News and author-stuff, Writing

Welcome Shade for Love!

Yay! I can finally say that the Shades are really out in the world. 🙂

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This series has been a long time coming. If you’ve been around for awhile, you might have seen promises of the Shades of Beckwell back in 2019. Which was when it would have appeared, except… life. I am definitely a “planner” – I love checking off boxes and scheduling things. But with a combination of factors, 2019  – and the of course, 2020 as many people experienced – became swallowed by a void of “well that didn’t go to plan!”

Here, long at last, we have Shade for Love. Plus, since I felt I owed readers for having to wait for so long, two novellas as well! That’s the plan for this series, to alternate longer books – like Shade for Love – with shorter pieces, like Alchemy and Trolled. It means you get more content more frequently, and I’ve found that I love the variety of getting to play with these shorter stories. Plus, more stories! The shorter pieces focus (so far at least) on characters that might be a bit outside the central story line, kind of a “what else is happening while the world is ending?” kind of pieces, and some alternative perspectives. It also allows me to flesh out and play in the world of Beckwell, and I hope you enjoy them as well.

Click here to find the buy links for Shade for Love.

Have you signed up for my newsletter yet? You can sign up here. That’s how you get a hold of Alchemy. 🙂

Did you know that I also love hearing from readers? You can always reach me here, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the books, the characters – and maybe who you think MUST get their own story. Trust me, there are lots in the works!

Thank you for celebrating with me today. Here’s the full cover for Shade for Love, and I look forward to touching base with you here again soon. Until then, wishing you a wonderful week and the ability to find the everyday magic in your world.

Sincerely, Shelly

News and author-stuff, The Journey to Publication, Writing

Cages

A pig face looking frankly at you and telling you that you don’t belong in a cage!

How often have you experienced the kind of overwhelm that comes from feeling that there are so many things you “should” be doing, and that list is so long, you end up paralyzed and end up doing nothing?

I recently finished reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle. She talks about how the cages that society creates for us leave us trapped and stifled, often trying to live definitions of ourselves that come from outside of ourselves. (This is definitely paraphrasing. Go read the book yourself to see what I’m trying to get at. )

Anyway, today after reading something from a friend who’s definitely feeling that overwhelm, it made me think: how many of those cages, especially as writers, are we creating for ourselves?

I mean, yes, there are definitely things that we have to do as writers – write books or write something for other people to read being, likely, the number one thing. But other than that, it feels like so many of the definitions of things we “must” and “should” do is a proscribed list that if we actually obeyed it, we’d have no time whatsoever for a life outside of work… and probably no time to write either.

I do wonder if this is perhaps worse among female author-preneurs, or if it’s prevalent everywhere, but if you’re a writer looking to publish and sell your books, you’ve probably heard of some of the things I mean.

  • You have to be on every social media account that has and will ever be (come on, aren’t you signed up yet for the one that won’t exist until 2023??)
  • You should be active on all of those social media accounts too (but be fresh! Just be you! Keep it real… as you force yourself to follow all of this advice.)
  • You must be constantly building relationships with every person out there (forget actual relationships … or, like, family. Nope. No time for that if you’re doing what you “should” be doing.)
  • Make sure you’re making ads for all of those social media accounts, sell, sell, sell, … but gentle sell, not spam sell.
  • Plus make sure you’ve got ads running on all the platforms (because if you’re making less than $2k a month, you’re a failure!)
  • Have you spent thousands of dollars on classes that promise you THIS is the right answer to make you a millionaire and selling millions of a books a day? (Come on, you didn’t think you actually had time to do things, like, write, did you? And wave to your family through your office doors… if you still have one.)

On and on it goes, and you know what? I’m going to stop, because it’s stressing me out.

And it’s driving me nuts. All of it. And I know it’s driving lots of other authors nuts too.

You want to know the real secret?

There is NO secret.

