Monday, April 13, 2009

Media Monday: We have lost hope!


This Media Monday, I’m choosing to do something a little outside the box for our Spring Fever theme. It’s been so rainy where I live I haven’t ventured out for many outings except to the grocery store and bank. Ho-hum, right? Instead, I’ve done a fair amount of blog-hopping via my aggregator, because I can travel (virtually) around the world and glean insights in dozens of other people’s worlds in an hour or so.

I never fail to come away from my blogging travels without some nugget of wisdom on life in general or new insight on the life of a writer. What follows resulted from my travels via cyberspace.


We have lost hope!
by Carol Burnside



I recently read an article titled “Hope is a four-letter word” on JA Konrath’s blog that made a lot of sense. In it, he talked about the unpublished writers he comes across and left me with this bit of wisdom:

The ones who will never get published,
hope that they eventually will.
The ones who will get published,
know that they eventually will.


Wow. I’d never thought about it in quite that way before, but something clicked inside my head, like the final tumbler falling into place before a safe opens. As I read on, I realized I usually thought in terms of when I’d be published, not if. I visualize myself walking into a bookstore and seeing my book on the shelf. I picture myself sitting beside other authors at book signings I attend. I can hardly wait to be a member of that club.

I won’t wait for the day I’ve sold a book to act like an author. I take writing classes, attend conferences and seminars, I blog, I network, I read. I critique, enter my work for feedback through contests, and submit to editors. More importantly, I make the enjoyable act of writing a habit.

I am a writer.

I will be published.

Konrath says we should act like what we wish to be and the more we do, the more we’ll become what we now aspire to. That, my friends, is what this blog, Petit Fours and Hot Tamales is all about. Nineteen of us got together, some of us published through small presses, some in short fiction, most of us still bravely toughing it out in the write/submit/write/submit trenches. But we are determined to become published authors and have our voices heard.

You skeptics go ahead and scoff if you want to. We the determined have banded together to declare to the world, “We will be published.” We refuse to sit on the sidelines, watching and hoping for a break. We will learn. We will write. We will submit. We will create our own breaks.

Yes, we are human, and when we grow weary and the blows of rejection cause us to falter, we will bolster each other. Count on it, world, for we have lost hope, left it behind, kicked it to the curb. We know!

-----------------------------------------
Carol Burnside is a writer of contemporary, light paranormal and historical romance. Her manuscripts have won the Picture This, Reveal Your Inner Vixen, and Put Your Heart In A Book contests as well as a Maggie Award for Excellence. Visit her on the web at CarolBurnside.blogspot.com or PetitFoursAndHotTamales.blogspot.com .

20 comments:

Mary-Frances said...

Hi Carol,
Very interesting post. I'm not one of those people who believe that if you want something enough and visualize it enough, you can make it happen. If that were the case I think a lot more of us would already be published.

However, what I've been discovering is that in the face of the amazingly challenging world of publishing you have to dig your heels in and say I will keep going forward. I've been looking a lot at the issue of hope in regards to publishing because, quite frankly, I think it's easy to lose all hope. That's when it's important to reach out to other writers and share your worries. I've found they will always encourage you to continue on. That's why blogs like this are so important!

Tami Brothers said...

Yay, Carol!!! I completely agree. Hope is the key here. Like Mary-Francis said above, in this crazy world you have to visualize your end goals. It's not enough to want something. You actually have to MAKE it happen. Unlike with a regular 9 to 5 job, you don't just show up and receive your paycheck. Heck, once we get published, that paycheck (although it may be nice) won't EVER cover the years of hard work that went into getting it. That's why I've decided the first book I sell will have to cover all those other years. After that, I'm starting over with the count. My first check will be that low paying job. The next one will be much better in comparison... See, here I am visualizing the future...wink....

Keep up the great work, ladies!!!

Tami Brothers

Dianna Love said...

Hi all - sorry I've been gone, but I know you understand being under the gun with work, writing and life. But I've missed PFHT and all of you.

