Monday, December 15, 2014

The Publication Train


I know what you’re thinking. How can you take a train from Unpubbed Island?
Think Polar Express. This train carries both unpubbed and pubbed. Its first stop—Seekerville. We all need to get on board.

Yes, there’s no free ride. Do you have your ticket? That ticket is desire. Wanting to be published badly enough that you’ll make changes in your life, in yourself, in your writing. Study the market, the craft. Finish the book. Enter the contest. Submit and submit some more. If you don’t have the ticket, somewhere along the line you’ll topple from the train.

This train circles our tree. Not a train you want to board.
Before we examine the train, let's look at the tracks—that path that’s in place to reach traditional publishers via contests, submissions and conferences. Indie publication may be the route you plan to go, but be sure the story is ready. You may need to hire an editor, have the manuscript formatted and a cover designed. Don’t be derailed by releasing anything less than a top notch book free of errors. After all, your name will be on the cover.

You’re the Engineer of your train. No one can make you climb aboard but you. You may need to switch tracks (different genre perhaps), see the places to slow down (make sure that manuscript is as ready as you can make it before submitting), and the places to go full speed ahead (if you never send it, you’ll never attain your goal.).

Engine—this is a steam engine, the “I think I can, I think I can” Little Toot variety. One that never gives up no matter how steep the hill, no matter how daunting the odds. Think of the engine’s wheels pumping, getting up steam. This engine doesn't coast, doesn't quit. This engine will get you to your destination.

Coal Car—this is what powers the engine. It’s a gritty place, not for the 
faint of heart. I love Anne Lamott’s bird by bird. In her book, she tells about her brother waiting until the night before a report on birds was due, totally overwhelmed by the task. Her father put an arm around his son’s shoulder and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.” Makes sense. Start with a paragraph, a sentence. In other words, be the fireman and shovel that coal if you plan to go anywhere. That’s hard work that requires planting your behind in a chair. Set up a writing schedule, make a realistic daily goal and stick to it, even if it’s only a paragraph. If you’re doing this, but you’re getting closer, then try something different with your writing. Get on fire. It’s the only way to move that engine down the track.

Dining Car—I’m not totally talking chocolate here, but it helps. Feed your soul with things that energize you. Take time each day to do something you enjoy. This will revitalize you. Feed your brain positive thoughts. Expect good things to happen. Find ways to make writing more fun. Perhaps write or edit in a café or outside on a pretty day.  

Passenger Car—we’re not on this train alone. No one understands a writer like another writer. Meet with other writers. Keep in touch by e-mail. Establish relationships so that on the dark days, someone will understand and care. If you don’t write well in a vacuum, find a critique partner or group. Be a mentor to someone with less experience. Judge contests. You’ll benefit from teaching and helping others along the way. Compete only with yourself. Comparing yourself to others is defeating and pointless. Aren't we thankful God doesn't do compare us to others?

Freight Car—the place you stow the equipment for the journey to publication. Suggestions for what to take with you: Fiction—to read and study, “How To” books/magazines/tapes, movies to watch. All these will help hone your craft. Don’t forget to pack pencils, pens, paper, computer, printer, AlphaSmart—whatever keeps you writing. Keep paper/pens on the nightstand and in the car. Listen to tapes while you get ready or drive. Edit hard copy while waiting for appointments. Be productive whenever you can. Don’t waste that precious commodity, time.

Baggage Car—not all the stuff you’re lugging around is good for you. Toss anything that’s dragging you down and refuse to put it on the train. Don’t listen to the negative voice in your head or coming out of others’ mouths. Kick time wasters out the door. Don’t let others sabotage your goal. We want to be there for those who need us, but we can’t let them gobble up our time.

Caboose—I don’t know about you but I miss that red car at the end of the train. My train is steam powered so the caboose still exists and with good
reason. Here’s where the men slept, ate, relaxed. The caboose represents the balance we need in our lives. Allot time in your twenty-four hours for taking care of your spiritual, emotional, and physical well being. Spend time with God. Take a walk. All work and no play leads to burnout.