Nope. Sad, isn’t it? Yep, I was looking for it too… along with possibly the drafting or editing fairies that help get books done when things aren’t going well. But, they don’t exist any more than the perfect formula to sell all those books – no matter how much that workshop costs. Game the system? Sure, you can follow those examples, buy up case loads of your own book and “buy” your way onto the lists. You CAN do a lot of things. But what works for Lizzy P. Author may not work the same for you.

You’re not her.

You’re YOU.

And yes, let me pause and insert here that not all advice is bad advice. Do I take workshops, try to keep learning, try to keep improving in both my writing craft and the business side of my career? Absolutely. Is there lots of great advice and information out there? Yep. That too. Are there many things we can do to tweak our marketing / get better at the business / get better at our craft? Yes, indeed, and there are a few specific ones on my list all the time.

My objection comes when all that advice, when all the things you “should do” stretch into the bars of a cage. When you’re so hemmed in by all those “shoulds” that you feel like you can’t breathe, let alone write the next word, the next sentence, or hardest of all, the next book.

I’ve been there. I fall into that cage every so often. Was there yesterday, as a matter a fact, when all my emails seemed to be screaming at me to “just do this to double your sales” or “just keep up this to guarantee search engine results” and so on. These were legit blogs I follow too, because I usually appreciate their advice. It got me so depressed, I did the bare minimum of words, but tried nothing else, too exhausted by all the “shoulds” that I had to focus on the “could.”

That’s what I usually come back to. What could or CAN I do? What do I WANT to do? And what do I really NEED?

Yesterday, I needed to recharge so I don’t get burned out. I needed to remember there is more to my life than writing.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: sometimes we get terrific advice, but we need to be wise enough to recognize when it isn’t the right advice for us. Perhaps it won’t ever be right, perhaps it just isn’t right because of where we are financially / personally / emotionally / whatever. But it’s up to you to stand up for YOU. To recognize that feeling when your chest tightens, your shoulders tense, and the whole world is demanding more and more, or something is telling you that it just isn’t right for you… just tell that advice “no.” (You’re welcome to use stronger language and swears. Swears are fun. 🙂 I’m just trying to be polite.) 😉

Sometimes maybe you’ll need to sit with that feeling for a little while, think about where that resistance to the advice or next “should” is coming from. Maybe it’s child-you deep inside that’s stubbornly insisting “No, I don’t wanna!” And sometimes you need to tell child-you inside that it’s okay, we can still do scary things that will just make us stronger. So sometimes you try some of those things. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.

But you pick and choose which of those things you try. Ignore the others. Cut down on the blogs and other input you take in that feeds into that stress and fills your head with Shoulds. Connect with people in your field and outside of it, people who care about you, that can help pull you back from the madness of trying to do all the things all the time. You don’t let the Should-Army flatten you down and stop you from doing what you need to do.

And if you’re a writer, you need to write.

You’ll do that too at your own pace, in your own way. You’ll find ways to reclaim and hold tight to the joy of pure creation that is the work, that is writing, because there are days when it won’t feel that way. But you, you will write.

Because you are a writer. And you are free.

News and author-stuff, The Journey to Publication, Writing

Back Again, Reflecting and Moving Forward

Did you know that I started this blog way back in 2010? Nope, me neither. I’ve just finished going through all of those posts weeding out things from when I was a super-clueless baby-writer…although I’ve also found some advice that I still believe (like being good to other people and author karma, along with writing strength-training) along with advice that my past self was either trying to tell me, or maybe I needed to hear now.

So…I also find that I haven’t been any more regular with my posts than I am now. Or rather, I used to be much more regular with the posts early on, but I’ve taken a tumble or two off the cliff and, for example, this is the first post I’ve done for 2019 (oops!)

I find retrospective interesting in what it tells us about where we’re been, and in many ways, where we’re headed too, sometimes for better AND worse. What’s changed for me since 2010?

