Monday, February 16, 2009

Welcome Words of Wisdom

Yesterday, at our local chapter meeting, I got to hear our wonderful Mavens (Linda Howard, Linda Winstead Jones, and Beverly Barton) answer questions on anything and everything we wanted to know about writing and publishing.

Being the generous women and professionals they are, they answered over fifty questions about this crazy pursuit of passion called Being an Author. But at the end of the day, I came away with only 2 words written on my notepad. I can’t remember which one even said it, maybe Beverly, but the 2 words I took home with me were:


There were many other lessons that I soaked up like a sponge, but this is what resonated with me in that moment, mostly because the ticking clock in my head has turned up its volume exponentially. I’m not sure why, but I think it is because:

1. I turn 35 this year. Though I’ve never had any qualms about birthdays before this, for some reason 35 is bothering me, making me realize there are several things in my life I had wanted to accomplish by now that don’t seem any closer than they did 2 or 3 years ago. Establishing a career writing romance is one of those things. I seem no closer now than I have in the past, despite years of hard work.
2. All those “years” of hard work are adding up. I started my first book when Drama Queen was almost 3. Soon, she’ll be 9. I’ve been submitting for publication for 4 years and have completed 5 books. Less time than some people had to put in, but more than others.

I’m admitting here that I’ve been discouraged. After all, writing is hard, no matter how much you love it. It takes time away from my family and money out of pocket for dues, submissions, and conferences. But after listening to the discussions going on around me at our meeting, I know I’m where I belong. Despite the seeming lack of forward progress lately, I can’t imagine doing anything else with my spare time but creating stories. Okay, on the occasional bad day, even cleaning house tempts me to walk away from the book, but…

So no more wallowing in discouragement! Let’s talk today about perseverance and keeping the motivation high. What are your secrets to going the distance, whether your goal is publishing your first book, losing those last ten pounds, or getting that dream job?


P.S. When author Susan Gable visited us on the blog, she graciously chose me as the winner of her book. Upon receiving it, I realized I’d already read (and loved) it. So today I’m going to pass it along to introduce someone else to this wonderful story, The Pregnancy Test. Simply comment to enter!


Smarty Pants said...

I'm right there with you. All we can do is keep writing, keep submitting and trust in the universe.

Problem Child said...

Hmm, I'm guessing my "the universe is unfolding as it should" mantra isn't going to give much comfort today...

How about this? *WE* believe in you.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

I started writing seriously when I was 25. After ups and downs, quitting and doing other things for a few years, coming back to it because I really DID want to be a romance author, I sold at the age of 41 (only two weeks after that birthday).

Every single moment you spend working on this career is NOT a moment wasted. You may think you're spinning your wheels, you may feel like it will never happen, but there is only ONE way it won't happen: you have to let the fear defeat you and you have to quit.

Don't quit, and I guarantee you'll get there. But don't put a time limit on it because you just never know. I thought I would be published much sooner than I was. Fate had some lessons in humility for me to learn. :)

Those Mavens are dang smart. Joining HOD and listening to their combined wisdom for the last two years helped to push me forward when I felt like my wheels were spinning. I just couldn't quit ever again.

I took a lot away from the meeting too. And yes, KEEP WRITING was the main message I got. Because I can't control everything about my career, but I can control what I put on the page. Awesome lesson.

Hugs, Angel, for the self-doubt and the frustration. And cheers for the determination to persevere. :)

Smarty Pants said...

You know, the career path thing really stuck with me, too. You can't compare yourself to anyone else. I know its hard when others seem to zoom past you, but everyone is on their own path. There's someone behind us grumbling, too. You just can't give up - that's the only sure way to fail.

Instigator said...

I keep motivated by keeping my goal in mind. I've been waffling on my diet lately but I keep from picking up that brownie by envisioning myself in fabulous clothes. It's happening a heck of a lot slower than I'd like but I'll get there, eventually.

Angel, you are going to make it! You are an amazing writer!


Anonymous said...

Please continue to KEEP WRITING! Yes, we have those days but we have to continue on. For me, it's selling my home. It's been on the market since July 08, and I am ready to move. I have to keep telling myself patience. Trust me it's not easy, especially mentally I have readied myself to move on. I do know that my dad would be so pleased that I am moving back to my hometown, even though he's not here to see it.
ps, ditto, do not give up - believe

Crystal Lee said...

I used to think that if I didn't do everything I wanted to by the time I turned 30, I would never do it. I have since come to realize the folly in such an outlook. I am 48 now (I don't mind telling you how old I am - after all, it's just a number!), and my creative force is more vibrant now than ever before. I believe I will be published one day, and I strive daily (yes, I have written without fail each day since Jan. 1, 2009) toward that end.

