Finding Strength in the Journey

CharityBradford By CharityBradford, 22nd Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/l8lj05pn/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Tips

This journey to published author is a strange and winding road of contradictions. At times it’s solitary and demanding. Other times it’s a flurry of social activity. Perhaps the best times are those somewhere in between. One thing is for certain, if you choose to travel this road you WILL experience bouts of soul crushing rejection and doubt. How do you pick yourself up and continue along your way?

Remember WHY You Write

“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.” ~Dieter F. Uchtdorf (“Happiness, Your Heritage”, October 2008)

Most of us write because we must. Something deep inside of us compels us to find the words to express some part of the human experience. To make sense of it. To find an element of control over the uncontrollable. We write to examine our darkest fears, bring them out into the light and vanquish them in the hopes the next generation can escape their icy grip.

We don’t write to be famous, although that would be a bonus. When you come to realize that writing is more about who you are than a career choice, you can deal with the waiting, self doubt and rejections much better.

Be Willing To Learn

Writing your first novel is a huge accomplishment. You’ve done something few people ever do. However, one novel doesn’t mean you’re ready to join Rowling, Meyer, Patterson, King, Card, Martin, or whatever author you admire. Five or six novels may not be enough if you’re not willing to learn and grow. Every writer can become better. As we learn more about our craft and practice daily, our skill set increases.

Great writing groups, beta readers and critique partners are a valuable part of this learning process. We must learn how to accept constructive criticism and improve because of it. This doesn’t mean we have to change everything in our story because someone made a comment. It means we need to open our minds and evaluate what that question or suggestion really means in the context of our story.

It's All Subjective

“I have a problem when people say something’s real or not real, or normal or abnormal. The meaning of those words for me is very personal and subjective.” ~ Tim Burton

Agents, publishers, readers, everyone has different life experiences and different taste in books. We learn this early on with beta readers. But do we really learn from it?

One beta reader returns a section covered in comments and questions. They hate it, or simply don't get it and you despair. Then a second reader returns the same section with lots of comments on how brilliant you are and this is "OMGosh the best scene EVER!"

What the heck?

As the writer, what do you do with this kind of information?

First off, you can’t change your story every time someone makes a comment. Why not? Because enjoying a story is dependent on each individual reader. You will never be able to write a book that every human on this planet will love. It’s not possible. That’s why you need to understand why you write and why you feel compelled to tell this particular story.

Understand those two things and you can stay true to yourself and your characters. Questions, comments and suggestions are simply clues to what one person sees, or doesn't see, in your story. It’s up to you as a writer to use those clues in your pursuit to a final product.

This holds true for agent rejections as well. These gate keepers are flooded with stories and they can only handle so many at a time. This means they get to be picky. If your story isn't their cup of tea they will say “Sorry, this isn't for me, but I’m sure there is an agent out there for you.”

That doesn't mean your novel is un-sellable. It just means it didn't fall on their side of the subjective line.

Prepare for the Reality of Published Author

“I will prepare and someday my chance will come.” ~Abraham Lincoln

There are loads of blogs out there about how to prepare for success. They speak of platform building and professionalism. However, none of them prepared me for the emotional rollercoaster of achieving my dream.

We are writers because of one fundamental thing. We have great imaginations. In fact, all of us carry a vision of what life will look like when our book is released into the world. Mine includes billboards on the side of the highway with my cover and author photo, people cheering and falling over each other to get to the pile of books at signings, interviews for morning shows and directors lining up to offer me movie deals. Does yours look similar?

Sometimes the hardest part about getting published is that the reality is so different from the dream in our heads.

My debut novel was released last February, and you know what? I still have to get up at the crack of dawn to get all my kids off to school. I have to clean my house, wash clothes, run errands and cook dinner. Life continues just as it did when I was just a writer. And 99.9% of the world doesn't even know I wrote a book.

Focus on the Positive

“You are essentially who you create yourself to be and all that occurs in your life is the result of your own making.” ~Stephen Richards, Think Your way to Success: Let Your Dreams Run Free

It would be all too easy for my over active imagination to send me into a tailspin. But reality doesn't have to feed our doubt. Every story we write is an accomplishment and something we should be proud of.

Here are some ideas to help us stay motivated and focused on the positive.

• Stay busy
• Write something new
• Read good books
• Eat chocolate
• Buy something as a reward (new shoes, shirt, something)
• Go to dinner to celebrate accomplishments with family or friends
• Remember why we write
• Learn Patience

No matter where you are on this journey be prepared for surprises. There are going to be moments of joyful discovery and sessions of doubt, but in the end the journey is more than worth it.

Tags

Authors, Creative Expression, Motivation, Patience, Positive Thinking, Subjectivity, Writers, Writing

Meet the author

author avatar CharityBradford
I'm a science fiction and fantasy author with two books currently available. Check out my website at charitybradford.com or find me on Facebook and twitter.

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Comments

author avatar Connie McKinney
22nd Oct 2013 (#)

Great advice, Charity. Thanks for sharing.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
22nd Oct 2013 (#)

Thanks for the heads up, cheers!

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author avatar vellur
22nd Oct 2013 (#)

Great tips and advice.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
22nd Oct 2013 (#)

Very helpful page and information...many thanks Charity...

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author avatar CharityBradford
22nd Oct 2013 (#)

Thanks to all of you for stopping by and commenting!

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author avatar C.D. Moore
22nd Oct 2013 (#)

Well written advice.

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
22nd Oct 2013 (#)

The greatest strength in your journey is knowing your life dream and path and fulfilling it and giving it back to the Creator on completion.
With regard to writing, it is the art of piece coherent thoughts together to make a whole and complete pictures that no one else but the writer interprets correctly leaving the rest into assumptions and presumptions of who and what they are.
There is something called stand in the gap in the Bible and that means a protective shield and covering pushes and evades all negativity that could break you down on your journey.
Well its my personal life report , its how I made myself a writer and the one of my own journey as essentially life is all about me and everyone else has their OWN journey to live.

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author avatar CharityBradford
22nd Oct 2013 (#)

Thanks C.D!

And Lady Aiyanna, isn't it wonderful to know that we all have our individual journeys to live? It's nice when we can walk together at times.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
23rd Oct 2013 (#)

I feel like you reached into my head and pulled out these words. I was (and still am) so happy about Friday's book signing. But when talking to others (who have never written a book), some of their comments took the wind from my sails. That's not to say that I did not have many wonderful supportive comments. But isn't it amazing how we can feel we deserve the negative feedback, and not the positive? I'm still working on that. Great article!!

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author avatar Tranquilpen
24th Oct 2013 (#)

That was a real treat Charity thank you.

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