The Journey to Publication, Writing

DIY Tiara, or Just a Confidence Boost?

It can be easy as a writer, especially an unpublished writer, to get down, get discouraged, and generally Eeyore like. Yesterday, I wondered if wearing a tiara while preparing breakfast and getting things packed for the day, improved my outlook. I was dressed as a princess (for preschool story time, I swear!), but did I feel all that entitled or more pleased?

Then later on, I realized what it was I really needed. I needed to feel like I wasn’t completely inept and clueless. 🙂

So here’s the deal: we spend a lot of time alone, with our writing, typing away at a keyboard. And when we send out work out into the world (as we must if we want anyone else to ever see it), it’s inevitable we’re going to get rejections. Some will hurt a lot, others will be relatively kind. And yes, we know that not everyone will like our work, that the business is subjective. We have to. Still, there’s something dauntingly depressing as all those rejections start to add up. We can start to mistake the fact that our work just isn’t ready, or that it wasn’t the right match for that particular publisher / agent / reader with the notion that either we or our writing are hopeless, worthless, or crap.

Sometimes, all we need is just a little affirmation that we’re not clueless, and that maybe, as we crawl blindly along a path we understand but can’t see, we ARE traveling the right path, we are doing the right things, making the right decisions. And when the path seems especially dark or hopeless, we need to find small affirmations for ourselves that suddenly seem to light everything up.

For me, it was realizing not only do I know what a career trajectory is, I actually have one! 😉

Sometimes, it’s an encouraging note added by an agent or an editor. Or the words of your critique partners or beta readers who see something worthy in your writing, especially on the days you can’t. It can be the lightening rod when you figure out that story you love and see it all plotted and laid out in your mind. And sometimes, it’s just going out and having a bit of fun, because seriously, without fun, life kind of sucks. 😉

Take heart, move forward, and if you need to, wear that plastic tiara proudly if that’s what makes you feel better. Because you will get to where you want to go, you will achieve your goals if you keep pushing, keep improving, and never, EVER give up. 🙂

Your turn: what helps pulls you back from the darkness and gives you that boost and cheer?

Thanks for reading, and have a great week. And Happy Halloween out there, whether you wear tiaras, fangs, or anything in between. 🙂


There and Away: Perceiving changes in ourselves

There is something oddly unsettling about coming home after being away awhile and finding the house left in by your pre-vacation self. Not that I expect my week in Mexico was a soul-changing experience, but coming home, I had one week more of experiences than the self who left certain things scattered around the house, a particular mess in the craft room. Perhaps it’s that most of the time, we don’t notice ourselves changing, but when we are taken out of everyday life only to return, we can see how much even a short time changes us, how each new experience adds to and alters the person we are and will become.

The other place you can see this is in creative works. Like writing. What I wrote last week is different than what I’d write this week, because I’m different. And certainly, what I wrote three weeks ago is a vast time before … and which REALLY makes me wish I left myself notes or bread crumbs to somehow divine what my intentions were, and what I planned to write next. Sigh. I mean, I get where the zombies showed up (though I forgot I’d added them until I read the scene), but where do you go from there? I mean, really?

Anyway, just me being a bit philosophical, and putting off the writing I really need to do. So, wishing you a terrific week out there, and happy writing while I go off and try and figure out what I’m going to write next. 🙂

The Journey to Publication

7 Reasons for Hope to Persevere

It’s scarcely 1/6 of the way through the year (17%), and I begin to wonder if I can achieve what I set out to do, if this will be another year when I try hard, but nothing seems to come of it. More rejections, and I fear contest entries were more like throwing away money. In short, self-doubt and depression come calling.

What about you? Have you fallen off the goal-wagon? Are you, like me,  frustrated with your progress in life and career?BC2010 Holiday Aug4_10 055

Don’t be.

  1. There are 10 more months left to reach those goals – that’s 83% of the year.
  2. It’s winter. Everything sucks in winter – that’s not your fault, so don’t let it suck you in.
  3. Spring is right around the corner. No, really. Those snow drifts will melt away just like the resistance you’re feeling right now; bright green buds will sprout, along with new opportunity and hope you didn’t think existed.
  4. Things have to be crappy sometimes so we appreciate when wonderful things happen. That means wonderful things are right around the corner.
  5. Your life is full of blessings and wonderful treasures – even if your immediate goal is still out of reach. Take the opportunity to open your eyes and appreciate what you have, what life is RIGHT NOW, instead of what you want it to be.
  6. Change is hard. Growth can be accompanied by growing pains. Just wait until you see what comes next.
  7. This gully is just part of the road you’re on. You are NOT the road. The vista will look brighter from the top of that next hill.

How do you find and maintain hope?

Thanks for reading, and have a great week.

The Journey to Publication, Writing

Is Resistance to Change Standing in Your Way?

