Monday, September 19, 2016

Motivation Monday

Yesterday in church, I listened to the speaker give a talk about how our youth are special and strong. They are important. I totally agree.

"The art of conversation lies in listening." ~Malcolm Forbes | inspirational quotes | quotes about conversation and listening | life quotes

My biggest takeaway relates not only to nurturing relationships to youth, whether they are your own children or not, but also relates to strengthening all relationships.

When you talk to people, you show you are interested in them. When you ask people a question about their lives, it shows you care about them.
"Even if you don't really care about the answer (or even the topic you asked about), you should still ask it." 
Especially if you don't really care, because it shows how much you care about that person.

Like when my son starts talking a little too much about Pokemon, or Pokemon Go! specifically. Or my daughter talks about LPS (Littlest Pet Shop) and how to make accessories for them, or whatever crazy cool thing she's doing that day. Or my husband's fascination with cars, tires, trucks, VW, motorcycles, Harley, racing, engines, etc. Most of it goes over my head.

Today, I vow to show more interest in the lives of those I care about. And that includes YOU, dear reader.

So, what are you up to? What are you into these days? Tell me! I really do want to hear all about it!

Keep on keepin' on...

Friday, September 9, 2016

Top 10 Writer Myths of All Time

These ten author myths are dangerous to believe. Writers who believe them are allowing these myths to keep them from moving forward in their writing careers.

Top 10 Writer Myths of All Time | author advice | writing tips | how to write | how to get published

1. It's going to be easy.

Life isn't easy. Why should anything else be? Just kidding. But, seriously, writing isn't easy. And having a writing career is definitely not easy.
"Anything in life worth having is worth working for." - Andrew Carnegie
On the other hand...
"Find something you love to do, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life." - Ray Bradbury
So, depending on your perspective on work, this may or may not be a solid myth. However, it bears repeating, that you still have to work hard to achieve success. How much you enjoy that work is up to you.

2. Being a writer is a solitary job.

Yes, writing is a very solitary act. But the best writers are surrounded by others. Being a writer doesn't have to be a solitary job. In fact, it shouldn't be. Yes, you sit at your desk and type on a keyboard for hours on end. Or, you take a notebook wherever you go, constantly writing down observations and working on the stories in your head. That? It must be solitary. But the rest of it? Not so much. You can instantly connect with other writers online. They'll help you and encourage you and keep you going. Don't be solitary ALL the time.

3. You should write every day.

Some writers really believe this. Write every day. That's all fine and good if it works for you, but it doesn't work for every writer. At the other end of the spectrum, some writers only write when the Muse strikes. The best thing is to find your own personal balance. Jane Yolen says it best:
"Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up." - Jane Yolen
But even exercising the writing muscle every day doesn't mean that you're writing or revising heavily on your one novel, story, or book. Even athletes take rest days. Let journal and letter writing be your rest days.

4. Writer's block doesn't exist.

Some say it does. Some say it doesn't. Some say writer's block only exists if you don't know how to get through it. And that once you do know how to get through it, then it doesn't exist anymore. Well, that's one way to look at it.

Let me just say that writer's block really does exist. In its most simplistic definition, it actually applies to ALL professions, all fields of interest, all walks of life, not just writers, though we probably face it more often than anyone else.
NOUN: The condition where one is unable to think through a problem. Not knowing how to proceed. The feeling of being stuck.
Basically, it's a blockage. You just have to get your brain thinking again and your thoughts flowing again. How? Go for a walk! Trust me, it works. Though you might have to do it multiple times before you finally see a breakthrough.

5. If you're good, you'll make it.

Hate to break it to you, but those who make it are usually better than good. Do you think Michael
Jordan "made" it because he was good? No! He made it because he was awesome! Yes, being good is part of it. But your book has to be good too. Ever hear the phrase, "It's all about the book"? Yep! It's all about a great book being so well written that an editor can't put it down.

