Friday, February 19, 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.



  1. I try really hard to keep myself on the up and up (much easier to do when your on prescription anti-depressants). And, I've always been relatively good at letting rejection roll off my shoulders. But, what really helps me is just always trying to do better. I want each book I write to be better than the one before it. I want each query I write to be better than the one before it. I even want each sentence I put onto paper to be better than the one before it.

    Call me a perfectionist, but I know that each time I churn out better writing I know that one day I will see my name in print. And, that's what works for me.

  2. This is such a pertinent piece of information. My present WIP (or what I'm trying to keep as my WIP) is really taking a toll. Hard to stay on it kind of thing. As you said, it reflects, then, in the work that is done on it. Which just makes me want to abandon it all over again.


  3. I am so excited about my latest WIP. I feel like I have finally found my voice, and the story is working well. I hope to start querying in a month or so, but as you said, there's no hurry. The market still sucks.

    Just keep building a set of work you can draw from when it comes back.


Join the conversation, add insight, or disagree with us! We welcome your thoughts.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.