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Bestselling Author Ashley Farley’s Top Advice: Butt in Chair
Contributor
Written by
She Writes
October 2019
Contributor
Written by
She Writes
October 2019

This guest post was written by Ashley Farley bestselling author of Life on Loan and many other amazing titles. 

Ashley Farley is a writeaholic, exercise junkie, photography enthusiast. The author of the bestselling Sweeney Sisters Series, Ashley writes books about women for women. Her characters are mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives facing real-life issues. Her goal is to keep you turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning. If her story stays with you long after you've read the last word, then she's done her job.

 

Advice: Butt in Chair

Hands up if you’ve ever felt like running away from your life. I know I have. More times than I care to admit, actually. In fact, one of those times provided inspiration for my new release, Life on Loan, the story of two old friends who, after thirty years, discover it’s not too late to reset their lives. Women often feel trapped, desperate for escape. It’s easy for us to get stuck in a rut as we are constantly putting the needs of our family members—our children, our spouses, our aging parents—ahead of our own.

I’m blessed to have followed my passion into a mid-life writing career. My children are out of college now, but when they were young, as a stay-at-home mom with an oftentimes overbearing husband, I easily lost my way. My identity was an extension of them, instead of the other way around as it should be. I was the mom who organized events and planned parties. The appointed family member who scheduled doctors’ appointments, drove carpool, and rushed to school with forgotten homework. The cook. The chauffeur. The housekeeper. Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t change a thing about that time in my life. My children are healthy adults, earning their own living. And I like to believe I had an important role in making that happen. Goal accomplished. 

Along the way, however, through some tough life experiences, I learned many valuable lessons. My brother’s death, in my mid-thirties, taught me to never take a single day for granted. And I realized I needed something more in my life. Something that belonged only to me. That something turned out to be my writing.

I saw an old friend at a wedding recently. After congratulating me on my publishing success, she commented that she wished she could write. This particular friend is one of the most talented artists I know. In response, I said, “Butt in chair. That’s all it takes.” I’ve taught my children that hard work almost always pays off. (I throw in “almost” as a disclaimer for the rare times it doesn’t.) If you want something bad enough, you can make it happen.

Writing takes discipline. I strive every day to live my best life, and that effort is a large component of my success. The combination of healthy eating and daily exercise gives me energy and enables me to better focus. And I manage my time wisely. I rarely take a day off from writing. Because my characters are always in my head and won’t give me a moment’s peace, which I view as a good problem to have. I use the Notes app on my iPhone when ideas and thoughts come to me at inconvenient times. While I’m running errands or doing chores. I’ve written whole chapters in the middle of the night when I wake and can’t go back to sleep.

Emails from readers offering kind words regarding my work is the inspiration I need to keep writing. But I also stay motivated by attending writing conferences and webinars. As a hybrid-published author, I wear many different hats, graphic and web designer, writer, formatter, publicity agent. I love acquiring new skills. From YouTube videos, I’ve learned how to use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to create graphics for my website and Facebook page and Final Cut Pro for making book trailers. For my self-published titles, I format my interiors using a super simple software program called Vellum. These projects are more fun than work for me, a break from the monotony of writing.

Are you living your best life? Seize the moment! I’m not suggesting you abandon your professional and personal responsibilities and take off on a self-indulgent, soul-searching journey like my characters Lena and Olivia do in Life on Loan. There are other ways to get out of a rut. Rekindle a forgotten passion. Take up a new hobby. Make a new friend. Audit a class. Start an exercise program.

To find happiness in your life, believe in yourself, be kind to yourself, constantly remind yourself of your worthiness. It’s constant trial and error. But you’re on your journey, and if something isn’t working, try something new. Record only positive thoughts on your self-talk tape, and play it over and over in your mind. I can. I will. I’m worth it. And never, ever give up on you.

About the Book

Life on Loan

It’s a surprising second act for two women who decide to rewrite their lives in this enriching novel of friendship and starting over from the bestselling author of Only One Life.

After thirty years, college friends Lena Browder and Olivia Westcoat have met again by chance at an unexpected crossroads: an airport lounge in Atlanta. Lena is running away from home and her demanding family. Olivia is trying to find her way after a painful divorce. With their old selves in the rearview, they toast to a new beginning—and it starts with a spontaneous dare.

Agreeing to trade houses for a month of rediscovery, Lena will stay in Olivia’s Charleston condo. Olivia’s retreat? Lena’s isolated river cottage in the Northern Neck of Virginia. Two perfect getaways. Thirty-four days to reset.

With fresh new perspectives and the renewal of a heartening friendship, Lena and Olivia find their passions, reinvent themselves, and reclaim what they’ve lost. When unexpected romance blooms and careers take new detours, it’s also a time for courage and risk. Now they’ll have to make hard choices to follow through on their promise for a second chance and finally have the lives they dream of.

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