FAILURE EQUALS SUCCESS?

pen and inkI can hear the wheels in your head screeching. What trick is this? Who would want failure? To give you a better picture, Winston Churchill has been quoted as saying, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

In my Georgia Romance Writers Group, we have a program that honors rejection letters and at the end of the year, the writer with the most rejections receives a prize. What does this mean to writers? You are busy writing and submitting your stories/novels. You are continuing to do this in an attempt to get published. Courage? You’d better believe it. Embarrassed? Why? You are working hard, getting rejected, and you keep writing and submitting and  rejected until that special letter or phone call comes in…we want you to send the FULL manuscript…this little statement has made all the hard work worthwhile. Still, it is not a done deal. So, you keep writing and writing and submitting and submitting. As a writer, this is the blood that flows through our veins and keeps us going. Is this failure? It depends on how a person looks at the situation and themselves. This could happen to anyone, not just writers.

You apply for a position and feel confident about the interview. A week or two goes by and you hear nothing. So you wait a few more days before you make the call. You learn another person, more qualified, has been hired. Do you stop looking at the employment ads or do you keep sending in applications. The FAILURE would stop, but SUCCESS keeps reading the want-ads. However, instead of answering a bunch of employment advertisements, you list your qualifications, past employment history, make certain these are what the position involves, and be prepared. This is working from the success side.

As writers, we are in the same position. We are told it will be a rough ride to publication, and yet we find ourselves sending query letters to agents who do not represent our genre or maybe we hope they overlook this area. Wrong. One of the first things we learn…read the rules and qualifications of the agent and see if your work fits the categories.

As you proceed in your search, no matter what area, take a good look at your skills. Are you familiar with new technology? Do you need to brush up on your computer skills? How long has it been since you attended any conferences or meetings? Do you belong to any networking areas, a book club, or groups in your church or neighborhood? Do you volunteer for any events? These are avenues of successful people. Failure is sometimes being lazy and hoping you’ll get recognized. Success is taking your measurements and making certain you update these often.

Failure is not the end, but the beginning of a new way of thinking, being, and doing. Setbacks are sure to come along the roads you travel, but you can handle a detour. Sometimes they are as important as a straight road.

Happy Journeys.  Happy Detours.  Happy Writing.

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PUBLIC SPEAKING – WHO ME?

What did you sayYou hear these words and your voice starts shaking, your knees wobble, and your body feels wet from the sweat rolling around. You are a writer and now you are an author, so suck it up.

As an author, you need to present yourself to the public. Why? To sell your book, get asked to give presentations, be a guest on a program, and be recognized as a great speaker. But, you cannot do this without practice. Fear? Yes, fear is at the heart of all speakers, at the beginning, and probably every time they stand in front of an audience.

Remember, there is no greater speaker than that of an author. Who wrote the book? You. Who knows what the book is all about? You. Who knows about the funny places? You. Who can present the scenes of love, friendship, suspense and frustrations? You.

Now is the time for practice. Volunteer at your writer meetings to give an introduction for another author. No, not you. Volunteer to do presentations at a special meeting. Get yourself up out of your chair and behind the podium or even just  in front of a group with a microphone in your hand.

But, wait. You need to know how you sound with a microphone. Is your voice too loud? Are you speaking too fast, and no one can understand you? Does your voice stay in the same tone, like a monotone and no emotion comes out? Do you slur your words?

So, what do you do? If you have a tape recorder, use it. You can listen to yourself and might not even recognize your voice. Keep trying, and trying, and trying. Are you punching some of your words? Trying to emphasize words to get attention. Vary the pitch of your voice and you will have your audience captivated. Do not forget a pause between some words. This comes when you want your audience to be with you, listen, and feel what you do. You want your audience to stay with you from beginning to end.

What about your body? No, not the size, but what your audience sees as they listen. Are you dressed for the occasion? You need to find out about the type of audience you are addressing: a sports audience and you come in evening clothes? I doubt it. Or the reverse: an evening crowd and you come in your workout clothes? Yeah, I went overboard, but this gives you a chance to think about your audience. You need to invoke emotion and interest through non-verbal communication, known as body language. Facial expressions and gestures are a neat beginning. Eye contact is another very important communication. People in the audience love to think you are looking at only them. Give them your best.

A goof-up? Hey, we all mispronounce words, forget some words, and the best recovery is to acknowledge them and laugh at yourself. Your audience will laugh with you. Be sincere and honest.

Now, that you have done some practicing at home, in front of a mirror, and practiced, practiced, and practiced, it is time to take you and your book out before a live audience. Most of all, have fun with your time before the audience. They will feel part of your presentation and you will find yourself with new fans.

SPEAK UP.  SPEAK SLOW.  SPEAK YOUR BEST. PROMOTE YOUR WRITING.

o

86,400 WHAT?

