Monday, July 16, 2007

Eight Rules

The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps - we must step up the stairs. ~Vance Havner

My mother, some friends and I all subscribe to magazines. I pile them on my nightstand and flip through them at night when I'm in the mood. Last night, I took a look at a recent Womans Day. Mostly the same-old/same-old, but I did come across an article about Making Changes: How To Do What You've Always Wanted.

It was about women who made big career changes and became self-employed, but near the end of the article, I came across their 8 Rules For Change. Those interested me enough, I thought I'd share them (and how they relate to being a writer).

1. Follow Your Bliss.

It's all about loving what you do and being passionate about it. I think this goes double for writing, if you're writing for publication. Writing can be hard work. Worse, after all that hard work, you have to submit it -- and the odds are very good you'll be rejected. You MUST love doing it, or you'll never do it.

2. Dream Big.

I think writing for publication IS a big dream. But folks, don't compromise. At first, I wondered if I was compromising by published with The Wild Rose Press. Of course, they were "only" publishing my short stuff, so maybe I fudged a little and could still go for the brass ring: A Big Print Publisher. Then I worked with them. I think they're great. Their editors are tough and challenging, their process professional.

With the creation of LASR, I've had the opportunity to see the work of several presses, both big and microscopically small. Many put out top quality work. Some don't -- some are so bad, I have to wonder if they're actually even edited at all. Thanks to this, I know now beyond the slightest shadow of a doubt -- TWRP isn't a compromise. They are a good, professional and sure to be a big player in ePress as they grow.

3. List Your Barriers and Concerns.

Putting them down makes them clear and helps to think of ways to overcome. No time to write? Bull-puckey. Make time. Work out a schedule.

Make yourself a comprehensive list of every single thing that stands in your way and then figure out a solution. You can do it!

4. Act Your Way Into Your Next Life.

Don't hem and haw when people ask what you do: "I'm a writer." Sit your rear in that chair and write. Assemble lists of literary agents for when you finish your first novel. Find books to educate yourself. If you don't treat yourself like a writer, why will anyone else?

5. Give Yourself The OK To Be A Little Selfish.

This can be the tough part. Taking an hour or two every day for your writing can be tough -- the kids want you for something, the house isn't as clean as it should be, your spouse needs you to (insert chore here), your boss asks you for some overtime... Learn to say "no". If you don't take the time, you'll never achieve your dream.

6. Try Not To Think About How Hard It Is.

I don't have the hard facts in front of me, but I do know that the odds of being accepted for publication are astronomical. That's okay. Work hard. Keep throwing your stuff at the wall. Eventually it'll stick.

7. Align Yourself With The Right People.

GET A GOOD CRITIQUE GROUP. Aside from just sitting your butt in the chair and writing, I believe this is the single most important thing you can do for your career. Note: the important part of that phrase is GOOD. A bad group will only make things worse. You want your group to be tough, honest and smart. Pats on the back, while nice, warm fuzzies, won't make your writing stronger.

8. Ask Yourself: "If Not Now, When?".

And that, my friends, is the magic question.


My SIL called yesterday: she found more caterpillars. Did I want them? I'm a sucker. I said yes.

They're all black swallowtails, BUT they were on all different food supplies and they'll only eat what they're laid on. Oh Good. Make it even harder. One on rue, one on dill, one on parsley.

En route back home, the dill 'pillar started to travel, and when my mother (who had the joyful task of holding the little bugs) tried to stop him from climbing into the water and drowning, he flashed his yellow horns at her.

I got home, set them up on their own plants, except the dill 'pillar who I put with Eenie, my current bug who also eats dill.

DD and I have named them: Phil the pill (the one who kept trying to drown himself), Jill (on the parsley, also the smallest) and Lil (or Lily) on the rue (the biggest).

