Pushing Boulders

You know those days where you have so much to accomplish, such a long list, so many items to check off that you stare into space doing nothing? Of course you do. You’re human. Everyone falls asleep at the dinner table at least once. Right?


This is Jack in 1998 but it’s how I feel most of the time.

Lately I have found myself sitting at the kitchen counter in front of my laptop, frozen. At first I blamed Jack’s college applications. And Karly’s driving. The fact that I’m no longer working at my desk in the nook at the top of our stairs.


You know, the room of one’s own we’re supposed to carve out as writers? Sorry, Virginia Woolf.

I stopped using that spot when we adopted our puppy because I need to keep an eye on her and that is best accomplished downstairs on the kitchen-side of the baby gate. (Yes, we installed a baby gate for our puppy. I’m not having more children and the ones I’ve got have one foot out the door so I treat my dogs like kids. They sit in my lap and eat off my plate and kiss me on the lips. The dogs, I mean. Jack and Karly haven’t done that in years.)

julie and kids 001

Excuse me while I sniffle.

Okay. Where was I? Oh, right. Monumentally busy and also moving glacially.

But it is not the puppy’s fault. And it’s not my kids’ faults. Or the location of my laptop. I am frozen by the fact that after a lifetime of dreaming about being an author with a publishing contract, I am one and I have one.

Huzzah! Cue the sound of angels singing! I’m as grateful as any writer can be! But with this thrill comes a list of new and daunting tasks. (Not that I’m complaining!)

First, a revamp of the blog. The wonderful Aimee Horton at My Author Website turned this place into a real author website. Look around. Let me know what you think. When you get back, I’ll still be here. (See: Frozen.)

Oh, wait. I also created a Facebook page: Julie C. Gardner, Author. If you’d be so kind, you can like it here. (For the record I was fine letting everyone be my friend at Julie Christianson Gardner but people told me that was a bad idea. I bet they don’t think it’s smart to kiss my dogs on the lips, either. Huh.)

I also need to establish an author newsletter (any MailChimp experts who want to do that for me?) and actually get people to sign up. Plus there are my three other completed manuscripts I must address: a YA novel and a running memoir (both of which need work) and a women’s fiction project I love.

But revising is hard, yo. So I tell myself I should write something fresh instead. Like a sequel to my debut novel.

What’s that you say? I haven’t told you about the book yet?
All right, then. It’s called Letters for Scarlet and I cannot wait to share it with you.

Here is what the publishers at Velvet Morning Press said about my book in their announcement of upcoming releases:

Letters for Scarlet by Julie C. Gardner (Women’s Fiction)

Corie Harper is twenty-eight years old when she is first visited by a ghost—in the form of a graduation letter she forgot she wrote. Although she spent a decade burying that desperate girl and her regrets, each page resurrects the past, dragging Corie back to a time when all she craved was Scarlet Hinden’s friendship and Tuck Slater’s heart. But she couldn’t keep them both and keep her word. In her debut novel, Julie C. Gardner traces one friendship from deep roots to branches torn by broken promises and loss.

I can’t believe this book (my book!) will launch in April of 2016!

Did I already say Huzzah?

So I created a Facebook page and I took care of this author website, then I wrote a blog post telling you about it. Now I’ve got to figure out the newsletter and how to get people to sign up for it. Oh, and edit three manuscripts. Plus start a new book.

Also I’m keeping an eye on Scout. Remember Scout?


Of course you do.

It’s a lot. Maybe overwhelming. So I sit here on the kitchen-side of the baby gate doing nothing. (Well, I check the refrigerator often and also count how many minutes until lunchtime.)

I need courage. And a sandwich. Maybe a dog trainer.

Then I’ll begin again, taking small steps toward my goals. Newsletters and fanbase-building. Pages and websites and edits. I am the world’s happiest, luckiest Sisyphus.

You do know who Sisyphus is, right?

Of course you do. You’re human.

And we’re all pushing a boulder up that hill.


Last Modified on January 24, 2018
This entry was posted in Life
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55 thoughts on “Pushing Boulders

  1. I’m so stinking happy for you, Julie. Everything looks amazing over here.

    Question: are there people who DON’T run their publishing empire from the kitchen side of the dog gate?

