The Biggest Roadblock Along the Road to Publication

IMAG0609I’ve been thinking a lot about the writing process these past few days. As I sifted through some older writing files and reread some of my stories that had been published in literary magazines, I was reminded of that time when publication was only a dream—a dream that felt so very far away.
Yet a dream I was sure would come true…
…possibly….
…maybe….
…hopefully…..
…one day

PRETTY PLEASE!

Over time, as the rejections mounted, as the dream began to look a little fuzzy, I came to a realization about my writing, something that writers don’t often want to admit:

The biggest road block, the thing that was keeping me from being a published author was me.

Yup, that’s right, little ole me.

While there were things I was more than willing to work on—my writing being one of those things—something else was preventing me from being published. I was inadvertently placing road blocks in the way, not because I didn’t want to be published (Lordy, but I wanted it) but because, on some level, I was afraid of it. Fear is the one thing that has the power to hold us back, to keep us from realizing our dreams, and no matter how badly we might want something, we’ll allow that very same fear to put obstacles in our way and keep our dreams from coming true.

I think of these fear-based obstacles as roadblocks because they do just that—they block our path and prevent us from continuing our journey toward publication. When the obstacles show up along the road we can either let these roadblocks stop us or we can figure a way to get past them. And in order to do that it’s important to recognize these roadblocks when we come up against them.

Here are a few of the road blocks I’ve encountered in the past, ones that I unknowingly placed in my path.

1.Procrastination: Believe me when I say I can procrastinate with the best of them. I’ve had plenty of practice, too. There is always something else to do. That something else might very well be important, like spending time with my family or friends, or it could be something as insignificant as watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory. If you want to be published you need to make writing one of your priorities. REPEAT WITH ME. “If I want to be published I need to make writing one of my priorities.” You may not be able to write each and every day, but you need to make an effort even on those days when you don’t feel as though you have a literary bone in your body. Even ten or fifteen minutes of writing are better than no minutes. Remember, if you can’t publish what never gets written. No one’s going to publish blank pages. Sounds like a no-brainer to me!

2. Believing that you are not worthy of publication: This is a biggie. Too many of us struggle with this. While there are a few writers out there who have unrealistic goals, like signing a million-dollar book contract prior to publication when their writing needs much more work to make it publishable, many more writers struggle with the belief that their writing will never be quite good enough for publication. I’m here to tell you, in order to succeed in writing you have to believe that you are worthy of success. REPEAT WITH ME : “In order to succeed in writing I have to believe that I am worthy of success.” If you’re inner dialogue is constantly telling you something different, you need to give yourself a good talking to. Nothing good is ever accomplished beneath a cloak of negativity. Believe you are worthy because you are. Why wouldn’t you be?

3.Not owning it: If you’re a writer, admit it. Don’t gush over the fact, stammer and stumble to get the words out, own up to it. When I say, own it, I don’t mean for you to shout it from the rooftops because that would just annoy the heck out of everyone, I mean accept once and for all that you are a writer. Forget all that once-I’m-published-I’ll-be-a-writer nonsense. Every published writer was once an unpublished writer. They didn’t become a writer the moment their words were printed, they were writers before that. REPEAT WITH ME: “Every published writer was once an unpublished writer.” Did you think all writers were born with publishing credits? No sir, not a one. They worked at their writing until it was good enough for publication. But here’s a little truth, sometimes even publication isn’t enough to make you feel like a writer. I know, sounds silly. Certainly to be published is to be a writer, right? Yet I can tell you that I had several stories published before I finally, finally admitted that I was a writer. So do yourself a favour and admit it before publication, that way it won’t come as such a shock when you’re holding that first published story in your hands.

4. Saying you’re a writer but not really feeling it: Feeling that you’re a writer means much more than simply saying the words, “I’m a writer.” Anyone can do that, writer or non-writer. Don’t get me wrong, while it’s good to say the words, important even, it means very little if we simply do not feel it. REPEAT WITH ME: Feeling that I’m a writer is more important than just saying it. The day I actually felt like a writer, really and truly felt like one, was the day something momentous happened in my writing life. More and more of my stories were accepted for publication but, more importantly, the rejections that came afterward stopped stinging. I came to understand that rejection wasn’t necessarily a commentary of my work, but simply a story that didn’t catch the attention of the right editor on the right day. Finally, I stopped taking those rejections so personally.

While some of these may or may not be roadblocks you’ll encounter along the way, I feel as though we often underestimate our own self-worth. And when we’re not at a particular place in life when we want to be, we often end up beating ourselves up because of it. Maybe we even decide that it’s just too hard, that we’ll never get there. But we all take our own time getting places–that’s all part of life. Some stories take longer than others to polish. It’s always important to have someone in your corner. Isn’t it only fitting for you to be that someone?