  • I now have two children, both lovely daughters who are creative and wonderful (except when they’re bickering, because ugh!)
  • I’ve published FOUR books. Yes, I can hardly believe that either. Back in 2010, Indie Publishing definitely wasn’t on my radar, and even when it finally got there, I always wanted to go traditional first, then maybe indie to become hybrid (and not just because going hybrid sounds a bit like some kind of super-cool werewolf-shifter.) 😉
  • Back in 2010 I’d only been part of RWA (Romance Writers’ of America) for two years, and just attended my first Conference. Since then, I’ve attended almost one a year since 2014, and every second year before that. I’ve become part of now only an RWA chapter, but I’m currently chapter president, which is something I’d never have dreamed of back then, especially the benefit of all the connections and friends I’ve since made in the industry.
  • I’ve had the opportunity in recent years to begin to pay back some of that author karma I talked about way-back-when. I’m still a little fish, but what I didn’t realize back then is that little fish can still make waves, still make a difference, and that’s what I try to do.

What hasn’t changed all that much?

  • I still believe in magic, and I want to believe that there’s more in the world than meets the eye. I’ve expanded my personal definition of magic though, as I also try to see – and appreciate – the magic in the everyday world that all too often dismissed or forgetten.
  • I am still probably more stubborn than is actually healthy for me. When I was looking up tags for this article, perseverance is one of my most used tags, and for good reason. I wrote my stories and this blog even when no one was reading (it is entirely likely that no one is reading this one either, but let’s just keep that between you and me, hmm?) Perseverance and tenacity have kept me going when I have done revision after revision. When I almost completely rewrote my first book in edit to get it into the kind of shape I could put out there for public consumption.
  • Conference is still one of my favorite events of the year, it still exhausts me, but I still try to make the most out of every day, every experience, no matter what. This means that even when things go wrong (as things inevitably try to do) I still keep the mindset to enjoy myself, to not let myself get down. I’d love to say I can maintain this same mindset in all areas of my life, but that’s not so easy. Which leads to the next point…
  • I am still a work in progress. And that’s okay. I’m not perfect, I never will be, but that won’t hold me back from continuing to grow and improve (or at least, I try to make sure it doesn’t.) 🙂
  • I will still promise to try to blog regularly…and there is every likelihood I will try but possibly fail. 😉

Now this comes to you, since it’s rude if I do all the talking. If you look back – to 2010, further or perhaps closer in your past – how have you grown, changed and evolved? Are you reading? If you are, come on, keep me company and leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

The Journey to Publication

How to Celebrate the Joy and Success of Others

I’ve recently realized something: I’m better at dealing with people when they’re down than when they’re happy.

It’s a strange thing to think about. But I’m quite good at offering sound advice, helping loved ones plan a way out of the hole they feel trapped in. That I’m great at. But when things are really great? When something wonderful has happened to them? The words sound hollow and chunky to my ears. “Congratulations” just doesn’t convey what I want to say. It’s the same when I meet someone – say another author at a book signing who I really admire. What do you say without gushing they’re the best author  you’ve ever read – which probably isn’t true anyway (the more wonderful the author I read, I’m likely to pick up someone just as good or better the next time – that’s why it’s so hard to have just one favorite!).

So … how do you congratulate and compliment someone and be sincere about it? Okay, here’s what I have so far …

