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Failure may be first step to writing success

Let me tell you this: failure is normal. Especially when you are trying to be a writer. When you love something so much, you may think that success should come easily. But that is often far from the truth. There are countless people around the world who want to write, who want to tell their stories, but once they hit an obstacle, they wonder, “Is it worth it?” Rejections hurt; it doesn’t matter if they come from that Evil Editor in your head, or if it’s in an actual rejection in e-mail form.  You’ve heard the stories about the multiple rejections from those who would become successful authors, but what about in business (which is really what writing for publication is)?

 If you ask any successful businessperson about the path that they took to become successful, you will likely be surprised to hear about the many pitfalls, obstacles, setbacks, and outright failures that they experienced before they finally achieved success. After all, there is a reason that they say that for every two…
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"Writing Fearlessly" an Admirable Goal, but Probably a Myth

“Live fearlessly!” Sounds great, doesn’t it? Until you actually try living that way. Your common sense gets in the way—Well, I must be scared of some things, like driving too fast or stray dogs, right? Or you basically fear what living fearlessly might LOOK like: What will they think of me if I shake my ass in Zumba?
These kinds of debates have been playing themselves out in my head for the past year, as I’ve been working on my memoir. Can I "Write Fearlessly?" I felt great in the beginning. I’d discovered a way to work, a type of flexible outlining Brook Warner calls “scaffolding” that seemed to set me out in the right direction—yes, direction! I suddenly had one. Great! On to writing.
I knew the story. I mapped out the scenes. But, I suppose it is similar to the Cheryl Strayed’s Wild journey—we both knew we were a bit out of our element, but until we run splat into obstacles, we didn’t know how scary it would be.

Writing Lessons from a Salesperson: Part 2

Writers and entrepreneurs have a lot in common. If you are a writer who plans to achieve any kind of financial success from your talent, you have to play the business game. If you are an entrepreneur who wants to get people excited about your product or service, you have to play the sales game. If you are like a huge majority of people, this may make you cringe.

Watch a few minutes of “Shark Tank” on TV and you will see true rejection in action. Inventors, business owners and dreamers have put their sweat, tears, and often a whole lot of money into an idea they believe will both change the world and make them rich. Usually, someone tells them how wrong they are. It doesn't help that one of the guys is sarcastically called “Mr. Wonderful.”

As a writer, you are standing in front of that panel of critics every time you submit new work for consideration. No matter how great your product is, it is not for everyone. You could have the most amazing slant on zombie-aliens from Krypton, bu…

Writing Lessons From A Salesperson: Part 1

For an entire decade, a full one-quarter of my life so far, I worked at a manufacturing/distribution company.  The company made stuff and sold stuff. I was perfectly content to support the company with customer service, administration and inventory management throughout that time.  The thought of selling anything, however, made me freeze. Marketing?  Fine. Sharing information in a trade show booth? Fabulous. Asking someone for their money in return for a fine product? I’d rather chew glass and wash it down with turpentine.
That’s why I am so amused with my recent choice. I’m an Independent Rep with Pangea Organics skincare. It’s a skincare company focused on healthy solutions from natural, organic sources, so my diversion to the sales aspect would be more like washing a mouthful of chia seeds down with the blended juice of a cucumber, kale, and pineapple. You can read a bit about my decision here, but basically, I was impressed with the product and thought it would be a chance to mak…

Stuck in the Muck?

Before my recent memoir writing course, I hadn’t heard of the term “the muddy middle,” but I had sure felt it. Some of my work is still there, trudging along in the muck like those quick-sand “walkers” in last week’s episode of the Walking Dead   And like the zombies, you can’t just ignore the problem and hope it will go away, you have to figure out how to move on. And for this you need the ABC’s of Muddy Middle Elimination:

A. Action. No matter how stuck you feel, the only way you are ever going to get any forward momentum in your work is to MOVE. Step away from the computer and take a walk to clear your mind, or turn away from the monitor and free write for 5-10 minutes, about the frustration, or how you may want to write the next scene but are afraid to commit to it, whatever. But stick to the action of writing, even if you take a few moments to move away from it, be sure to make your way back.

B. Believe. I get in those moods to cook unique things from magazines or on Pinterest. The…

3 Writing Tips For November And Beyond

Why November was chosen to be the month writers are supposed to rally all of their energy  to work on their drafts at a Stephen King (or another prolific writer) pace is beyond me. Holidays are coming up; also it's the end of the year, which sometimes means day-job goals; and it turns chilly in many parts of the country/world--what better time to cozy up with a good book--that somebody else wrote? Instead, the folks over at Nanowrimo have shifted many  writers (or would-be writers) to believe they can write a whole novel (or nonfiction book, or a collection of blog posts, etc.) in 30 days. Since I follow blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and Pinterest boards that are all about writing, I can't escape these messages. And the spirit is contagious. At least for the first week or so. In the spirit of Nanowrimo,WNFIN, and others, I have taken the challenge, in a way. Here's what I plan to do this month:

Write every day. This is not  uncommon advice, but when everybody el…

Lessons from Memoir Writing

Writing is always a journey. The difference between this journey and that road trip you may take this weekend is you really you can't plan out where the road will take you. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't take it.

I started an online class a few months ago to help jump-start the memoir I had been writing in my head for the last few years. Every time I would get a few scenes written, the focus would change, and I would go back to the starting line. Again. I was hoping the class would change that. It did, eventually. It would have changed it sooner if I would have allowed myself the chance to let the lessons sink in. No matter. Even the shitty first drafts will be of some use down the line, and now I have stopped crinkling the road map and throwing it under the seat of my writer's driver's seat. Instead, I've pulled over and I'm taking a good look at where I want this book to go. More details on the to come. In the meantime, at least one big lesson I'…