O Captain! My Captain!

I am pleased to have Melody Steiner as a guest blogger through the month of July. Set aside your Saturdays for an awesome read. (I am also posting on her site every Saturday if you’re interested in what I have to say about marketing.) Here’s a bit about Melody and what she has to say:

ImageMelody Steiner enjoys the simple things in life—her husband, her kid, and good books about robots and aliens and crazy tech. A sci-fi and fantasy enthusiast, she’s managed to mush all her favorite things together into a haphazard conundrum that she likes to refer to as a “novel.” She’s represented by Nicole Resciniti of The Seymour Agency. You can tolerate her musings by visiting her website, http://www.melodysteiner.wordpress.com or follow her Twitter account: @melody_steiner.
Sometimes a writing career can feel as unsettling as a ship trapped in still waters. The sun is bearing down, there’s not even a hint of wind in the air, and the food and water supplies are running out. All around you, there’s nothing but broad, open, mysterious seas. And your eyes are getting incredibly tired focusing on the horizon as you wait wait wait for something to happen. Anything. Another friendly drifting ship to boost your moral. An island so you can stop for a while, restock, and recharge. Or, the ideal situation, for the wind to kick up again so you can go where you are meant to go.

Writing is a lot like this at times. Writers can be every bit as neurotic and frenzied as they wait for their “wind” to blow their careers into motion. So while you’re in that limbo, yearning for the magic something to happen so life can move forward, here are a few tips:

1)     Remember who’s the captain of your writing career—you. It can be easy to blame the industry, the market, the recession, but the truth of the matter is that you are your own worst enemy. The most productive and powerful thing a writer can do is write. Don’t get bogged down and distracted by the blame game or else you’ll find yourself in a mutiny situation. Bad things come of emotional mutinies. So instead, just do what you were meant to do.

2)     Remember the end goal. Is it glory and fame? Is it money? Is it publication? Is it writing because you enjoy the act of writing? Or is it writing with the goal to learn, improve and grow? Whatever your motivation, envision that final destination and hold on tight. It could be a rocky ride, but you know the adage: “You’ll miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

3)     Look back to appreciate how far you’ve come. Maybe you’ve only been seriously writing for two years. Maybe you’re going on seventy years of perfecting your craft. However long, there’s nothing more gratifying than pulling out the old manuscripts and laughing (wincing) at the clunky dialog, the poorly constructed sentences, and the overused adverbs to give you a sense of perspective. With each manuscript you write, you really are improving.

Good luck on the journey, folks. There’s no telling how long you may be stuck at sea. Some people feel the breeze again after five minutes, while others wait a lifetime. But if the worth of any career is directly proportional to how dedicated you are to it, a long wait may equal an even sweeter payoff when you finally do feel that light breeze against your cheek.


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