  1. Be Specific. Instead of just “congratulations” or “that looks great on you,” explain a little, make it matter and try to convey your sincerity with the “why.” It also backs up the compliment and makes it matter more. Why was this the best book you ever wrote? Why do they look nice today?
  2. Don’t be phony. If the person’s speech was terrible, complimenting them on it will probably sound insincere because it is. Instead, is there something you can compliment them on? Coming out? Volunteering? Other achievements?
  3. Make it about the person and their success, not you. It can be hard to offer congratulations to someone who’s just achieved what you haven’t been able to yet, or when you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps. BUT, celebrating your loved ones success can make their achievement that much sweeter. Later, they’ll listen to your problems. But first, celebrate the good times, and who knows? Maybe it will help you forget the bad.
  4. Don’t have a hidden agenda. Don’t just be kind to get something (ie: an author to promote your book, or your husband to buy you something, etc). Be kind for it’s own sake: it will make someone else feel good, and it will make you feel good, too.
  5. Give kindness to someday receive it. Okay, that sounds really, horribly selfish, doesn’t it? Here’s the thing: I sincerely believe we receive back what we put into the world … you know, cosmic balance and stuff. And if something great happens to you, you’d want to celebrate, right? So give and allow that same joy to whoever you’re congratulating.
  6. Don’t cloud the joy. If you’re a bit of a cynic, like me, it can be easy to see that a small success isn’t the end of the road, and there will always be hard times ahead. BUT, unless you remember to enjoy the good bits, how do you think you’ll manage to get through the bad? Let the other details go, and savor the pleasure of joy. It can be far too fleeting.

Okay. That’s all I have. And I’m still not sure if it’s enough. Any advice? How do you help celebrate success and achievements? How do you spread joy and kindness during the good times?

Thanks for reading. Have a great week!

The Journey to Publication, Writing

Priorities: Is it time for re-ordering them?

Do you have your priorities in order? Do you even know what your priorities are? When was the last time you assessed them, and considered whether you lived according to these priorities?

My priorities are fairly simple. Family. Writing. Friends. Everything else (and yes, housework is somewhere way down the list).

The top three are, to me, the most important ones, though even as I write this, I find myself switching them around a few times, adjusting. Because let’s face it: if we put them in order of priority, it means at one point or another, one of them will “win” over a lower ranked priority.

It’s not a very nice thing, is it? To consider that we’d choose our career over our friends? For some people, perhaps career ranks the highest for them. For me, sometimes this is the case. Which is where this post comes from.

Is your priority list shifting? Do you allow it and yourself that freedom, or hold yourself to a more rigid standard?

Last month, I was desperate to finish Christmas presents galore (I make most of them), get the house prepared for my party, AND finish the rewrite on a novel so I could get it submitted to a contest and have it out of my head for holidays. I wanted to achieve it all simultaneously, which is impossible. And to get it done, I had to shift around the priorities a little bit. Writing moved up higher on the list, and I had to sacrifice some of my time with my family to get things done. BUT, using a shifting priority list, I DID get it all done.

Keeping track of your priorities also means that on your writing day, sometimes you have to say no to other offers and possibilities – because that day, writing may outrank other priorities (like friends or fun). Whatever the case, I try to assess what’s most important to me at that time, and set my priorities and actions accordingly. Usually it’s the first three that continue to shift and dance amidst the positions, and remind me what I want, what I need to do to get it, and where I need to go.

So what about you? Do you think priorities must be set in stone, or are yours shifting as you need them, too?

Thanks for reading, and have a great week.

The Journey to Publication, Writing

Tangible Productivity Markers for a New Year

Do you have a new calendar yet? Have you written out goals and plans on it? Or do you let the days pass as they will?

As we begin a new year, I’ve been thinking more about using time instead of chasing after it all the time. Instead of having a bit of a loosey-goosey idea of when I want to achieve things, I think I’m going to try for more tangible dates and times. Why would this work for me? Because I work well with a deadline.

I’ve heard of others who write everything down on a calendar. I’m far from that place now. My desk calendar is usually too small to write anything more than a few letters beside each date. But, I do like my log book, where I write down how many words I’ve achieved each day, what I’ve accomplished.

Taking it one step further would be placing a date more firmly on those objectives. This year, I want to write at least two complete novels. That means it takes me usually about two months for the first draft, and pushing hard, I can do the next draft(s) in four months using my new plan. If I switch back and forth between two novels, giving each time to rest, that means I should be able to achieve my goal, right?

That’s the first part. So I can write that down in my goals, on a calendar. I think the second part is perhaps assessment at various points throughout the year. It’s June, the halfway point: what have you achieved thus far? Word count? Novels? Plans? Goals checked off? Where do you still need to go?