    • Julie Gardner

      YOU ARE MY FIRST COMMENT! I love you so much right now.
      Thanks for all your support always. Forever.

      p.s. People who have publishing empires outside their kitchens baffle me. Like calculus.

  2. I. Can’t. Wait.

    • Julie Gardner

      At first I was like WHAT?!? APRIL?!? THAT’S SO FAR AWAY!

      And then I thought…April. Phew. Now I have some time to prepare for my total freakout.

      Thank you thank you thank you for making me feel normal about my total freakout.


  3. Diane

    Yes, I absolutely know who Sisyphus was and Camus would argue that Sisyphus found happiness in his fate. I know you will find happiness in yours. I don’t want to be one of those people who says, “I told you so,” and yet I remember telling you way back when, that your publishing a novel was a matter of “when and not if.” Julie, I couldn’t be more proud of you and am glad to be along for the journey! XXXOOO

    • Julie Gardner

      From the bottom of my heart (cliche, but true!) thank you for being there from the beginning and believing in me when I didn’t believe it myself.

  4. KTP

    Julie, you have no idea. I have been in a productivity slump for the last several days. It has nothing to do with my available time, because I actually have some these days. I have so much to do yet I find myself wasting time on Facebook looking at what everybody else is doing. It’s the age-old trap. I have indeed been continuing my daily practice like we talked about in writers group last month, at least. And when I think about my goals as a writer, I think about you and your “overnight success.” The fact that you debuted your author page and instantly had hundreds of likes, the way you don’t post on your blog for months and when you do you get dozens of comments right away. It is obvious to me that you care about and support the people in your writer community, and they support you as well. And I know I am so lucky to have you in the tight little circle of support that we have created for ourselves in our bubble. Some days knowing that we will meet again in less than a month is what keeps me motivated. I checked in on this space yesterday and it was blank! I’m so glad to see it up and running now. It looks wonderful. Congratulations.

    • Julie Gardner

      KTP, I’m not sure I ever told you this, but I was such a fangirl of yours before I was invited to join our writers’ group.
      I still am. I think you’re one of THE MOST TALENTED writers I’ve ever read and now I not only know you personally but I count you as a trusted friend.

      LUCKY ME! Can’t wait for our next meeting.
      Not even kidding.

  5. NannyK

    Love your new digs, Jules! And sleeping Jack and sitting Scout 🙂 I am so proud of you for ALL OF THESE accomplishments. How can I help you push these boulders, Sis…besides bringing you some wine?

    • Julie Gardner

      Wine will do, Pig. Wine will do.

  6. Courtney

    The beauty of you is the community of supporters who want to help you with that boulder – you are doing amazing things – and so many more to come. I’m here to offer a helping hand whenever you need it. You are so special❤️

    • Julie Gardner

      Court, I love love love you.
      That is all. (But it’s everything!)

  7. I am so freaking excited for you!!!
    I spent the last 24 hours working on MailChimp and now I never want to touch it again.

    • Julie Gardner


      Sorry. I got carried away. Also, I just want to be closer to you.

  8. Shana

    I don’t understand how one person’s writing can make me tear up EVERY single time I read it. It’s uncanny. Or maybe it’s just because I am more proud of you with every word you write. No clue how you can expect to be inspired on command; I should think long stretches of inspiration-drought is to be expected! Write if you can… Don’t if you can’t. The words will come. In the meantime, hugs those kids from me. Xoxo

    • Shana, I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you happened to be there when I got that contract offer. One of the most special moments in my life and I got to share it on a long hot walk with you. How lucky am I?

      The luckiest. Love you.
      So much!

  9. I bet there is a platter full of sandwiches when you get that boulder to the top. :-))

    • Julie Gardner

      That would be my idea of heaven. Sandwiches for breakfast lunch and dinner.
      Join me. I’ll also have mimosas 🙂

  10. I have no good words. Other than I’m really, really happy for you. I can’t wait to read your debut novel (I SAID “debut novel” – super thrill!). You’re a lovely person, writer, and boulder-pusher. You’ve always done the work and deserve every success and email newsletter subscriber. Every way to leads to up. All good things (if not words on my part). XOXO

  11. Also…scurrying to replace that ridic pic of me in the profile. Who am I? Deranged Julie C. Gardner fan? …Wait. Ok. The pic stays.

