Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Writer's Serenity Prayer

The harder I try, the more I do.

I can't help everyone, and I have to realize that it isn't my job to. People looking for easy answers aren't ever going to get what they desire.

No one is entitled to anything. There's work, and luck, but deserve is a dangerous, unhealthy word.

I should never compare myself to others. It's better to compare what I did today with what I did yesterday. Then I can plan for tomorrow accordingly.

If I'm not making mistakes, it means I'm not taking chances.

The only aspect of my career that I have complete control over is my writing. If I don't love that, I should do something else with my time.

Everyone has an opinion. All opinions are valid. But that does not mean all opinions have to matter to me.

I can take time off and the world won't stop spinning.

The worst day spent writing is better than the best day doing anything else. Writers write. Drama queens complain.

I know that I probably won't change your mind. But that isn't my goal. My goal is to learn enough, try enough, and experience enough, so I can change my mind and be able to defend that change.

If I can live my dream and make a buck doing so, I have no right to be anything other than happy.


  1. I was going to get that tattooed on my back but opted for the "If you can read this the bitch fell off" one instead. Which is odd seeing as how I don't even have a motorcycle.

    Good stuff Joe.

  2. I can honestly say your blog is influencing me :) And I am working doggedly to achieving similar success's :)

    And knowing when to take a breather is THE most important thing in the world

  3. Good stuff, Joe.

    My problem is I don't know when to take a day off. I don't remember the last day I took a real day off. But there's always something else to do and it's hard to take a break. Especially when you love what you're doing.

    @Anthony, LMAO! You could always get it tattooed to your chest.

  4. With all the self-promotion nonsense we writers must do, it's so easy to forget the 'why'. Writers write because we must.

    No matter what genre, writing is our way of trying to understand ourselves, and make sense of the world. Writing is our canvas for self-exploration. It allows us to enter the minds of different types of people, to explore what it would be like to be someone else. It is our expression of compassion and empathy. The search for the right word, the right story arc is a search we live for.

    Thank you for the reminder.

  5. "Entitled" A word so overused that people have come to believe they actually are entitled.

    Great post, Joe.

    Giggles and Guns

  6. Inspiring as usual.

    Sold 3 books yesterday, and I am selling at 3 times the rate I was two months ago. But even more importantly, wrote first 500 words of next novel yesterday, and hope to be writing 3 times that number of words a day in the next few months. Thanks again for all you do.

  7. My problem is I don't know when to take a day off.

    I hadn't taken a day off in about six years. Guess what? I probably could have, and nothing would have changed.

    It's very important to work hard. Be careful though, because obsession isn't a good way to live.

  8. What you just wrote is very apt. I admire how much effort you've put into your writing and that you take the time to help others.

    The Tibetans have a wonderful saying that applies to this situation: "Change your mind, leave the rest alone."

  9. I just started my own blog last month and the post I put up yesterday was about how I need to write for I had gotten taken in by tracking how many people read my stuff and if nobody commented, didn't anyone like it nevermind that I like it. I really enjoyed your Writer's Serenity Prayer, very much. It was exactly how I was feeling.

  10. Very useful and wise words. Even God rested on the seventh day. I believe a short break on a regular basis helps me to re-approach my writing with new perspective and vigor. Thanks for helping me along this road. God bless, Dr. Bobbi

  11. Tell 'em, Joe!

    I just put a novel up on Kindle, with a killer cover, a sharp description, and a great story. As soon as my revised cover gets up there, which for some reason takes days to achieve on Kindle, I've got a blog ready to go for my website. In this blog,I exhort everyone who wants to self-publish on Kindle to read every word of your blogs for the last six months and learn what they're about to get into.

  12. I will get this tattooed on my face. Backwards. So I see it in the mirror every morning.

    Also, I might shave it into my dog.

    -- c.

  13. It's good to look back at how far you've come; otherwise you could lose your perspective. In February I decided I would be satisfied if my book sold two a day. Two days ago I was complaining because it only sold seventy that day.

  14. Jimmy9:14 PM

    Buck up, pal. You can't have everything.

  15. Great post, Joe! Spot on in all respects.

    I may not tattoo it on my face, but I'll definitely bookmark it.

  16. People give jobs to busy people. The trick is learning to say "no" - not quite got that one sorted yet...

    Thanks for the reminder.

  17. Anonymous3:03 AM

    joe I have a question. your other comment list is so long, it's impossible to read easily. How do pirates make their money? Is there such a thing as a pirate book site where you dont have to pay a fee? The range looks like 1.99 to 39.00 per month. Can that be right? Is that how they make their bread? thanks

  18. How do pirates make their money?

    Pirates don't make money. The point of piracy is to share, not to make a profit.

