Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Sunday Inspirational Post

You know, I'm really into some of the shows on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. I was never a huge Oprah fan when she had her talk show. I mean, I liked a lot of her content, but I didn't linger by the TV each day dying to watch the show. But lately at night I'll swing by the channel and see some interesting things.

I like Rosie O'Donnell. She's loud, proud to be who she is, and funny. And her new show where she just talks to people is fantastic. She had one where she interviewed Kathy Griffin, and it was really interesting.

Oprah has a Masters Class, where she interviews famous people with more to their fame than money. She did one on Tony Robbins that was fantastic. And she's got one with Paula Dean and another with Reba McEntire coming up. I love learning about the backgrounds of these people, because most of them came from nothing. How do they climb toward success and handle setbacks? What makes them successful? How did they know what choices to make to get where they are now?

What struck me was an episode I watched last night. It had to do with past guests from her talk show that really spoke to something special, about how to aim high and achieve goals. Envisioning success before you get there, believing in yourself, and never quitting were some of the points I took from the show.

I think that's probably what stuck by me most. In a career like writing, where people seem to say no more than they say yes, you're often left wondering if you're any good at your job. I've worked in the military, for salary, and hourly (when younger). When you're in a job where the pay is fixed and the work clear cut, it's a lot less subjective. You do your reports, you're successful. Come in on time every day and finish your projects, you're guaranteed pay.

But in the world of writing, what one reader likes another hates. Editors take on books other editors have rejected. And what's published at times delights and at other times confounds me. I just reread an unpublished book I'd written a year ago. Now I like to think most of my work is stellar. But I admit some of it's problematic. Plots or characters have weak points I wished I'd seen earlier.But this book I reread, it's good. I mean really good. It's also been passed over by agents. It's gotten more nibbles of interest than any of my other works, but still, no takers.

So I have to decide. Do I start sending it out to other agents I haven't targeted yet? Do I avoid the agents and target publishers? Do I publish it myself? Do I write the next three books in the series or leave it at book one, which is its own story entirely but could be the beginning of a wonderful series? Considering I fell in love with the characters all over again, I'm pretty sure I'm going to write more for the brothers of this wonderful family. But as far as where to send it, I'm still unsure.

It's difficult to constantly push forward after rejection. Every time I hear a no, I'm baffled and crushed. And then something weird balls up inside me and I push harder. I think that's why I know I'll succeed in this business. Because I believe in myself. People have given me nice reviews, stellar reviews, and plainly trashed my books. Everything I write has a measure of something personal in it, because my creativity is me. I'm not my characters and I don't live their lives (unfortunately--grin) but it's my heart and soul poured into every work, so when someone doesn't like it, sure it bothers me. But then, there have been books others have crowed about that I've been unable to finish. So I shrug off the negativity and write the next best book I can.

I've had a few people recently contact me about writing, searching for some advice. It makes me think and it relates to some of those OWN shows I previously mentioned. The key to writing is good storytelling. But the answer to success is about belief in yourself. Because if you don't believe you can succeed, you won't. And this applies to everyone in life, no matter what you do.

This is my Sunday inspirational post. While writing it felt cathartic and reinforced to me just how incredibly wonderful I am, it also made me want to throw up for being so damn positive and Pollyanna-like. I promise not to do this again for a long time. Enjoy the last bit of freedom from your Sunday before you're dragged kicking and screaming to work tomorrow. (There, that sounded more like me.)


Anara Bella said...

Great post, Marie! I need to staple this advice to my forehead. Maybe that way it'll stick. =/

I've been going through a really rough patch with my writing lately, doubting my abilities both as a writer and a storyteller. I need to just get out of my own way and believe in myself. And get writing again, of course. lol

Thanks for the great advice and timely reminder. =)


Paty Jager said...

Great post, Marie! I agree half of what makes you succeed in this business is believing in yourself. I'm a huge believer in that. It's what got my first newspaper article published.

I received a nice e-mail today from a gentleman who said he loved one of my books.

Just a comment like that keeps me writing.

Marie Harte said...

Hey Anara. I think we all go through those days, questioning our abilities. Then you remind yourself how awesome you are and write some more.:)

Marie Harte said...

How nice, Paty. Yeah, hearing from someone other than a relative that your work is appreciated really keeps you going. I don't think readers know how much their positive encouragement means to us.

Diana Mcc. said...

Very "Inspirational Post". Doubt is a confining emotion. One that is sometimes hard to turn off.

I use mantras. Sometimes they get through to my inter-brain and I follow through.

My favorite is "Today I'm going to be healthy, happy and productive in my (fill in the blank) writing." I say it about 20 times and it seems like I do better on those days. Great post!

Trudy said...

Thanks for the wonderful post Marie! Although not Pollyanna, thank God, you are a source of inspiration for pre-published writers such as myself.

Marie Harte said...

I like your Mantra, Diana. And you should add to that, "And I will finish this friggin' novel so Marie will stop bugging me about it." :)

But I think I might borrow your mantra tomorrow morning. Because for me, before coffee, Monday + morning = horror.

Marie Harte said...

Well Trudy, I look at it this way. If I can write, anyone can. hahaha
Seriously though, I love hearing about people like Stephen King and JK Rowling who persevered when everyone else told them no. And look at them now. It's a matter of how bad you want it.

Pretty soon, you'll be published minus the "pre". :)Just keep thinking that and it'll happen.

Judith Ashley said...

Well said, Marie!

Hope Diana's mantra worked for you this a.m. - yep, it's Monday!

I allow myself a set amount of time (a few hours to a day) and a couple pieces of chocolate when I get a rejection - unless it is a good one (personal with specific information about what doesn't work for that person).

Karen Duvall said...

I loved everything you said here, Marie. Awesome blog post! And all so very true.

It sometimes feels like the opinions of others are a mirror we peer into and accept as an image of ourselves. It shouldn't be that way, but the psyche is a tender thing that needs to be nurtured. We're our own best nurturers. We have to like ourselves and our work before we can expect anyone else to.

Ugh, it's too early in the morning to think. The coffee has yet to kick in. Ha!

Thanks for the inspirational words!

Marie Harte said...

Well, Judith. The mantra worked for me today. Unfortunately I didn't share it with my mother, who broke her wrist today. sigh. Poor woman. I spent the day helping her. And man, she's bossier when she's in shock. Weird. :) But then, that's my mom.

Marie Harte said...

Hey Karen.

Insightful comments! But I do agree, anything said or thought before coffee is hard to take. :)