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Mother Hen's Bin February 2007

 “Hello? Hi, my na…sure, I’ll hold.”

by Lea Schizas

Ah, technology, ya gotta love it. We now have the option of pressing anywhere from one to a zillion buttons before, and if, we get to speak to a ‘real’ person. And just when you thought you had their exclusive and undying attention, they place you on hold. Oh well, no one said advancing in this century was going to be easy, just the way no one said being a writer was a breeze.

So let’s break down our telephone dialogue in the title:

“Hello?”

What a simple greeting yet one so many writers are afraid of. It’s called ‘cold calling’ bookstores to try and place your book on their bookshelves, or editors to find updates on your sub from ten years ago, or to arrange a meeting with an agent who promised to call you right back...a year ago.

I have to admit I used to be afraid of the ‘Hello?’ scenario, too, until last year. Don’t ask me why last year and not two or three years ago. I believe last year is when I finally sat myself down and had a talk with ‘me’, mind you, making sure at all times the curtains were closed so the neighbors wouldn’t call the loony bin and lock me up.

Last year was my euphoria, my writing ‘climax’ where I finally took my whole being as a writer and felt like a ‘writer’, from head to toe. How does this feel? Confidant, sure of what I want, wanting to succeed, wanting to get my good name out there, realizing that editors and agents are people just like me, not any better just people I need…

“Hello?...Hi, my name is Lea Schizas and I’m an award-winning author and editor.”

“Hi, my na…”

Do you feel as though you’re being bounced left and right and not heading anywhere? Ever wonder why that’s so? Could it be something you’re not doing? Maybe it’s something you are doing?

NOT DOING:

Maybe you’re not being really clear to everyone that between so and so a time you are writing and will not pick up the phone.

Maybe you’re not understanding the above rule yourself and find yourself spending more time in the laundry room or with the vacuum in tow.

Maybe you haven’t read all that there is on the various ways to get published nowadays and that’s why you’re not subbing. You may be confused.

Maybe you’re listening to too many ‘experts’, like me. Think for yourself. You know what you want to achieve and that’s to get published. So start thinking for yourself and stop listening to others. In the same breath, however, just to play devil’s advocate here, listening to sound advice and making up your own mind is what you should be doing to enhance your career. Confused yet?

WHAT YOU’RE DOING:

Maybe you’re just worried about rejections. Rejections are a part of a writer’s life and the sooner you realize this the quicker this fear will leave you. Think of rejections as a good thing as hard or as silly as this may sound. Having a rejection come in means you are a determined writer who is diligently sending out subs. So take a minute right now and totally congratulate yourself for this accomplishment. It’s more than what wannabe writers do.

Read those rejections carefully. Are there personal notes from the Editor in charge? I can tell you that personal notes aren’t usually had, so for this Editor to have taken his/her time and jot something down to you means a lot. You just have to decipher what that ‘lot’ is.

Maybe you are just being too hard on yourself. Some writers don’t get published as quickly as others. Keep plugging away. Your time will come but in the meantime, go over your manuscript to see if you’ve missed some points to strengthen and give it more oomph.

Maybe you’re just not writing often enough. Although it’s been said a schedule is good to keep to, perhaps you’re just one of those writers who works better without a schedule.

Make sure to jot something down everyday. Whether it’s a word, a paragraph or a whole chapter, that’s not as important as having written something down each day and make yourself feel accomplished. The more accomplished you feel the more words will flow out of you. Be confident. You can do it.

Maybe you’re just stuck because you’re always wearing your editor’s hat and not allowing the writer in you to finish that story. Get it down, typos and all, and then worry about editing once the whole thing has ‘The End’ in place.

“Sure, I’ll hold.”

Let me ask you…what are you holding back for? For whom are you holding back from? Is your conscious telling you you’re moving too fast in your career? Is this a race? No!

Move as quickly or as slowly as you feel necessary. Don’t push yourself to exhaustion. Just have realistic goals. And every writer should have goals.

My goals when I first started writing again was to get my name out there, to have a book published, to start my own newsletter and website, all within five years. I achieved this within four years and that just boasted my ego to get more things done. I realized I could do it.

But each goal was realistic. I did not say five books within a year, get a Pulitzer, nor was I pushing myself. I worked constantly at promoting myself by writing articles and short stories and subbing them. Yes, most were to free ezines but that didn’t matter, not to me at least. I would rather have readers reading my stuff in the beginning and getting to know me than having them collect dust. Once my career was off and running, I began to pick and choose where I sent my stuff. And all of those published articles were sent to Article Banks to be picked up by other ezines and used.

Why you ask? Because they contain my bio and my links and this brings me extra traffic and readers to my sites. And what’s the name of the game? Promotion and marketing of oneself as a writer. DETERMINATION!

So don’t hold back. Get your writing name out there. Start today.

“If I listened to others in the beginning on how I wasn't going to cut it as a writer, then I would have been giving up something that is very dear to me – my own self-worth and what I believe and feel I can or cannot do.” - Lea Schizas

(NOTE: This is an excerpt from my FREE "Assaulting A Writer's Thinking" E-book, available for download at:

http://leaschizaseditor.tripod.com/  )

 

Lea Schizas

Copyright 2007 by The Muse Marquee. All rights reserved.  All authors hold individual ownership & copyrights of any material contributed. No unauthorized usage of any published material within the Muse Marquee unless permission is first granted by copyright owner of said material.