YouFirst question, is this money? Maybe mileage on an airline pass? Or a collection of items in a hobby? You have scratched the surface of your life. This is TIME, the amount of seconds you have every day of your life.

Now that you know you have 86,400 seconds each day of your life, how will you use them? As writers, the answer would be writing, but we cannot write every second of every day. Our well would run dry. Our fingers on the keyboard would not be efficient. Ideas would soon become a jumble and certain thoughts drained out of our heads. So what can we do with this precious gift given to us EACH day?

There are quite a few seconds we need to sleep and rejuvenate our mind and body with good healthy practices. Then we would need seconds to feed our family, like cooking, and getting groceries. We would need seconds to run errands and, of course, check the media part of our lives. We would need seconds to visit friends, go to meetings, and share our thoughts with other people/writers. There would be seconds needed to read for pleasure and research.

Now, this gives you something fun to do and see how many things you can consider. Yeah, you hear the word list and this is a great place to start. Analyze your life for one day, or 86,400 seconds and see where you spend your time. Do you spend time or waste time? Do you give your time to someone else and watch transformations on the other person’s face. Do you volunteer and help others?

These 86,400 seconds are worth more than if there were a ‘$” sign in front. Money comes. Money goes. But the seconds are there each and every day. This is a bank that never runs dry. Yet, living a full life, happiness runs all over the place, and time does have a way of racing by quicker than we think.

When you get up each morning, decide how you will spend your 86,400 seconds. Live Life.  Love well. Stay Happy. Your writing will flourish, your friends become many, and the opportunities you may have overlooked, become plentiful. Have fun with your 86,400.

Until next visit,

Happy Writing.

Do You Have A “Joy List” ????

images_014Yes, you heard right, a “Joy List.” Something you want to do, just not for certain what?

Take a step back and think, really think. Do you get off-center, do you feel too much pressure, can you list five new restaurants or places you never knew existed, what about watching the squirrels scurry for their winter supply of food, or the last time you put on a CD and poured a cup of hot tea or your favorite beverage and relaxed to the musical sounds?

But this is supposed to be about writing and its pleasures. Well, if you are not writing, why? This could be you’ve lost your “Joy List,” and need to either find it or begin again.Of course, you know, this list will change, but you need to be ready to jump on the “joy” wagon.

These are the simple pleasures or activities that make you feel fuzzy inside. When you get this fuzzy feeling, everything seems right with the world, AND ignites your imagination.  Soon the flames give you energy, and you cannot wait to go on a short journey, even around the block, and then come back ready to tackle a blank screen in front of you or a blank white piece of paper.

How long has it been since you met a friend for brunch. I’m not talking big bucks, but something as great as a Waffle House breakfast. You talk and talked over the food, noise, and great coffee for two hours. Then you left, filled with a vibrancy you have not felt for a while. Why? Because of the interaction between you and your friend.

This also includes awakening your curiosity. Never thought about that, huh? I do not have the time, but why not? I have responsibilities, I need 1,500 words to add to my story. I need groceries. I need to have the car checked out. I need to . . I need to . . . Not if you are taking care of yourselves.

If there is something you want to do, DO IT.  I love animals, yet where I live, we cannot have pets. Yes, I agree, this would be yuck for some. So, I check out pet stores having a sale and offer to walk the dogs. I get the hugs, slurps, sloppy kisses, and return feeling like a happy parent, without the college expenses.

Maybe, you like music, but cannot afford an instrument, classes, or tickets to events. Hey, volunteer to be an usher at a symphony or a playhouse or even a school event.

All of you have not put on your “Joy List Hat,” have you? Try again and do something so simple, so fun, and so connecting with your friends, that you come home and head straight for the computer. Your mind is energized beyond belief, and your writing will show the positive side of you.

Sometimes, we need a kick in the A _ _ and this is the first on this week. Go ahead and do one of the simple items you wrote on your “Joy List.” You’ll never regret it.

KEEP THE JOY LIST GOING.   HAPPY WRITING

T. G. I. F.

9776003-audienceKick back, all of you. Enjoy T.G.I.F. This is your ‘free Friday’ to try something new, fun, interesting, playful, or whatever you choose. Your choice. But, to help you out, here are some starters:

T – try something like a new restaurant, or cook a new and different dish, try a new route to go places, not the same old path. How about trying your day backwards. Yep, backwards. Have dinner for breakfast, go through your every day routine in a backward mode and end up the day with breakfast.

G – get away and hide for an afternoon, any place but home. Give a few hours of your time, yeah I know this is hard, to volunteer with an organization that interests you. Think about animal shelters. These lonely, deserted pets love company and walks. How about a long quiet walk for yourself. Breathe deep, swing your arms, walk, do not run, and feel your body respond to life.

