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Quelling Your Fears

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Yesterday I met up with another NaNoWriMo writer to discuss building a community of writers. We have this vision of the craziness of NaNoWriMo being carried throughout the year. We are hoping to create some meet ups to help with education, community and improving our work.

One of the ways we spoke about is critique. My suggestion of reading work out loud for critique created a visceral reaction during my meeting. It reminded me that fear is the thing that keeps us stuck.

Critique is one of those things that I have both craved and feared the entire time I’ve been writing. As with many writers, I crave that affirmation that feedback often gives. Unfortunately, along with the good feelings comes the bad when critique is given.

Too often we focus on the problems in our writing as with our lives, giving into the fears: “I can’t do that,” “I’m not good enough,” or “I should just quit.” I know I’ve said these things to myself many times.

And I’m not the only one.

I’m going to give you the secret I have discovered and, mostly, believe whenever I am confronted with my own fears:

“The best way out is always through.” Robert Frost

This may seem a bit counterintuitive but I have found that whatever I was dealing with that caused my fear to spike was never as bad as I thought it was going to be. The term “just do it” from Nike comes to mind.

Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t dissolve into my fears and let them paralyze me for a time. No, I generally have to take some time to work through my fears. As I’ve done this I’ve discovered I have fewer fears all together. I often surprise myself.

Reading my work out loud always cause me to have butterflies in my stomach and my inner critic to come out. I am nearly always glad when I am finished and I get some suggestions. Not that all of them are good nor are they all bad, I still have the choice to follow. I am just given more to think about. My work is always better for having done this.

How do you deal with your fears about your work, whether it is writing or something else?

Pursuing Your Dream

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What does it take to pursuit your dream?

Passion

Perseverance

Pain

All of the above?

Is it more than just hard work?

I listened to a webinar today from Jennifer Blanchard. She spoke about what happens after you write your first draft. The information covered the editing process all the way through publishing. She even gave possible timelines.

For me it was a reality check.

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I began this pursuit of my writing dream. I don’t think I quite believed the length of time it would take for others to take notice of my writing. I don’t even think I knew what it would take to write an entire novel.

When people talk about the one novel a year for this author or many years for that person, I think I didn’t want to believe it. I wanted to believe that mine would be different. That I would be the one to beat the odds.

It may be me, someday. However there are some things that are in the way of my own success:

I need to finish my novel. I’ve finished one, that in my rewriting process has turned into three and I am only about 1/3 of the way through the first one.

I need to send in my work. Since I also write flash fiction, there is a possibility for publication but I would need to submit work.

I need to edit my work. I’m pretty sure I have tried to convince myself that my work doesn’t need editing. I know it’s not true but I can dream and still not get my editing done.

I also need to keep writing. Before this week I would have said no problem. Not now. This week has been challenging to keep going, though I continue to write.

Everyone has their own path to their dream. My own path is not without its pitfalls and dark places. However, there is plenty of light for my way. I will persevere.

How are you pursuing your dreams?

Opportunities and Updates

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A few years ago, just when ebooks were becoming popular and book stores were closing in droves, people talked about the difficulties of writing and making a living. The opportunities were drying up. Things were changing and it didn’t look good.

Fast forward those few years and, it seems to me that there has been an explosion in opportunities for writers. As long as you are willing to cut your own path that is.

While traditional publishing is still viable (at least I hope so when my book is ready), there are many other options. E-publishing has grown exponentially as well as self-publishing. Each of these paths comes with their own strengths and weaknesses.

The message I have been hearing over and over is that each writer must be prepared to be their own salesperson. Regardless of the chosen path, if you want your words to sell, it is up to you.

There is help for this. Writing blogs and social media are a huge help as well as just getting out there and meeting people face to face. Community has probably never been more important than it is right now. The networking opportunities within different groups both online and off are a goldmine for getting the word out about your work.

It is not longer just about the writing. Competition is fierce and yet, here I am, writing. I’m grateful to be here at this time. It is exciting to see where this world of writing is going. As long as I am willing to work for it, my success depends on me.

How do you see the opportunities for success in writing today?

Update

I am just past the second full week of my dual challenge and I have to say, I am doing well.

The blogging challenge has been eye-opening and fun. I’m pleasantly surprised by the fact that I’ve been able to keep up. Its been fun coming up with different ideas for each day. Note to self: plan a theme next year and think of these things ahead of time. I have discovered it is a bit of pressure if I don’t have an idea and I need to get things done for posting.

Camp NaNoWriMo is still going, though not as strongly as before. This has been a slow week though I am nearly three-quarters of the way to my goal. Between work and my “regular” life, it has been difficult to find the energy to write. I’m still on track to complete the challenge, though I’d hoped that I would have gotten more of my novel done. We’ll see how the end of the month works out.