Monday, November 29, 2010

2 Important Things Writers Should Remember, Part I

I was up at my mom's this weekend, napping off Thanksgiving and generally being pampered in the way that you do when you go to your mom's. I had plenty of time to think, and thought about where I am in the writing and publishing journey. I usually don't talk about where I am with things on the blog, but maybe some displaced end-of-the-year sentimentality suggested it, I don't know. Or maybe I just grow introspective when I have my meals all cooked for me and lots of napping time and free child care.

Either way, one of the things I do when I have a lot of time to think is question what I'm doing, where I am, and how I'm doing. I've queried a lot of agents for one of my novels, a novel that I really love the story of, and both my query and my opening chapters have changed quite a bit during the process. There's been a lot of rejection, a lot of encouragement, and some of the best advice and help I've ever gotten from special, caring, smart friends (you know who you are, and thank you again so, so much). I've had fulls requested, I've had fulls form rejected. I've learned a lot. I've started work on a new story, and put everything I learned into that one.

I've questioned myself many times. Am I ready? Do I deserve representation? Am I ready for the demands that will bring? Can I honestly agree that my novel is good enough for the professional business? Should I give up on the current novel query? I think it's healthy to ask yourself these questions. I also realized two really important things writers should remember. (Note: I am currently unrepresented and unpublished, and I realize that may make hearing what I have to say irrelevant. After all, I haven't been there, have I? How can I possibly have experience enough to tell you what important things you should remember? Just saying I recognize that fact.)

So one of the things my mom does for me when I visit (apart from everything else) is make an appointment for me with her pedicurist (although pedicurist is a shabby term for the woman, Judy, who gives you a whole foot experience with massage, soaking, tidying your feet --a particular joy if you have trouble reaching them because of a growing pregnant belly). Yeah, my mom's house is like my own personal spa. She also pays for my appointment. Take a moment to turn green with envy.

While having my feet pampered by the pedicurist Judy this weekend, I asked her how business was. She works in a small mountain town with a glut of personal service businesses like massage and pedicurists and spas, and she doesn't do any marketing at all. But her business has been steady. In contrasts, her neighbor who does massage with her feet (as in, walks on you), does a lot of marketing and yet her business has dropped off. So how does Judy stay in business? She told me what I think is the first important thing for any artist to remember:

Put all your energy into your intention.

Judy said her neighbor didn't really do that. She diversified her services and didn't concentrate on her massage-by-foot business, putting little time and heart into it and instead letting her marketing signs and brochures do that work. And the result is unfortunate, because Judy said her neighbor is very talented. Judy arrived in the small town 10 years ago and focused on her shop and that was it, and it's paid off.

This is a little bit like The Secret, I guess, but I liked the way Judy said it. Maybe you don't want to put your energy into your intention, or maybe your intention has changed. Maybe you aren't even sure what your intention is, and that's okay. I'm just saying that I know what mine is, and I'm going to continue putting my heart and energy into it. It just is going to be that way.

What do you think? Do you agree that this is an incredibly important thing to remember, or has all the pampering gone to my head?

Come back Wednesday for Part II of this post, where I mention the second most important thing for writers to remember.


Melissa said...

I've never thought of writing in these terms, but it makes a lot of sense!

Tina Lynn said...

Well said. It's important for us to remember that being a writer should mean that we write and hone our craft.

Teri Anne Stanley said...

I think the big question here is: Does the walking masseuse get her feet done by Judy?

Okay. That's probably a little question. It might be big to Judy. Can you call her and ask?

Tawna Fenske said...

I think this is an excellent point.

And now, thanks to you, I want a @#$% pedicure.


Jamie Grey said...

That's a really smart way of thinking about writing. I think it's so easy to get distracted by other stuff in this business. Thanks for the pep talk :)

And now I really need to get myself a pedicure!

Roni Loren said...

Awesome advice. I think that can be used in all aspects of life. :)

Linda Leszczuk said...

Yes. That's one of those ideas that seems obvious when you say it but it's something that's easy to overlook.

Sierra Godfrey said...

I think we overlook it when we get down about things NOT happening.

Thanks for the comments guys. Wednesday's second thing is equally simple.

KLM said...

Oh, yes, my toes are green with envy. Is your mother available for this coming weekend? I could use some pampering myself.

As for the biz model your pedicurist mentions: people can always tell when your heart isn't in something. Hers obviously is and that's why people keep on coming back.

Demery said...

Hi Sierra - Love it that your mom pampers you so. I hope I'll be that kind of mom to my boys and their significant others some day :)

I really like the encouragement to stay focused and to evaluate our goals from time to time. I keep hearing that perseverance is the key to one day getting published... and I think if a person combines that perseverance with the kind of flexibility you mentioned (revising as needed, listening to the feedback we get) it's got to be an unbeatable combo. Best of luck to you as you continue your journey toward publication! I was happy, by the way, to know a little bit more about where you are in the process - I've wondered :)

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