The next part that I’ve been considering is watching the calendar not only for what I need to achieve, but for what I have all ready achieved. Essentially, how can I reward myself? Pat myself on the back – even if I haven’t completed as much as I need to? Because here’s the thing: especially while you work for yourself, who else is going to tell you you’re doing a good job? I think the next part of the plan would be to insert rewards for some of the achievements. Have I met my goals by June? I can specify which goals or what number, and that means I’ve earned a reward, like buying myself a new outfit, or dinner out, something like that (seeing as fun isn’t actually against the law … so far as I know).

Yes, fine, it may sound a bit Pavlovian, but those dogs still hoped for the treat when the bell rang, didn’t they? Why shouldn’t I work just as hard and hope for a treat myself? If it helps me reach my goals, I’m all for it. What about you?

Thanks for reading. Have a great week, and happy writing!

The Journey to Publication, Writing

Goal Setting for a New Year: 10 Steps to Easy, Achievable Goals

Welcome to 2013! Hooray, cheers, huzzah!

Okay, now time to put down the champagne flutes and get to work. It’s a new year, and that means goal-setting. Don’t moan and groan about it – what happened to all that cheering? Trust me. This will be WAY easier than living up to that new gym membership.

Step 1: Reflect. Reflect on the past year, on what you’ve accomplished, and what you still need to do. Knowing what you’re capable of and where you’ve been will be a big help in knowing where you want and need to go. But, don’t consider this limiting.

Step 2: Dream big. What do you want to achieve this year? What would make for a better, happier, more complete you? These can be new dreams or old ones. And the goals can be as big or small as you like – don’t compare yourself to anyone else. These are your dreams, your goals.

Step 3: Reality check. Not to dampen your enthusiasm, but step back and consider your goals. Is becoming an astronaut and flying to the moon an achievable goal for you this year? Did you complete all the necessary training last year? Consider what you achieved last year, and where you want to go. Some dreams and goals may be more long term than just over a year, and a realistic timeline will help you avoid disappointment.

Step 4: Research. Now you need to understand your dreams and goals. If you know a lot about them, than you may be able to skip this step. But if you’re going in blind, it wouldn’t hurt to do a bit of research, which will make the next step much easier.

Step 5: Break your individual goals into steps. So, you want to be a published author. What do you need to get there? First, you need to write a book of some variety (and the writing of that also has its own steps). Do you need an agent? You want steps which clearly show a progression towards your goal, statements that can be checked off as achieved or not, progressing logically from one to the next. This means they may be broken down into very tiny chunks, but that’s okay: that will help offer encouragement and signs of success later on.

Step 6: WRITE IT DOWN. I can’t emphasize this enough. Sure, you can think of all the goals you want, but will you remember them? What will hold you accountable? How will you remember what you’ve achieved or not?

Step 7: Plan for success and perseverance. You have your steps. Have you included all the things you need to do to succeed? When things get hard, how will you keep going? How will you celebrate your small victories and your big ones? Visualise and plan for successes, and prepare to avoid failure.

Step 8: Set a clear timeline. Try to be realistic with your dates as you pull out a calendar and write your goals down. A red circle on the calendar could be the push you need in that month to achieve success. Building in rewards and encouragement will keep you going when the going gets rough.

Step 9: Share with at least one other person. Perhaps this person has the same goals as you, perhaps they don’t. But putting your goals out there makes you accountable to more than just yourself – and could be a source of encouragement. Consider finding a partner or group to help you keep going, celebrating your successes, and all pushing for your dreams.

Step 10: Post and achieve. Put these goals somewhere you can see them and reference them throughout the year, as well as reflect on your achievements throughout and at the end of the year.

See? Not that hard … now I just better get to that myself. 🙂 Thanks for reading, and here’s to a great year for all of you.

The Journey to Publication, Writing

Time to Reflect on the Past Year: Or, Where the heck did 2012 go?!

