It’s a strange world, the writing and publishing industry. Strange and wonderful, at least to me. Creativity feeds the world, makes it turn on its axis and then every once in a while, gives it a tilt.
Success as a writer comes from so many different things, things aspiring writers might not anticipate when they set upon the road to publication. There’s plenty of advice along the way if you’re internet savvy or have access to local writing groups:
Write. And then write some more
That’s a favorite of mine. Finish that novel. And then once you’ve finished it, set it aside and start work on something else. Give it time to leave your mind before you return to it for revisions. Oh yes, and revisions are imperative.
Polish your work until it shines.
There’s the various forks in the road, the choices a writer makes along the way. Traditional pub? Will need to pick up the agent ally along the way. ePub? Might not need the agent, but definitely need other writers and editors as allies. Self-Pub? Could go it alone, but a cover artist ally would be essential as well as a way to get out there and be known to readers. That last is true of all three paths, and any of the combinations of roads a writer might travel.
Many don’t anticipate the need to self-promote and develop their personal marketing strategies. Sure, an agent or a publishing house are strong allies in this. But writing is very much a personal business. What you get out of it is directly proportional to what you put into it. The more you put into the self-promotion and marketing, the more you build your author platform and take the initiative, the more you will see coming your way.
It’s easy to become bitter on the roads of the writer’s journey. Others come and go. They might go on ahead, or take a turn down a different path. They might help you and encourage you, or they might trip you or trod on you as you lay resting. Jealousy lays in wait, ready to ambush you, take you over, waste your energy with ill thoughts.
She doesn’t deserve it.
Things come easier for her than for me.
She has support I don’t have.
It’s not fair.
Negative thoughts directed outward. And suddenly, it’s a relief to ride on the wave of self-righteousness. It’s not to do with you anymore, it’s them, all of them, and how they won’t do blah blah blah.
The only behavior you can control is your own. Refer back to the earlier comment about what you put in is directly proportional to what you get out and add the color, texture of positive versus negative energy. How do you look at the world?
When your allies experience success in their own journeys, do you celebrate with them? (It’s okay to feel the twinge of jealousy. What matters is whether you act on it. Whether you let it fester and turn into something harmful either to you or to them.) Do you cheer for them? And in reference to yourself, do you look at it as a fun challenge to catch up to them? Is it fun to do nifty things with them? Do they cheer you on when you do your very own nifty thing and do they celebrate your successes with you?
A long while ago, I interviewed one of my favorite photographers. He continues to do incredibly nifty things. His wife does wonderfully creative things in the world of acting. His cat is a steampunk cover model and one of my frequent featured favorites on Twitter for #MorningCatFace. When I asked if he had a something to share at the end of an interview, Kyle Cassidy gave me a piece of advice that struck such a chord in me that I continue to quote it. And I’ll do it again.
I’ve found that the key to artistic success lies not just within one’s own ability, but also within the sphere of influence of your peer group. Surround yourself with the most creative people you know, in whatever field — there’s nothing quite like the motivation of being the only one in the room who hasn’t done something cool in the past 24 hours to keep you working and striving to be better.
How do you look at this advice? Do you look around at your friends and get bogged down in jealousy and bitterness? Or do you think, wow, such nifty things. I want to do something nifty too! I shall do something nifty!
Me? I have some awesome friends. I shall give shout outs to their niftiness, because I admire them and am so proud of them, and I strive to be nifty too.
There’s Tee Morris and his recent articles for his day job. These are unusual and fun. They make me think. His latest and my favorite so far:
He’s got one coming up for Tor.com and it highlights a joint effort of nifty-ness from Philippa Ballantine, Linc “Baldgroove” Williams, Thomas Willeford of Brute Force Studios and the lovely Sarah Hunter. Tee directed this piece of awesome. And I was fortunate enough to have been able to contribute in the experience of a lifetime.
There’s the fantastically talented J.R. Blackwell and Jared Axelrod. I’ve fan-girled over J.R. ever since I first attended one of her panels at PhilCon and we’ve sort of evolved into a pair of girl-crushing friends. She inspires me and I am glad of any chance to work with her.
When she asked me to participate in the niftiness of GIMME SHELTER, the anthology of the zombie Apocalypse, I just about squeed myself into falling off a bed.
J.R won an ENnie (The Gen Con EN World RPG Awards) for the live action game, Shelter in Place, to which GIMME SHELTER is the sister anthology. You want creativity? Not only did she create the game, but she also edited the anthology AND was photographer/model/cover artist for the cover! O.O
And the aforementioned Thomas Willeford of Brute Force Studies is a key part of the upcoming steampunk show, Lantern City. Just wow, here, my friends.
There are more nifty things by nifty friends. The indomitable Stella Price, for example. New releases by Lia Habel and Leanna Renee Hieber. Funny and romantic series by Dana Marie Bell. And so many more incredible friends. (Friends I hope will not mind that I didn’t give a specific shout out because this post has already become TLDR.)
The point is, I’ve surrounded myself with nifty-ness. The creativity is overflowing. I have so much admiration for my friends and they drive me to achieve wonderful things. They inspire me and excite me and motivate me. And I am so grateful to be in their company.