As I mentioned, you’re the Engineer on this train. If you’re teachable, work hard and don’t give up, then I believe you’ll get published or be multi-published. Now here’s the disclaimer: I took a train a few years back and learned that everyone on that train from the engineer on down to the lowest man is under the authority of the Conductor. You guessed it. The Conductor is God. Remember the journey itself is important—not just the destination. God may have lessons He wants you to learn along the way. Enjoy it. Write because you love it and don’t let your quest suck the joy out of your gift.

In bird by bird, Lamott says: “I look into my students’ faces and they look solemnly back at me.
“So why does our writing matter again?” they asked.
Because of the spirit, I say. Because of the heart. Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul.”
  

I don’t always take my advice, especially this time of year. If you're feeling your schedule is a lost cause, don't get discouraged. Each day dawns anew, bringing a fresh start. Do you hear the clack of the wheels over the tracks, the haunting sound of the whistle as the train passes through the countryside? If so, you’re on the train, doing the best you can. 

If a train is too slow for you, maybe Santa will give you a lift!
I brought egg, ham and cheese breakfast sandwiches, tomato juice, tea and coffee, along with an assortment of Christmas cutout cookies. Leave a comment for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

122 comments:

Helen Gray said...

Janet,

I love analogies, and this one works. Good job.

I just made my end-of-the-year writing goal, so now I can ease up and spend some time on holiday preparation and then time with the offspring.

Coffee's brewing.

Terri said...

I tend to get derailed this time of year. For some reason I expect to be able to do everything, extra activities at church, Christmas preparations, work, writing, meeting friends for meals, and it is impossible! Seeing the words in black and white help me see that. So thanks for telling me not to get discouraged if my schedule seems a lost cause.

Merry Christmas!

Keli Gwyn said...

What a fun analogy, Janet. The journey to publication requires all the elements you mentioned. While there's work involved, writing can be such fun, too. There's a real thrill when an anticipated destination is reached: a contest final, an offer of representation, a contract, a book release. Those are the whistle-worthy moments and are well worth waiting--and working--for.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Great analogy, Janet! I love the "bird by bird" line, it's wonderful.

I'm taking your advice any time of year because I find if you fall off the tracks, it's so much harder to get back on and maintain the writing habit. So staying on track daily is my focus. And when you really love what you do, it seems more like a privilege to get up and do it!

Love the train!

Cindy W. said...

Wonderful analogies Janet! This time of year tends to lead me off the tracks because of everything that is going on but it's fun getting back on the tracks after the new year with fresh ideas.

Have a blessed week!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Jenny Blake said...

wonders what carriage readers fit into?
Love the photos and the one around the tree and the analogy.
(please enter me I love amazon money).
suddenly want to watch the Polar Express except I really want to go to bed (finally sleeping again with the aid of meds after 8 nights of no sleep but still extremely exhausted)

Janet Dean said...

Helen, thanks for the coffee! Huge congratulations on making your goals!! You are not only on board, you're racing down the tracks!! Have fun enjoying the festivities!

Janet

Jackie said...

Good morning! Janet, I remember going to my grandparent's farm in Munfordville, KY and standing on the fence by the cow pasture. At the bottom of the property, were the train tracks. My brother and I would hand on that black fence with one arm and wave to the man in the caboose with the other. You'd be surprised how many times we see a man waving back to us.

I appreciate your post this morning. It went perfect with my morning devotional. Thanks so much!

Rhonda Starnes said...

Janet, thanks so much for sharing. I love the analogy. I'm a person who needs a visual image, so this is especially helpful.

Jill Weatherholt said...

What a perfect Christmas themed analogy, Janet! There's something about a train at Christmas time that sparks so many childhood memories.
"Bird by Bird"...one of my favorite craft books and you quoted my favorite line by her father.

Mary Hicks said...

Janet, thanks for a fun and thought provoking post! I enjoyed the tour through the train.:-)

Fun and work combined is always a good plan.

Rose said...

Great advice and visual image as we chug along the path of publication.

kaybee said...

Thank you JANET. I like it when the Seekers start the week off with an inspirational piece. Is that by design? I relish the nuts-and-bolts craft advice, but won't ever get to using them without pieces like today's. Yes, I am derailed and maybe set up too ambitious a goal for December. I love the shopping, baking, wrapping and decorating. It's the secular work that gets in the way, it's really busy at this time of the year. And of course our good old New England weather throws me frequent curves. But it will be all right. It's His birthday, after all.
KB

Missy Tippens said...

