Thursday, January 22, 2009

4th Requirement: Determination

Yeah, okay, so we covered love of reading, imagination and insight--now it's time for determination--and that ain't easy.

I don't know if you beleive in a god, or in karma, or fate, or destiny--I'm not even sure I could define my own beliefs, but these are a few thing I believed and it helped me tremendously:

On Rejections:
I decided that the "universe" had determined I would get a set number of rejections--say 45. Therefore, each rejection sent to me got me that much closer to the day I would be accepted. You can adopt something similar, because it's true--the majority (if not all) published authors have gotten rejections.

On Motivation:
Everyone of us have a naysayer and a supporter in our lives. Get those that support you to help you prove the naysayer's wrong. It's a blessing for those moments when you feel completely overwhelmed and don't think you can write another word. Those supporters need to be informed though--communicate with them, this is very important. Don't be afraid to share your obstacles--because then you'll have great company when you triumph ;)

On those Naysayers:
I recently saw this great quote from Mark Twain and I think it sums it up nicely:
"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you, too, can become great. "
Truly, surround yourself with positive, energetic and motivated people who will support you and your goals.

On Writing Every Day:
When I began, I wrote every single day, for as long as possible. Unless the family had some major crisis, I was writing. You do need to do this--but don't beat yourself up if you miss a day here and there. At least write a paragraph, even if you have to scribble it on scratch paper--but in these early years, you need to stay connected and entrenched in the world you're creating.

There's another aspect that is important here. It's not just for your own benefit, but also for the benefit of your friends and family. You'll need to train them for the life you'll have once you become published--because it truly does not get easier--only tougher. The more you're published, the longer you'll need to remain on the computer, and therefore, it helps if you begin training your loved ones now to respect that time you need.

On Goal Setting:
Don't get bogged down with first chapters--your goal should be to complete that manuscript. Besides, you never know what the beginning should look like until you get to the end of the book. Learn the craft as you go, stretch yourself as an author through short stories and flash fiction, but keep your eye on the end of the book--it's the first step in one of many to seeing your dreams come true. Using the above should get you there as soon as possible.

And last, keep trying:
They won't know about you unless you tell them. Somewhere out there is the person who loves your book, wants to see you succeed and will give you the shot you've prepared for. (Luck happens when opportunity and hard work meet.) Be not only determined to write your book, but to keep mailing (or emailing) queries in batches. Once you send out, compile the next list you want to send to and when you get your responses, send out to the new list immediately. Repeat.

Determination isn't just a feeling. It's not just a vow. It's not just something you choose to be--determined. It's taking action. Without the action, you sell yourself short. Don't create that regret!

Please let me know if you found any of this helpful or if you have any questions. I'll be happy to respond in the comments!


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