Debby Giusti here!
Some people call it happenstance…
You end up in the right place at the right time, not of your own doing but as if guided by some unknown force.
I call it God.
Just such an occurrence took place at the Romance Writers of America Conference this year. Thursday morning, I was debating whether to go to my room or attend one of the workshops. Before I could say Anaheim, California, I found myself in a session entitled, “Writing at Peak Productivity,” presented by author Sylvie Kutz.
Ms . Kutz talked about her own four-year writing burnout and the steps she took to reclaim her productivity. She discussed the importance of good nutrition and exercise to increase energy and creativity. She also stressed drinking lots of water to stay hydrated and the need for seven to eight hours of sleep to function at our best.
Quoting a University of Michigan study, Ms. Kutz explained how the brain has cycles of productivity and will stall after 90 to 120 minutes of mental exertion. A good rule of thumb is to frequently take short breaks. Stretch your muscles, practice deep breathing techniques and drink a glass of water before heading back to the computer.
|L to R: Janet Dean, Missy Tippens and|
Debby Giusti at M&M 2012
As helpful as her information was, the pièce de résistance was her discussion on gauging our progress. Most of us set goals, both short and long term. Those goals are what we hope to achieve in the future. Often we focus too much on what we have yet to accomplish—what we haven’t done--instead of remembering what we have already achieved.
The only way to measure success is to look back and not forward. Future projects don’t show our progress. Instead they remain in the distance, on the horizon so to speak, and that horizon changes as our goals change.
At first we want to publish a book. Once we’ve accomplished that goal, the horizon changes, and we set another goal. This time we want to publish the second book, then the third and the fourth. The horizon—like the proverbial carrot—is what we’re running toward. It’s never stationary and continues to be just out of reach. If all we do is race after the carrot, we’re constantly struggling to catch up and fail to see the gains we’ve made.
Looking back allows us to realize the hurdles we’ve climbed and the challenges we’ve conquered. By focusing on the miles we’ve covered, we’re less likely to get discouraged when it seems we have so much farther yet to go.
|L to R: Debby Giusti, Julie Hilton Steele, Piper Huguley|
and Missy Tippens at the M&M 2012 Awards Banquet
So today, let’s look back.
My first book was published five years ago, in 2007, the same year this blog went live. Since then I’ve published a total of ten books. Number eleven will be released in January, and I’m contracted for two additional stories.
Instead of focusing on what I want to accomplish, I’m now looking at areas of success. Seekerville tops the list. By pooling our resources and under Tina’s wise leadership, we’ve been able to build an online community where writers and readers gather. Hopefully, we provide valuable information and support, and in return, we’ve learned so much from all of you who join us each day. Our community spans the continent. Friendships have formed across the miles, and for that, I am so very grateful.
For most writers, building a readership is a lifelong process. There’s always more that can be done, leaving some to feel they’re never doing enough. Too often they compare themselves against someone else’s success.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither is a readership. Looking back, I realize some of the small steps I took in the beginning have paid off. I have faithful readers in my hometown—many attend my church—who support my local book signings and buy my books not only for themselves but for their friends and relatives as well. That core group of readers buoys me up when I’m struggling with a story. Their interest in and support of my work encourage me to focus on the distance I’ve traveled instead of the miles that loom ahead.
My local Romance Writers of America chapter is another rock of support. I was humbled and honored to have been selected as the Georgia Featured Author for the Georgia Romance Writers’ Moonlight and Magnolia’s Conference this year. On Friday evening, I gave a talk that stressed how we have to believe in ourselves and in our writing. Rejections are inevitable, and the road to publication is often long and difficult, but if we can celebrate our successes and acknowledge the steps we’ve taken to achieve our dream, we’re better able to continue the journey to publication.
When did you start your writing journey and what have you accomplished along the way? What have you learned that helps you move forward? Do you believe in yourself and in your writing?
Leave a comment to be entered in today’s drawing. I’m giving away three prizes of FIVE items each:
(1) A journal in which to record your accomplishments
(2) A Seekerville pen
(3) A scriptural notepad to jot down inspirational thoughts
(4) One of my books, winner’s choice
(5) A BELIEVE button so you’ll never forget you’re a writer.
With hard work and perseverance, I know you will succeed.
Happy writing. Happy reading.
Wishing you abundant blessings,
I'll be at the Southern Magic Readers Luncheon on Saturday, November 3. Join me, if you can. For reservations and information, visit http://www.southernmagic.org/luncheon.html.
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