from Eight Cousin on the day of its release. It is wonderful and I am so happy to have it in my collection.

  123. Looking foreward to reading your book- it looks great! Thank you for sharing the aspects in life tha many emerging authors do not think about- difficult issues in life continue.

  124. I love this post and wish there was a way I could star it 100 times. I am totally guilty of forgetting everyone is dealing with their own stuff behind the scenes. Thanks for the reminder.

  125. Goodness, you have a lot on your plate!
    I’m glad you’ve set part of it aside-it can wait.

    Many congratulations on all your accomplishments and thoughts for all you are going through in your life.


  126. Michelle,
    Thank you for reminding me that I’m not the only one who doesn’t share all the difficult “life” stuff on social platforms. I too, keep that private. But I’m so happy for you and your book launch! What a great topic to research and write about AND get published with!

  127. Hi Michelle,

    I love nonfiction and the cool title of your book! I hope whoever had surgery has an uncomplicated, speedy recovery. But, even if it is the exact opposite, depending on the surgery, it could just mean they need more time to heal – maybe even as long as a year. Either way, they will get around a little easier everyday with all the loving support.

    I am sure there will be (or already have been) tough days with this person as surgery can be really hard to come back from. Just be there in the way you know best, and I am guessing this person will never forget that.

    Thank you for your candor and making the time to share it. I think it’s always important that we know we’re not alone.

    With kind regards,

  128. I really appreciate your post–especially today. I share your reticence for posting personal information. Thank you for sharing a truth that seems to evade all of social media (for the most part). Congratulations on your exciting journey and all of your success! Best wishes to your loved one for a speedy recovery.

  129. Hi Michelle,
    Thank you for sharing your personal life too. I am also going through some rough spots in trying to get something published so I really appreciate reading your struggles too. Thank you

  130. The honesty of your post was extremely uplifting. Taking care of those we love and finding the balance in one’s life are definite priorities we all must make. Thank you for openly voicing that taking the time one needs to achieve this balance is necessary and quite admirable.

    I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Your book looks fabulous and I look forward to more from you. But for now,I wish you time and space to BREATHE.

  131. This is such a generous reminder. I hope your situation works out as well as it can. And I just want to say that is an awesome giveaway!

  132. Michelle,
    Always enjoy your comments in the craft book group- your humanity comes through every time. Thanks for sharing your current situation- life seems to have two sides to it, often juxtaposed with each other. Sometimes giving ourselves a break is the best thing we could do- we all need time to breathe, especially through the difficult moments. Looking forward to reading Flying Deep!

  133. I read and re-read your post this month. I appreciate your honesty, vulnerability and insight. It is so refreshing! Blessings to you, your family and your writing.

  134. Thank you for sharing your journey Michelle. I love my signed copy of Flying Deep. Best wishes to you!

  135. Hugs, Michelle. I had a really similar experience with my first book launch. When my book launched, I was in the hospice ward at my step-moms bedside holding my dad together while we waited for her to pass. All my plans for book launch got thrown to the side and no writing happened for quite a while. But the writing did come back eventually and that book ended up being one of the most successful in the history my that small publishing press. Whatever you have going on, I’m sending you all the good mojo I have.

  136. Many of these blog posts seem to magically arrive with a message that I need, just as I need it. And perhaps that’s because they are universal messages, even when they seem so specific. Thank you for the reminder about the importance of allowing yourself not to write when LIFE is happening. It’s so easy to give up and feel like a failure when you have to stop a habit or routine you had established. I need to keep reminding myself that a pause is just that—a chance to pause for something that I must focus on for my health or someone else’s. And I can, and should, go right back to writing and editing. Thank you for opening up and sharing this reminder!

  137. Thank you Michelle for being so open and honest. Although it can feel like you are losing ground, I love the idea of being okay with taking a breather. You never know where and when inspiration will strike next! I wish you much luck with your personal situation and also with Flying Deep!

  138. Powerful, helpful words, Michelle. Much needed right now, as I prepare to report that I did not get a draft done in June. I did do a revision, barely. At this moment my brain, body and soul are yearning for some ‘take-care-of-myself time’. Blessings to all of you…I know each of us is dealing with personal, difficult ‘stuff’, because we are humans, and this is called life.

  139. The beginning of June seems like so long ago, now. I missed this one because I was out of town. And now I’m glad to have the reminder to go back and find out just what I was missing. Thank you for keeping it real, Michelle. I’m sorry to hear that life is challenging right now. I hope things start going a little more smoothly for you down the road. I LOVE your book. It’s found a permanent home on my shelf. And my niece and nephew’s shelves, I might add. You’re doing a fantastic job of holding the center together. And that counts for a lot. Best wishes.

  140. This is one of the best posts I have seen. Thank you for taking the time to share a very real experience and thoughts about your journey,

  141. Thank you for sharing with us.

    Life hits us all. Taking care of yourself requires just as much courage as anything else. All my best you, personally and professionally.

  142. Thank-you for sharing. With today’s social media, it is difficult to be both a private and public person. As writers, I think our imperfect life shows in our stories. Perhaps that’s all the readers really need to know.

  143. Thank you for reminding us about the balancing act of life, self and family, and writing. Writing is such a solitary pursuit, and it makes a huge difference when people reach out and share their range of experiences. So hooray! for Flying Deep, and hugs for the challenges.

  144. Such an important reminder. Sending positive thoughts and prayers your way for the trials you’re enduring. Thank you for being open with us and sharing this post.

  145. Thank you for sharing and keeping it real! I loved the book and tweeted about it. Loved the structure and adventure of the story. Nicole’s artwork is amazing. The way she did the undersea lighting added to your undersea ALVIN mission. Wishing you the best, both behind and in front of the curtain! It’s a tough balance and your honesty is appreciated.

  146. Thank you so much for your honesty and for being willing to share the ups and the downs. Also, thanks for the reminder that sometimes it’s okay to take a break for self care. And I must say, that as an ocean enthusiast I’m looking forward to reading Flying Deep. Best wishes to you Michelle!

  147. Thanks for keeping it real Michelle. Congratulations!! What a fantastic idea for a book!! Can’t wait to read it.

  148. Thank you again to all of you who took the time to comment and leave kind words. I really want to reply to each of you personally, but I’m trying to take my own darn advice and let go of things I don’t “have” to do right now. I read every single post and they mean so much to me. Thank you everyone.

    And thank you Julie for creating such an amazing community.

  149. Thank you for this heartfelt post about real life, real celebrations, and real challenges. I appreciate your candor and the reminder that it is okay and critical to take care of ourselves, even it means stepping away from the writing for a moment. I send you congratulations and strength through this roller coaster of a time.

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