Hang in there, Angel, and keep writing. You can do it!

Kathy said...

Hey, Angel! I'm in the same place right now. Hugs!

Keep Writing. A very good mantra. But one of the Maven's finished that with, "There will be no chance of ever getting published if you stop."

I also heard, "Trust yourself."

I took extensive notes. One Maven said, "Remember you're not in competition with anyone other than yourself. Concentrate on your writing."

Another said,"Every career has an individual path. Embrace your own."

"Listen to your gut."
"Worry can paralyze you."
"Strike a balance so you get what you want."
"Respect what you've done!"

We'll get there, Angel. Believe it! ;)

Playground Monitor said...

I didn't start writing until after I turned 50 and am only 2 years and 2 months away from being 60. Oh God. Y'all are really gonna have to hold my hand on that birthday. I may ignore that my meds don't mix with alcohol and have a couple shots of Jack to dull the pain.

Anyway, I'm still hanging in on chapter 10 which has taken way too long to write (and I will be discussing it privately with y'all in a few).

PC is right; WE belive in you. Your kids will grow up sooner than you think and then something else will step in to take the place of parenthood. As Roseanne Roseannadanna said, "It's always something."

M.V.Freeman said...

I recently found a quote from Winston Churchill that has really kept me going, and actually, all of us are saying it now,

"Never, Never, Never give up!"

I'm using that as my focus.

catslady said...

Take one day at a time otherwise it can be too overwhelming. It's all relative too - I'm 58 so your 36 sounds downright childlike!!! You would always second guess yourself if you quit. Very few things are done overnight and it seems perserverance is the key. Do what you love and if you love writing somehow you will find time (and resources) to do it. Have a\I mentioned enough platitudes lol. But I guess these sayings are there for a reason. I always thought I'd get to go to college but gave up on the dream at that magic number of 30. In hindsight I shouldn't have given up!

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Catslady, it's never too late. My mother is going back to college at the age of 61. Even better, she found out that our state gives free tuition to people 60 and over. All she has to do is pay for the books. Not bad!!

We may have to give up on our Olympic gymnast dreams when we're over the age of 20, but not everything has such a time limit. :)

Linda Winstead Jones said...

I'm late checking in late because I was babysitting all day. Fun, but exhausting.

I have always struggled with weight issues, and just yesterday I was struck by a thought. Willpower sounds like something you either have or you don't. Self discipline is more in my control. So, I've decided to attack this diet with self discipline. Plateau or no, agonizing slowness or not, this is in my control.

Same with writing. It takes a tremendous amount of self discipline to finish a book. More to continue on when things aren't moving as they should. You have it Angel, I know it! :-)


Virginia said...

Hang in there girl, you will get there sometime!

I have to be the one to motivate myself and I just keep telling myself that I can do it. Although lately I have lacked in motivation myself. I think some spring weather is going to get me motivated, I hope.

Angel said...

I agree that it is so much easier to get past the roadblocks of doubt when you have both friends around you for support and wonderful inspirational women willing to share their experience.

Very interesting thoughts on willpower and self-control, Maven Linda! I've always tried to focus on what I can control with my writing (i.e. I can write the book, I can't force someone else to read it). I seriously need to think about that in terms of my diet.

Robertsonreads--I'm praying you'll sell that house soon. You've been working on that for a while!

Christine said...

Angel, thanks for a great post. I'm 46... and I almost put a limit on myself -- stop when 50 and the college dues are on the horizon. But.... not anymore.

I loved the panel for their gift of time and timeless advice.


And remember the reason you wanted to write? The one that makes you keep pushing on.

I'm doing Book in a Week. I love it because for the first time in a year plus I am reconnecting with my inner passion for writing. It's wonderful to write FOR ME. And I believe one of the mavens said that she had written for herself for twenty years.

And then the best thing happened: she got paid to do it!

You will get there. Never give up. Never surrender.

My favorite quote:


Misty Wright said...

Yep, many of us are there with you, Angel. Those are two very good words. :)

M. said...

I hear you on the expense-related part. RWA just announced fee increases (which for me, as a 'foreign' member, are even more for postal reasons) which in my head, I translated to "that could be two pairs of kids' winter boots", and my husband has started making noises about contest entry fees etc. adding up. In this kind of economy, those costs can start to hurt.

Marcy said...

I agree, it's hard to keep motivated sometimes. But when it's in your blood, there's no alternative!