Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mama Say Knock You Out & Other Ways of Maintaining Stamina in the Publishing Industry

“Don’t call it a comeback. I’ve been here for years.” Why do I have the feeling I might be saying that someday? And yes, I really remember the lyrics to an LL Cool J song.

Any of us who’ve been at this social networking & writing gig for awhile understand how pivotal it is to stay in the game. To keep on keepin’ on. This doesn’t mean we engage in the same ol’, same ol’. (See point about bringing the new below.) What it does mean is that we’re already creative folks. It’s worth it to pour some creative energy in how we go about this business. It’s about more than survival. I’m talkin’ eye of the tiger talk today.
I’m a fighter. I’m not sure I’ve learned to be this way because of some rough bumps along the road of life or whether I’ve just been blessed with a go get ‘em mentality. But when I feel called to something you betcha I’m going to float like a butterfly, and sting like a bee.
Here are eight ways I put up my dukes to fight off discouragement and maintain stamina in the publishing industry:
Adopt a Leader Mindset
I’m not referring to ‘I will lead you and you will follow’ so much on this one, but rather ‘I will lead my thoughts.’ I will choose to keep a positive, hopeful outlook about the future. I will not let rejection defeat me. I will move forward one (hear Bob) baby step at a time if need be.

Regularly Assess Who You Are Writing For
This one should have flashing neon arrows pointing at it. I’ll never be able to speak to this enough. It matters. Who you write for matters. And your answer has the potential to motivate you, convict you, or deflate you. This stamina-builder in the form of a reflective question is swollen with potential for character growth. Your answer—who you write for—could chameleon-ize itself based on what’s going on with your career. Truth: You have the ability to reassign and reassess who holds the reins at any given moment.
Give Yourself a Break
People with ravenous cravings for Kit Kat bars aren’t the only ones who need a break. To rejuvenate, recharge, and reprioritize, there are times it’s imperative to slow down, unplug, live a little, and release.
Develop a Strong Support Network
Learn from the masters while laughing with your network—discerning what to let sink in and what to blow off.
Bridge May Ice in Cold Weather
In other words, keep cool. Don’t burn bridges—with anyone over anything. Gold baby: If you don’t have anything nice to say, then shut your pie hole.
Find Your Own Niche
Your voice.
Your schedule.
Your genre.
Your path.
Constantly Look for Ways to Bring the New
My family recently spent time on an Eastern shore spotted with jellyfish (also interestingly enough called stinging nettles). As my kids flopped and hopped around in the waves I stood guard, searching for the intriguing creatures. Like editors and agents, I had a set focus to locate jellyfish. We want to be like jellyfish without the sting factor. Our goal is to have professionals scanning the oftentimes murky waters of this industry, exhilarated with a rush of excitement when we come floating by. We need to swim with purposeful intentions, unafraid, while leaving the stingers of discouragement behind.
All You Need is Love
Love your work.
Love your readers.
Love your gift of creating.
Most of all stay cool! Any other tried and true methods of keeping your stamina in this industry?

*A few more lyrics for ya: “I’m gonna take this itty bitty world by storm & I’m just gettin’ warm.”

20 comments:

  1. I think another key to maintaining your stamina in this industry is to keep your eyes on your own work. In other words, don't compare your journey to another person's. We all have a unique road to walk and comparison will very quickly steal our joy and our stamina.

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  2. Loved this, Wendy. I think you knocked it outa the park! :)

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  3. Beautiful truth, Wendy! I really like the one about remembering who you write for. If I'm really writing for God and His glory, then I'll be okay with the timing He puts on my writing journey, because it isn't about ME succeeding. It's. Not. About. Me. Thanks for the reminder. :)

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  4. Love this. Tweeting this. A must read.

    On a totally different note....the subtitle of "all we need is love" totally reminds me of a funny Office quote. Where somebody says that, "All we need is love." And Dwight's like, "False. You also need water and rations." Dwight cracks me up.

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  5. Love this, Wendy. Whenever I get discouraged I think of all the many hours I put into my dream already. I just can't accept that all that work is for nothing--so I keep on keeping on!

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  6. I had the exact same thought as Katie--this is so a must-read. I especially appreciated your first point--leading our own thoughts. That's huge. H.U.G.E.

    Something that helps me keep my stamina: caffeine. Okay, and writing friends. It's so important to have people in my life who get this whole writing journey thing. They empathize in an amazing way.

    Um, and my thanks to Katie for bringing The Office into the conversation!! Now I have Michael Scott in my head saying, "Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy. Both. I want people to fear how much they love me."

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  7. This is really good advice. It can be hard to stay motivated when we've been doing this a loooong time. And some people have been doing it for longer! LOL
    I like your advice about niche and figuring out who we write for. I needed this post today. Thanks, girl!

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  8. I'm going to have Eye of the Tiger in my head all day now. LOL. Great post. I could definitely use a little extra stamina today.

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  9. And I'll have the Beattles "All we need is ove, datadaddda, all we need is love..."

    Great post - I love the analogy of the jellyfish and the idea that an agent or editor is out there scanning the waters - hopefully waiting for me to swim up!

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  10. My favorites are the "give yourself a break" and "develop a strong support network." Both are so important!

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  11. Great advice, Wendy. I couldn't have said it better myself.

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  12. Discerning what to let sink in and what to blow off. I'm trying to work on this one, so I don't get so bogged down. Great post. Thanks, Wendy.

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  13. Great advice and good to hear from someone who's been doing it a while!

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  14. Awesome post! Thanks to Melissa for tweeting it!

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  15. Awesome post! Thanks to Melissa for tweeting it!

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  16. Wendy,
    I like you. I like you. Yes, I do, but I'm not sure what I like more, the LL Cool J reference or the post, both good.

    What keeps my stamina up?
    #1 My cheerleaders, but also, I'm pretty new with writing and very new at social media, but you know what? I'm not sure that I could stop writing. Sure, I get down, but I can't even remember back to what filled my time before writing. I really think this is something I will do forever.

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  17. Love the leading our thoughts...when I started blogging, I figured my followers wanted to know each time I had a major writing letdown. But the letdowns pile up FAST, and it can be a total downer to wallow in them endlessly. Yes, it's great to share and get tips from other writers for what the next step might be. But much of what has to be done as writers comes from ceaseless prayer, our stubborn determination, and the encouragement God sprinkles along the way. Mama say KNOCK YOU OUT! Grin.

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  18. Outta the park with this one, girl! Such wonderful and practical advice

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  19. This is absolutely inspired, my friend. Pure awesomeness.

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  20. From one fighter to another, I'm in the game with ya! Great thoughts as I go in for round...oh, I've lost count!

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