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Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Places You'll Go, If You Really Want To

My oldest son is hanging out in New Zealand, and when I mentioned this to a friend who’d recently returned from that same country, the first thing she said to me was, “You’re going there, right?”

Um…I hemmed and hawed.

I love grand adventures, and I’ve always wanted to see New Zealand. Plus, I’d have my own personal tour guide, one I could even boss around.

But it’s…well, it’s New Zealand. Three thousand miles away. Over all that water.

And I hate the idea of flying over all that water. To be honest, I’m not very keen on flying over land, either.

My friend shrugged. “Take a sleeping pill for the flight and go,” she said, “if you really want to.”

If you really want to…a simple enough phrase. But it was packed with far more application than a trip to New Zealand.

I’d been reading Nina Amir’s, The Author Training Manual, and thinking about my writing career. Specifically, I’d been pondering what I’m willing to do, if I really want to succeed.

Would I hop on a plane and head to a venue to sell books because my publisher thought I needed to go? Is my writing career worth facing my extreme fear of flying?

Maybe I wouldn’t have to fly all over creation. Maybe I could just go by car all over the Southeast, scheduling classroom visits and attending book fairs. But I have a terrible sense of direction. Left to my own driving instincts, I could end up in Mexico instead of Mississippi. Is my writing career really worth hours on the road, driving around in circles?

Maybe I could just go to my kitchen (in my pj’s!) and do Skype visits. That’s the kind of marketing that would be squarely in my comfort zone.

It might be putting the cart before the horse, considering the marketing pros and cons of a book that hasn’t sold yet. But I think it’s worth a little bit of pondering, to consider my writing willingness factor. If I really want to make a go with traditional publishing, how far am I willing to go?

For me, that means thinking about how I’d market a book. Your willingness factor might be completely different. It might be whether you can go and speak in front of crowds of people, or if you’ll go from sitting in front of a TV to sitting in front of a laptop to write, or whether you’ll go and spend the necessary money on editing or other means to improve your craft.

It all comes down to the same concept, whether you’re pondering a trip to New Zealand or your wished-for success as a writer: how far you will go depends on how much you really want to.

~Cathy C. Hall
Photo courtesy of Joey Hall


  1. Cathy--While your son is there, fly to New Zealand. Take a sleeping pill (wash it down with a cocktail?) and fly.

    Or, take a "fear of flying" class, so after your book becomes a best-seller, you can fly from one continent to another, signing your books and flaunting COAS.

  2. New Zealand is worth the flight. If you don't go when you could have, you will regret it.

  3. Great thoughts, Cathy! I just had a wonderful critique w/Cynthea Liu, and I'm in that same boat. Am I willing to do her suggested changes to get where I want to be? (of course, but it'll take work)
    And NZ seems so beautiful. A lady in my critique group lives there. I think it's less air pollution at the bottom of the world, so to speak. GO! You might get some great story ideas!

  4. Gosh, y'all are making it awfully hard for me to pass up New Zealand. What are you, travel agents??? :-)

  5. Gee, Cathy, what a wonderful dilemma. I'm not keen on taking long flights, but a trip to New Zealand sound intriguing, especially if your son is there.

    As far as how far I'd go for my writing career--another dilemma. While I find joy in writing, I don't want my writing to get in the way of my life--at least that's what I keep telling myself on days when I don't push myself.


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