Milestones that Provide a Valuable Opportunity to Look Back

So, funny story.

In January, Becca and I hit 10 years of blogging. TEN YEARS. That’s a lot of time, but also not a lot of time, because we all know time flows differently in the book business. It’s all hurry up…and wait. Repeat. Forever.

Writing, publishing, book selling…it is one crazy roller coaster ride. As much as we can sometimes hate parts of it, we also love it. Deeply.  (If not, we all would have gotten off by now, right?)

So much has changed in 10 years, including us being busy to the point where we didn’t even realize it had been 10 years. *facepalm*

That’s also something we all understand: the writing roller coaster isn’t just a maze of loops, drops, and cloud-touching peaks, it also forces a person to contort and twist constantly. Being a writer these days means thinking on the fly, mastering business skills, navigating deadlines, building a brand, and becoming a subject matter expert in many things. You need a live example of adaptability, persistence, and grit? Look at any writer who is steering their career.

Rewinding the Clock

Fact: when Becca & I started blogging at The Bookshelf Muse, we were clueless. Utterly. No idea what we were doing, no idea of where the roller coaster was leading. We just had a dream of publication.

That blog is only a landing page now because we moved everything to Writers Helping Writers. But, thanks to the Wayback Machine, I was able to find an archived version of that first welcome post.

We chose the name “Bookshelf Muse” because we liked the idea that maybe something we did could inspire writers and help them see they could succeed at this book thing we all love so much.

We started with a feature called “Thesaurus Thursday” to explore different emotions and the body language that went with them. We struggled with this and thought if others did too, it might bring some traffic our way. Our first post was “FEAR.”

(Note our “Esteemed Bookshelf Stalkers” list: 24. We were thrilled that 24 people read our blog!)

In 2012, we took a huge leap of faith and decided to turn the Emotion Thesaurus on our blog into a book. *whispers* A self-published book. We did it because people were pirating our content and selling it. Plus, we felt that a) traditional publishing probably wasn’t ready for a “book” made of lists, b) finding a publisher willing to take on two newbies to teach others about writing was unlikely and c) it would take too long to publish. The industry had a pretty negative attitude toward SP back then, and we knew we were half-crazy to do it, but we uploaded the book anyway.

Our hope, factoring in the long tail of self-publishing, was it might sell 50,000 copies in its lifetime. That would put us over the moon.

Never did we imagine it would become a staple for writers, or be used in university programs or analyzed in thesis papers. Never did we fathom it would be translated into 5 other languages or lead to a series of 6 books. We never thought it would also kick off an entire website filled with tools we helped to design so writers could write stronger fiction faster than ever.

Something else happened in January, another milestone that still hasn’t quite sunk in.

We sold our 300,000th book. (About 180,000 of those are The Emotion Thesaurus.)

Ten years ago, we were two writers grappling with how to get our fiction published. We were trying not to make utter fools of ourselves by blogging. We had 3 comments on our first emotion thesaurus post.

We never could have imagined this. Our gratitude to you, our supporters, champions, biggest believers…off the charts. We have no words (oh, the irony for two thesaurus-makers!).

But this post is more than a thank you…it’s a message, too. 

Don’t get caught up in where you are (or aren’t) right now, or how steep the roller coaster incline is ahead of you.




We believe in you. Always have, always will. 🙂

To celebrate these January milestones, Becca and I are giving away signed copies of all our books and maybe something from One Stop for Writers, too. This giveaway is internationally open to all who can legally enter giveaways.

To shake things up a bit, we’re going to draw winners from our newsletter subscriber list. If you subscribe, boom, you’re in the draw! If you haven’t yet and would like to, just go here. Our newsletters are packed with great links and neat things we have found that will help you and your writing. Plus, you’ll always be the first to know what we’re tackling next. 🙂

*prizes have been awarded. Thank you so much for subscribing with us, and keep your eye our for further giveaways!

Thanks for joining us in our first ten years. We hope you’ll stick around for the next ten, too. 🙂


Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
This entry was posted in About Us, Emotion Thesaurus Guide, Foreign Rights, Goal and Milestones, Motivational, One Stop For Writers, Positive & Negative Thesaurus Guides, Publishing and Self Publishing, Sales Numbers & Helpful Data, Setting Thesaurus Guides, The Business of Writing, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.
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Julie Robinson
Julie Robinson
3 years ago

Congratulations on your success! It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years. That is also when I started with joining on-line writing groups and taking classes. Keep up the good work, and thank you for sharing your knowledge.


[…] yeah…I’m super bummed that I missed celebrating their 10-year anniversary with them last week. […]

Susanne Bellamy
3 years ago

Congratulations and well done on celebrating this special milestone. And thanks for the wonderful reference materials as I stepped out on my own journey several years ago.

Sandy Perlic
Sandy Perlic
3 years ago

Aww, congratulations! Those are some awesome milestones to be celebrating. I think every author’s dream is to have an impact on their readers, and you’ve certainly done that – at least two of the speakers at WriteOnCon this past weekend swore by the Emotion Thesaurus. Hope you have many more milestones to celebrate in the coming years!

Laurie Evans
Laurie Evans
3 years ago

Wow, congrats! I think I remember the look of one of the previous sites. Thanks for publishing the books, they’re so helpful and I recommend them all the time.

K.M. Weiland
3 years ago

This is awesome, ladies! Super-huge congrats. It’s funny because I’ve hit most of these milestones at almost the same time. (I hit ten years with my site last December.) I had no idea you’d started your site at almost the same time as did mine.

