Every year between Christmas and New Year’s I take a break from blogging. For me, it’s a time to rejuvenate and reflect on the ups and downs of the year.
2014 had many highs and lows for me in both my personal and professional life. But no matter what happened in March, June, or September, my writing was always there to comfort me, challenge me, and coax me into pushing myself beyond my comfort zone. And let me tell you, writing historical fiction and New Adult was waaaaay beyond my comfort zone.
While I was considering what I wanted to share in this, my final post of the year, I came across an article about walking the path to success. What struck me as I read through each item is that many of these “secrets” can be applied to both writing and publishing. To illustrate the point, I’ve added my additional thoughts.
So as you plan your writing goals for next year, consider these thoughts and how they may help you accomplish all your dreams in 2015!
1) DETERMINATION IS EVERYTHING
Stay true to your dreams. Consider all the positives when a negative gets tossed in your path.
Get a rejection? Send another query!
2) WRITE DOWN YOUR DREAMS AND GOALS
Put pen to paper and write down your specific goals, then decide how you’re going to achieve them.
Just starting? Maybe that goal can be writing a piece of flash fiction or a short story. Knee deep in the query trenches? Start planning and writing your next manuscript. Focus on the road ahead, not the tracks left behind.
3) TAKE ACTION
Writing the words down is important, but without action, your dreams will never be achieved.
A blank page can be a frightening thing. Take a deep breath and place one word after the other. Before you know it you’ll have an entire chapter written!
4) PLAN TO LEARN SOMETHING EACH DAY
Seek out new skills. READ BOOKS (!!!) Make your world larger by seeing and trying new things.
Every time you read, you’re learning. Interested in writing MG? Pick up a Middle Grade book to learn how important voice is. Want to create a stunning YA contemporary novel? Read some of the bestselling authors in the genre to see how their words inspire readers.
5) BE FIERCE IN YOUR DEDICATION TO YOUR DREAMS
Success is a marathon not a sprint. NEVER GIVE UP!
Publishing is a slow business. Don’t focus on the queries or subs you have out. Plan and write your next book. It will save your sanity!
6) PAY ATTENTION TO BOTH BIG AND SMALL DETAILS
Analyze all the facts. Consider honest input. Learn from your mistakes.
The critiques you receive from trusted CPs and betas are gold. Read and absorb their comments so you can make your book a 1000x stronger!
7) MAKE TIME FOR WHAT YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH
It’s easy to get distracted on the road to success. Focus on what it will take to get you there.
Eyes on your own paper. Focus on your own dreams-not the accomplishments of other writers.
8) FEAR CAN INCAPACITATE YOU. DON’T BE AFRAID TO DO/TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT.
It’s easy to follow the most traveled road. Harder to carve out your own path.
Got an amazing idea for a YA Fantasy? Or a MG Magical Realism project buzzing in your head? Don’t be afraid to try something new. Write a story far different from others.
Think if Leigh Bardugo (Grisha Trilogy), Maggie Stiefvater (Raven Boys/Scorpio Races) or Cassandra Clare (Mortal Instruments/Infernal Devices) had been too afraid to share their work? We would’ve never been able to escape into those magical settings they created, and the world would be a poorer place for it.
9) LEARN TO COMMUNICATE CLEARLY. BE POSITIVE IN YOUR ACTIONS.
Working on a single goal can sometimes be an isolating task. Don’t forget to interact with others. Seek guidance and support from people who are on the same path.
Pay your experience forward. Beta read for others. Offer thoughtful, yet helpful critiques. I promise you will learn something from the experience too.
10) BE WHO YOU ARE EACH AND EVERY DAY. BE HONEST AND FORTHRIGHT.
If you’re not, then all the aforementioned thoughts are pointless.
The internet is forever. How you portray yourself to the publishing world is critical. If you’re always negative, or putting people down, that cynicism is turning away future readers.
And one last thought…
Whether you’re a seasoned writer or just getting started, don’t be afraid to reach out to the writing community. Build friendships. Encourage others going through the process. Support those who are struggling. Believe me, I speak from experience when I say my life has become richer and fuller in 2014 because of the friendships I’ve made in the writing community this year!
Many thanks again for stopping by and reading this blog. It means the world to me. I hope the holidays and the new year bring laughter, love, and light to you all!