I – Imagine. Use your imagination on anything and see what you can conjure. Invent. With the use of your imagination create a new invention to help others and include yourself. I know computers can enter what you speak, so what if they could enter what you thought. Whoops! Better save that thought. Which comes to ignore. This is your Friday, feel free to ignore the laundry, the dusting, the vacuum. Hey, if you are on your walk…Investigate everything you can see, touch, feel. This can become research for your next book. Ideas are the best prompts to writing.

F – Flowers can give new meaning to your Friday. Stop and look as you walk or go to a flower shop and treat yourself to a new bouquet. Search for your Fairy Godmother. She is out there somewhere waiting to help you, but you have to let her know. She can be silly, someone to laugh with or smart and think of all the things you can learn. Find adventure through a child’s eyes. Sometimes we get so bogged down being an adult, we forget the wonders of the world. Watch your own children, or borrow a child for the afternoon and enjoy visions of the world in a different way. Yes, closer to the ground.

What way your decide on, follow through. Take a day’s vacation in your backyard. It’s YOUR FRIDAY.

Happy Day. Happy Writing

 

LAUNCH YOURSELF

An Idea

Are you ready to “Launch” yourself? You’re writing and writing and writing and writing. But, are you accelerating your efforts? Are you contributing to the future? Are you getting yourself out to the public?

Yes, your writings and your books are your passions. Now it is time to launch yourself and let others see you, not only as a writer, but as a person who enjoys life and all life has to offer.

You volunteer to help assist students in a writing class and give direction to their writing interests. You take time to work with them, learn their names, and find out some of their passions. You are contributing to their future.

You work with a group at a library to set up writing sessions, critique groups, or suggest new ideas for non-writers to read more. You are pushing yourself forward into others’ lives.

You spend time with people who make you laugh. Writing is a tough world and writers forget there are fun times out there. Enjoy everyone.

Build up your relationships, based on honesty, respect and love. Cultivate your friends through conversations and always make certain to follow through and touch base more often.

Keep yourself in shape. Readers will see you, not just as a writer, but remember your tidbits on health, exercise, and sleep. Sleep gives a refresh to your mind, body and soul.

Give a big smile to all you meet; strangers, old friends, and new friends. A SMILE can say a thousand words and costs nothing to give and priceless to receive.

You can launch yourself every day with new happenings and sharing through the written word. A new blog or an email to keep in touch with your readers and make new readers.

Make time for meditation to relax mentally and physically and live in the moment. Tomorrow is another day and you have to launch yourself every day. This isn’t hard;you just make a launch part of your daily life.

Have a GREAT launch, and happy writing.

A SLIGHT CHANGE

YouI know I said we’d do a little more in the critique process area, and we will, just not at this time. I have had this word, “PASSIONS,” floating around in my head and cannot shake hard enough to let the letters fall to the floor. No, I do not do resolutions for the new year. Why? They are of no use. If after day 1, of the new year, I screw (oops, pardon) up, then I feel the whole year will be that way. New Year’s Resolutions set people up for failure.

Now, let us take PASSION. Passion grabs you at any time, any place and any year. SO, WHAT ARE YOUR PASSIONS? First let me ask you, “What turns you on?” The second question is “Why aren’t you doing this?” Think on these questions for a while, before you answer. Turn yourself inside out and look at the choices you have made.

All of us have gifts and they get buried. Now is the time for you to get a shovel and see what gifts you can dig up. Sure, a good job and a paycheck are comforts in our environment, but you do have choices out there. Look at things that have the deepest meaning for you and see if there is an opportunity for work in this area. You need to deepen your gifts.

A thought about gardening hits. A nice yard with plenty of flowers and shrubs or a veggie garden. But, your yard is small or you live where you have no yard. OK. Check within your area for community gardens. You get your passions satisfied and meet other people.

You love to read and could sit all day with books around you. Share this passion by reading to children at your local library or starting a book club. Your passion gets filled and overflows into a child’s life or new members of a book club.

Think outside the box.

Put these passions down on index cards and look at them every day. If one does not fit, look for a different avenue, a new choice or decision. Then you find one that does fit, and you soar to new heights. You will find yourself getting closer to working with your passions.

If you are a writer, remember that every writer faces fear and failure before that one golden moment of publication. Why do we continue? We are filled with the PASSION. PASSION. PASSION. of putting words on paper.

But, one words drives all of us in search for our PASSION….PRACTICE. PRACTICE. PRACTICE.

No more resolutions, just grab your PASSIONS and hang tight. You will find your match. If you want to share, please write down five passions and how you plan to work these into your lives, starting now. No sense waiting until the New Year.

Happy Passion Hunting and let me hear from you.