However, in order to "make" it, there's a lot more to it than writing. You have to be able to sell. You have to be able to sell your manuscript to someone who thinks the book will sell. You also have to be able to sell the book. It's called marketing. You can't be good at marketing either. You have to be good and relentless.

6. Editors will fix all your grammar mistakes.

Um... see #5. You do have to be good to begin with. Editors are bombarded with manuscripts. They don't even see half of them. Assistants and editors alike will not wade through paragraphs full of grammar mistakes. Automatic rejection.

What an editor will do is make your book better. They will push you. They will help you tighten your work. What an editor does is magical. Books are a collaborative effort and editors are word wizards. So wield your mighty magic wand of a pen and fix all your grammar mistakes.

7. Once you're published, your books will sell like hotcakes.

Not so much. Remember #5? You actually have to market your books. They won't sell themselves. Books sit on shelves until someone buys them. The point of writing a book is to have people read it. And people won't be reading your books if they aren't selling. Just because you're published now doesn't mean you're successful. Yes, it's an awesome, amazing, wonderful, thrilling accomplishment that most writers never reach. So, congratulations on this success!

On the flip side, you can do better. So, don't stop now. Keep going! There are things authors can do to increase their fan base, their reach, and ultimately their sales. Social media only goes so far. But you do have to DO something to make people think about hotcakes when they see your name. Then maybe your books will sell like hotcakes. When they do, be sure to offer people syrup. And a napkin.

8. You get fewer rejections after you're published.

Again, not so much. Just because you're published doesn't mean that the writing life is any easier. It just means you're doing all the right things to reach that milestone. It certainly doesn't mean that rejections are going to happen less often. In fact, you may even get more! Remember, agents and editors get rejected all the time too. Agents get rejected by editors, and editors get rejected by marketing teams. YOU, however, understand this. Rejections are just a part of the business.
"You ask me about tragic accidents? If I am on my tractor at my farm and it rolls over on me and kills me, that’s a tragic accident. If I die in a race car, that’s life. I died doing what I love." - Dale Earnhardt 
If a writer was to sum that up, it would go something like this. "You ask me about rejections? If I'm at the Yankee Stadium and I use the billboard to propose to my girlfriend and the camera captures her telling me NO, that's rejection. But if my book gets rejected - again, that's life. It's part of being a writer." In writing, each rejection is one step closer to a YES. Remember that.

9. You're going to get rich.

Did you hear that? I'm going to get rich!!! No, not that. I meant did you hear that sound of laughter? Yeah, that... That's the sound of Shakespeare laughing you right off the stage. You're book will likely not get turned into a movie. Or sell a million copies. It's not impossible, for sure. But let's just say it's highly unlikely. Your book will not be an overnight success. But then again, it might. An author's first book is almost never an overnight success.
"Successful people make money. It's not that people who make money become successful, but that successful people attract money. They bring success to what they do." - Wayne Dyer
Seriously, most writers do not earn a living strictly from advances and royalties. It's likely that you're not going to be the exception. I know I'm not. However, most writers can earn a decent living once they add other gigs to their writing, whether it be teaching, coaching, editing, or something else. Don't quit your day job either, even after you sell a book or two. Most writers are not able to quit their day job to make a living from writing. BUT, success IS what you make of it, so don't focus on getting rich. Focus on what you DO, which hopefully is WRITING.

10. Mistakes are bad.

The final myth is that mistakes are bad. If you believe this, then you're going to have a very long, hard road ahead of you. It's okay to make mistakes, so long as you learn from them. However, you don't have to make the same mistakes that others have made. You can learn from their mistakes so that you don't have to. You can make new ones. Learn from those. Most importantly, keep writing!

6 Surprising Mistakes That Make Writers Look Like Amateurs
and How to Avoid Them

Know any other myths? Your favorites? Funny ones? Which myth speaks to you the most? Share in the comments below!

Keep on keepin' on...


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