The Former Cop Says: It’s All About Balance

July 29, 2011 by in category Blogs tagged as , , with 15 and 0
Home > Writing > Blogs > The Former Cop Says: It’s All About Balance
by Kathy Bennett
I was a Los Angeles Police Officer for twenty-one years.  From the title, you might think this article is going to talk about balancing on a roof while in a foot pursuit or running along a block wall.  No, that’s not what I’m talking about.  Let me give you a little background.
When I first hit the streets as a rookie officer, I can remember how every day seemed like a new adventure.  Each day held the promise of the unknown, what new things I’d be learning, what different experiences I’d be exposed to.  When my first set of scheduled days off came up, I was disappointed that I couldn’t go to work.  (Trust me – that effect wore off; but it took a while).  However I think every cop I’ve talked to had the same feeling.  The truth was, I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to do my job…it was that much fun. 
I remember working about a month, as sick as a dog, so my favorite partner wouldn’t have to work with someone else.  I had a ‘sick bag’ I’d filled with boxes of Kleenex and throat lozenges so I could get through the graveyard shift.  I also remember, as a training officer, working until one in the afternoon and having to be back at work at six-thirty the same night.  I could have requested to take a few hours of compensatory time off for extra sleep and I’m sure my supervisors would have agreed, but I felt it was my duty to be there.  I needed to find balance. 
But after twenty-one years, it became necessary for me to retire – in part to take care of my mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, and to nurse a back injury I’d suffered on the job a year prior.  My retirement left me feeling anxious and remorseful that my dream of being a police officer was now over.
But I’d been fostering another dream for a number of years…more years than I care to say.  And that dream was to become a published author.  I’d tried for several years to actively acquire an agent and publisher.  About the time I was getting some interest, I started hearing about self-publishing and, for various reasons, opted to self-publish my book, a romantic suspense, A Dozen Deadly Roses.
After the release of my book, I was pleased to learn I seemed to be doing a little better than average with the sales of my book.  I started discovering Facebook pages of other self-published authors, book review websites, Kindleboards, Nookboards, Goodreads, Shelfari and on and on.  I learned that self-published authors spend a great deal of time promoting their books and trying to reach out to readers and have ‘meaningful relationships’ with those readers.
I joined groups, I read blogs, I commented on blogs, I joined blog hop tours, I gave away prizes.  I friended on Facebook, I followed on Twitter…I became exhausted, and a part of me felt insincere.  I discovered that I need balance.  It seemed like my butt was glued to my chair, but I wasn’t writing – I was busy promoting.
Then, I discovered I’d hit the Top 100 List on Barnes and Noble of Nookbook Police Stories.  A few days after that, I hit the Barnes and Noble Top 100 List of Nookbooks!  I’d like to tell you my place on those lists was directly related to all my self-promoting…but there were hundreds of other writers doing the same amount of promotion – if not more – and they weren’t on those lists.  I don’t know how I got on those lists.  I’m grateful I did, but I don’t feel it was related to my frenzy of self-promotion.
So what do I, a girl without balance, immediately do?  I promote more.  I reach out to book buyers who may have missed the fact I’m on those lists.  I make myself crazy.  So, I sit down to write this guest blog, and decide: enough is enough.  I’m jumping off the merry-go-round. 
Instead, I’m choosing to focus on finishing the revisions of my next book.  I’m going to develop REAL relationships with readers…as much as they will let me.  I have a good (and real) relationship with many of the people who visit my blog.  I hope my readers find me there, or on Facebook, or on Twitter or wherever else I’ve left my mark.    
Don’t get me wrong…I won’t stop my Facebook postings, or my tweets on Twitter, my comments on the Kindleboards, or the Nookboards.  I’ll still do guest blogs.  I’ll probably still give away prizes from time to time.  Those activities will be a part of my day, but I won’t let them consume me.  My efforts will be to make true connections with my readers. 
You see, for twenty-one years I was proud to say I was a Los Angeles Police Officer.  I did my job to the best of my ability with the hope of touching people’s lives for the better.  I want to to approach my career as a published author with the same amount of integrity and touch people’s lives for the better.  I learned as a cop it’s important to have balance.  Thankfully, I’ve learned early in my writing career, it’s just as important to have balance as an author as well.
You can find me at:
You can find my book, A Dozen Deadly Roses at:
Barnes and Noble:

Author Details
Marianne H. Donley writes fiction from short stories to funny romances and quirky murder mysteries. She makes her home in Tennessee with her husband and son. She is a member of Bethlehem Writers Group, Romance Writers of America, OCC/RWA, and Music City Romance Writers. You can find Marianne on social media:,, and
Marianne H. Donley writes fiction from short stories to funny romances and quirky murder mysteries. She makes her home in Tennessee with her husband and son. She is a member of Bethlehem Writers Group, Romance Writers of America, OCC/RWA, and Music City Romance Writers. You can find Marianne on social media:,, and


  • Anonymous
    on August 2, 2011

    Nice! You have a fabulous blog! I’m an author and illustrator and I made some awards to give to fellow bloggers whose sites I enjoy. I want to award you with the Creative Blog Award for all the hard work you do!

    Go to and pick up your award.

