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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Belief In Yourself: A Valuable Writing Tool

Writing is an incredibly competitive field and there are so many of us out there. But there are a good handful of truly gifted writers who always seem to continuously get their work out there and read and have a great following of loyal readers to boot. How do they do that? Because they love what they do and, most importantly, they believe in their work.

Belief in yourself and what you do is a major component to success. As a writer, when that belief isn’t there, it comes across in your words and your audience feels it. We’ve all questioned our abilities from time to time and to get over it, you need more than the 10-inch thick skin a lot of people suggest you should have to make it in this line of work.

Here are a few suggestions to help you keep up your positive energy:

* File away everything insightful and useful that you learn from editors, publishers, writing mentors and peers then discard the rest. Just because someone with more experience offers you his or her advice doesn’t mean you need to take it as gold. Take only what you can use or that applies to. Why torture yourself?

* Surround yourself with positive people with a mixture of experience who you know will be honest with you. Having people only give you the good stuff isn’t going to help you one bit. But anything more brutal than constructive criticism isn’t good either.

* Wear rejections as badges of honor. This is something I learned from the phenomenal Mary Rosenblum. It takes a lot of guts to send out a query or your entire manuscript to an editor. And it counts. Be proud of that, use the experience to your advantage and do better next time. I can tell you that before it was accepted, my book “Not Just Spirited: Living With Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)” that’s coming out in August was rejected so many times, I thought I’d need an extra folder to store them! The problem, as I figured out later, wasn’t that it was a memoir or my writing sucked—because I’d had so many editors actually tell me they’d wished they could take it on—it was because the niche was so specialized, it didn’t fit neatly into a category. Once I figured that out and queried the “right” editors, it was snagged up right away. Listen and learn.

* Have that one person on your side who believes in you even when you don’t. It could be a writing bud, editor, friend, lover, parent, uncle, aunt, child or best friend. As mentioned earlier, that person should be honest but with a good level of decorum. You need someone to light that fire under your butt when you’re discouraged, beaten down or tired of it all. They’ll help you pick up, dust off and move on. That’s so important.

* No matter what never, ever make someone think you have to rip apart everything just to sell it. Of course, you have to make sure it’s “publishable” by having it professionally edited and making appropriate changes. But don’t ever be talked into changing your work into something you never intended it to be. Forge ahead and find that one person willing to take a chance on you.

I realize these may seem like simple solutions but they’ve worked for me. I’m one of the most paranoid, insecure people out there (yeah…that’s something to admit to the world.) But I’ve gotten where I am by building up that little light inside of me and allowing people to see it shine and you can do it too.

We believe in you all. Please tell us about your own success tips and what you’ve done to get there!


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:52 PM

    I don't remember who said it, but they say it on Doctor Who a lot "Be the lightning in the rain."

    When all seems drery and dark the lightning is the only thing that shines through, reminding you that everything is still there.

    Thank you for this post!

    Carla Michelle


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