Friday, June 05, 2015

Become a Resilient Writer

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

"The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm." ~ Confucius

It’s those writers who can bend in the hurricane force of the change that continue to find success in publishing. This is different from being tossed about, chasing fads and trends. It’s the ability to change direction when it makes sense for you. It’s a difficult line to walk, so today I’m sharing tips to become a resilient writer.

The Resilient Writer:
1. Records Every Idea that Comes to Mind. In this business, contracts are cancelled and publishing houses change ownership. It’s important to have other ideas to turn to. That’s tough if we don’t keep a list of them where we can find them. I have a folder on my laptop for ideas. Every time I come up with a new one, it gets added to the list. I don’t prejudge an idea, if it pops into my head I write it down.

2. Reads Deep and Wide. I don’t just stick to a certain genre. I read articles, blogs, novels, and non-fiction. I read bestsellers and new indie authors. It’s important to fill our writing well with the experience of other authors.

3. Never Stops Learning. In this business, no one has ever arrived. We can’t sit on success and hatch it like an egg. Publishing is a process—the journey of a lifetime. When a writer quits investing in learning and growing, he becomes stagnant.

4. Surrounds Herself with Like-minded Writers. There are a lot of people out there who like to talk about writing. But that doesn’t make them writers. These are the type of folks who bail when the writing life gets difficult. What you need is a core group that will challenge you to push through and keep writing—No Matter What.

5. Develops Alligator Skin. Rejection is part and parcel of being a writer. We have to learn that rejection of our writing isn’t the same thing as rejection of us. There are lots of reasons our writing isn’t published, and it often has nothing to do with how good the writing is.

6. Stay Focused on the Why of Writing. For me, I write because it’s the way God made me. He created me for this purpose. To deny this would make as much sense as a dog trying to live life as a dolphin. I write because God designed me to write.

7. Develops the Art of Patience. With publishing, time moves slowly. It takes time to master the craft of writing. It also takes a certain amount of time to hear a yes or no on contracts and article acceptances. Then it takes time for those projects to come to fruition—online or in print. Every step of our writing and publishing journey takes time. When we accept this and learn to live with it, life gets so much easier.

8. Ignores the Negative Voices. We all have negative voices that dog us when we write. Sometimes they’re the voices of a writers group, or a critique partner. Maybe they belong to a well-meaning (or not so well-meaning) family member or friend. Most often they are our own voices, echoing in our minds. Those voices never totally go away. But we can decide if we listen to them or not.

9. Keeps Writing. Real writers write. It’s that simple and that difficult. For me it boils down to one thing. If I didn’t write, I’d die. I just don’t have a choice. My advice to you is this. If you can do something else and be content, then do it.

This is my list to help you become a resilient writer. I’d love to know what you’d add to it. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains ChristianWriters Conference and the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy. She’s also the Military Family Blogger at Guideposts. Com, Social Media Director for SouthernWriters Magazine and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook. Don't miss her new book from Worthy Inspired, coming in May WHILE MY SOLDIER SERVES.

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