Monday, October 12, 2015

Guest Post: What You Think of Me is None of My Business by Karen Helene Walker

Today, I have the lovely Karen Helene Walker and she touches something all of us writers can relate to, read on to find out . . . take it away, Karen!

By Karen Helene Walker
Thank you, SK, for hosting me today.
Being a writer is not easy. Most of us are alone a good deal of the time with only our imaginations and stories and the characters swirling inside of our head to keep us company. I’m an introvert, so that suits me just fine. When I go out in the world, I have to shift from my inner world to dealing with other people’s thoughts and feelings and actions and behavior.
In the past, I’ve done that by people-pleasing. I was so desperate to be liked and to fit in that I subrogated my own feelings in order to please. I lived in fear that someone would get upset with me and stop being my friend.
You can imagine how that translates to a writer who puts her heart and soul into a book for six years and is now putting that book out into the world for others to read. What are they going to think? Will they like it? Will they hate it? Will they hate me for having written such a book? The thought of someone having bad thoughts about me made me so anxious it was almost intolerable. Until I read this sentence somewhere, I can’t remember where: What you think of me is none of my business.
The wise woman in me knows who she is and feels good about herself. She knows she was called to write this book and that she did the best she could with the story. So truly, if someone doesn’t like it, or doesn’t like me or makes some assumptions about me because of what I’ve written, there’s nothing I can do about it. Nor should I even try or even want to.
As writers, we are told to develop a thick skin, but that is easier said than done. We make our living with words, but words can harm us if we allow them to. Remember that saying from when we were kids: Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never harm me. I never realized how true that was because I lived my life allowing words to harm me. I’m hoping that with this book, that way of living my life ends.

Here’s the scoop on The Wishing Steps:
Three Women and a Single Story That Unites Them Across the Millennia
“Totally engrossing. A must-read for today’s wise woman!”Rev. Kathleen McKern Verigin, minister/priestess
Brighid, Ashleen and Megan: Bound through time by a curious light, a mysterious voice and a call they dare not ignore. Yet in obeying this strange force, the women must face soul-searing trials that call into question everything they know and believe — about themselves and about the world around them.
“Guaranteed to inspire you to a deeper level of spirituality and a new appreciation for Goddess.”Rev. Clara Z. Alexander

Karen Helene Walker is a widely published essayist and author of the 2009 memoir, Following the Whispers. When she isn’t writing, you will often find Karen performing in nursing homes and retirement communities as part of the Sugartime or Sophisticated Ladies musical groups, traveling with her husband of 20 years, Gary, or relaxing with a good book at their home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Visit the author’s website at
The Wishing Steps will be available for purchase on October 31st in both print and ebook versions at: You can also purchase it as an ebook on Kobo, I Tunes, and at Barnes and Noble.


  1. This post is exactly what I needed. I still care what others think and say. At this point, it influences my writing. But you are so right. What others think isn't my business. If I like myself, what others think doesn't matter. Thank you for reminding me, Karen. All the best with your fantastic book.

  2. Good point! We can't directly control what people think of us. We can influence it with our actions and words, but in the end, that person will think what that person wants to think.
    Just a few weeks to release date!

  3. Hi Karen - it is so easy to get self-absorbed into what's happening .. when in fact all is perfectly right and normal - life is as it should be. But sadly we can get drawn into the fear .. this will be an excellent book for us to read .. cheers Hilary

  4. I read those same words somewhere ages ago and kept them close to my heart ever since. Easier said than done but definitely worth the effort.

  5. Hi, SK, and everyone. I'm on Mountain time so just woke up. Thanks again for having me here today.
    Murees, I'm so glad these words helped you - You're much younger so this is a good thing to learn now.
    Alex, I know, I can't wait for release day!
    Hilary, yes, so true - and thanks - I hope so about the book!
    Madeline, absolutely easier said than done, but all we can do is become aware in the moment and shift our thinking.

  6. It is a very good point. We do our best as a writer to put something of ourselves out there. Past that it is up to others to receive it or not. Our job is done, on to the next thing.

  7. I think the Internet has made it even harder for people. So much of people's lives are blasted publicly now. Even reviews are visible to everyone at once. I think the biggest problem, though, is that the Internet has made it easy for anyone to be a critic. No training necessary. And when uninformed, average people review books, it falls under the header of "personal opinion" rather than "professional opinion." Unfortunately, there's no way to know the difference!

  8. Brandon, yes, we have no control over how we are perceived, received, etc.
    Stephanie, good point - I have had experience with "personal" reviews that attacked me personally and not my work. It's difficult. We just have to not allow it to get us down.

  9. I used to be like that too, a people pleaser who was scared of making others mad. Then it happened and I had no control over it, which was stressful, but I realized the world wouldn't end if someone was mad at me. I still get nervous about making people mad at me, but I can deal with it if it happens better.

  10. Isn't it cool how we can keep growing and learning as adults, Patricia. I still care, too, but like you, I'm dealing with it so much better.

  11. SK, thanks again for hosting me today - I am very very grateful.

  12. I love that line! I think women, in general, tend to be people pleasers. As a writer, I've learned a long time ago that I can't please everyone. I don't like everything I read. Take Hemingway v Steinbeck. I never have been able to get into Hemingway. I just don't like his style of writing. I'm a Steinbeck reader all the way. It's not logical to expect everyone to like what I write.... Now, if I could just get them to READ it, that would be great! :D


  13. Thanks, Bish - Yeah, getting folks to read...

  14. What a thought provoking and honest post. I can fully relate and am learning to change my thinking in much the same way. Although it is difficult at times. I have been very lucky to have been blessed with great mentors throughout my working career. My general life mentor has to be my mother who must be one of the wisest women on the planet. I adore her and have great admiration for her as a mother and a woman. I only wish I had her energy (big smile).

    Thank you for such a great post. I am really looking foward to reading The Wishing Steps.

  15. It's definitely hard to separate yourself from your book. I had concerns too--especially with as many tentative readers as are in my family. Some of them even dislike my writing. *gasp* But in the end, our works ring true with the intended audience, and that's who we're writing for.

  16. I can certainly relate to this post. Learning to let go of others perceived thoughts and expectations is something I struggle with too. That sentence is good one to try and remember, thank you for sharing with us.