Sunday, June 13, 2010

Laying a Firm Foundation

"A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her." ~David Brinkley

There's an old saying, 'you can't please all the people all the time.' Which begs the question, why would we want to? When did we decide our job was to please others? Although it may be a strange question to consider, I think as writers it's bound to come up.

Here's why. We Want Readers. We want readers to enjoy our books and to read them. Agents and editors have a vested interest in making sales, so they have their own personal stake in this (which often may be driven right through the heart of the book we adore).

So… what to do?

First thing is to remember is this. Writing is an art. Can an artist switch to please the market and be successful? Or happy? Hmmmm…

"At moments of great enthusiasm it seems to me that no one in the world has ever made something this beautiful and important"M.C. Escher

M.C. Escher is known for his brilliant, precise work. Drawings and etchings of such magnificent complexity it truly boggles the mind. His work features alternate realities and optical illusions with a strong mathematical component. Now, imagine for a moment if he fretted about chasing the market and instead focused on painting in an impressionistic style. Or if the daring masters of Impressionism balked under public pressure (the "newfangled approach" baffled and offended many at the time).

"If you hear a voice within you say "you cannot paint," then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." ~Vincent Van Gogh

While we do need to balance an awareness of the market in our work, moving forward is essential. Part of moving forward is to Embrace What You Love To Write.

"The courage to be is the courage to accept oneself, in spite of being unacceptable." ~Paul Tillich

Here's a thought. There's someone out there who will love your voice, even if you first encounter a dozen who don't. The more books you write, the more books you submit, the more books you publish, the greater the chance You Will Find Your Audience.

Yet there may be fans who feel dismayed or betrayed. Who imagine the story turning out differently. Or who wish you would write in a particular way. When some romance authors made the change to suspense (Lisa Jackson, for example), fans were disappointed. And boy did they let her know it.

Pete Forever, Ringo Never… Heck, when the Beatles switched out Pete Best for Ringo Starr their fans were outraged too. And we all know how THAT worked out. *smile*

"Other people's opinion of you does not have to become your reality." ~Les Brown

As a writer, you will face naysayers before you finish that first manuscript. When you're submitting, the rejections will feel like a slap in the face. The reviews will sometimes hit you where it hurts. So, what are you going to do about that? Well, I have an idea. WRITE! Write, write, and write some more. You Are A Writer. You Can Do It! Dare to dream, dare to write.

"Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic." ~Jean Sibelius

Critics can explain in great detail why something won't work (Thank Goodness the Wright Brothers didn't listen) but what do they know? You can spend your life reinforcing all the negative crap that is flung your way OR you can realize this. You Are A Success. You Can Achieve Anything. Anything at all.

"Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn't know that so it goes on flying anyway." ~Mary Kay Ash

Here's an inspiring tidbit. At age 45, Mary Kay Ash quit her sales job when yet another fellow SHE Had Trained got promoted above her. (Let's all chime in with a collective, Grrrrrrr…) Determined to prove she had the Right Stuff, she started her own business with five grand. Within two years, Mary Kay Cosmetics sales hit the $2 million mark. Talk about determination! So flap those wings, fellow authors, and take to the skies!

"It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not." ~Author Unknown

Take a moment and breathe deep. Close your eyes and wiggle your fingers and toes. Consider all your dreams, your ambitions, your hopes for the future. Now… Visualize The Reality You Want To Create. If you're working on your first (or fifth) manuscript, visualize typing the words The End. If you're sending out a query (or ten), picture an agent or editor devouring your story, then picking up the phone and giving you a call. Visualize your gorgeous shiny book clutched in your trembling hands. If you're waiting for reviews, paint a picture in your mind of the Best Review Ever.

I'm serious now. Take a few moments and etch that image until you feel the excitement tingling inside. Once you get that tingle, say these words: This Is The Truth. This Is My True Reality. I Am A Success. Anything else is simply an illusion I no longer need. This Is My True Reality.

Belief and Action are the tools you need to make it happen. Write Your Books. Believe In Your Success. You Can Do It!

One more piece to inspire you…

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
--Marianne Williamson A Return to Love

Here's to another productive week tingling with potential! Go-go-GO!!

Smiles,
Chiron O'Keefe

Also featured at Pop Culture Divas.

2 comments:

Kathy Holmes said...

Love the quote by Marianne Williamson. Love how you snuck in a musical comparison (Ringo). Smile. Love the reference to art - btw, just watched that new reality show "The Next Great Artist." So fun to peek into that world and to see each artist expressing their vision - not chasing a market.

Have a great writing week!

Chiron said...

Hi Kathy!

Really is an amazing quote, isn't it? And Ringo... *grin* Yup, the musical minds think alike yet again!!

Wow, the NGA sounds really cool!!

Hope your writing week was great, my dear! I finished the first set of revisions. One more round and I'll be ready to jump into the next two outlines. *fingers crossed*

Have a wonderful weekend!

--Chiron