All went well, they settled in nicely and we had dinner time at the 'pillar place with all four eating like mad... good... and then--

Eenie attacked Phil. It got ugly. Eenie is twice as big as Phil, and despite the fact that Phil is, in fact, a pill, he didn't deserve that. So, I'm yelling at them to break it up (because caterpillars are fluent in English) and trying to keep them apart. Eenie keeps flashing his horns at me (Phil didn't -- do you suppose he knew I was trying to help?). Finally, I grabbed a stem and shoved it between them and pushed Eenie back. He climbed on, so I moved him. The two dill 'pillars are now in separate corners. No green blood was shed, but it was a close thing.

Poor Phil. It must've really stressed him out, because he started traveling again, and ended up on the rue with Jill, who is as big as Eenie. Phil clearly is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I moved him back to his dill, and trimmed all the food plants so they weren't touching (the pillars won't climb down from their plants until they're ready to pupate).

This morning, it appears all is well. All four 'pillars are on their own plants, and sleeping happily... oh, except for Jill who has awakened and is chowing down on a bit of parsley.

It's always exciting here at the Arkins house.


Your Personality Cluster is Introverted Intuition

You are:

Multilayered and complex
Inspired and driven to achieve your goals
A visionary with a complete life plan
Intuitive enough to understand difficult problems, ideas, and people


And, just because the picture is SO cute!

You Are a German Shepherd Puppy

Intelligent, quick witted, and a bit aggressive.
You've got the jaw power to take a bite out of anyone you choose.


Ceri said...

Great post this morning! I definitely need to take some of that advice, especially putting asided my writing time. Its so haphazard in the summer months with everyone wanting to go fifteen different directions every day.

I have a few short stories that only need a little polishing that I'm thinking of submitting to TWRP this week. How long is the synopsis supposed to be if the story is under 2000 words? I can't imagine very long. I have two more stories I know I have saved somewhere, which would give me a total of about 6 that I could submit.

Get any crazy weather yesterday or did you bubble protect you? We got marble (and bigger) sized hail and enough wind to blow a small tree down on our river bank. Very exciting.

Tori Lennox said...

It's like a caterpillar soap opera! *g*

On the quizes, I got:

Your Personality Cluster is Introverted Feeling
You are:

Tolerant, flexible, and open to new ideas.
A stickler for integrity and authenticity.
Passionate about causes, beliefs, or politics.
Likely to have many "best friends" from many walks of life

Well, that last statement is probably true. :)

Then I got:

You Are a Beagle Puppy
Cheerful, energetic, and happy go lucky.
And you're sense of smell is absolutely amazing!

BAHW!!! *g*

Dru said...

Wow, caterpillas have and they

My oersonality cluster is Introverted Intuition and

I'm a Chow Puppy
Don't fence me in!
You're an independent spirit that won't be tied down.

Brandy said...

I got Boxer puppy, can't remember what it said beyond loyal and loves kids. *g*
Thanks for the insight on the 8 steps.

anno said...

These caterpillar stories are wonderful! No wonder you keep taking them in.

Like dru, my personality cluster is Introverted Intuition, and I am also a Chow Puppy!

Jen said...

For some reason, my earlier comments didn't show up.

I've been reading The Courage to Write at Charity's suggestion, and your post fit in perfectly with that book. And it's all on target.

Now I just have to do it. My main problem is being inconsistently consistent. I need to become consistently consistent. That's the next goal.

Best of luck with the 'pillars!

Suzanne said...

I think #1 is the most important--be PASSIONATE about what you write!!

Gay said...

You are the only one I've ever known to raise 'pillars.

So, with your 8 steps, does that mean it's OK that my hero is Johnny Depp? I've had him in mind the entire time I've been writing my novel. There have actually been times when I've said, "No, I can't do that. Johnny could NEVER do that onscreen. What if it turns into a movie? They'd have to hire someone else."

I'm dreaming big, all right. :D

Diane Craver said...

Love your 8 things!

I'm definitely passionate about my writing, and I also like your no. 5 and fits right now since I'm trying hard to take a few hours a day to write. I told my family I have to let a few things go so I can fulfill my commitment to the 70 Days of Sweat Writing Challenge. I hope I'll have a finished book in sept. when it ends.

Great post, Marianne!

Alice Teh said...

I'm also a german shepherd puppy!

Thanks for sharing the "8 Rules For Change". Have a great week ahead!