What great encouragement, Janet! Thanks for your inspiring post.

You know, I've owned "Bird by Bird" for years and still haven't read it. I need to pull that out of my TBR pile.

How is everyone's shopping going??

Missy Tippens said...

KB, no, the inspirational posts aren't by design. At least not our design. But they probably are a God thing! :)

Eileen Barnes said...

This time of year, I get two weeks off of teaching, but we are also gearing up for next year's registration and so I must go through the registration packets, budget etc. And then there's Christmas...

But, I think I can, I think can is nudging me and this site gives me the steam to at least try. Thanks...

Audra Harders said...

I love trains, Janet! We used to travel between Chicago and Denver by train when I was a little girl. LOVED IT!

This analogy so hits home. Brilliant. I must say I do get stuck in the dining car : ) Must spend more time in the engine!!

Lovely pics, too. Christmas time is such a time of distractions...even more so than normal. Take heart and enjoy family and traditions for a season. We'll be back in the grind before you know it.

Thanks, Janet!!

Audra Harders said...

Terri, I'm with you in the distraction arena. There are so many additional responsibilities we take on to help the Christmas season be merry for all.

God is smiling on your efforts : ) We'll all get back on the train once IT gets back on schedule. LOL!

Missy Tippens said...

Janet was just in touch, saying she's having trouble commenting on the blog. She'll be here as soon as she can!

Audra Harders said...

Praying for you Jenny! Sleep is a good thing!!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Janet, I just simply LOVE this post. You are so clever my friend to compare the writers journey to one of our favorite traditions around the tree-the train.

Great going.

I am taking your advice to heart. smile

Audra Harders said...

Hang in there, Eileen. Enjoy Christmas and try not to let stress get you down. The train will always be there. Enjoy Christmas and hope on before New Year!!

Remember, Seekerville is planning another great New Years celebration sure to get you back on track for your goals!!!!

Missy Tippens said...

LOL about the dining car, Audra. :)

Marianne Barkman said...

Thanks, Janet for a trip into memory which I hadn't thought about this yea son. 4 generations of Barkmans climbed aboard the Via passenger train (11 of the, the youngest was about two years old, the oldest probably around 60) and we traveled through the Rocky Mountains to Vancouver. Loved the analogy, and would love to be entered for the gift.

Cindy Regnier said...

Such a great analogy. The Lamott quote is so beautiful. I boarded the train long ago, got off a few times then got back on the next time through. Still on my journey but those wheels seem to be turning just a little faster. Bless you, Janet. Your encouragement is much appreciated.

Jackie Smith said...

Great analogy, Janet....love it!
Count me in for the GC, please!
There are so many great books out there that I want to read...lol.
Maybe I'll win cause the "text to type in" is my birth year!!

cathyann40 said...

I loved reading this post. Have a very Merry Christmas!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Christmas cookies for breakfast. Does it get any better?????

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Terri! Some of us can't live in a cave. Time with family and friends is important, especially at Christmas. Hopefully you'll find an hour to work here and there in your busy schedule. But if not, no guilt allowed.

Merry Christmas!

Janet

Tina Radcliffe said...

Has any one here actually ever taken a train trip? I have in Europe, but not in the US. This is on my bucket list. Well done, Janito!

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Keli! Whistle worthy is a perfect way to describe celebrating our achievements. Writing is a combination of hard work that's not only fun, it's soul satisfying. We are blessed!

Janet

Piper Huguley said...

A great post, Janet and the analogy works! Love it! Thanks for the great spread you've brought as well!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Jackie L has a new profile pix! Love it!

Janet Dean said...

Ruthy, your work ethic rocks!! But you also carve out time with family, church, baking... Ant tips for managing it all?

The train used to intrigue our grandkids but they're getting older now and it's lost its charm. But not for me!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Cindy W! You can get back on board in the New Year. Refreshed and raring to go!

Merry Christmas!

Janet

Jennifer Smith said...

