Novel Rocket: The Glass Elephant

Monday, January 07, 2013

The Glass Elephant

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. She married her own hunky hero, who’s an Army veteran. Her life is never dull in a family with four children and two dogs. She has a degree in psychology, speaks to various groups, is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and mentors new writers. Rapid-Fire Fiction, her brand, is exemplified through her novels: Dead Reckoning, the Discarded Heroes military series, which includes acclaimed novels Nightshade, Digitalis, Wolfsbane, Firethorn, and Trinity: Military War Dog. Ronie can be found at www.roniekendig.com, on Facebook (www.facebook.com/rapidfirefiction), Twitter (@roniekendig), and GoodReads.

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       There’s an elephant in the room. The one nobody talks about but everyone knows is there. Delicate topics which force others to tiptoe in some silent dance to protect feelings, to pretend the problem isn’t really there.
       But it is.
       And it’s not going away. At least not easily.
       What elephant am I talking about? The demands of the industry on an author to perform. You know what I’m talking about—writing, editing, more editing, marketing, book signings, interviews, blog tours, radio interviews, conferences, speaking, teaching. . .
       I get it, though. We start with that thrilling exuberance—FIRST CONTRACT!! Weeeeee, we’re rushing along, immersed in excitement and expectation. Interview? Yes, I’d love to! A blog feature? I’d be honored! A 750-word article for your website? I have so much time, why not? We rush some more, working toward the next contract, getting featured on this blog or that website, or earning an award, hitting a best seller list, and and and. . .
     Before we know it, months have passed, the cursors on our monitors mock us, and we wonder why we’re irritated, agitated, and possibly even depressed. We feel disillusioned about the whole “game” of publishing.
     Well, this gal’s elephant was made of glass. And it shattered under the pressure of the demands. Mostly, it’s my own fault. I fell OUT of love with it. I groaned as I stared at the screen, and the worst of all?
     I did not want to write.
     No, I love to write.
     Who cares, I thought. I’d rather have my fingernails plucked out! Sadistic, I know. But I felt like I’d crawl out of skin if I had to write one more story or do one more interview. Why? Because I hadn’t taken care of myself in the process of the incredible journey that got me to Here. I was so scared of upsetting or offending someone, of not doing the one thing that would springboard me to success, or of being called a diva for not doing what was demanded of me. I bent to this whim and that one. . .until I  broke. I forgot to take care of the number one priority: myself.
     That’s right. MYSELF.
     That might sound selfish but it’s not really. YOU have to take care of YOU or there won’t be a YOU from which to write. Busy chasing a million other things, we don’t see that our creative wells—the wells of our souls, our very being—have run dry. When my glass elephant shattered last year, I realized I’d lost sight of the most precious part of my career: the gift of writing.
    I had to step back, take inventory of myself and my life, my priorities, and come at things from a new angle. So, I’d like to share some of those tips as we head into 2013. I hope these will help others find refreshment and strength.
     1.) Learn the power and freedom of “no.” Truly. There are booksdedicated to how empowering this single word can be. Practice it. It is okay to say no to additional commitments of time and energy, anything that will sap your energy or steal your time. Sure, there are things you *need* to do in order to promote your book, but ultimately, your biggest responsibility is to make sure YOU are refreshed so you can WRITE. If you’re exhausted, mentally and physically, there’s no creative well from which to draw inspiration. Remember: It’s okay to say no!
     2.) Take time for YOU! - In many interviews, I’d been asked what I did outside of writing.  That question really started to bug me because I realized I had no idea what I liked to do. I’d lost myself.
     Not good. This is a recipe for a train wreck.
     So, I took a much-needed break. November and December gave me time to practice saying “no,” as I took a sabbatical from writing. I’d never done that before, but I desperately needed to refill my empty creative tanks. Since most of us can’t take that much time off—it was rare for me—I encourage you to set aside a day or time of day that is just for you. Do something YOU enjoy, even if it feels frivolous. Start experimenting. Fail at something. Attempt something else. At first, it might make you feel guilty, but push past that. Just power down those work-related writing cells so they can recharge. Then you’ll be up and ready to go when you punch the access button. Try it!
     3.) Abandon the wagons!! While it can be useful and sometimes helpful, it is not necessary to accept or leap on every blog/interview/feature bandwagon. There’s an enormous amount of pressure out there to blitz social media for your release. But there is only one of you, and you have to manage that time and energy carefully. As horrible as this might sound, look at your ROI—return on investment. Arrange your time efficiently and effectively to bring you the best returns. That’s a savage truth---it sounds callused, but you have to make sure YOU stay refueled so YOU can WRITE.
     4.) Get Physical! As images of Olivia Newton John pound your memory banks, trust me on this one. It’s a proven fact that physical exercise actually pushes more oxygen to your brain, which means the neural network begin rapid-firing. Give it a try. Get up and move! Even using that time, if you must, to work through scenarios that have hit a snag.
     So, just remember that in the demanding world of publishing, there’s a lot to do and a lot of other things possible to do, but you don’t have to do them all. Find balance in moderation. Be strategic! How are you keeping yourself charged and refueled, so that when these demands and persons trumpet their expectations, you’re able able to pour healthy, realistic amounts of yourself into them?
     Share your tips with us!!
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Ronie's newest release, Trinity: Military War Dogis now available!

Reeling from the effects of a traumatic brain injury that ripped his military career from his hands, former Green Beret Heath Daniels struggles to find new purpose with his war dog, Trinity. Military intelligence officer Darci Kintz is captured and her team killed while secretly tracking the Taliban.  Only one military war dog can handle the extreme conditions to save her—Trinity. And only one man can handle Trinity. Time is running out on the greatest—and most dangerous—mission of their lives.

2 comments :

  1. Love this post, Roni! Interesting that people kept asking what your other hobbies were and you had none. I'm feeling that now--writing consumes so much of my life (not even pubbed yet!). Great advice and thoughts today!

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