My first memory of The Bookshelf Muse was back when I was writing Dreamlander and I went looking for a “color thesaurus.” You’ve been bookmarked ever since!

It’s been an honor and a pleasure to walk side by side with you down this road. Here’s to the next ten years!

Sheila Good
3 years ago

Angela & Becca,
I don’t remember when I began following but it seems like a long time. Your site has been one of my daiy go-to sites on writing. I’m embarrassed to say I began blogging around the same time. Boy, do I have some catching up to do!
So proud of you, congratulations of all your acheivements! Thanks for all you do to help writers!

3 years ago

Congratulations on the milestone! But mostly, thanks so much for sharing your work!

3 years ago

You ladies are aMAzing! And a BIG CONGRATS on 10 years! The angels knew you’d be a great pair 😀

3 years ago
Reply to  :Donna

And I forgot to mention…I actually got choked up reading this. How beautiful. How inspirational. I really am SO happy for you both! You, without question, deserve whatever success you achieve 😀 oxox

Celia Lewis
Celia Lewis
3 years ago

So glad you are celebrating your 10th Anniversary here! Bit congratulations with virtual ballooons and tinsel!!! As an unpublished [so far] writer, I have several of your writing books now, and joined the One Stop site as well. Your helpful easy-to-understand blogs, books, and points have encouraged me when I’m feeling stuck/trapped or feeling as if I’ll never get past a problem in my writing. Merci buckets – I have so much appreciation for the work you two do for writers!

Celia Lewis
Celia Lewis
3 years ago
Reply to  Celia Lewis

“big” congratulations… wonder what “bit congratulations” would look like-? 🙂

Erika Hayes
3 years ago

I can’t say I have followed for ten years, I can say I wish I had found you so much sooner. When I found the emotional thesaurus on Amazon I went for it.

It changed my writing it truly has helped me so much I can never say thank you enough. After my initial purchase on Amazon, I ordered every one of the following books that were available– and will continue to purchase any more that are released.
I have become a member at OneStop and when asked (and sometimes when not asked), I tell everyone Writers Helping Writers, the Thesaurus books, and OneStop is a MUST for anyone that wants to be a writer. I believe that to my core. I have shared your books, blog and One Stop with as many people as possible
Truly devoted fan of all your work and the kindness you share in an industry that is not always so nice. (Your newsletter/blog announcements even made the cut to my primary inbox, not just updates.) I appreciate you all! It feels like I have a friend in the business.
Again, from my heart, thank you for remaining dedicated and providing so much to so many! You inspire many to keep pushing through.

Karen Sargent
3 years ago

What a privilege to celebrate TEN years with you as well as 300,000 books sold! The Emotion Thesaurus has become my staple give-away when I do workshops. I always ask who already owns it and, always, several hands go up. Then I say to them, “Do the people who didn’t raise their hand want to win this?” The answer is always an enthusiastic yes! I presented to a group of 60 in St. Louis a few weeks ago. During break three people told me they weren’t taking chances with the drawing. They ordered online while I was presenting. 🙂 I plug the Emotional Wound Thesaurus and your website as well. The Emotion Thesaurus just happens to work better as a resource for teaching deep point of view. Thank you for all the encouragement and great resources you ladies provide!

Ingmar Albizu
3 years ago

Congratulations on your first decade!
Becca and Angela, you are both an inspiration and a role model to all of us.
Keep moving forward. Keep teaching and writing. Keep growing and reaching more people.
I love your books and blog posts.

Anne Vaccaro Brady
3 years ago

Congratulations, Becca and Angela! Thanks for all the help over the years through your blog, website and books. Invaluable.

Susan Swiderski
3 years ago

Congratulations, ladies! You’re living the dream. I won’t insult you by saying you’re “lucky.” (Isn’t it funny how the harder people work, the “luckier” they get?) I’m happy for you both. You deserve every bit of your success.

Lori Widdison
Lori Widdison
3 years ago

Woohooo!! Congratulations and happy blogoversary!!

Darlene Foster
3 years ago

Congratulations on 10 years!! Your books are amazing and I tell everyone about them. They certainly have helped me become a better writer. xo

julie Brown
3 years ago

Congratulations on TEN years! I love your work. Some newsletters and blogs are not work the time it takes to click through (all they want to is to sell you something), but WRITERS HELPING WRITERS is unique and excellent. Hope to meet you both at a conference some day 🙂
Best of everything!
Julie Brown

Sharon Mayhew
Sharon Mayhew
3 years ago

Congratulations on all your milestones! I think I’ve been following you since 2009.

Joy V Spicer
3 years ago

10 YEARS??!!! WOW! And 300,000 books sold! CONGRATULATIONS!!
I wish I could remember when I first discovered your wonderful blog, but I feel like I’ve had access to it forever.
I cannot believe your hard work was being pirated, what’s wrong with people?! I bought the Emotion Thesaurus when it first came out and it’s my go-to resource when working on drafts. In fact, it’s in front of me now as I work on my current WiP 🙂 I also recently treated myself to the Emotional Wound Thesaurus; so glad I did as it’s been a big help with one of my characters.
I’m not a big fan of newsletters; of all the ones I signed up for, I’ve whittled them down to one. But I like the sound of what you include in yours 🙂
Thanks for all the hard work you put in, and for being ‘here’. Here’s to another 10 years! And much, much more 🙂