Or... Turning Whine into Gold
by Kathryn Craft
I’d like to thank the team here at Writers in the Storm for letting me blow in with a series on attitude adjustment.
If you think this has nothing to do with becoming an author, you couldn’t be more wrong! From our first words tentatively pressed to the journal page all the way to our most recently published book, writing is an artistic endeavor fraught with anxiety that, if we let it, can have its ugly way with us.
This series seeks nothing less than alchemy: if we accept that negative feelings are part of the artistic process, we can learn to manage them to our advantage.
First, let’s drum up some optimism, shall we? Because optimism can help you get published.
Doubt it? More than thirty years of research in high-rejection endeavors, from athletic competition to life insurance sales, suggests the statement is true. There is more to optimism, however, than The Little Engine’s “I think I can.”
Optimism is the practice of framing what has already happened in a positive light.
To raise your optimism quotient, try the following ten affirmations. Meditate on them, speak them, and copy them down in your own hand until you are convinced of their truth.
Once you own these concepts, your writing will be less about the absolutes of success and failure, and more about gleaning the benefits of every step on your path. And who knows—you may end up appreciating the long process of getting traditionally published as much as you enjoy the writing.
10 Affirmations To Bolster Your Optimism:
1. Agents, editors, and authors all love to read and all have the same goal: to increase our country's wealth of good writing. Agents and editors need writers to keep them in business. We are comrades.
2. The book industry is super tough right now, but I am doing what I can to improve both my craft and my knowledge of the publishing industry.
3. I believe that being a published author is my destiny and I will start my journey down that road, but factors beyond my control will affect the timing of my arrival. I will get there when I get there.
4. While pride is the first of the seven deadly sins, optimism is a blessing for myself and for all of those around me. I love my work, so I will share my enthusiasm for it with others.
5. Rejection is the badge of honor I must sometimes wear to prove that I am boldly putting my work out into the world. But it is better to learn that I am not quite ready for publication through a private note from a publishing professional than to get slammed by critics and readers in the court of public opinion, where I might realize poor sales and never be published again.
6. No other writer has my exact combination of innate abilities, predispositions, life experience, interests, passions, and humor. These elements create a perspective all my own that will contribute to the wealth of existing literature. My readers unwittingly await my arrival.
7. Every experience is a good experience for a writer. Victory, failure, acceptance, rejection—they are all part of the human experience, and stoke the creative fire within me.
8. If I am an optimistic fool, so be it. The real fool is the person who stops doing what he loves just because it is difficult.
9. Worst case scenario: it never happens for me. My epitaph: "She died pursuing her dream." What stronger, more beautiful statement could be made about my life, published or not?
10. I am committed to learning. Learning can be uncomfortable, but ignorance will not move me forward along my path. If writing is truly my passion, I must not give up. If we writers stop pursuing our dreams, who will write all the books?
Have you ever turned around a difficult situation by writing out affirmations? It’s a powerful tool. Yes, it’s a bit like brainwashing—but think about it. In an industry as tough as publishing, how can this type of brainwashing hurt you? From the inside out, you will become a writer optimistic that she will eventually get published—and sensing this, others will perceive that you are already a success.
Awesome stuff, right? Kathryn will be here with us at WITS every 4th Monday for the next while. Let's give her a rousing welcome down in the comments!
Kathryn Craft is a developmental editor at Writing-Partner.com. Her debut novel, The Art of Falling, will be released through Sourcebooks in January 2014. To read more about her book, check out her author site, KathrynCraft.com. Pre-order links are live at bn.com and Amazon.com!
Long a leader in the southeastern Pennsylvania literary scene, she loves anything that brings writers together—conferences, workshops, retreats, and blogs like Writers in the Storm. She also blogs at The Blood-Red Pencil and at her personal blogs, The Fine Art of Visiting and Healing Through Writing.