I’ve been thinking about the idea that we are all responsible for our own experience and creation of reality again. (For a previous blog outlining the principles, please see: It’s All in the Perspective.) It led me to start considering how, for the most part, we all fear change to lesser or greater degrees. And the fact is, change is hard. It’s much easier to stick with something you’re familiar with, to what you know is tried and true, to follow the same path you’ve already broken that’s so familiar you could keep walking with your eyes closed.

The catch is, resisting change for too long creates stagnation. The same way the water in a bucket sitting on the deck all summer will eventually get green and slimy, so too do our minds and lives when we continue to resist change – especially when it means saying goodbye to opportunity.

I’ve always thought it was a silly idea that anyone could be afraid of success, until you realize that promotion can actually be very bad for your health in terms of the stress it creates in your life (here’s a link from the Daily Mail UK: “Promotion at work can increase stress and be bad for your health” – or try searching “job promotion” and “stress” for lots of others). Because while promotion is generally seen as a great thing (probably more money, high status position, progress in your career, etc), it also means leaping off of the path you’ve known and been familiar with for so long, out of your current position, and venturing somewhere you haven’t been before. You may wonder if you actually deserve the promotion, if you really wanted it, if you can handle it, if it’s worth it, etc, etc.

Here’s where creating your own reality becomes really important: It’s up to YOU to decide if promotion or any change is a good or bad thing.

Sounds simple, huh, when you’re not sweating over imminent potential change and all it’s ramifications? If you haven’t considered it before – or if you’d much rather brood and stay gloomy and Eeyore like – than it will be exceptionally hard. However, if you look at it and realize that what you have before you is an opportunity, than things start to look brighter.

I will use – particularly as it’s foremost in my mind right now – my husband’s situation. He’s received what is essentially a promotion, but it means he’ll be leaving a job he does very well and has done for 9+ years for something similar in the same company, but which not only has he never done, but which is a new expansion for the company. The company vehicle will be gone, and he faces having to go in to negotiate for some time of pay adjustment, including what the equivalency will be for a new vehicle. The stress of starting this new position, having to buy an new car, leaving what he’s familiar with, he’s about ready to toss the whole thing.

But, it’s all in the perspective.

Instead, he has the opportunity to do something new – which is what he’s been looking for, so he will no longer be bored in his current position. He gets to buy a new car. There’s a good chance of more money. He’s helping to create a new position, which means he doesn’t have to fill anyone else’s shoes. This is a stepping stone for further advancement, and an opportunity for the company to see how he works and the quality of his work up close, since he’s usually in the field.

All right. Long story short, my point is this: change is hard – I’ll be the first to admit I’m usually quite resistant to it, and massive change takes time to adjust to – it’s taken me over a year to finally be used to the idea that I’m a mom. BUT, as humans we need change in our lives, and change is the only way we’ll ever be able to keep moving forward to reach our dreams.

So remember: it’s all in the perspective. Change can be a fantastic opportunity and a stepping stone to further success, so long as you recognize it as such. Look for the positive side, and try not to get bogged down in the fear and uncertainty that is, quite frankly, easier. Every change is an opportunity to grow, to change, and to make sure you don’t go stagnant with slime growing over you. 🙂

Have a great week, and thanks for reading.

The Journey to Publication, Writing

Retrospective: What a Difference a Year Makes

Today is my daughter’s first birthday. Yipee! We all survived the first year of parenthood, and she’s had quite the impact on my life. From squalling infant to little critter that tries to talk and is getting close to walking, it’s hard to imagine that we’d only just met her last year this time.

Significant events like birthdays are an easy way to glance back at a year or a period of time and see how far you’ve come, how you’ve changed, but it doesn’t have to be a birthday. Where were you last year on this date? What were you doing? What has changed in your life since then? In previous posts I’ve touched on this when I’ve been looking back at journal entries, but I also keep a log book to record what I’ve accomplished, to-do lists, that sort of thing, which makes it easier to look back at my writing progress.

Where was I last year? Well, the hospital still, since the baby had just been born. But in the previous year I can look back and see that in 2010 I was at work on a particular manuscript and even working on the weekend to make up for a poor week of writing. Keeping records like this gives me a better idea of how long it takes me to complete a manuscript – even those times you’d rather not know, since technically from percolation of the original idea, initial notes, all the way to final, polished manuscript can have required a heck of a lot more time than you’d care to consider.

Why should we occasionally look back? Well, I think that we’re products of our experiences. It’s helpful sometimes to see what you were capable of (if, say, you were on a really productive streak that makes the current measly word counts pale in comparison). On the other hand, you could also see that you’ve perhaps become much more disciplined, that your productivity is up, as well as your professionalism.

Whatever the case, a year does make a difference, no matter how fast they flash by. Because even if we sometimes don’t realize we’ve accomplished anything in a year, we’ve lived to lesser or greater degrees, and we’ll never be the same again.

So, where were you last year? Do you feel like you’re in the same place, or have things drastically changed?

Thanks for reading, and have a great week.