Photo: “Happiness “by Sybil Shane
After all this talk about bad nightclubs and scary chupacabras, it was refreshing to wake up this morning and find this site called Write Attitude.
It is an inspiration sight aimed at writers, but I think anyone who is working towards a goal can find some juice from it. First off, watch the little video on the home page, and then read the other pages. The sites shares all kinds of quotes and notes from published writers.
The bottom line? Do not give up.
One of my favorite lines is from Dolly Parton, who said “If you want the rainbow, you’ve got to put up with the rain.”
People ask me all the time, “How can I get my book published? How can I get my art featured in a magazine or on TV? How can I find time to do my dream project when I’m working and have a family? How can I make a living doing what I love?”
I have the same answer to all of these. You have to stop asking, and start doing. For each goal, sit down and write a sentence of what you want. Do your research. If it is a craft book you want to write, check out the market and see what has not been done yet, or come up with a smart twist on a common topic. If it is a novel or memoir, sit down and write. Start with an outline that you can use as a guideline to follow. If it is time, examine your schedule and see what you can trim out.
Here is another great line from Write Attitude: “The best writers aren’t the ones who can write a good sentence. They are the ones who keep writing.” And one more: “Action conquers fear.”
Basically, the more you practice, the better you will get, and the more comfortable you will feel. I spent a whole year outlining my book. I could have finished that goofy thing on a weekend, but I had so much fear and insecurity, I wouldn’t let myself move past an outline. Finally, I decided to take part in National Novel Writing Month because I am a task-oriented person. Give me a deadline and I’ll meet it. NaNoWriMo gave me one month to write 50,000 words. I also joined a writing group with some fellow journalist friends and our meetings were so exhilarating, they intensified my determination.
On the first day of NaNoWrimo, I remember staring that the blank computer screen and saying, “What the heck?” and I just started typing. I didn’t let myself stop until I had 2,000 words that night. Yes, it was a mess, but at least it was a starting point. I took it to my writing group, they gave me critical feedback, and that was all it took to become addicted.
As far as a crafty web site, or selling your art, or writing too…same thing. Don’t wait for the right time to come. The right time is now. Other people are doing it, why not you too? MySpace is free, and you can make it all your own. I suggest starting a blog and updating it, keep it interesting to build a following. Toot your horn, and shine light on others too. Take time to research magazines and how to submit articles or products to them. As a newspaper reporter, I used to get all kinds of cool s.w.a.g. (sealed with a gift). I was not allowed to keep any of it, but it did catch my attention, and I often wrote about those items or events.
Even if you can just submit an online press release, do it through email. Toss out your excuses! For TV shows, look at the web sites, and see how to get on the show. Make phone calls. Start local. Look into your local morning shows and see if they have guests on. Peg your appearance towards an event you have coming up. Don’t have an event? Create one! And don’t forget to network and connect with other people with like interests so you can motivate each other. I’ve done all of these and have had success.
For those of you who say money is an issue, I have to disagree. Patrick and I started by painting anything and everything with a smooth surface. By the time we were done, no one could believe what the raw materials were! That’s how we paid our bills. We sold our art at festivals, concerts, coffeehouses, anywhere where someone would give us a free booth. If you want it bad enough, you WILL find a way to make it happen. Writing is the easiest of all because it does not cost a penny. I never went to any kind of expensive conferences or classes. I used a pencil and a journal to write my outline and character sketches. A pencil and paper, everyone can afford that! I wrote my book late at night while the rest of the family was asleep because I didn’t want to lessen the time I spent with them.
I have to admit, now that I look back on those two years of writing the novel, I was going through a hard time at my (former) day job. I often cried on my way into work (and coming home). Writing my book, Love Shine, at night was my release (escape!) so I wouldn’t have a major breakdown. It gave me hope to write about these characters and their wacky adventures. It gave me something to look forward to. At the time, the idea of a Crafty Chica product line was just a crazy fantasy. I never dreamed I’d someday do that full-time, much less leave the newspaper!
I wondered if I would be a newspaper reporter forever if that was my destiny. Not that it was a bad thing at all. I was very happy for 11 years of it, it was just the last two that were extremely stressful. “Is this it?” I’d ask myself. Writing the novel was my way of subconsciously saying “NO!” I don’t know how else I could have found the energy to stay up until 2 a.m. four nights a week and write a flippin’ novel. I didn’t even think of the odds of getting it published, I just focused on typing the words “The End”, and I visualized seeing my name on the cover! I knew there were so many other writers who were better than me, but I continued, just for my own satisfaction. I loved the experience so much.
They say everything happens for a reason, and I think that rough patch at the newspaper served as a way to fire me up in another way. So I’m grateful for those tears! This reminds me of one more quote I found: “Behind every successful woman is someone who pissed her off.”
Tomorrow is Monday, a fresh and new week. I bet you think I’m going to say, “Start then!” Nope. I say start right now! As you go throughout your day, think about what it is you want and begin to formulate ideas in your head. Change all your passwords to match your goal. For example, every so often we had to change our computer passwords at the newspaper. I always chose something that pertained to my book. Like a character’s name, or even “get a book published!”. Just think, you are typing that password over and over, might as well make it meaningful, right? If you love where you are at now, but want to go to the next level, think of what that specific next level is, and use that as your password.
OK, I’m off to get ready for Patrick’s birthday dinner (IE: clean house, finish the laundry!), and then Art Unraveled’s opening ceremonies tonight! Don’t forget to check out Write Attitude!