Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Believe in Yourself

(picture from photobucket.com)

 Believe in yourself! Easy to say, not so easy to do.

This last week a very nice lady called asking for writing advice. She sounded a little discouraged, but as we talked her voice became more hopeful. She'd heard that getting an agent and having a book published was nearly impossible. Yes, it is difficult. The publishing industry has taken some hits in this economy, but things are improving. After I hung up, I started to think that perhaps many of you have felt discouraged either because you haven't published or your editor didn't like your last manuscript or . . . well the list could go on and on. But what we have to remember is, if we don't believe in ourselves who will? 

Believing in yourself is not just hoping, it's doing. You need to act the part. Treat your writing with importance: be professional, set goals, hone your craft, build your name and balance your life.

Be professional...
Even if you're not published you need to treat your writing as a profession. Get business cards and nice ones. Set up a Web site and blog. Customize your letterhead. Do you have promotion plans for your book? This is important because when you receive that life-thrilling call of acceptance, if you have promotion plans you will be prepared to share your ideas with your publisher. Believe me they will be impressed. Work on your professional image so that you can hit the publishing-ground running.

Set goals...
I remember one writer I knew years ago who said that she decided if she hadn't published within a year she was going to get a job. That is NOT the kind of goal I'm talking about. So much is out of your control when it comes to publishing. You can have the best book in the world, but if the time isn't right you won't sell. So set goals that you can control, such as: finish your novel by a certain time, read so many books, keep up on the market, and etc. Make sure your goals help you stretch and that you can accomplish them. There's great satisfaction in saying, I did it.

Hone your craft...
Yes, this means to keep working on your book, but it also means blogging, writing articles, taking classes, and going to conferences to name only a few. Blogging consistently helps build your writing skills, but it also teaches discipline. Writing articles will help you with the promotion of your book. And taking classes and going to conferences--even if you've heard hundreds of lectures on writing you never know when a light will turn on and you'll grasp a concept like you never have before. Writing classes and conferences are great to help keep your writing skills up to date.

Build your name...
Why would you want to build your name if you haven't published? You want your name out there, right? Going to conferences, networking and the social media all three help you to build your name. When you attend writing conferences, you're meeting people and making impressions. Remember the business cards, blog and Web site I mentioned earlier? This is where they come into play. A business card helps to break the ice when you meet other authors or when you have that five-minute pitch session with an editor or agent. And you'd better believe they will visit your blog and web site to see what you're all about. You're building your name.

Balance your life...
I look back on the days before I became published and you know what? In many ways, my life is pretty much the same. My family still needs me. I mop the floors and take out the trash. In fact, I'm constantly trying to balance my life. What helps is prioritizing what's most important. Sometimes family comes first and sometimes writing is at the top of the list. Balancing becomes very important to a professional writing career and learning what comes first and when is vital.

Believe in yourself, hang onto your dreams, do the work and you'll see success. Now tell me what you think.

15 comments:

  1. Some very good tips. I'm going to try to apply some of them on my life.

    :-)

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  2. Misha,
    I think you'll be glad you did. Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  3. Misha,
    I think you'll be glad you did. Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  4. Wonderfully encouraging tips, Kathi. My favorite line: "But what we have to remember is, if we don't believe in ourselves who will?" So true! If we don't take a chance on ourselves, what makes us think anyone else will? Great reminder!

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  5. Great advice. By owning our decisions to live what we love, they somehow become us as we bring writing into our days.

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  6. Laura,
    Thanks! I know how easy it is to get discouraged, but you're right. If we don't take a chance on ourselves, neither will anyone else. :)

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  7. Joanne,
    I like what you added that by owning our decisions to live what we love...we bring writing into our days. Awesome!

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  8. Great tips! Thanks for sharing! :)

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  9. I agree with Joanne. It's so important to know and communicate to others how important writing is and to make time for it, not just squeeze it in if there's time. Making that decision and following through has changed my whole outlook.

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  10. good advise :)

    The balance life thing... yeah. Still working on that.

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  11. Carol,
    I agree with you. Following through can change your outlook. Great point!

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  12. Tabitha,
    I think balancing life is a constant struggle, but for me, being aware of my priorities helps a great deal. Just remember, we're all in this together. ;)

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  13. Everything you mentioned here is so important--but mostly believing in yourself. I do even when I get discouraged because I know that if I work at it long enough, and really try to learn the craft, I will get it--someday. I might be 100, but I will!! LOL

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  14. Terri,
    I know before I sold my first book I thought I would be 100 before I published. ;) It will come and probably when you least expect it.

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