Summing up Publication

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I was walking with a co-worker the other day (one I don’t know well) and at one point the conversation went like this:

Her:  “Didn’t I read somewhere that you’re a published author?”

Me:    “Yes, I am.”

Her:   “How did you go about getting published? My sister-in-law wants to publish a YA book but she heard getting published is really hard.”

Me:     …Nothing. As in crickets.

This co-worker is absolutely the sweetest thing ever! So I tried, I really did, to come up with an answer to satisfy her curiosity, but I had nothin’.  My tongue was tied, but the thought that exploded in my brain was how different writers are from the non-writers of the world. We’re wired differently. Like really different from the non-writers in the world.

I wanted to say that if one is writing just to get published, she’s missing the best part of the journey. Getting to the destination of publication wouldn’t be nearly worth the trip if not for everything that comes before it. Even the rejections and bad reviews.

I wanted to say that wanting to be published and wanting to write are not synonymous with one another. Without the writing, the publication cannot happen. Start with writing, keep on writing, and never stop writing. Then, and only then, will publication even be a possibility.

I wanted to say that there isn’t only one way to get to publication, but for every writer on the planet there is yet another route to get there. If there were one tried and true method, everyone who set out to write a book would  be published.

I wanted to say that publication is where the real insecurities and headaches begin. It’s at that place where a writer is at their most vulnerable and raw state. It’s there where the sleepless nights and gnashing of teeth occur, our brains churning round and round like a squirrel in a cage because our baby is out there for all the world to criticize. And I for one am of the mind that people can say what they want about me, I’ll get over it, but please, oh please, don’t criticize my babies. That slices right through my mama’s heart.

I wanted to say that publication isn’t the be-all end-all. It’s a small part of the joy of writing. It’s a small piece of the whole. And a very small piece at that. But if one writes simply to be published, it’s pretty much a sure thing that the satisfaction will be less than,and shorter lived, than what was expected.

I wanted to simply  say, “Write. And never, ever, ever, no matter what, stop.”

Never give up

I wanted to say that there are so many steps that need to come before the publication that wondering how to get published before doing everything else is like planning for high school graduation day before you have your children. The goal of making sure your kids graduate from high school is a worthy one, but think of all you would miss out on if that were your sole focus.

What I did say, finally, when I was able to untangle the knots from my tongue, was:

“Our mile walk isn’t nearly long enough to give you an answer, but the first thing I would tell her is to join a writer’s group, in person or online. And take it from there.”

Paulo CoelhoLet’s talk. Have you had a non-writer ask you a writing question that reinforced how different writers are from non-writers? What was the question and how did you respond? What would have told the person in my case?

Oh! And don’t forget, NaNoWriMo starts in less than two days. Are you ready? Let me know if you want to be writing buddies during November.  🙂

 

Electronic Disconnection

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I’ve blogged about this exact thing once before, and as much peace as it brings when I do it, I still don’t seem to practice it nearly enough. Electronics can pull more energy from relationships than they add.

It makes me sad when I see a young child talking to mom or dad who is more connected with their cell phone than with the child.  Does that parent know that they can never get that moment back again?

My heart bleeds when I’m at the coffee shop and see a child with mom or dad, the child a happy chatterbox, full of animation, trying to get the attention of the one they look up to and love so much, but mom or dad is too connected to their open laptop to notice.

Or the couple at the table next to me in a restaurant, no conversation to be seen or heard, while one–or both–of them are texting, surfing the Internet on a cell phone, or watching the game on the TV hanging near their table.

And then there’s the occupants of the car next to me at a stoplight, each texting away on their respective cell phones, frequently even the driver.

And what makes my heart bleed even more is the frequency of which I’ve done those things myself without even realizing it.

It’s easy to see more clearly when we’re disconnected from a situation, so to think how much clearer I could see what’s right in front of my own face when I’m disconnected from electronics seems like it should be a no-brainer.  And yet, how much time has slipped through my fingers like a fist full of sand, as I fall into the habit of blocking out everything but the empty entertainment of the screen in front of me.