Now, I don’t know about you, but I swear, someone stole at least a month out from under me in the past year. It seemed like it was just June, and now suddenly we’re saying farewell to another year. Yikes!

However, not to worry. Because looking back at the year that was is a pretty wonderful thing. Oh, I heard that – the rolling of the eyes, the gnashing of the teeth. Seriously: looking back at the year and what you’ve accomplished IS a great thing, because it will help set you on the path for the coming year.

Okay. So, the first thing you need to do is get all the disappointment and fretting out of your system. Get rid of the “but I didn’t …” and “I was supposed to …” and “I still keep [insert bad habit here]” statements. Trust me, they echo pretty loudly in my head too at this time of the year, but they’re just distracting little devils who don’t want you to see the bigger picture – and that’s what you need to focus on.

If it helps, write them down. Keep it quick, no brooding. All you want to do is get it out of your head, and out of the way.

For me, I still remain unpublished, and un-agented. Time is always at a premium, I’m more out of shape than I care to mention, and I never accomplish as much as I think I should.

Okay. Done. Onto the next step. The important step.

What HAVE you accomplished? Remember at the beginning of the year when you dutifully wrote down all your goals and broke them down into manageable portions that could be easily identified as achieved or not?

Actually, I don’t remember that either. Last year, I didn’t really want to set goals, and only did it kind of accidentally since it appears to be stuck in my system. If you were a good boy or girl, and you have your written goals for 2012, go get them and start checking them off – see all you accomplished?

For the rest of us, I’ll have more on goal-setting for us in the next post. But for now, start writing down what you have accomplished. A few items will probably stand out in your head. Some may start out as negative devils again, so work on turning them around. I’ll offer one of my own examples.

– With the help of my CP and my own research, I discovered at least one massive flaw in my writing and particularly plotting. This led to self-doubt, and lots of teeth gnashing.

Okay, see the negativity? Here’s what I gained out of that negative experience this year.

-Finally found a CP worth their salt (possibly two of them!).

-Discovered and fixed a hole in my writing and plotting, improving overall quality.

-Continued to write despite set-backs, and have put into place new methods for productivity measurement, self-encouragement, and affirmation for the low points.

See? Easy. Now it’s your turn. I’ll wait.

Now how’s it looking? Hopefully, pretty positive. I know you accomplished a lot more than you think you have. And if you haven’t accomplished as much as you wanted, well, look at that! There’s a new year on the horizon, ripe with possibility, and it’s yours, if you have the courage to reach out and grab it.

Thanks for reading, and Happy 2013 to you all. See you in the new year!

The Journey to Publication, Writing

Affirmations for Writers

Last week I was talking about how to climb out of the whirling toilet-bowl of despair, and I suggested making yourself some affirmations. Personally, I found this kind of hard, since it felt a bit corny to me. But, I did come up with – and find – some. To get you started – and share some positive energy – here are some affirmations that maybe will help you, too. Enjoy.

“If you don’t do it this year, you’ll just be one year older when you do.” – Warren Miller

“We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” – Max Depree

“The greatest rewards in life go to the risk takers.” – James McCormick

“Separate yourself from the road you’re on. The pitfalls are part of the road – NOT you.” – unknown

Today is the day you succeed. No one can tell your stories better than you.

Everyday, and with every word, you become a stronger, better writer.

If it was easy, everyone would be a writer.

I am a talented writer.

I guide my own destiny, and I’m accountable for the results of my decisions and actions. I reinforce my successes and correct for errors. – from Shad Helmstetter*

I don’t wait for inspiration. Work inspires inspiration. If I succeed, I keep working. If I fail, I keep working. Whether I feel interested or bored, energized or tired, encouraged or discouraged, I keep working. – from Shad Helstetter*

I do not pre­sume that my audi­ence will under­stand me, so I make sure to write as clearly as possible. – from Deb Gallardo’s website**

Some great links for writer affirmations:

Margie Lawson.com – Favorite Quotes

*Author page for Olivia Salter – Writer’s Affirmations

**From Deb Gallardo’s page, The Writing Life: Writers’ Affirmations

The Affirmation Spot: 60 Affirmations for Authors, Writers, and Poets

 

Any that you’d like to share? Some that work for you? Please comment below.

