6. Writing – keeping a good attitude

6. Writing – keeping a good attitude

Part of the series “From Zero to Hero – Journey of a Novelist”
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I have a very bad habit. I often come across as insecure when I am striving to be humble.

When I was young, I was one of those straight-A students; but I was also a nerd and had a tough time relating to others. My defense mechanism was to play on my strength: being smart. Many years after high school, it finally dawned on me that this defense mechanism caused me to act quite snooty, which is one reason my relations never improved.

Once I realized that, I ensured that I never came across as arrogant or conceited. Unfortunately, the opposite happened: I appeared indecisive, unhappy, and insecure. Worse yet, when you label yourself in your head for too long, you develop the tendency to believe it.

I have not yet achieved any high position of status in my programming career, such as Director or Team Lead. I have, however, paid attention to my growth in business and not just in technical skills. One of the first things I learned was to adopt a decisive, firm handshake, and look others directly in the eyes when speaking. As my skillset developed, I became comfortable saying, “I’m good at that,” because I knew I could support it.

Here’s where I want to jump back to writing. If you have peeked at my other posts, you will see that I am a first-time writer. Just like when I started programming, I am not yet able to gauge my skillset in writing. I have no frame of reference, no one to compare to, no relevant experience. Therefore, I find that I’ve started back down the slippery slope of self-doubt.

This feeling is enforced when I find blogs attempting to be helpful by encouraging new writers to lose their unrealistic expectations. They cite statistics of books sold, percentages of new authors that don’t get published, and horror stories of finding agents. They list pages upon pages of things you have to learn and do before you even start. Nearly every turn brings me to believe that getting published is a near insurmountable hurdle.

I have also joined a forum, as well, and there is confusion, bitterness, and depression running rampant. Quite understandably, the whole process is extremely frustrating and disheartening for those who have worked so hard and still haven’t gotten their current work published.

Our attitudes are interfering with our ability to write.

FAIL

In response to this, and to overcome my own self-doubt, I would like to ask my fellow writers to join me in an experiment of my creation:

  1. You’re the exception; the diamond; the one-in-a-million

    Think back to the time when you first had your idea and thought it was the next advancement in the field of writing. Back when you had the best plot, the most engaging characters, and could grip readers from start to finish.

    Now – write.

    Write your bestseller until it’s done.

  2. Come back down to reality

    When it’s time to edit, rein your ego back in. This may not be until the end of the book, or it may come periodically when you pause to edit your last few chapters.

    Do not lose hope, and do not disrespect yourself or your skills, but open your mind to the task of making your story the best it can be. Remember, it’s all about getting the book read, so you need to revise it to appeal to readers.

    Take the extra time needed to learn basic writing skills, yet be careful of assuming that you must follow every piece of advice to the letter.

  3. Accept criticism good-naturedly, yet wisely

    Carefully choose from whom you receive your criticism. At this stage, the focus should not be on making you feel good, but on making improvements necessary for publication.

    Your critiques should come from trusted sources with as much relevant experience as possible. At the least, they should be quite familiar with works in your genre and length, and have a few successful publications. Even better is if you can find someone familiar with publishers, editors, and agents.

    Be sure to research any potential editors that will charge for their services, and do not send them your work until you have polished it (for best return on investment).

 

I would love to hear what you think of this idea.

Best of success,
Sue

Featured Image / Image
Copyright: stanciuc / 123RF Stock Photo

 

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3 thoughts on “6. Writing – keeping a good attitude

  1. I love the firm handshake, “I’m good at that.” … I never really “got there” consistently, but the times when I did, it really helped. With writing, it’s interesting because I’m coming from an entirely different mindset. I already have the story, end to end, already written – which is my dream. I’m going to “just” tell it, and I’ll do that in blog form. My only goal is to get the story heard (with or without bad writing skills) — as long as it’s understandable. I don’t personally have any further goals from there, but I guess I could get a couple hard copies made, just to show that I wrote a book.

    Unlike you, I have read many badly written books – mostly factual, but they got the job done. I’m referring to ones written “by” talk show hosts (which basically restate what they say on TV), or by “Success” people. One of the worst writers was “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.” He made big bucks – probably because he was also a good public speaker, and he made some interesting great points in the first half of his book, but the second half wasn’t worth reading. It basically said, that on the other hand, “men are the hunters and not the gathers” (which was already pointed out in the first half.)

    I was also going to mention Kickstarter, or Youtube, because a lot of people buy books because you’ve already been drawing them in — I’m somewhat recognized on YT, and might get some buyers from my “fans” but I think that for me, I’m just going to blog this dream, hope that some will follow the blog, read the story, maybe like it, and forget about it. Or there’s not other thought.

    If the story is captivating enough, and if I’ve outlined it clear enough to memorize the story, then I might want to think in terms of trying to get myself on a TedTalk.

    Like

    1. I’ve learned so far that there are several different ways to write and get read.

      • Blog: No cost to your readers, very free form, could go viral, also could backfire
      • Crowdfunding: Sorry, I have NO idea what this is, however I’ve seen heated debates, and yet I do have a “blog buddy” that seems to use InkShares very successfully. Seems to be a “self-publishing” thing.
      • Self Publishing. Check out Amazon CreateSpace. If one goes the route to get their work professionally edited by CreateSpace or anyone, to me this seems to be the MOST money you will shell out. If, however, you publish it on up there and all your editing and fixing up of your story is free (either yourself and/or your critique partners) then it basically costs nothing whatsoever. Of course, now you have to figure out how to sell it.
      • Traditional Publishing: No Agent. You “find”/research an Editor in a Publishing house – one that accepts submissions directly from authors (not all do) – and hope they pick you (very, very competitive). If they like you, they offer YOU money – you don’t pay them.
      • Traditional Publishing: Literary Agent. You “find”/research a Literary Agent to act as your go-between and salesperson. They find the Publishing houses, they negotiate contracts, they fight for you – and they take 15% commission of every dime you earn (WELL WELL worth it). When your book is accepted, the pub company offers YOU money – you don’t pay them. But either Traditional pub is extremely competitive.

      If you’re just wanting to get some ideas down, practice writing, and solicit feedback, and see how much you like it, why don’t you just set up a Blog Series? Pick some “theme” and then on a schedule – once a week (or more) – write a medium-length blog following along generally on the theme. Like with me, I have a “Writing” theme and an “A-Z Blogging Challenge theme (self-confidence)”.

      No pressure, no deadlines, no worries.
      Start there and see how you like it.

      Like

    2. Oh, and right – sharing your story doesn’t always have to mean writing a novel or blog or poems or anything – it can be uploaded art, YouTube Videos, whatever. Just know your audience, and what they prefer – if indeed your goal is to have an audience. And if you don’t really have that goal, that’s totally fine too. Writing for fun – there’s nothing in the world wrong with that; you don’t have to show anyone you don’t want to.

      Like

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