Great analogies, Janet! Good reminders about keeping our lives in balance as we chug along to success. :)

Janet Dean said...

Jenny, writers love sharing seats with readers in the passenger cars. We share the love of books and need each other!

I watched The Polar Express last night. Love Tom Hanks and the movie!

Very glad to hear you're getting some sleep!

Hugs, Janet

Kav said...

Oooohhhh -- love this. Love trains. I get so excited just visiting a train station. Such a hub of activity. As soon as I walk through the doors I get a thrill just thinking about all the possibilities. So in your analogy, the station could represent starting a new story -- imagining all the places it will take you. And I love the idea of a train circling a Christmas tree. How cool is that?

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Jackie! Thanks for sharing your memory. I loved waving when we were stopped for trains. That rarely happens these days. And that's a good thing but I miss watching the cars clatter past.

I'm blessed to know the post fit your devotions this morning.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Rhonda! It is fun to think of us as moving down the tracks toward our goals. Some are barreling along. Others are chugging along but we'll all make our destination if we don't give up.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Jill! Would love to hear one of your childhood memories. My parents told me we rode trains to visit family when I was little but I don't remember those trips. Still maybe that's why I'm intrigued by them.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Morning Mary H! Isn't it fun when the words flow from our fingertips? And we bring characters to life on the page?

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hello Rose. Thanks! It's encouraging that we have each other cheering us along the rails.

Janet

DebH said...

awesome post and analogy today. my little guy is into trains right now, so daddy set up a train with a little town this year for Christmas.

I've been derailed of late. Need to get back on track even though I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed with the season and all the activities. I will take to heart the "bird-by-bird" quote... perhaps morph it to word-by-word or sentence-by-sentence, but still absorb the concept and implement it.

I LOVE, LOVE (to infinity and beyond) SEEKERVILLE!!!!! Your posts are always just what I need. It's definitely a God thing and I'm so glad y'all keep listening and posting.

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Kaybee! I'm not always realistic about what I can do. Add unforeseen things that must be handled and staying on track is hard. But we know why we write and the reason for the season. We are blessed!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Missy! I think you'll enjoy bird by bird!

Shopping is my last big task on my To Do list. I'm counting on our daughters for the ideas.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Eileen! Hope you can carve out some time to write, even just a little. Whatever you do, enjoy Christmas while you're off work!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Audra, you're blessed to have those train memories. How long did the trip between Chicago and Denver take?

I lsavor every aspect of Christmas. Yesterday we attended a fabulous worship service with a real baby Jesus, even a camel. The singing was inspiring, especially the hallelujah chorus. Brought tears to my eyes.

Janet


Jenny Blake said...

thanks for the good wishes Audra and Janet.
I spoke to soon. today I am having another night I am just not sleeping. the meds are not working. I have dozed but just not sleeping well. I wont let it get me down but I really do need some rest.

I still have gingerbread and sugar cookies to share (and please help me eat them!) I love cooking them and want to share them wit friends etc. I am going to take some to some of the elderly people I walk past every day. They miss me when I am unable to walk that way and will say I haven't seen you are you ok.
Missy all shopping is done. (well except working out what I will have for Christmas lunch) I will be home alone.

Myra Johnson said...

Wonderful, wonderful post, Janet, chock-full of inspiration and encouragement! My train-loving brother-in-law would love it, too!

Sorry for not making it to Seekerville over the weekend. Saturday was a full day of dress rehearsal and performance for our annual Christmas program featuring just about every choral, instrumental, and liturgical dance group in our church. So Sunday definitely had to be a day of rest because we were all exhausted!

Today is the pickleball players' holiday lunch--a first for us but lots of new friends in the group. We play at the Jewish Community Center, so not sure whether "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hanukkah" will be the appropriate greeting.

Janet Dean said...

Good morning Sandra! What traditions are special to you?

I have a pedestal lidded candy dish that I keep filled. It's old. Probably belonged to my grandparents. My mom always kept hard candy in it. I prefer Hershey Kisses. That chocolate addiction is strong. LOL

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Marianne! Riding a train through the Rockies sounds fabulous, especially with your extended family.

