Today I'm sharing a post from 2014 that I thought would be fun to revisit since we're about to hit another Seekerville birthday in October. I will be doing the same giveaway I did last time! Keep reading to find out about that. :)
Countdown: 7 things I’ve learned over the last 7 years
We’re so excited to have all of you celebrating with us this month. It’s been a privilege to hang out here and get to know you. When I found out our theme for our 7th anniversary was the number 7, and since I sold my first novel in 2007, I decided to think back to find one thing I learned each year.
Well, that proved impossible. I couldn’t keep the years straight. So I decided to think about 7 important lessons I’ve learned through the years. And I’ll do a countdown to what I consider the #1 most important.
|Photo Credit: Bigstock/Yastremska|
#7: Rejection may knock you down, but you have to brush off and get back up.
Every time I think of this lesson, I have to laugh. It reminds me of the old Chumbawamba song my kids loved back in 1997. I went with them to buy the album. We couldn’t find it, so I told the sales guy we were looking for that song with the lyrics, “I fall down, but I get back up.” Well, I got the words all wrong and mortified my kids (they were young and easily embarrassed). :) The lyrics were actually “I get knocked down, but I get up again.”
Oh, well, I was close. :) And we’ve gotten a lot of laughs over it through the years. But either way—whether we fall down or whether we get knocked down, we have to get back up again. Sure, I’ll give you a day to whine, be embarrassed or feel sorry for yourself (and that’s being generous. I think Ruthy only allows a couple of hours). But after that, it’s time to move on. To look at options.
--What can I do to make this story better? Is it fixable? Should I change it and resubmit?
--Might this story have a better home somewhere else?
--Should I consider going indie?
--Should I shorten or lengthen the story? Try another format?
-- Should I reinvent myself in a new genre?
--Should I move on to a new project for now?
Notice what I didn’t list as a choice?? I did NOT list should I quit writing? Don’t let rejection keep you down. There are always other possibilities. You just have to remain determined and keep plugging away.
#6: This is hard work.
When I started writing and had so much fun typing like crazy, pouring out my very first rough draft, I thought, Wow. This is the easiest, most fun job ever! I can stay at home with the kids and work from home earning money at the same time!
Then I entered my first contest (tied for 35th place out of 36 entries. Ouch.). And not long after, I joined my first critique group (red/purple/blue ink bled all over my pages. Ouch again.). Then I got my first rejection (cardboard characters, didn’t have that “sparkle.” Double ouch.).
I discovered this wasn’t the easiest, most fun job ever. It was work. Yes, work.
And another painful lesson? There are no shortcuts. No easy route.
I can go to every workshop and conference available, listening to my favorite authors talk about how to write, but there is no secret handshake or formula for success. I have to put in the work. Hard work.
The good news? Being an author is rewarding and worth every bit of that work.
|Photo Credit: Bigstock/sam2172|
#5: We need to keep learning and trying to improve.
Are you winning awards, hitting bestseller lists, rolling in the royalties? Hey, I wouldn’t turn down any of those things! :) But no matter how well we’re doing, we can’t get cocky or complacent.
I think there’s always room for improvement. I hope that each of my books is better than the one before it. I hope we’ll all keep studying and learning. Trying new methods. Pushing ourselves. I talked about this last month in my post about beating average (click here to read that).
#4: We have to feed our creativity.
Because we do get knocked down sometimes, and because writing is hard work, we need to take care of ourselves, to feed our creativity…
Feeling like your creativity has fled? Feeling blocked?
Work a little buffer into your deadline schedule. Allow for everyday life to happen. Let yourself rest a tad between projects. Take time away for fun or to spend quality time with your family. Our brains need to rest and rejuvenate. And nothing rejuvenates me like reading. It certainly fills my creative well.
|Photo credit: Crestock/Spanishalex|
#3: We should be diligent about the things in the business we can control. And quit stressing over the others we can’t.
For control freaks like me, this can be difficult. But it’s something I’ve learned is very important.
We have to make the very best product we can (we can control that).
But we need to let go of things we can’t control (like the awards, lists and royalties). In the same vein, we need to work against professional jealousy. The green-eyed monster is a very real thing in our industry. But if we allow it, we only hurt ourselves. Remember that a rising tide lifts all boats. We love that philosophy around here!
#2: Confidence comes not from outside, but from inside.
This has been a more recent lesson for me. One I’m still working on.
Do you sometimes feel insecure about your abilities? Have outside forces left you doubting? Wondering if you’re crazy to think you can do this?
Shut all that out and think about this: Confidence comes from the certainty that you’re doing what God wants you to do, and that you’re doing the very best job you can.
And now… Drumroll…
|Photo Credit: Bigstock/Ammentorp|
#1: We need each other.
We need our writing friends. For understanding (Yes, I totally get that you hear character voices in your head!). For support. For a kick in the rear on occasion. For accountability. For sharing information. For laughter. For joy in the journey.
Thank you all for being part of our daily journey! We love you.
Please share what lesson you’ve been learning lately.
Giveaway! To go hand-in-hand with #1, I’d love to give away a phone or email chat (winner’s choice*). Time to talk about writing, talk about your story, or for encouragement, whatever topic the winner would like! If you’d like to be entered, please let me know in the comments. (*Phone chat for U.S. phone numbers only; email chat for those outside the U.S.)
Missy Tippens' latest releases. For more info, visit www.missytippens.com.
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