Hi Carol - I definitely agree with your point of groups like PFHT who join forces to push ahead together and how that can make a difference. I am part of the Wet Noodle Posse, the group of 2003 Golden Heart Finalists who bonded. This group continues to be supportive of each other. Not everyone has sold yet, but we're talking a large group with diverse personal situations where each one has to write and submit at their own pace. However, I believe we have collectively sold over 175 books.

I'm sure you remember the story I shared here about one author who won the GH but didn't sell her book so she considered quitting, thinking that was the best she could do. That's where the famous "no you're not, we're coming across country to beat you with a wet noodle" statement came from and thus the name of our group. She went on to sell six months later and is now multi-published.

This is a hard business on good days, but getting published is something every one of you can do if you're willing to be the most tenacious person on the face of the earth and help each other hone your craft. Finding a way to continue to drive forward is important to keeping that hope alive. Building a network of like-minded individuals with positive attitudes is far more powerful than mere networking, it is a force that can break barriers.

Mary-Frances - I understand your position because I felt that way at one time in my life very long ago, but will tell you there is an intangible property to thinking so profoundly positive about what you want to do that plays a role in catapulting you forward. I look at it this way, what's the worst that can happen if I visualize what I want? "g" I like your attitude to "dig your heels in" when facing amazing challenges and believing in the power of reaching out to others. Just coming out here to visit and gain new insights shows you have a vision and a drive to reach it.

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and will enjoy a great week.

Dianna Love said...

Tami -

Great way to look at the "pay" from a book, to start over with the second book as an entry level pay. Good thinking!

Cinthia Hamer said...

Carol, what a great post!

I've been beating on that same drum for ages. Every time someone says "I really hope I get published" or "I hope that agent takes me on", I immediately tell them you can't just hope for things to happen. You have to have the attitude that it WILL happen. And at some point, with a lot of hard work, it WILL happen.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Hi Carol:
I couldn't agree more! I think in terms of when, not if! But, along with that "when" thinking, I put fingers to keyboard, enter contests, set my own deadlines, have a writing education plan and meet with my critique partner (oops, overdue on that one Sandy!).

Sally Kilpatrick said...

Thanks for inspiring us all, Carol. I noticed that in the middle you have one simple sentence: I am a writer. I think it's sometimes hard for us to admit we are writers because the next question out of someone's mouth is "Are you published?" Then our balloon is burst just a little as we have to admit no. Still, that has been the theme of 2009 so far for me. I need to forge ahead and say that yes, I am a writer. Maybe that can be our mantra.

Thanks for the post!
Sally

CiCi Barnes said...

Thanks, Carol, for such great inspiration on a cloudy, rainy, windy Monday morning.

In this business of writing, hope just isn't enough. We have to DO something about it.

And I intend to as soon as I finish this response.

Kudos for such a timely article.

CiCi

Marilyn Baron said...

It's raining here in Atlanta too so you're not alone. And being part of this blog means we're not alone in our quest for publication. Thanks for your inspirational post. Your advice is right on target.

Marilyn Baron

Carol Burnside said...

Thanks to all of you for chiming in.

Mary-Francis,
I'm not one who believes visualization will make something happen, but it doesn't hurt. ;) My view is more that if we eliminate the 'I hope that someday I'll be published.' out of our thinking and replace it with 'I'm going to be published.' our focus changes. We have a tangible goal rather than a wistful wish and to reach it, we can't be passive, we must take steps to get to that goal.

I believe my granny called it 'putting feet to your prayers.'
:)

Tami,
Great way to look at the pay scale for writing. LOL

Dianna,
Great to 'see' you here again. We missed you!

Cinthia and Debbie,
Stick with that positive attitude and move forward. You'll reach your goals.

Cici and Marilyn,
I'm glad you found inspiration in my post. Konrath really struck a chord with me.

Sorry it's raining there. Yesterday and today it's sunny and very springlike. Tomorrow the rain returns. (sigh)

Emma Lai said...