Merry Christmas!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Cindy! Glad you're zooming down the tracks! Proof we can get off for a time and still get back on.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Morning Jackie S, I'm grinning. The number I see is five digits! Not what you saw for sure. LOL

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Cathy Ann! Wishing you a great Christmas!!

Janet

Julie Hilton Steele said...

ManO and I so approve this post since we are big train fans. And I love how you had every car having a purpose!

All aboard!

Peace, Julie

Janet Dean said...

Tina, iced cutouts are great with piping hot coffee! Yum!!

Janet

Janet Ferguson said...

Love this article! Funny, my niece gave me the book you mentioned by Anne Lamott for Christmas last year, and it's been sitting on the shelf since. I'm going to pull it out now, and enjoy.

Janet Dean said...

Tina, we've taken a short ride to our state fair. But except for long rides I took as a tot that I can't remember, I haven't. But I want to! Well, there was the cog train we took up Pikes Peak. Isn't there a train in southern CO for tourists to ride?

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi piper! You're so welcome! Are you ready for Christmas?

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Jennifer, balance is important. Finding what works is the trick. We're all unique.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Kav, trains trigger my imagination too! Just hearing the whistle makes me wonder where passengers are headed but the sad truth is that most trains in my area are freight.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Morning DebH! Do not be discouraged. That only weighs us down. We have grace here in Seekerville. Word by word can lead to several, maybe even a page or two.
I'm impressed you can write at all with a small child. Enjoy him and Christmas! Know he's enjoying the train and village!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Jenny, you are so sweet to share the gingerbread and sugar cookies with us and with your elderly neighbors! You're a blessing.

Bummed you can't sleep. Perhaps other meds you are taking are interfering. I know steroids have that effect.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Myra! No wonder you missed the Weekend Edition. You gave joy to everyone who came to services. Rest up and enjoy thr luncheon with new friends!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Peaceful Julie. How do you and ManO get your train fix? I've seen a wonderful display in Chicago. Do you have trains displayed at home? Have you taken a trip?

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hello Janet! Hope you are inspired by the book as much as i am!

Janet

Jeanne T said...

Great post, Jan. I need to remember to spend more time in the dining car—doing things that nurture my soul, my spirit. This time of year is hard, but I'm working on it. Watching Christmas movies while I fill out Christmas letters and wrap presents is one enjoyment for me, even though it takes a little longer to complete the tasks.

I'm looking forward to hitting the tracks hard after Christmas, Till then? I'm trying to be intentional about not getting stressed out and over-tired during the season. :)

Great post!

Elizabeth Van Tassel said...

Thank you for the post Jan. I love the themed photos and holiday colors. I'm printing many copies for my student readers to review my novel (hopefully very final draft) over Christmas break. Thanks for the encouragement to keep us going!

I miss the pretty train rides in Europe. I spent two summers there studying abroad and it was a thrill. Favorite class: CS Lewis.

I like your thought, Jeanne, about not getting stressed out. Humbling to write about it, helps keep me in check, too!

Janet Dean said...

Hi Jeanne T! I try to watch Christmas movies in the evening. Wrapping presents as I do is a great idea.

Glad you plan to take care of you during December. Then you'll be raring to go in January.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hello Elizabeth, I'm sure your students are excited to give their feedback on your novel.

How thrilling it must have been to study abroad! What was the favorite place you visited?

Janet

Janet Dean said...

I brought white chili and spinach salad for lunch.

Janet

Chill N said...

Janet, I love "Bird by Bird"! How fun to see it quoted. It's one of those books I return to because each time something new speaks to me.

Such a good analogy, an image that's easy to grasp. And such good advice, especially the part about not going around and around like the train under your tree :-)

Thanks!
Nancy C

Debby Giusti said...

Janet,

Your blog posts are always so delightful. Love your train analogy. Perfect, especially at this time of year.

Thanks for explaining Anne Lamotte's "Bird by Bird" title. Evidently, I need to read the book. :)

I must admit that Christmas prep cuts into my writing time in December. Luckily, I don't have anything due this month. Hoping the holiday rush will ease by the end of the week. But with more commitments scheduled next Monday and Tuesday, I'll probably be scrambling right up to Christmas Eve.

Praying peace and joy over all!

The Artist Librarian said...