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If I could go back and have a “do-over” I would:

Leave the cell phone at home when taking my kids on an outing.  I would watch them take in their surroundings, watching as they see things for the first time, rather than see something on the screen of my cell phone for the umpteenth time.

I would sit on the floor playing with my children, rather than sit there watching a television program while they played around me.

I would read a book to them, engaging them in the story, rather than let them live their story without me present to watch.

I would listen intently to how their day was, their experiences, hopes and dreams, rather than listen to how the world was on the news, letting them know they are my world.

I would let them know that what they said truly mattered, more than anything in the world, as I gave them my undivided attention, listening to what they had to say rather than say “I’m busy. Can we talk later?”  Later may not come.

I would stop cleaning, cooking, playing a game on the computer or watching TV to simply be with them, 100% present.

If the phone was ringing, or beeping with an incoming text message, during a conversation with a loved one, or while spending quiet time together, I would let it ring without answering it, or even a sneak peak at the text message, letting my loved one know their presence is more important to me than the phone.

Rather than run back in the house two seconds after leaving to get the forgotten cell phone, I would run back in to give the forgotten hug or say the forgotten “I Love You” to the loved one remaining behind.

When I’m on a date with my husband, I would leave my phone at home, or tucked away in my purse, letting him know the time I spend with him is valuable to me.

And while I can’t go back and start over, getting back time that has past, it’s never too late to start over.  Right.  Now.   While I can’t start the day over, I can start over anytime during the day.  And that is a blessing I intend to take advantage of, practicing until it becomes more the norm than not.

No electronics

Silence – Part II

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In Part I, I announced My One Word, Silence, for 2014, and the benefits I have found through my conversion to one word rather than a list of resolutions.  Following is a list of how one word can help shape my character and draw me nearer to God if practiced diligently, keeping in mind it’s about progress, not perfection.  And to think this list can happen from just one word. 🙂

1.)  When I feel anger toward someone for their words or actions, whether they were intentional or not, remaining silent until I’ve had time to process and bring it before God will prevent me from spouting off with a comment I will likely regret later.  And staying silent, not even so much as to comment under my breath to myself in the name of venting, will keep my thoughts clear. I believe that our thoughts become words, so if I say something unkind in a moment of emotion, whether to someone else or to myself, I’m allowing my thoughts to travel that path.  Stopping a negative thought with a positive one before it flows into words, prevents those thoughts from germinated and growing wildly out of control, weeds choking out anything beautiful that has the potential to grow.  And it’s impossible to feel anger when I’m being grateful to God for something He’s blessed me with.

2.)  Taking a moment of silence before responding to a question that holds any weight gives enough time to invite God into the conversation.  If I follow His lead, I can’t go wrong.  In the presence of impulsivity and many spoken words, there is greater chance for sin.

3.)  It’s in silence and stillness that God breathes answers to my questions, even those that are often unasked.  If every waking moment is absorbed in sound, whether it be the television, radio, others or myself talking, there is no room for listening to His still, small voice.  I enjoy listening to the K-LOVE radio station in my car, or WAY-FM, songs and spiritual words lifting me high.  However, I have found that when I listen for it coming from Him, in silence, rather than through noise on the radio, it blankets my heart in peace that is incomparable to anything else.  That being said, unless I think about the word “silence,” in a world that’s accustomed and conditioned to noise, I often run on auto pilot and turn my radio on without thinking.  My one word reminds me to invite the silence into my day.

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4.)  Keeping my one word consciously and  subconsciously close, invites my thoughts to be still, bringing them back to Him, riding that wave of peace.  It’s a peace that is unmatched and one I discovered cannot be found anywhere except in close communion with God.  Silence reminds me to take deep, slow, cleansing breathes throughout the day, keeping the chaos and noise to a tolerable minimum.

5.)  Mindfulness of silence keeps me from reliving yesterday or jumping ahead to tomorrow, and keeps me living, fully experiencing, the here and now.

As I now prepare to sit quietly and enjoy a moment of silence before proceeding with my day, I wish you all a beautiful, peaceful year, journeying on your path to growth toward whatever it is you’re striving for.

Peace to you.