Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Are You Ready to Go the Distance? - Writing Workshop Series

Are You Ready to Go the Distance?

It has been several weeks since I last wrote, but I have not given up. As I thought about what to say today, the word Perseverance came to mind. The meaning of the word is having a "steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success." What does that really say to you and I about our writing?

Many have this romantic idea about writing. Maybe you were like me and loved the movie series, "Murder She Wrote" about a school teacher turned mystery writer. Her rise to fame was quick and it took her to one location around the world after another. We never say save for a few episodes where she seemed to be having some writers blocks. In fact most of the time it seemed as if her books were developing, writing and publishing themselves.

If life were only like this, however it is not. So for the average writer you will have to be willing to move along step by step  striving to make it to that place where your work is produced. The chances of getting your work published by the traditional publishers are slim at best. So what is a writer to do? I would simply say this, if you believe your work it important then don't give up. Don't feel as if you are less than a writer if one of the well known publishing companies does not publish your book. In fact, if you really knew how many new authors that take each year, it would discourage anyone from being a writer. However, that is why self-publishing and assisted self-publishing has made such a big splash in the publishing world. You can even go to places like Amazon and use their publishing services.

I love the picture above of the snail. It said by perseverance the snail made it to the ark. Think about that for a moment. This snail had to have been willing to move along at his snail pace no matter what it came up against. And since they went in by two's that mean he had to be willing to help his partner kept on track as well. On this journey I think it is a great idea to get an accountability partner, someone that will walk along with you at the pace you are going to help you keep on track. They don't have to be writing as well, just someone you trust that will help keep you on the pace of you.

Maybe the snail say a faster moving animal come along and asked for a ride. Sometimes in this pursuit of reaching your place of safety (the place where you book is nurtured and published) you have to be willing to ask others for help. People you see getting to the destination a little faster than you. Maybe they have some suggestions, ideas or tools that can help you get to the location a little faster than you were going.

I have found it quite interesting that people don't like to ask for help. We have this unrealistic idea that the work in my head is perfect so I won't need any input or help to get if from my head to the finished work. I've seen work of people that thought that and I couldn't read what they wrote past the first few pages because it was so hard getting past the errors. If your work is important to you, be humble enough to receive all the help you can from others to help it make it to that place were it is ready for others.

The truth is, even the best writers, greatest inventors, or artist of any kind would tell you they had to edit their ideas several times before they got it to work. I like what the statements says in this picture, I have not failed, I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. If we take this type of attitude we are saying I know my work has merit and I know I will end up with a finished product. I simply must be willing to deal with the ideas that fail, the paragraphs that I must re-write because they really don't fit in with the idea I was trying to present. I have to pick a new cover, this one doesn't work. I have to scrap an entire section and start again. But in the end, it's worth it because I will accomplish my goal. 

I want to share a story. I may have already shared it, but it's worth sharing again. I finally got my books back from my publisher that closed. I thought I would be able to simply open up the file and make a few corrections and then quickly send it to be published. Every time I would try to make a correction, save it and then come back, it would be worst than before. Finally, it dawned on me that I was going to have to re-type both books. 

As I began to type I would have questions pop into my mind. I would say things like, I really want to make the page fancy. Or I want to have the chapter titles appear in the header. Or I want a special character or shape at the beginning of each chapter. As I was typing, I began playing around with the program and I began to come up with the ways to do what I wanted. In the end I realized I needed to take this slow and steady way because it allowed me to learn some things I would have missed had I tried the short cut way. Sometimes on your journey you may feel as if it is taking you too long to finish your project, or to get it to that place of publishing, however realize there is something you are learning in the process, something that will be vital for you later. In this instance, now when I am ready to publish, I will have several styles to present to my clients because I learned how to do them first hand.

So never give up, look up (for encouragement, guidance and assurance) but never give up. We are still working through the steps needed to get my publishing company going, we are moving slow and steady, but in the end we will accomplish what we started.

Until next time. Happy writing!