    The sites that host file sharing make money through advertising (torrent sites) or through subscriptions (file lockers.) But file lockers also make free downloads available.

  19. I recently discovered your blog while looking into publishing on Kindle. I find all of your posts so helpful and instructive - as Nicole said, it is definitely influencing me! Thanks for giving all of the working writers out there a source of inspiration and support.

  20. Lots of good thoughts here to mull over. Thanks!

  21. Writer's write. Amen.

    I don't write for others. I write to perfect my art, the art of storytelling. The 6 yo doesn't care if it's grammatically correct. He cares if it is entertaining and draws him in. He cares if it makes sense...and if it doesn't, if it gets explained later on.

    I started writing because it was the only way to make sense of this crazy world....and then, I learned, I could make it whatever I wanted it to do.

    Would I love a fan base? Yes. But you know what? The voices who take over to help get the story on the page, tend to be more important.

    It's just latching onto the right way to tell the story so others get it.

    Thank you for being such a strong influence for us all!

  22. This is a great prayer, Joe. Well said. Especially about comparing oneself to others. That way lies madness.

    I would only take issue with one sentiment. Not all opinions are valid. Many are ill informed and held with more emotion than reason. While everyone has the right to hold an opinion, that does not automatically render anything spouted as, ipso facto, valid. Just tune in to any talking head news show at random, and you'll find guests aplenty (not to mention hosts) who babble on without any facts to back them up.

    Thanks for a great post.

  23. Step away for a few months and you blow up even more. Congrats Joe, I remember that it wasn't that long ago that you were around AFO.

  24. Great thoughts, every one of them. Thanks for sharing.

  25. I seriously want this on a poster to remind myself of these truths. :) The "all opinions" part struck home with me. It's like the song cause in the end: you can't please everyone, so you have to please yourself.

  26. Oh, I totally agree that you can't please everyone. Just keep being you and I'll keep following this blog. You are a wonderful resource and much appreciated.

  27. "If I can live my dream and make a buck doing so, I have no right to be anything other than happy."

    Preach on, brother.

  28. "Everyone has an opinion. All opinions are valid. But that does not mean all opinions have to matter to me."

    A while back I changed my life by wrapping my head around that very idea. It's amazing how much more joyful and productive your life becomes when you can hear yourself think.

    Great post Joe.

  29. Really liked them all except for "the worst day writing..."

    When I'm having a bad writing day, I often just walk away to do something else, and just as often have great days doing other things than writing -- writing is something I love to do, but it's not the only thing I love to do. ;)

    Also, we all need to complain some days -- writing is hard, everyone needs a "poor baby" day now and then. ;)

    Maybe add, "Perspective is everything?" or "Writing is something you do. It shouldn't be all that you do." ;)


  30. Anonymous12:22 PM

    I pirated this Prayer.

  31. Hard work does pay off, that's for sure. I like when you said "If I'm not making mistakes, it means I'm not taking chances". Having just received a rejection on a partial today, that was something that brought me peace. I'll definitely learn from temporary setbacks. Thanks for the inspired post!

  32. I seriously need to print this post and stick it to my wall. Thank you.

  33. Any person's greatest legacy is not the result of work or career. Your greatest legacy will be how you spent time with your loved ones and the memories of you they take from that time.

    Take vacations. Step away from the computer. Learn to relax and enjoy yourself because no one is out there doing it for you.

  34. Great thoughts, Joe. Why people think they're 'entitled' is beyond me.

    Thanks for a great blog.

  35. Love it!

    "No right to be anything but happy" - something I really try hard to remember. Not least because staying in a place of gratitude facilitates my writing. And there's really nothing I'd rather do! :)

    p.s. thanks for the comment on Nathan's blog about your agent, and the need for them - I thought you were spot on!

  36. I needed this today -- thank you!

  37. Joe said: "The only aspect of my career that I have complete control over is my writing. If I don't love that, I should do something else with my time."

    This is the #1 reason I fired my agent. He was so heavy-handed with the editing that it wasn't my work anymore and I didn't love it.

    I still listen to my betas and I adore my freelance editors, but in the end, the story has to be mine.

    Thanks for this.

  38. I've been following your blog for most of this year and you catch a lot of shit from people who don't "get" what you are about.

    This post, from 2010, sums it up nicely for me.

    Thanks again for sharing your journey.

  39. Thanks for the awesomeness of this. Keep the good stuff coming!


Thanks for the comment! Joe will get back to you eventually. :)