Before I begin this week’s blog, I’d like to welcome Diana Quincy, who has officially joined The Violet Femmes. This busy author juggles family, a day job, and writing. Her first book, Seducing Charlotte, is available now. And we can look forward to reading the sequel, Tempting Bella, which will be available September 9th. Click the “Our Books” tab for links to Diana’s books, and catch up with Diana and her latest releases at http://dianaquincy.com. Welcome, Diana, and we look forward to reading your posts!
Rejection, low contest scores, plot or conflict issues, negative feedback on your WIP? Sound familiar to anyone? Or should I say, does this sound familiar to EVERYONE! Like most of us who’ve embarked on this writing journey, you can identify with one or all of these. All can negatively impact our confidence and weaken our desire to continue to pursue our dream.
Generally, I’m a positive person and work hard to accomplish any goal that’s important to me. But I’d be lying if I said I never succumbed to feeling like I’ve hit a wall and can’t figure out a way to get to the other side.
A few months ago, I listened to a motivational speaker from my day job who spoke about accomplishing goals. Her name’s Vernice Armour (http://vernicearmour.com/), and she’s the United States Marine Corps’ first African American female pilot. I found her words very inspiring and applicable to any aspect of your life. Here are some key takeaways and how I related them to writing.
“Acknowledge obstacles but don’t give them power.” Vernice Armour
We’re told when we first started writing that it’s a hard business to break into. It’s a hard realization to understand until you’re there. And once you are, you have two choices: you can put that manuscript and your laptop away or you can keep going. Start a new project or revise your WIP, applying lessons you’ve learned along the way. Keep working to perfect your craft and to make your writing the best it can be. Continue to pitch your stories and seek alternative forms of publication.
“Develop your peripheral vision without losing the main target.” Vernice Armour
As Jaye wrote about last week, we all have a dream of where we want our writing career to be in one, three, or five or more years. But we need to be careful when pursuing that goal, not to narrow our focus so much that we don’t see other potential options that may also achieve that goal, but differently than we thought. As the publishing landscape changes, it makes available doors that didn’t exist a few years ago. Don’t close yourself off to opportunities because it wasn’t part of your original plan.
“Bloom where you’re planted.” Vernice Armour
This is my favorite quote from Vernice. Wherever you are in your career, do the best to succeed. And by succeed, I mean succeed based on YOUR definition of success. That’s the only one that matters. Make the most of what you have or what cards you’re dealt. As a kid, I remember my mom telling me that there’s always someone who has something better than what you have. It may be nicer clothes, a bigger house, or a faster car. As a writer, there’s always going to be someone who gets the bigger contract, sells more books, or gets sold. But try, as hard is it may, not to compare your accomplishments to those of other writers. It’s not fair to you and won’t help progress your career.
“Failure is not your final destination.” Vernice Armour
Need I say anymore? We’re all in this to succeed, which ultimately means getting published. There are many steps between typing “Chapter 1” and getting published. There are small victories along the way. Finishing your first story is a major accomplishment. When you’ve polished it the best you can, submit it to agents and editors. You’ll get rejections, but hopefully you’ll gain knowledge that will help strengthen your writing. Submit for RWA PRO. This is another huge milestone on your way to publication and shows your determination to succeed.
Get moving. Writing is a solitary job and it’s very easy to plant ourselves down in front of the computer with a bowl full of Tostitos. Make sure you take care of your body and your mind. Stay away from the snack foods—they may be good but could suck away your creative energy—and eat healthier. Get up, even if it’s to walk around your house or the block. Have fun with friends and family. You can’t eat, sleep, and drink writing 24×7. Give your mind a break and do something you enjoy.
Here’s a fun collage my daughter helped me create. It celebrates some wonderful accomplishments and memorable moments since having started to write.
I’ve met some wonderful women since joining NJRW, and am proud to celebrate everyone’s success. As I accepted my First Sale award from NJRW this past Saturday, I realized how powerful we all are. I can remember being a nervous introvert at my first NJRW meeting four years ago. And while the introvert tendency still lurks in me, my network of talented and smart women has empowered me to be a better writer and step out of my shell.
While I was talking to Joanna, Michele, and RoseAnn at lunch over the weekend about my blog post, Joanna mentioned Ashton Kutcher’s speech at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards. After listening to it, I was impressed by what he had to say. I’ve pasted a link to it below. It’s not long and has some good words of wisdom. Thanks, Joanna!
As a writer, I’ve bloomed into the next phase of my writing career. And while I know there will continue to be ups and downs, I’m grateful for all I’ve accomplished. I hope all of you reading this will look for ways to acknowledge but not enable any obstacles you face. And remember, FAILURE IS NOT YOUR FINAL DESTINATION!