What are some of the roadblocks you’ve encountered along the road to publication

The Two Most Powerful Words in the World

As a writer I contemplate, not only sentences and paragraphs, but individual words. I love words, all kinds of words. Not just your run-of-the-mill words, but words that have some oomph behind them, words that resonate in the thoughts and hearts of many, words that possess the power to shape our lives.

Shape our lives.” How can an itty-bitty word do all that, you might ask? I do think it’s possible, but only if you’re willing to open your mind to the possibility.

I’m not sure what the most important word in the English language is, or even if one words stands above the rest, but here are my thoughts. We could probably debate this if we wanted, but without any concrete way to prove it, it would simply be a waste of time. Undeniably is the fact that certain words have the power to evoke emotions within us. They can inspire us to do good things for ourselves and for others. They can get us up out of that chair and send us off into the world ready to participate and make a difference instead of letting life happen without us lifting a baby finger in the process. Here are some words that are all inspiring for me. You might have  your own words that hold some special meaning, but for me here are some of the biggies. In no particular order.

As you read each one take a moment to contemplate what that word means to you. Is it just a word or is there a feeling that accompanies it?

Dream

Wish

Hope

Peace

Faith

Magic

Love

While I find the above words to be SO inspiring, I started wondering the other day if I had to choose two words that totally draw me in and keeping me reaching forward in life, what would they be? What words stop me short, when I see them written out, and totally inspire me to try harder. I knew what they were without putting too much thought into it because these two words have been following me around most of my life, even when I wasn’t aware of their existence. And hey, it’s not just because I’m a writer that I can say this. They are both just truly wonderful words.

So what do I think are the two most important words in the English language?

…. Imagine

…..Believe

 

 I’d love to know, what words inspire you?

I Am Writer Hear Me Roar!

Just so you know, I wasn’t doing any roaring twenty years ago when I first started writing.  The sound I was making was more like the soft whispered cries of a day old kitten. Privately I was happy to be writing, even feeling as though I had just as much right to be doing so as the next person, publicly I kept it all to myself. Who was I to even use the word, writer?

I remember how odd it felt once the time came for me to openly admit what I’d been doing in secret for so long. It felt like this huge big deal as I slowly began to open up to others. My face would flush, my heart would quicken whenever they asked what I’d been up to. And yes, I sometimes got a few strange looks when I’d say, “I’ve been writing.” Never once did I admit to being a writer, though. I was simply writing.

I still had miles to go.

Getting to the place were we’re willing to admit (under duress) that we write still doesn’t mean that we believe ourselves to be writers, but it’s the first step. Remember, we’re in our infancy, our eyes and ears are closed off to the outside world, and some of us just take longer to mature than others. No right or wrong, no hurries to get to where we’re going because no one knows how long it will take us to get there, and what all we need to learn, what steps we need to take.

While our mouths may regurgitate what is running through our minds, when it gets down to the nitty-gritty, our hearts know the truth. When I reached that place where I could finally admit I was a writer (maybe I even talked myself into believing it in my head) my heart was silently objecting. Still, I didn’t understand why. I had the proof in front of me–several literary journals that contained my work. Something I knew many others couldn’t say.

Outward proof means little. I could wave those journals about all day long and I might feel good for a time, but feeling the need to prove ourselves to others can not stop that nagging little voice in our heads. When we truly believe something the need to convince others of it seems to vanish.

It is inward proof that we need, that knowing inside that we’re doing exactly what we were meant to do. And why not? There’s nothing out there stopping us from pursuing our dreams of writing except ourselves. No one is standing over us and telling us we can’t, we mustn’t, but that little voice inside our head.

“Someday I’ll write that story,” we say, which is fine so long as that “someday” come around. Someday allots us the opportunity to pretend our dreams are still out there. But it’s a lie. Those someday stories are impossible to get down on paper, as fleeting a summer breeze.

To go long with those someday stories we’re writing we have those silent objections that we’re never going to published anyway.

So what? That shouldn’t stop us if we truly love and enjoy what we do.  Many of us follow our dreams for pleasure and nothing more. Does there always have to be this huge big prize waiting for us at the end to tell us that what we’re going has validity?

Write. Tell your story to others. Entertain them with your work. Listen to what your heart is saying.  You may not be roaring quite yet, but eventually those quiet little meows will grow loud enough to be heard by others.

Having you reached the place in your writing life where you’re ready to roar or are you still quietly meowing while working away on your someday story?

 

If you’re ready, I’d love to hear you roar!!!

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