Missy, here. First let me give a big shout-out to Tina Radcliffe who rescued me when I said I had no idea what to post about (I know, I know. I'm a writer and should find this easy.). Tina had this idea brewing and generously gave it to me. Since I totally agree with her points, I ran with it. I'll be interested to see if you agree with my take on the topic. Stick around and let's chat!
7 Things Smart Authors Have in Common
by Missy Tippens (Topic inspired by Tina Radcliffe)
1. They Don't Over-share on Social Media
We all have different comfort levels with what to share on social media. Go with your gut on this. But I highly suggest you be careful.
Personal concerns: I don’t post much about my kids, at least not the younger ones. Some would call me paranoid (including my kids). But I’m just not comfortable. I advise caution here. You may feel like you’re in a nice cozy room with friends. But unless you’ve severely limited your friends and followers to personal acquaintances, you have to remember anything you post is like broadcasting it on the front page of the newspaper.
Professional concerns: Always think before you post. Do you really want everyone—including readers and industry professionals—to know some unnamed friend has crushed your feelings by not speaking to you at the grocery store yesterday? Or that you’re weeks behind on your deadline and hate your story? Sure it’s nice to come across as real and approachable to readers. But I think we need to remember to be professional.
|Photo credit: Crestock/donskarpo|
2. They Don't Vent in a Public Forum
In other words: NO KNEE-JERK REACTIONS ALLOWED.
In my book, this is huge. We work in a close-knit industry. Industry professionals know each other. And believe it or not, they watch us and our behavior. Not in some creepy, spying way. But because they keep tabs on actions that affect their companies (and yes, in a way, we represent their companies). And also because they care about what’s going on in our lives and careers.
So take this into consideration before you vent about rejections or frustrations or disappointments. Instead, find a trusted friend you can vent to when needed. Associate with people who encourage you and spur you to try again. And stay away from negative people who keep you riled up.
Rejection and disappointment are part of this business, so we need to accept it and keep plugging away without any public venting.
3. They have Boundaries
Learn to say “no.” You don’t have to accept every opportunity to blog or promote or do a giveaway. You don’t have to work twenty-four hours a day (unless you’re right at deadline!). You don’t have to be all things to all people. You don’t have to be “on” all the time or pretend to be Super Author.
Set boundaries. Set work hours. Set a budget for promotion. Set your priorities. Make choices and stick to them. The best thing we can do for our careers is to keep writing the next book. We can’t let all the other “stuff” sidetrack us. (Yes, I’m preaching to myself, here.)
|Photo credit: iStock Photo/timnewman|
4. They Have a Teachable Spirit
Who here is willing to admit failure in this area? Do you cringe when a story idea is rejected, when a draft is majorly edited or when a reviewer disses the book? Do you want to come out swinging and defend yourself?
--But I LOVE this story idea, and my mother did, too.
--But I think that scene works perfectly, even if it does slow the pace a little.
-- Well, you must not have read the book if you think my heroine was too stupid to live. I LOVE that heroine and spent a year on that book, so you must be the one with the problem.
DO NOT GO THERE. Don’t go into self-protect mode. Go into your reader mode and try to see the idea/story/book as a reader. LEARN from the feedback. Dig deeper and try to figure out WHY the editor or reader felt that way. Can you fix it? Can you do something differently next time? Be teachable, not defensive.
This will make you a better writer. And I’m sure editors will thank you for it.
5. They Want IT Badly and are Willing to Pay the Price
This career does require sacrifices (just like any career). It can take years before making the first traditional sale or before being ready to indie publish a book. We have to be willing to put in the work. Study, practice, critique, contest feedback, editor feedback, more study and practice…they’re all part of the journey. Too often, writers give up at the first sign of hardship. If you want it badly enough, you’ll keep working. Don’t give up! You can’t reach your goal (your dream) if you give up trying.
6. They Keep Writing
I know I discussed this in a previous post a few years ago. Don’t keep working and re-working the same manuscript, no matter how much you love it. If it’s been rejected or been poorly accepted, then let it go and move on. We only get better by writing more. In this case, practice really does make “perfect.”
|Photo credit: iStock Photo/yenwen|
7. They are Ready When Opportunity Knocks
Always be ready to jump in when opportunity knocks. Sometimes, the “knock” may come popping into your in-box or on your phone. But other times you may just luck into hearing about an opportunity. This means you need to keep in touch with the pulse of the industry. Read industry publications, follow editors and agents on Twitter or blogs, join writers groups and email loops, and network through national organizations and at conferences.
Be ready to take a risk if you are offered an opportunity. Don’t let fear keep you from trying something new or out of your comfort zone. Sometimes you have to accept that maybe God has given you an opportunity and step out in faith to accept it.
So…do you agree? Did anything I said resonate with you? Share with us! And while y'all do so, please enjoy a nice bacon and cheese omelet with a side of creamy grits--topped with either salt & pepper or sugar, depending on where you're from. :)
I’m offering a unique giveaway today. I visited a local antique shop recently, and they had a display with all kinds of yummy-smelling potpourri for the home. One was called “Summer Romance”! So I grabbed a couple of the packets to give away. Please note these are full of essential oils, so they’re quite potent. :) Don’t enter if you’re sensitive to fragrances. Also, if you win, please be careful to note the package directions about not placing on wood, etc. Let me know if you’d like to be entered for the giveaway (U.S. only this time).
Visit Missy at www.missytippens.com