Wonderful analogy, Janet. When's the book coming out? I can't be the only one who thinks this would make a nice writing craft book? =) I barely remember riding on a *real* train ... there just aren't a lot in my area. Not counting the little shopping mall Christmas trains, LOL.

Elaine Manders said...

Hi Janet,

Good analogy. I went with the cub scouts once on a train ride called the shortline because back in the day it ran only from one town to another. What I remember is the way the floor vibrated and the sections separating the cars were outside. I was a nervous wreck worrying that one of those boys would fall off.

Heidi Robbins said...

What an encouraging post for writers! Love the analogy- perfect for the holidays :) Thank you for the giveaway, please include my name!

Pat W said...

Janet, I loved this analogy. My house sits about a 1/4 mi from a train track (freight-no passenger trains pass by). I love hearing the whistle as it comes through. This past summer I took a 3-week road trip with a close friend. I didn't realize I missed hearing the train until I got back home and heard it coming down the track.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Janet Dean said...

Hi Nancy C! You've encouraged me to reread bird by bird. Thanks! And thanks for your kind words.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Debby, thanks for your sweet words.

I'm guessing we all can use your prayers for peace and joy.

Think you'll enjoy the book.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

The Artist Librarian, sweet of you to say but I don't think there's enough here for a craft book but maybe one day an article.

Snickering at the image of all of us boarding the mall train. We'd probably scare the little kids. They'd no doubt be calling security.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Elaine, I'm guessing you didn't let the Cub Scouts out of your sight. You might not want to watch The Polar Express! LOL

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Thanks Heidi! Trains and Christmas just seem to go together. You're in the drawing.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Pat W, you were homesick for the train and didn't know it.

When we were first married we rented an upstairs apartment over an old house. Behind it was an elevated train. Around 2:00 AM the cars were coupled. The first time we heard them bang together we were scared silly. Wasn't long before we didn't hear it at all. :-)

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Anyone have tips for handling everything at Christmas? Do you assign jobs? Cut out things?

I buy cookies from a church cookie walk. I write one letter and print copies. Need to put labels in the computer but haven't taken the time.

Janet

Becky said...

The train makes it so easy to understand. Sometimes I still have to remind myself that I am an Engineer and to get on that train! 2015 is my year! The breakfast sandwiches are yummy even though it's dinner time here :)

Sandy Smith said...

Wonderful analogy and very encouraging. I need to get on the train with my book and the start of the year coming up is the perfect time.

Please enter me for the gift card!

Natalie Monk said...

This is such a beautiful comparison, Janet!

Thank you for these timely reminders! The balance one really hit home with me. I feel like I wobble between overkill/burnout and and laziness/guilt. I was getting 2500-3000 words a day last week, now I do good to get 1000. I wanted so badly to get this MS finished by Jan. 1, and maybe I still have a chance to, but I don't want to completely ignore my family, LOL!

I feel lazy saying it, but I may lower my expectations until after Christmas and just be proud if I manage 1K a day.

Thanks so much for this post! I needed it!

Cara Lynn James said...

This engineer feeds her soul with dark Dove chocolate!

Tanya Agler said...

Janet, thank you so much for this inspirational post with such a great analogy. It's perfect timing as I rev myself up for looking forward to next year. As an unpubbed writer, I read your advice and nodded as I scrolled down and kept reading. Loved the advice and the motivational push. Thanks.

Pam Hillman said...

Janet, what a perfect analogy! I loved how you gave each car on the train with a perfect label for the writing life.

And it was even more adorable that you were able to use the train circling your tree.

Brava!!!! :)

Janet Dean said...

Thanks Pam! My dh enjoys the train. I gave it to him one year for Christmas.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Becky! Good for you! Wishing you all the best in 2015!
No Engineer-less trains allowed. :-)

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Sandy, January is usually quieter so easier to get more time to write.

You're entered!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Natalie, you're to be commended for getting 1k written a day in December. Proud of you!! Enjoy Christmas before your family comes looking for you! LOL

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Cara, you know how to get my attention! Dark or milk chocolate? Not that it matters. :-)

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Tanya, thanks! Glad the post resonated with you!

Janet

Missy Tippens said...

