Book Giveaway from Author Danika Dinsmore

I have a special treat today. One of the first blogging buddies I ever made is here today to talk about living a purpose-driven life.

author danika dinsmore writerDanika Dinsmore writes middle-grade fiction. She is published by Hydra House (based in Seattle, Washington). Faerie Tales from the White Forest is her first novel series. The third book in the series, Ondelle of Grioth, will be officially released tomorrow.

Danika is giving away a copy of her new book to one random commenter! See details at the end of this post. Sorry – giveaway is over.


Living a Purpose-Driven Life

I bet many people idealize the “writer’s life” (happily working from home on the next novel while royalties pour into our bank accounts). I know I used to. That was before I was faced with scheduling the open days ahead of me with writing, marketing books, marketing myself, cold-contacting schools & libraries, blogtwitfacebooking, and sending proposals to conferences. With so much in front of me, and not a clue how to organize it all, I often got over-whelmed and even depressed. Especially on unproductive days.

If only I could get my priorities straight, right?

But I had trouble discerning through the daze of “to do” what exactly my priorities should be, especially when it came to social media. I thought maybe if I only had more discipline I would be able to prioritize action items more effectively. I was the QUEEN of To Do Lists, but every action swam in front of me with no clear purpose attached.

I eventually realized that I can’t get my priorities straight if I don’t have my purpose straight first. How can I even make priorities without purpose? I learned that getting my purpose straight practically wrote my priorities for me, and that it was perfectly fine to drop actions that didn’t serve this purpose.

For instance, I began to rethink how I use social media. I took a step back and looked at what my purpose is around social media. If my purpose is to build an audience, then I need to think of actions to build that audience. Should I hang out in online forums? Many forums are great places to exchange information, but not really audience builders. Perhaps I should limit how much time I spend in them.

If my time is really limited, it would serve me better to simply find the one thing I can do that best serves this purpose and focus my energy on that one thing rather than using a scattershot approach and doing several things half-assed.

On a grander scale, I can create purpose for my entire life. My purpose on that scale might be: to be joyful in my creative endeavors or to share my creative expression with others. If that’s the case, perhaps I decide to spend less time on social media in general and more time expressing myself creatively, since that brings more joy into my life. Or, simply become more creative in my expression thru social media.

It doesn’t matter if my purpose is to “sell books” or “have fun.” It’s MY purpose. It’s just that my actions will look different accordingly, and I can prioritize by asking myself if that action serves my purpose. When I started acting from this place of purpose, many items on my “to do” list simply disappeared. I didn’t feel the necessity to do EVERYTHING any longer.

Whenever I go to a conference now, for instance, I create a purpose around it. I might decide my purpose for a particular conference is to have fun. I might decide it’s to have meaningful dialogue. I might decide it’s simply to sit back, listen, and learn. If I decide my purpose is to have fun, I don’t worry about book sales. If my purpose is to have meaningful dialogue, then my priority would be to find new and interesting people and my action would be to strike up a conversation with them. (I’ve done this before and set a goal of having 3 meaningful conversations per day. At the end of the day, it’s usually 2 or 3 times that, but I want to set myself up for a win.)

In the book The One Thing Gary Keller states, “The most productive people start with purpose and use it like a compass. They allow purpose to be the guiding force in determining the priority that drives their actions . . . The prescription for extraordinary results is knowing what matters to you and taking daily doses of actions in alignment with it.”

“Purpose provides the ultimate glue that can help you stick to the path you’ve set.” ~Gary Keller, The One Thing

Note that doing something because you think it will make you happy is different than doing something because it serves your purpose. Ironically, if you do the things that serve your purpose, it will help you find happiness.

(This article was based on a blog post that included a writing exercise about a character’s purpose. If you’d like to try the exercise, you can find it HERE.)

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Danika Dinsmore is an author, performance artist, and educator with an MFA in Writing and Poetics, an advanced certificate author writer danika dinsmorein screenwriting, and a diverse creative background. Over the past 20 years she has developed content for the page, stage, screen, and web. She currently works in speculative fiction, with an emphasis on juvenile and young adult literature, and teaches world-building and creative writing at schools, conferences, and festivals across North America.

Find her on her new website or on twitter @danika_dinsmore


Danika is giving away one free copy of her new book, Ondelle of Grioth, to a random commenter. Giveaway is effective until Friday, April 18, 2014 at which time a winner will be selected. (Details: a print copy to anyone in North America and an ebook copy to anyone else worldwide. AND, if the winner has not read books One and Two and would like to read those first, she can send free ebook copies of those as well.) Sweet deal!



30 thoughts on “Book Giveaway from Author Danika Dinsmore

  1. Your advice is simple, yet profound. It can apply to every area of our lives, actually.
    Congratulations on your newest book, Danika!
    Thanks for highlighting one of your author friends, Kate! 😉


  2. There are so many ways of marketing one’s book now that it can indeed be overwhelming. This is great advice. Important to examine everything we’re doing and decide if we’re using the outlet for its intended purpose or not. If not, it may be time to step back and spend our time on something else.


  3. I love the idea that having that purpose gets rid of a list of things that must be done. We would all be much less stressed if we focussed on just a few key things that we felt gave our life purpose.


  4. Thank you for this – it’s so easy to get overwhelmed with everything that goes along with writing, that it’s easy to forget our true purpose is to write.


    • So true. I place much more emphasis on my writing now, as that’s what ultimately serves my purpose and brings me joy. First thing in the morning, too, while I have a brain and energy to do it. I love approaching the day having written.


  5. Danika, I’ve been struggling with this for a long time. And just this morning, I was trying to decide what to do first. There are many things on my plate. Your post helped clarify what I could not see for myself. Thank you!


  6. This is such a timely post for me because, like Jilanne above, I’ve been struggling with my writing and setting priorities for some time. So much so, that I’ve lost my sense of fun and enjoyment when writing. Good for you for figuring out the right course for you!


    • Yeah, we don’t want to lose the fun around the thing we profess to love to do the most. The book (The One Thing) really is terrific. I have no affiliation with it. It’s just very simple and clear in a smack the forehead kind of way. 🙂


  7. I think we have to go back to the beginning if the ‘writer’s life’ becomes overwhelming. ‘Purpose’ is a great word to use for this. If the purpose is to make money and become famous there will be a load of disappointed people out there. The purpose of writing for me is to express feelings that make their way to the surface. I write these down and if someone enjoys what I’ve written it’s simply the icing on the cake 😀


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  9. I think you’re way ahead of most people in your prioritization – especially folks who decide to do most/everything on their own. I like how you put purpose before “finding happiness”…but also clarify how dedicating action to a specific purpose can often lead to happiness. For artists, purpose and happiness often go together, but we can get lost in the paths toward success, or what we think success should entail, when all we might be looking for is that purpose to our fulfillment.

    Great post! And, good luck to my fellow commenters for the giveaway!


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  11. This is so where I am at right now. I keep being depressed because I can’t seem to work my way through all the things grabbing at my attention, and the more days I run in circles, the more depressing it becomes! Time to go back to the beginning. A belated thank you to you, Kate and Danika 🙂


    • Hi Alarna, feeling depressed is one of those emotions I wrestle with, too. I feel worse on days that I can’t write. I love this post because getting back to the basics is good for all things, not just writing, and it’s a refreshing step to take.


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