Friday, May 19, 2006

Today's Motivational

Are you discouraged, depressed, angry, or overwhelmed by your writing career?

Check all that apply to you:
  • You can't find an agent.
  • Your agent can't sell your book.
  • You can't finish your book.
  • You can't sell your short story.
  • Your book isn't selling well.
  • Your publisher isn't doing anything to promote you.
  • You got a bad review.
  • You didn't get any reviews.
  • You had a poorly attended signing/event/appearance.
  • You're not making enough money.
  • You're not making any money.
  • Your family and friends aren't supportive.
  • You keep getting rejections.
  • Your career is stagnant.
  • Your career is on the down swing.
  • You don't have a career.
  • You don't see any results from your efforts.
  • You no longer make an effort.
  • You're trying your best and nothing is working out.

If any of these apply to you, what's the solution? To keep banging your head against the wall, with no end in sight? To give up and move on? To completely change the way you're doing things? To celebrate small victories, and try to learn from failures?

No. No. No. And no.

Take a hint from poorly written characters and look at what you're doing. You're reacting.

Each of the above complaints is a reaction to something.

Reaction is passive. In fiction, passive is a no-no.

Be active.

The results of your actions are out of your hands--you have no control over them. But you have 100% control over what your do.

You got into this business for a reason. Reaching that goal involves action, not reaction.

Getting discouraged, depressed, angry, or overwhelmed isn't going to get you closer to your goal.

But writing, submitting, and promoting will get you closer. Even if you don't immediately see the results.

Don't psych yourself out of the game. A thousand mile journey begins with a single step.

As long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other, the finish line isn't simply possible.

It's inevitable.

23 comments:

Julia said...

Thanks, Joe.

That was a much needed reminder. I have been questioning my decision to write as a career.

And you are right! I'm going to "be active!" Right now, after I'm done reading my favorite blogs (just kidding...I'm starting again now!)

Mark Terry said...

"Put one foot in front of other..."

I can just see the dancing elf... and reindeer...

"Bumbles bounce!"

Brings a tear to my eye.

JA Konrath said...

We can learn a lot from Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Such as: It's okay to make fun of people who are different than you, because then they'll save the day.

And: Running away from your problems works out in the end.

F Train 2 Brooklyn said...

Keep at it. Publishing is difficult to break into - especially fiction. Go to workshop, hire a book doctor, get a critique partner (a good one), read, read, and read some more. If you're good - it'll happen.

Mark Terry said...

An even more important thing to learn from Rudolph is:

People will hate you and insult and ridicule you until they need you, then you're their your best friend.

Gee, makes me feel all warm inside.

Jude Hardin said...

Excellent post, Joe. The bullet I checked was the one about finishing the book. That's where it all has to start, right? We all have our abominable snowmen trying to block our paths, but in the end "the play's the thing."

Get it done, polish it, send it out, wait. While you're waiting, get started on something new.

My abominable snowman is procrastination and self-doubt.
What's yours, anybody?

Jeri said...

Hate to be pedantic, but "One Foot in Front of the Other" is from "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." That's the one in which Santa is still young, still Mickey Rooney, and not yet a complete ass.

Thanks for the motivation, Joe. This is one of those "each word is a triumph" weeks. The writing is slow, but I find stuffing promo envelopes helps me meditate on plot and keep me from panicking. Maybe because, like you said, it's active. Beats staring at the wall cradling a glass of Jim Beam.

Cheryl Mills said...

I will never look at Rudolph the same again.

But I love your blog, Joe. Must admit, I haven't read your books yet, but as a former bartender, I love the names.

I promise, next book binge will include at least one, probably two, of yours. Is that too much sucking-up?

Mark Terry said...

Aw, damn. Wrong story?

So what's the moral of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town?"

All good deeds are rewarded by being forced to take asylum in arctic wastelands.

Breaking & entering can lead to an interesting career move.

You just can't rehabilitate a good claus--he'll always remain a criminal.

She may be hot and svelte at first, but after a couple hundred years she'll be white-haired and fat.

If at first you can't make a living at it, force your adopted family into slave labor and give your work away. (And no, Lee Goldberg, I am NOT advocating print on demand!)

Hmmm...

LA Burton said...

You always have something incouraging to say. It means a lot to an unpublished author.

bud gott said...

I can perfectly recall young Kris Kringle, his little penguin and the mean old wizard jamming to that song.

"Put one foot in front of the other and soon you'll be walking across the floor...put one foot in front of the other and soon you'll be walking out the door."

Great, now I'm going to have that tune in my head all day. Thanks, gang! lol

Justin R. Buchbinder said...

Very nice Joe. But stop inspiring people!

You're making it more difficult for the already-inspired to get a leg-up!

...yes, that was sarcastic.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

Jeez, Joe. I was feeling great until I read that list...

moonhart said...

Okay, you know that you are hooked on a blog when you not only must visit for Joe's latest entry but you find yourself becoming a fan of the people who respond.

Today Mark has my vote.

Who *will* it be tomorrow?

;)

moon

JA Konrath said...

The moral of Santa:

Careful---fat old men are watching your every move.

Jeff said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Joe. :)

Jeri said...

The moral of Santa:

Careful---fat old men are watching your every move.


Could also be the moral of Dick Cheney.

Hmmm, the Veep and Santa have never been spotted in the same place.

Coincidence?

Bonnie Calhoun said...

"As long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other, the finish line isn't simply possible. It's inevitable."

LOL...I'll hold you to that!

jill terry said...

Thanks, Joe...for the inspiration and kick in the ass!

It's comforting to know that others share the same frustrations, but still see the light at the end of the dark, daunting literary tunnel.

S. W. Vaughn said...

But JA, my feet really hurt...

Oh, all right. I'll get some nice Dr. Scholl's inserts and keep walking. Or maybe paper towels would work; they're cheaper. :-)

Barbara W. Klaser said...

Great advice, and perfect timing. I needed that just now. Thanks!

Martha O'Connor said...

There is an old saying, "Even God can't move a parked car."

Still, I think most people try WAY too much to control their destinies. After putting in the time, then one just needs to let the worries go. It's a balance of both.

mj said...

Wow, I was getting really down on myself and had a mountain of self-doubt and fear in front of me, but this post really helped.