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed, and have a great week!

The Journey to Publication, Writing

Inspired and Rearing to Go: Lessons Learned at Conference

As I write this, I’ve only been home from the RWA National conference for one full day, so my brain is still probably a bit mushy. But, I wanted to share some of the lessons that seemed to come across throughout the many workshops and talks I heard. Some of it you may have heard before, but I find sometimes, you just need to hear it again every so often to remind yourself of its validity.

  1. Be Flexible. This means flexible in how you accept and give critique, as well as flexible in what it means to be successful or fulfill your dreams; have you always felt that traditional publication was the best way? Who says? Perhaps e-books could be a great path you’re neglecting. Either way, be flexible enough to allow yourself freedom to see the opportunities instead of viewing the world through self-imposed blinders.
  2. Be Kind. Author Robyn Carr, in her luncheon speech, said that she felt about 50% of her success could be attributed to being patient and kind, whereas her agent felt it was more like 90%. We can help ourselves and control some of our success merely by being consistent, turning work in on or before deadline, and being kind and patient. To paraphrase Ms. Carr, we often think that the squeaky-wheel gets ahead with snark and breaking the rules; usually, the squeaky-wheel just gets replaced. We also have a tendency to be especially unkind to ourselves; often no one is meaner to you that your own inner voice. Treat yourself as you would your closest friend, with care and love.
  3. Be Consistent. This means consistent in the tone and type of books you deliver so you don’t disappoint your readers, as well as being consistent in your branding and interactions.
  4. Be Optimistic. While just a short time ago (and sometimes still if you look now), the news about the publishing world is all doom and gloom, this doesn’t have to be the case. Rather, as Stephanie Laurens described in her speech, this is an incredibly exciting time for writers. New modes of transmission – how we get our stories to readers – are opening up all the time, and so long as we continue to tell the best story we can, things are looking up for us. Indeed, so long as we continue to cherish and push for a positive version of our own success, how can it be otherwise?
  5. Be Innovative. As new worlds and methods of transmission of our words mature, and the internet and social networking become ever more a part of our lives, there are so many opportunities for innovation. We can be innovative in how we interact with readers and consumers, and we can continue to innovate in our writing itself, writing the book we most want to read.
  6. Be Brave. Sometimes this means continuing to submit or to put ourselves out there (especially if we’re still trying to go the traditional publication route), but it also takes incredible courage to put your work out there in the first place, no matter how you choose to do it. Be brave in continuing to write the story that you love, written because you had fun and you love it – because if you don’t, no one else will either.
  7. Be Professional. Writing may be an art, but publication is a business. The sooner you remember this – and demonstrate a business-like attitude in your dealings with other professionals, the better your chance at success. Use things like the S.W.O.T. Business Assessment, goal setting, and formal business plans to help you achieve your dreams.
  8. Be Realistic. Yes, you’re reaching for your dreams, but what are those? If you don’t ever become a NY Times Bestseller, will it be enough for you? Certainly we like to continue to expand our goals and visions, but what will it take for you to believe in your own success? If you don’t ever achieve your most lofty of goals, will that be okay? Reach for the stars, but decide what it means if you don’t quite reach them.
  9. Be Self-Aware. We often like to consider the readers’ and characters’ emotions and reactions, but what of our own? If you’re not feeling it as the writer, your reader won’t either. Translate your own emotions to the reader through use of language, tone, imagery, and subtext.
  10. Have Fun. This business is hard, no matter what your path or decisions. Maintaining a sense of humor will help. Again, paraphrasing Robyn Carr: “Take your writing seriously; yourself – not so much.”

So, what other lessons have you been learning recently? Is my list missing a few? Please, do share and comment below. Otherwise, have a great week, and happy writing!