    • The pic stays and you are lovely in every way.

    • Commenting from my phone, I have a pic show up too. We can be each other’s deranged fans. Love you, Deb!

  12. It looks great! Fresh and clean and easy to navigate.

    I’m so inspired by your many projects because I have two books I want to write and they are totally different. You make me feel like I can do both!

    • Nina, Do it! I didn’t know when I began what I wanted to write so I did a YA, then a (supposedly, hopefully humorous$ memoir, the women’s fiction project I just signed. And another women’s fiction I hope will be next. Each one taught me something different – so maybe writing everything in the same genre would have gotten me “there” more quickly, I didn’t know where “there” was and I still don’t. So. You have the writing chops. You can do anything. I can’t wait to see what you pursue!

  13. I’m so happy for you and I cannot wait to read your book(s!!!)

    • Thank you, Alex! I have so much respect for you and your life choices, your thoughtfulness and generosity. Support from you means so much.

  14. YOU! You are so many shades of awesome … love this, and your words … and cannot wait to continue along this incredible journey with you. You are a very special piece of work … you appear to be progressing quite nicely xxxx

    • Julie Gardner

      Thank you so much, Nicole.
      Journey is the right word for what this is, right?
      Life. It’s a journey. So glad we’re in it together.

  15. Sorry if I’ve commented 4376 times, but I’m doing it from my phone and without my readers. At first I thought you wrote syphilis. So congrats on your std and your book and site and alltheawesomethings! I want to read it now!!!!

    • Commenting from your phone without readers says it all. Thank you for that effort (I KNOW! I just left a reply on Nina’s comment with a $ because I couldn’t see).

      But good news: you left just the one comment and that’s all I need. Thank you, my driven, inspirational friend. Hope you are healing swiftly.

  16. Yay for the new website! Love it. As far as Mailchimp goes – setting up an account is the easy part, but getting people to give you their email address is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Even harder than training our dog (and by the way, baby gates are totally legit. My dog goes to daycare once a week and when we first got him I asked my boss to go on doggy maternity leave and when he said no I quit my job and became a freelance writer. Obviously). That being said – I think people will love you without a huge email list just as much and buyallyourbooks, because you are a fantastic writer and generally awesome! xo

    • Nothing makes me happier than another dog owner who “gets is.” Thanks for the warning about MailChimp. I will be your sister in the trenches soon… We can drag each other along!

  17. Excuse me while I sniffle.
    I’m so proud of you but it was only a matter of time. Of course you were going to succeed and putting all your free time (staring off into space doesn’t fall into that category because you are actually colluding with the universe to create something when you’re doing that) into your writing was just affirming that. You are a very talented writer and it’s only s matter of time before multiple novels bear your name in the book store.

    • Julie Gardner

      Oh my goodness, I am going to say I’m “colluding with the universe” all the time now.
      Yes. That’s the perfect way to put it.

      Love you, Rina. Thanks for making me feel SO good about staring into space.

  18. I can’t wait to buy and read your books. And when the YA one comes out, it has a spot waiting for it in my classroom library ♡

    • Katie! That just made my day. I have long admired your commitment to your students’ reading and to think I could be a part of that means everything.

  19. So, so happy for you with all of this exciting news! I understand the frozen part as I’ve gone through a little of that myself lately. I’ve got a million things I want to do and it all feels very overwhelming. I’ve been trying to keep “How do I want to feel today” as the kick in the pants I need to get moving. I also am working on planning my week on Sundays, otherwise, another week flies by and I’ve accomplished nothing. It’s the worst feeling!

    Okay, off to like your FB page!! Woo hoo!!! (Love the new website, too!)

    • Julie Gardner

      “How do I want to fee today.” I love that, Hallie. What a great way to focus yourself each morning.
      Today I WANT to feel productive but I ACTUALLY have a head cold.

