Reblogged from The Writing Life
“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
I’ve read this quotation in a number of places and many different contexts. It is a solid action step for every writer.
Why? Because from my experience, fear can prevent us from taking action and moving forward with our writing. Will anyone want to read what I’m writing? Will it sell? Can I find a publisher or literary agent? Is my writing good enough to publish in a magazine or book? The questions in our minds can appear endless.
While I’ve published a great volume of material over the years, if I’m honest, I have a number of fears that I face each day. The key from my perspective is are you taking action with your writing in spite of those fears. I have my ideas and pitches rejected and don’t hit the mark—yet I continue pitching my ideas and looking for opportunities.
Years ago as a new writer, I was at a conference sitting around with several more experienced and published authors. It was late at night and I was learning a great deal from these new friends. One author who had published a number of books mentioned how every time he begins a new project he had huge doubts and fears in his mind. He wondered if he could do it and if the book would succeed. In the same breath where he mentioned these fears, he explained that he pushed ahead and beyond the fear to write the book. It’s the key distinction between those who want to write and those who actually write: they push ahead and take action in spite of the negative thoughts and fears.
Possibly today your manuscript or book proposal is getting rejection letters from agents or editors. From my experience, you have not found the right place for your book when you get rejected. It means you have to keep looking for that right connection or champion. When the rejection arrives (even if that rejection is through no response), you face a critical choice. You can either take action and seek another opportunity or you can quit and not respond. Many authors will send out their material one or two times, get rejected and figure no one wants to work with them and publish their submission. Their writing fears have stalled them into no action.
When you have writing fears, there are several things:
1. Everyone has these fears. Whether they admit them or not, you should understand it is part of the process.
2. The writers who get published, understand timing and the right connection are a critical part of the process. You have to be proactive to find the right connection with your material.
3. Rejection is a part of publishing. Everyone gets rejected—beginners and long-term professionals. The key is what do you do with the rejection. Do you quit or do you look for the next opportunity?
I believe the world is full of opportunity—yet as a writer you have to make the right connection and have to be facing your fears and continuing to move forward with your writing. One of the most published series of books in English is Chicken Soup for the Soul. What many people forget is Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen were rejected on their proposed series 144 times. Now that is a lot of rejection. I’m sure they had fears to face, yet they continued moving forward. You can get some of their story in the foreword for Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. Just follow this link to download the foreword and free sample chapter (no opt-in and you can download immediately).
For your encouragement and inspiration, remember this saying. If you need to do so, I would write it out and put it over your computer and read it often:
It will not fly, if you don’t try.