  • Anonymous
    on July 30, 2011

    Hi Kathy, LARA sister here. Loved the article, and am looking forward to the book, though it's not my usual kind of read.

    Balance… hmmm, I was no good on the balance beam as a teenager and I tend to be off-balance as an adult writer, but I'm working on it. 🙂 Writing in Flow

  • Anonymous
    on July 30, 2011

    Hi, Kathy, I'm so sorry I didn't get the chance to become better acquainted with you at PSWA. So glad you joined though. Yep, the balancing act between promoting and writing is not easy.

    Best of luck with your book!


  • Anonymous
    on July 29, 2011

    Hi Pat!

    Thanks! It seems to me, if you're a writer (it doesn't matter what you write), the is a feeling of not doing enough.

    That's pretty harsh when most people are running like hamsters on a treadmill already. To make matters worse, our profession is such a solitary endeavor. Even if we are NOT alone in our feelings, we think we are.

    There doesn't seem to be one 'happy' medium. But I'll keep trying.

    Thank you for taking important time out of your day to visit me here.

  • Anonymous
    on July 29, 2011

    Great post about balance, Kathy. As a short story writer I still haven't found a balance between writing, editing, rewriting, and submitting. It seems when I concentrate on one, the others suffer.

    Congrats on your sales! Wish you a wonderful retirement and successful new career.

  • Anonymous
    on July 29, 2011

    Hi Lynne!

    Well, you are certainly one who knows what she is talking about. You're career has just blossomed.

    I know people don't believe me when I say I'm busier now that when I was working a full-time job, but I am! Of course, much of it is spent on the computer with writing-related stuff – so I can't complain (okay I do…but I'm trying to stop).

    Thanks for stopping by and visiting.

  • Anonymous
    on July 29, 2011

    Great blog, Kathy. Nothing more important than writing that next great book!

    So happy for your success with self-pubbing.

    Wishing you all the best in your retirement and with your writing.

  • Anonymous
    on July 29, 2011

    Hi Charlene!

    Prior to become a writer, and really applying myself, I thought writers sat down and wrote for a couple of hours in the morning and that was it.

    However, the publishing industry has changed so drastically over the past year or two, that I think everyone is struggling with how to get it all done.

    I think for me, I was unprepared for any type of success – at least not so soon. It caught me off guard.

    You have a marvelous career and I'm sure you're enjoying your break! I appreciate you spending part of your day with me! Thank you!

  • Anonymous
    on July 29, 2011

    Hi Kathy– I loved your post on balance. Sometimes, I find there is none at all. I'm not under contract now, but spending my time promoting my books and STILL it takes all day. There is always something to do, isn't there? I have to say I love Twitter, Facebook is okay (they are always messing with it) and I love connecting with my chapter mates and readers. But it consumes a lot of my time.

    Yes, we all need balance. When I'm on deadline, I write in the morning, then do edits, and write blogs at night to post the next day. I still haven't found all the balance I need, but I'm taking a little break now from 12 years of deadlines.

    Good luck on the book. I'm enjoying it so much!!

  • Anonymous
    on July 29, 2011

    Hi Marian!

    See? This is exactly what I'm talking about. How are we supposed to get any writing done?

    Just when you think you've cleared away the time, some other 'more important' thing comes up. And truly, most of the time, they ARE more important. Otherwise I procrastinate 🙂

    Thanks for your kind words about A Dozen Deadly Roses. I'm so glad you liked it. Thank you for coming by.

  • Anonymous
    on July 29, 2011

    Hi Roz!

    Lol! No, doing things half way isn't in my nature.

    Consider yourself booked for a lunch.

    I'm with you about the seesaw.

    Thanks for your nice words on the book. I appreciate you coming by and chatting!

  • Anonymous
    on July 29, 2011

    Thanks to your blog Kathy and your post about the Nookbook list I read your book this week and couldn't put it down. I can't wait for the next one –Glad you're on you revision–LOL
    I agree about balance this morning I went to write and wound up critiquing a story for one of my buddies–now I'll write–oops–hubby just called need to bring a tool to the job–LOL

  • Anonymous
    on July 29, 2011

    Well…all I can say is you don't do anything half way! Great post, and a reminder to all writers that unless we write, there isn't anything for anyone to read!

    I often find myself on the up end of the seesaw wondering how the heck I'm going to get down!

    As soon as I get back to SoCal we'll go to lunch and see if we can get the seesaw evened out a little.

    And – no surprise to me your book made the lists!!

  • Anonymous
    on July 29, 2011

    Thanks Texanne!

    I love the site too. For those of you in the OC, if you're a writer and haven't found OCC RWA check them out! Fabulous group!

    Thanks for the kudos on the book. Everything I do, I try to do well. As for passion in my career, I DID meet my husband at work…but I suspect that's not what you meant. 😉

    It was a little strange when I was writing the book to think about co-workers reading the book…but I got over it!

    Thanks for stopping by to visit me.

  • Anonymous
    on July 29, 2011

    Such a pretty site, sitting here looking like an old-fashioned orange-crate label.

    Kathy–I think a big reason for the success of your book is that it's a great read. No faking that. You must have put that same passion into your writing "work" as you did into your police career.

    Much continued success to you! I hope plenty of cops get to read your book, too!

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