      Let’s see if I can make the first feeling happen anyway 😉

  20. Laurel

    We’ll talk newsletter offline this Wednesday.
    So proud of you!!!!

    • Julie Gardner

      YAY! Thank you. I seriously need help.
      There has been so much “new” for me lately, my brain just wants a little hand-holding with this one.

      You’re the best.
      Can’t wait until Wednesday!

  21. Jen

    I so enjoy reading your blog & am excited to see it on this new site. It is beautiful, as are your words, your heart, & your soul. I love you, my friend, & am honored to share this journey with you. If you ever need help pushing your boulders, I’m here for you.

    • Jen, I adore you and am grateful beyond words for our friendship. (Meant to be!) Thanks for taking the ride with me and holding my hand along the way.

  22. You! You are marvelous and an inspiration and I can’t wait to see this huge thing unfold before us! Oh, my friend, I read every word, my smile growing bigger and bigger with each one. Thank you for taking us all along on your journey and for just being you. And I know, puppies, they are SUCH a distraction. Keep up the good work. Push hard! You know you can, you’ve already pushed out some babies, so this? Piece of cake. I’m here on the sidelines, yelling like Oprah, “You go Girl!” as you push those boulders along. XXXOOO

    • Julie Gardner

      Thank you, sweet friend.
      I love love love seeing your updates on Facebook in the vineyards and the wineries up north.
      How I wish we could spend an afternoon catching up: on the kids who are growing up too quickly; on the writing (for better or worse); on life in general which remains, as always, beautiful.

      Bennet Lane? You? Me?
      Yes, please.

      Let’s make that happen sometime soon…

  23. Julie!!! Get out of my head. I could have written this myself. Well, not as well, obviously. (Oh how I love the turn of your pen. Or your keyboard.) And not the part about having time. (What the hell is that?) But the doing nothing, when I NEED to be doing so many somethings. Well, I’ve got that down.

    Can’t wait to hold your book in my hot little hands!


    • Julie Gardner

      And I can’t wait to buy yours and have your autograph across the front page!
      I’m thrilled to be your publishing sister, to be on this journey with you…just slightly behind.
      Thanks for paving the way, showing me how it’s done, and holding my hand.

      Love you, Char.

  24. So excited to read the book.

    And always happy to hear of the babies, be they of any age or species.

    For awhile, we had baby gates around the house to corral Benji . . . but, well, he’s a leaper. He saw them as little more than an “ouchie” if he forgot to jump over it and decided to just plow straight through.

    • Julie Gardner

      Babies of any age or species are what it’s all about.
      Writing is good but their love is better.
      The best!

      Thanks for your constant support, John.
      All these years, my go-to guy, always making me smile.

      You rock on.

  25. Hi sweetie pie. I loooooove your look. I had seen there was a blog post up so I came to check it out and discovered a whole new you! You have such a way with words – monumentally busy and moving glacially. Yup. That’s me. Can’t wait to read and shout from the rooftops about your book.

    • Julie Gardner

      Yes, me. Always with the glaciers.
      (And yet it’s so hot here!)

      I can’t tell you how much it means to me to have your support (and shouting from the rooftops!).
      There’s no one else whose opinion I respect more.
      You make me feel warm and fuzzy. True story.

  26. I am SO EXCITED FOR YOU!!! I’m all caps’ing and I don’t usually do that. 😉 Absolutely cannot wait to read your book- the storyline sounds amazing AND I know what an amazing storyteller you are!

    Mailchimp really isn’t that bad, I promise. If you get stuck, just ask. xo

    • Julie Gardner

      Thank you, Shell! I am THRILLED to have the support of someone to whom books mean so much.
      As for MailChimp, I’ll take your word for it. You haven’t steered me wrong yet!

  27. Believe it or not, you’ll get there. 🙂

    Just keep pushing. Little inches at a time gets the rock at the top too.

    • Thank you so much for the kind words and encouragement! It means so much. Truly.

  28. i cannot wait to read your books! Such big and exciting things up ahead for you.

    Also, I am totally feeling that asleep at the table picture.

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