The Pre-Published Author: Bonus Holiday Edition
Ahhh, the joy of friends and family. There’s nothing like spending time with those you love most grilling hotdogs and burgers, gathering at the campfire, catching up with one another. Relatives you haven’t seen in months arrive to these events, and even though you think you’re prepared for the inevitable questions that arise, you cringe when they ask the big one. “What’s going on with your writing?”
You put on a smile and let them know you’re still pursuing your publishing dreams, you’ve got another work in progress, and you let them know the inspiration to write and publish is still alive. Inwardly you hope the conversation ends there. Please don’t ask, please don’t ask, please don’t ask what my book is about. They do. “What kind of books do you write?”
You let them know your general genre and audience, still hoping they won’t probe deeper. They do. “What’s your story about?”
You give the vaguest of answers, perhaps something like this: “It’s about a girl who lives in a place, she has a problem and then she discovers something amazing and it changes her life.” After this weak answer, and seeing the puzzled look on their face, you take your leave and wander on down by the fire wishing you’d never left your writing cave.
Down by the fire, someone else asks about your writing. You try to muster up something more exciting this time, but then end with the big fail of downplaying the novel you worked months on by talking about all the rejections you’ve faced, and then crowning that beauty-queen with the ultimate fail of declaring the certainty that every publisher will eventually reject your manuscript!
Feeling good about your prospects now? Oh, if only you’d stayed in your writing cave, where it’s safe and no one ever asks about how things are going with your writing! Oh, if only no one ever knew you were pursuing publishing or had written anything at all!
How can we stay positive and energetic about our unpublished work when we’ve been waiting so long for a publisher to take notice?
1. Talk to someone you trust. Your husband/wife, your BFF on whom you based that quirky side-kick in your last novel, your agent, your internet support group, etc. Hopefully this is the person who is already aware your books haven’t been published and there is no sign of interest, and also the greatest cheerleader in your corner.
Tell them about your frustrations when they ask about how your writing is going. I’m sure it would get old if you are venting constantly, but occasionally—when the pressure gets high and the tears are making their way to the surface, let them out!
These trusted people want to see you succeed as much as you want to succeed. I’ve found my husband is the best at redirecting my anxious thoughts back to why I am writing in the first place. I enjoy writing. I feel God’s pleasure when I write. The publishing side of this adventure is out of my hands. It’s in His.
2. Prepare your answers ahead of time. When people ask about your writing, it’s because the fact you’ve written something is of interest to them! They want to hear something interesting! Even though you don’t have an exciting answer concerning the publishing side of this mountain, you can certainly give them an exciting mini-synopsis of your novel.
For crying out loud! You spent months writing that baby. Give your friends and family a peek at the ultrasound picture. Your novel is pre-born, but it has a heartbeat! Let people hear it! Let them know how excited you are about the joyful expectation about to break forth into the world.
3. Fake it ‘til you make it. Yep, it’s old advice, but it’s great advice.
Recently I watched a TED talk that discussed this idea. The speaker talked about body posturing and how it can set you up for success or failure. Those who pose in powerful ways speak to their bodies and prepare their mind for powerful success. Try it! Before you enter a room, stand like Wonder Woman, telling yourself you’ve got this!
You can face any challenge, and overcome any weakness when you believe what you’ve got to give the world is important.
Stop hating on yourself for the responses you gave the last time someone asked about your writing, and prepare yourself for the next time. Have your response ready, canned if necessary, and reveal your excitement about your stories. Excitement is contagious. We all want to get excited and share in one another’s hopes and dreams.
Don’t speak negatively. Ever. About anything. It does nothing but uproot what you’ve planted in faith. Stay positive about the journey. Stay strong, regardless of the emotions that drag you down. Words, as authors know, are POWERFUL! Guard with diligence the words that come out of your mouth. What we say is what we believe. If we don’t believe in our stories, NO ONE WILL!
How do you stay afloat when it feels like the wait is pulling you under?
»Please add your voice to the conversation and share this post. We pre-published authors can endure this journey together!
Ephesians 2:10 New King James Version (NKJV)
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Galatians 6:9 New King James Version (NKJV)
9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.