Natalie, I think 1k is great. And it's good to be realistic as we set our goals.

Julie Lessman said...

JANET!!! I am soooo sorry I'm late, but WOW, was this worth the wait, my friend!!

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post and the train analogy! You nailed every single car with a perfect correlation, girl, and absolutely one of the best writing analogies I've ever seen.

And OH MY GOODNESS!! I've always heard about Anne Lamont's book, Bird by Bird, but I never knew where the title came from, so thanks for filling me in. :)

Hugs!!
Julie

Lyndee H said...

Hi Janet - A wonderfully clever post for Christmas. Since nice insight!

Anne Lamont has a unique way of explaining her writing experience and Bird by Bird is one of my favorite writing books.

Right now I'm just trying to keep the train on the track. Lots of late nights and keeping at it. It's very much bird by bird - page by page.

Walt Mussell said...

I love The Polar Express. I've done a lot of work in the last two months on my writing journey, writing one novella and one short story.

Now I need to get more coal. I can do that by reading.

Mark Abel said...

Hi Janet,

Thanks for your encouraging post today, it was just what I needed to hear. Looking back three years since I began to write I see that I have several of your train cars in place and will continue to push on.

Take care and thanks again. You are a gift of encouragement to many!

Edwina said...

Janet,

What a great analogy and informative and encouraging post!
Thanks!

Kelly Bridgewater said...

Great analogy!! We watch the "Polar Express" a lot during Christmas. I'll print this one off and add to my collection. Merry Christmas!

Janet Dean said...

Hi Julie! Never too late to arrive in Seekerville! Smiling that you liked the post and now understand Lamott's title.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Lyndee. I'm so proud of you for persevering during the busy days of December!! And still taking time to stop by Seekerville. You rock!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Walt! I love the movie too! And I'm impressed with your accomplishments.

You nailed where to find that coal. Excellent! Wish I'd thought of it. :-)

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Mark, thank you for your kind words of encouragement!

Congrats on having cars in place and pushing on!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Edwina. Thank you! And thank you for stopping in. I so appreciate that you took the time.

Hugs, Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Kelly! Thanks.

The odd thing to me is our older grandchildren don't care about watching The Polar Express. Yet I love it! Can't figure that out.

Merry Christmas!

Janet

Kelly Goshorn said...

Hi Janet - thanks for this great post! Lots of things I needed to be reminded of - especially today when I feel my publication train is drifting backward a bit. The analogy was spot on!

Blessings,
Kelly

Janet Dean said...

Hi Kelly. That drifting backwards can happen in December, but we get to begin anew in January, recharged and ready to fuel that train.

Merry Christmas!
Janet

Elizabeth Kitchens said...

Great post! I frequently need reminding that I just have to keep going, taking one thing at a time. Thanks!

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

Loved your post with its analogies. Much for me to apply here. I set small writing goals for Nov. and Dec. and have met them. This is rewarding in itself no matter what the outcome of my efforts. Have a blessed Christmas season, Janet.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Elizabeth. That's so true in writing and in life. Thanks for stopping in!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Pat Jeanne. Small goals are very sensible during the holidays. You can feel proud of yourself!

Merry Christmas!

Janet

Deanna Stevens said...

Enjoyed your analogy... Not too busy this Christmas only 4 adult children coming for dinner :)
please enter me ...
dkstevensne AT outlook DotCOm

Janet Dean said...

Hi Deanna,

Sounds like you'll have a lovely Christmas with your adult children.

You're entered.

Merry Christmas!
Janet

Rachael Koppendrayer said...

I think my problem is I'm an engineer with more than one train, going in similar directions with a similar process, yet not on the same line (i.e. writing vs painting). Would that I could figure a way to couple them together . . .

Janet Kerr said...

Hi Janet,
Interesting post with the various pictures for illustration. And, I like that desire is the track!
Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Rachel, perhaps illustrating a children's book would bring both trains together. But, even if that's not your goal, having such talent is a blessing.

I like to draw with colored pencil and create stamped cards. I do those things for relaxation. But writing books is my goal.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Janet. Thanks! We need to fuel our dreams so that design doesn't ebb.

Merry Christmas!
Janet