Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Are you shooting yourself in the foot?

I know this sounds like an odd question, but bear with me.

Think about your present WIP. Tell me the first word that pops into your head. Or the first feeling.

Now think about your writing process. Tell me the first word that pops into your head. Or the first feeling.

Are you querying? No prob. Tell me the first word or feeling that pops into your head.

Now I want you to take a step back and look at those words.

What are you telling yourself about your writing, your passion, every day?

I believe this is really, really important. Because your brain is set up to bring about that which you think. You feel. If you're down on your WIP, it's gonna show. If you're feeling insecure and hating the agent search (and by association, yourself for putting yourself through it) it's gonna show.

Now I'm not saying that you need to go into the process with rainbows and puppies, all right? But these damaging thoughts:

- why am I trying anyway? I know it's a crapshoot.
- but so and so agent said NEVER to do this! If I do this, I'm stupid!
- oh crap, another rejection. This is NEVER gonna work.
- why can't I get past this stupid, stupid scene? I hate this scene! I hate you, scene!

and others only hurt your process. Remember, you're doing this because you love it and you're LEARNING, for crying out loud, with every sentence and scene and chapter and section and book you're doing. Don't knock yourself up about it! What's the point? Life is too short.

I do not pretend to know everything, and I can't and won't offer you advice on how to do anything I haven't done myself. But I struggled with this for a long time until I just had the paragraph thought you see above you, at the end of last year.

There's no rush! Publishing is not gonna break down tomorrow! It might substantially change, but that'll just mean you're a forerunner. If you don't get your book done, your agent, your book deal RIGHT THIS SECOND, life will not end.

It won't.

And if you can control your thoughts about your situation, it might - might - even get sweeter. Just a thought.



notenoughwords said...

Well said! There needs to be a certain about of faith in yourself before you can really progress. Beating yourself up achieves nothing except making you feel sad!

Sara McClung ♥ said...

This is a REALLY good post. I'm bookmarking it for when I need this type of reminder!

Patti said...

I so needed that today. I think you were inspired.

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

i needed this today - thanks girl!

Heidi Willis said...

hmm...was I the one that said crapshoot?? :)

my macbook power cord burst into flames, my Nook caput, and my kids have been home for 15 days. Seriously, it was just a bad day. :)

Great words to live by.

Are you sure you aren't surrounded by puppies and rainbows? I think all this bed rest is going to your head. :) In a good way.

pseudosu said...

uber post. So true. Much needed advice.

Alex Bledsoe said...

Very well put. And succinct, too, which is a plus. :-)