Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Try It, You'll Like It!

How many of you remember the cereal commercial from several years ago featuring a little boy named Mikey?  His brothers would adamantly attest to the fact that Mikey wouldn't try the new cereal because "he hates everything."  Much to their surprise, however, Mikey did try the new cereal and he liked it!  Mikey discovered something new, his brothers were amazed that he stepped out of his comfort zone, and the company probably sold another box or two of cereal.  Everyone was happy.

Let's face it--we've all been Mikeys at some point when it comes to our writing. We fear trying something new because, well, what if we can't do it?  What if we don't measure up to other authors or books?  What if no one reads/likes/wants to publish our story?  Let's stop right there and visit a scene from "Waiting for Tomorrow."  Mitch is trying to protect his pregnant wife from harm by insisting she take it easy on the job.  He comes up with a few "What if (this or that) happens?"  Dana's response--"What if a meteor comes crashing through the roof and hits me?  What if I walk outside and get run over by a five-year-old rollerskating down the sidewalk?  What if we have an earthquake, and I fall into a big crack in the earth?"  Her point?  We can either live our lives in fear of the what-ifs--which most likely will never happen--or we can take a chance and possibly discover something new and exciting.

So, what is it that you've been wanting to do?  Have you been yearning to explore writing another genre, delve into the task of self-publishing, organize a writer's conference or maybe speak at one?  Perhaps you're at the beginning--you have a story to tell but are afraid to get started with the writing.  You only have two choices--stay put or move forward.  The former is safe and secure, but leads you nowhere.  The latter can lead you to places you never imagined and to successes beyond your wildest dreams.  What are you waiting for?  "Try it, you'll like it!"  Happy writing!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Feeling Stronger Every Day

You've done it.  You've finished that manuscript, you've gotten published, you've won an award or two for your writing.  You've done signings, interviews, started a blog and a website, and had your picture in the local newspaper.  You've been invited to speak with writer's groups and at local conferences.  You've found success as an author, and because of that fact there's nothing else anyone can tell you about the literary world that you don't already know.  You're an expert.  All you have to do is sit back, write, and reap the benefits.  Right?

I say "wrong!"  It's my personal opinion that the absolute worst thing a writer can do is start thinking that his success means there is nothing else he can learn.  Let me ask you this:  How would you feel if your doctor stopped keeping up on the latest medical techniques and advances simply because he'd earned his degree?  Would you feel like you were getting the best possible care from him?  Of course, you wouldn't!  Why, then, as a writer, would you ever feel like you were providing the best material to your readers if you failed to continue learning ways to improve upon your craft?

There are so many resources available to us as writers that can help us be even better at the art than we are.  Writer's conferences provide an excellent way to network with other authors and learn from those who have forged the path ahead of you.  I may hear the same presentation a dozen times, but I never fail to learn at least one new tidbit that I can use in my writing.  Another great resource are what I call the "self-help" books.  Browse your local book store or online retailer and you will find a book to guide you through any literary subject imaginable.  I have several and use them often!  Join a writer's group, start an interactive blog, engage in social networking.  Do what you like, but whatever you do, don't stop learning.  You'll be surprised at how much more successful you can be.  Do you have other ideas on this subject?  Let me know in the comments.  Happy writing!

*Photo courtesy of Google Images