Moving. Oh, boy, can I talk about moving! In case you missed the news, I’ve moved twice since last April--first a cross-country relocation into a temporary apartment so we could be closer to grandkids, then into the house we purchased nearby. (For anyone who’s interested, I’m slowly telling the crazy, sometimes even miraculous, story over at my personal blog.)
Whether it’s a physical relocation, a mental readjustment, or an emotional upheaval, we are “moving” all the time.
And moving always involves change: leaving something behind, adjusting to something new, finding our “center” again.
It’s no different in the writing life. If we’re staying in one place, that isn’t progress. We should be improving our skills. Learning about publishers’ needs and interests. Networking with other writers. Stretching ourselves to make each new manuscript better than the one before.
But the fact is, even when you know it’s time to move on, some things are awfully hard to leave behind. Now that all the Seekers have vacated Unpubbed Island and moved into our swanky new Seekerville digs, I’ve discovered there are many things I miss about island life.
- Long walks on the beach with no thought for looming deadlines.
- Building my “sandcastles” (novels) any old way I wanted to, even if the structure was unstable or the inhabitants were not believably motivated.
- Not worrying if my beach hut was clean, let alone attractively decorated, in case roving paparazzi visited the island.
Now that I’m living and working in mainland Seekerville, life is fraught with adjustments and challenges I don’t think any of us were entirely prepared to deal with.
- Main Street traffic (in the form of promotional demands and looming book deadlines) doesn’t stop if I’m out of milk, didn’t get a good night's sleep, or desperately need to wash a load of clothes before I’m back to running around in my faded island sarong.
- No more “sandcastles.” If my stories aren’t solidly grounded with a believable plot and characters, I’ll hear about it first from my agent and (heaven forbid it slips by her!) then from my editor!
- The paparazzi may not be stalking me (yet), but image is more important than ever. Gotta have a Web site. Gotta blog. Gotta Tweet. Gotta Facebook. Gotta LinkedIn. Gotta be OUT THERE so readers, writers, and publishing professionals can connect!
Not a chance!
- Clean out your attic and closets. What old habits do you need to ditch? Waiting for the muse to strike before you write? Ignoring critiques you don’t like? Treating your writing like a hobby instead of a business?
- Learn all you can about your desired location. Have a dream publisher in mind? Haunt their Web site, Facebook page, Tweets, etc. Download writers guidelines and study them. Read and analyze the most recent books the line is publishing.
- Start packing for the move. Polish grammar, spelling, and manuscript formatting. Join a critique group. Find a writing mentor. Take classes, attend conferences, sign up for online workshops. Read the best books you can find on the writing craft. (Suggestions here.)
- Get your financing in order. Don’t quit your day job (if you have one), but be realistic about the investment of time and money required to build a writing career, and budget accordingly. Entering contests, attending conferences, purchasing supplies, and building your home library of writing reference books can put a huge dent in your bank account! Consider submitting magazine pieces and devotionals to help bolster your writing credits while generating a little income. Look for free or low-cost options for building your online presence (but don’t skimp on quality of content or professionalism).
- Hold open houses for your property. Enter contests your target editors are judging. Request editor and/or agent appointments when you attend a conference. Submit proposals. When your manuscript is requested, get it in the mail (or cyberspace) before the tide rolls out!
But we’ve all learned (sometimes the hard way!) that a huge part of a successful move is informed realism. So as you prepare to move ahead in your writing life, take time to appreciate where you’ve been, enjoy where you are now, and anticipate great things in your future.
And always, ALWAYS trust God to show you the way.
Leave a comment on today’s post for a chance to win a copy of Myra’s latest release, A Horseman’s Heart. You’ll also be included in a drawing at the end of the week for an extra-special Seekerville birthday month giveaway AND our big-bash-blowout superprize of a Toshiba Netbook at the end of the month!
North Carolina’s a long, long way from Texas, but horse trainer Kip Lorimer needs to get out of town fast, because the woman who long ago destroyed his last remnants of trust has just caught up with him—again.
Special-ed teacher Sheridan Cross has trust issues of her own, so when Kip shows up with a horse to donate to the family’s equine therapy program, she can’t help but be suspicious. A cowboy a thousand miles from home and living out of a horse trailer? What’s wrong with this picture?