Thursday, January 29, 2009

AS A WRITER, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR PEBBLES?

I’m a reflective person by nature. I think about many things in life. Look for lessons and ways to make things better for me and mine. To me life is like a giant puzzle made of pebbles. Sometimes it’s comprised of hard labor. Other times, the fun is in seeing how to work all the pieces tossed at us, and make a picture of it. Don’t like those particular pieces, rearrange them. I’m also an optimist but with my feet firmly planted in reality. I know if I work at it hard enough, think it through, I’ll find a way. And so it is with my writing.

To be a writer is rather solitary. We pour our hearts and souls into our writing--our characters, our created world. They're part of us, aren't they? When someone rejects that, of course we feel it AND feel they're rejecting us. On one level that's true, but we have to learn to compartmentalize, or we're dead in the water. We have to have tough Rhino skin or we're not going to survive. And yeah, it sucks.

As with most of the entertainment/arts groups, publishing is a tough playing field to break into. A key element in being a success in any field is focus, working at perfecting your skills, and believing in yourself and your abilities.

I think about authors like Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz, and Catherine Coulter. They all started out with Harlequin and or Silhouette. Many curled their lips at books from Harlequin. Whether it’s a lightweight romance publisher, or POD and E-book publishers—who cares where you start, so long as you start? I believe these authors honed their story telling skills and learned what readers like and didn't like, and built a readership base in these forums. And who are we to curl our lips, or diminish the worth of an author that makes those choices? Now, these authors are regularly on the Best Sellers lists.

Singers start out playing local, market themselves aggressively, and get their names out there. How? Singers play for anyone that lets them sing. Bars, lounges, you name it. Actors do the same with local theatre, and work their way up. They network like crazy. Are you doing that as a writer?

Pebble in the pool effect. Think about American idol. These singers are looking for shortcuts and there isn’t anything wrong with that, but even the shortcuts come with fierce competition. As authors, we do contests too, so we can relate.

What’s important here is: if the pebble isn’t first dropped into a pool of water, no ripples happen. The pebble has to be dropped more than once. It’s the same with writing. Every time you write a story, you drop a pebble and every time you query, or enter a contest, you drop another one. Every blog, writer’s conference, and joining a writing group is another pebble.

Maybe only a few of us will make it big. The truth of the matter is; getting published is not solely dependent upon talent. There are many talented people. Sometimes chance, fate or whatever you want to call it, steps in. If we’re not putting forth the effort of getting our writing and our name out there, what have you offered fate or chance to work with?

There’s a quote I like and I’ll share it with you. "Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor."

…or dropping your pebbles.

It’s something I think about frequently—what am I doing with my pebbles? Stacking them in a pile with no work or thought given them?
Am I hoarding them in a drawer where no one can see them?
Am I allowing fear of success or failure, hold me back?

By putting our work out there, we’re on the dance floor or to continue the metaphor, dropping our pebbles.

As a writer, where and how are you dropping your pebbles?

3 comments:

Nancy J. Parra said...

Great blog, Sia!

I agree with all your examples. You have to get the work out there- you smile and nodd and learn from rejection and praise alike.

Most of all, you keep going.

I just sent out proposal number 2 this month. Whooohooo- that makes five books out there. Nothing like baiting a lot of hooks and waiting for the fish to bite. ;)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Promotion and getting your name known is just as time intensive as writing the stories are. A necessary bane of a writers life.

Wah hoo, Nancy. you go girl! You can worry about the deadlines that will come back to haunt you if all five come back positive. Sure you can do it. what do you mean you also need a life? lolol!

Pat Bertram said...

I'm dropping a pebble here.

It's good to see that you're finally blogging -- no sense in your dropping pebbles where no one feels the ripples.

Best of luck. I'm looking forward to reading your bloggeries.