Very inspiring post. I will be published in August, and I still have a hard time telling people I'm a writer. I guess I need to stop hiding.

Susan May said...

You are soooo right. We have to act like who we want to be. If we don't believe it who will. Great words. I'm a writer!

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I don't recall ever saying I hoped to publish...it was always when. I know it makes no sense, but I used to tell people I was a romance writer...never ashamed, always proud, but now I've changed the word to 'author'. Once I signed that contract, I felt different, like I had passed a test or something. I can't explain the difference, but maybe it's like before and after graduation from college...tassle on one side and now on the other.

Sandy

Anna Steffl said...

Ah, words to live by. Thanks for reminding us that this just isn't a hobby and a hope!

Linsey Lanier said...

Carol,

I loved your post. Very inspiring and just what I need right now.

There is a definite difference you can feel when you think those two phrases: "I hope I will be published eventually." "I know I will be published eventually." Very much like the tumbler falling into place. I need to unlock that safe more often. "Eventually" is also a key word, I think.

Cyber-wave to Dianna Love. We all missed you, too and are glad you're back. Thanks for the encouragement and for reminding us of the power of support.

Here's to knowing (almost wrote "hoping" - oops) that we'll all turn our tassels - eventually.

Linsey

Cyrano said...

I've been away, out of town for spring break. My husband has an office in Savannah and visits his employees once a month, so this time I decided to tag along. He works all day, so I have the mornings and afternoons to myself. Savannah is a great place to have half the day to yourself. There's so much to see and do and when the weather is as good as it was last week, you don't even need an agenda. All you have to do is walk outside, sit in one of the gorgeous parks or in one of the ancient cemetaries and let your mind wander.
I had a lot of mind wandering time and during my solitude I came to a descision. I will not give up!
You see, over the last few months I've been battling, self doubt. I've been fighting the urge to quit writing. I've been sparring with negativity.
One second I think I'm a good writer and the next I believe there's no hope.
But during those hours alone in the sun, as story ideas flitted through my mind, and plots emerged in my brain I realized that I am destined to do this. To be a writer. To tell tales and to get published.
I had no words for the sudden epiphany until I read your blog entry Carol. Now I do - The ones who will never get published, HOPE that they eventually will. The ones who will get published, Know they eventually will.
And I know it will happen for me. I truly believe that.
Thanks for the words of wisdom.
Have a lovely evening,
Tamara

Ana Aragón said...

Definitely!

Your post came at the right time for me...my last week hasn't been very positive...ending with our little puppy's accident yesterday. It's hard to keep writing in the face of all that life has to throw at you, and sometimes it's so much easier to throw in the towel for a couple of weeks.

But I am a writer. And writers...write! Every day, come rain, snow, or high water.

Thank you for reminding me!

Ana

Darcy Crowder said...

Great post, Carol!

Speaking as one who has read your work - I KNOW you will be published! Thanks for the inspiration to keep moving forward and stay positive. :)

Hi Dianna. I second Carol - we missed you.

Tamara - You describe Savannah the same way I feel about Charleston. Just being there somehow makes me feel introspective and powerful all at once, like anything is possible.

Maxine Davis said...

Carol,
Yep, you are so right. I still don't tell people I write. My husband did not know for years and that is why I nearly fainted when we went out to dinner with friends and he said, "Well, aren't you going to tell them about your writing?" At first I wanted to clobber him, then I thought he has confidence I'll be published and I DO TOO, so I told them about it. Nobody laughed. Instead I got some very sincere 'I'm so proud of you' and 'oh, doesn't everyone really want to write' etc. It felt good - it freed me to an extent.

Carol Burnside said...

Oh, you guys, I'm all waving-at-face teary reading your posts. Okay, okay. I tear up at Hallmark commercials, what can I say? Overly empathetic at times, but that makes it easier to write characters who've experienced things I haven't. :)

I'm so glad to be a part of this group!Write on!