Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Successful Writers Risk Stepping Forward

Buying a toy for a child can result in mind-boggling hours of assembly. My husband pulls the instruction sheet out of the box, tosses it aside, and gets to work. A short time later the toy is assembled and a pile of leftover screws, bolts and other required objects for assembly lay in a pile on the floor.
Photo by Carly Vee. Michigan
Sleeping Bear Dunes Drop Off, 450' climb, 65 degree angle

He has his own system and it works. Tried and true. He opens the box, looks at the pieces, makes decisions, and takes the steps needed to assemble the toy.

Changing scenarios but not the topic

Every diet plan, no matter how ridiculous, has worked for someone and failed for others. South Beach is the one my doctor prefers. My sister uses Atkins. Church friends use Weight Watchers. My mom tried the "ice cream" diet--it didn't work. I have since concluded that each time I have firmly decided to go on a diet of choice, no matter what is placed before me, no matter what the event, no matter what my body screams for, the diet works.

Why do some plans/ideas/goals work and others don't?

1. Because we have resolutely made a commitment to take a step forward.
2. We have placed blinders by our eyes to prevent stepping away.
3. We have set attainable goals.
4. We have owned the plan...modified if necessary...but owned the plan.
5. We have acted.

And by acting, there is motion. Something we can visibly see, hear, feel.

And we can glance back and witness progress

There are many stages along the writing journey where writers stop, plop down on their backside and veg on a park bench. The rest isn't necessarily needed. But a goblin called Discouraged, Stuck, or Lost-on-a-White-Page-with-No-Ink steps in the middle of the road and refuses to move. Confused and without a plan, the writer relinquishes and stops working.

What can we do?

1. Sigh
2. Sit
3. Stagger back home defeated
4. Whine, complain, blame



1. If your child cries, the phone rings, etc, while you're writing and you feel the need to stop, mentally note the details of what is happening - AND use them in the current or a future work. These golden, seemingly intrusions of our writing time are real life fodder. Every moment of our lives is golden be it joy, sorrow, trial, success, chore, or rest.

2. If you are overwhelmed by the four hundredth perfect method how to plot your book, deepen your character, edit your work, etc.,  treat it like a diet plan. Pick one, make a commitment, and do it. 

Along the way you may discover what is needed to own the method or perhaps you will like it just the way it is. BUT no plan will ever work unless it is used.

3. Communicate. God has given us sweet families. Frequently if we tell them about our writing deadlines, they will work to help us. One of my favorite memories: my son brought a cup of tea to my writing place. So sweet.

The bottom line...publication will only happen if steps in a forward direction are taken

So what will it be for you? How can you take a step forward, today?

photos above courtesy of Renee Smith

This blog post is by Mary Vee

Mary has moved to Michigan with her husband, closer to her three college kids. She misses the mountains of Montana, but loves seeing family more often. She writes contemporary and romance Christian fiction with a focus on the homeless population and loves to pen missionary and Bible adventure stories on her ministry blog, God Loves Kids.

Visit Mary at her website and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter


Jill Weatherholt said...

I love that your son brought a cup of tea to your writing place, so sweet!
"Every moment of our lives is golden." Love that! Each day, I strive to make realistic goals for myself. If I fail to reach one of those goals, I don't beat myself up over it, I simply carry it over to the next day and press on. Nice post, Mary!

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

I agree, Jill, that line resonated with me as well! So profound and true.

I love the wisdom in this post. The concept that there's no perfect way forward - what matters is that we choose a path and start putting one foot after another. I've never looked at it quite this way before, and the truth of it really spoke to me.

Mary Vee Writer said...

I do the same! Seriously, getting all stressed out about not being able to check something off of the to-do list is not healthy. Then again, not trying again the next available day is not good either.
Pressing forward to the prize. as Paul says.

Mary Vee Writer said...

The inspiration came one day when I saw another "perfect method" to plot my book. I thought, really? That's when the diet application came. Of course it could be the perfect way for ME to plot my book as long as....

Debra E. Marvin said...

I have to send out a proposal that feels like a chance in a lifetime. Pushing send is going to being tough. Is it ready? Am I ready?

It will never happen if I don't take a chance. Thanks for the reminder and I'll take a word of prayer that my story will find its home!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Sometimes pushing the send button is difficult, Debra. But your idea of prayer will bring you assurance whether it is time to just do it or to tweak. At some point though, your baby must learn to fly.

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Mary, Loved this post. You have so many good points.

Okay, my one step forward—and I literally JUST decided this—is to lay my current story to rest and get moving on my next one. whew! It means a lot of work, but I'm stepping out to do this.

Thanks for sharing your wisdom today.

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Mary,

Today, while in waiting mode for other manuscripts, I am diving into edits on the historical I want to pitch at the conference.

Meanwhile, I'm plotting another story in my head!

Always have to keep moving forward!

Debra, Good luck with your proposal!!


Mary Vee Writer said...

That is a big step. Sometimes it is so difficult to lay the current work aside to start the next. Congratulations. Looking forward to the new one. Let's encourage each other, because I need to do the same.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Blessings on setting up the pitch. Go with confidence, don't let anything hold you bad. No baby steps here. Take a leap. :)

Any hints of your new work?

Debra E. Marvin said...

Thanks Mary and Susan!
This is a separate proposal from the 'latest' one...
that will be the next mountain to climb!

I fear this summer will fly by and I want to be ready for conference as well. Hope to see many of you there!

Debra E. Marvin said...

Jeanne T, things are definitely hopping forward for you. I believe my writing improved immensely when I started pushing myself in new projects and trying new things. Enjoy!

Jeanne Takenaka said...

MARY and DEBRA—thanks for the encouragement. Yes, I'm stepping forward. :)
MARY, I'll be your encourager!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Oh gals are inspiring me! I love all the encouragement. And Mary, what a great post. For me, what stood out was number one. Whatever we decide to do, commit to it and do it. It is so true!!!! Thank you for that.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Looking forward to seeing you at ACFW....and hearing any good news from you.

And my favorite, totally mountain climbing...I mean, the real ones!!

Yah gotta try it.

Mary Vee Writer said...

All right, Jeanne,
I'm ready.

Mary Vee Writer said...

So proud of you, girl. What ever it is God has shown you, may you be tremendously blessed. Love yah, sis.