The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. **Mark Twain

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Building a platform or building a nervous breakdown.

I talked with a young writer today that was completely discouraged. 

"I'm supposed to write, I'm supposed to build a platform and promote myself as a speaker.  I'm supposed to contribute to other blogs so mine will increase in numbers and somewhere in the middle of all this I'm supposed to be centered and take care of my family.  I need finances to keep writing and I may have to take a job.  I'm overwhelmed and heartbroken."

Most people have an image of a writer sitting in a cabin in the woods, listening to nature, sipping a cup of coffee and plunking out a best selling novel.  Of course, he has servants to do the cleaning, his mailbox is stuffed with checks and when he's done with this novel he will return to a life of fun and games with his family.

Actually if we think about it for a moment, we have fantasies about every job position.  It's rare that we look at a job and think it's unappealing unless it's on the cable show Dirty jobs where the star is trying out chimney sweeping or pig farming.  We tend to see every job as one that has beautiful people working effortlessly while making millions.  Rarely do we see positions where the boss looks like a big green monster to his employees. 

Writing is hard work.  It's not a dream job unless you love books and love writing and can't wait to put your ideas on paper.  It's not a dream job if you don't find your soul lifting every time you write a phrase that hangs in the air and tickles your heart like a child watching twinkle lights for the first time.  It's not a dream job unless you can't imagine yourself doing anything else and hate every moment you are away from the computer.

So what can you do to control the chaos and illuminate the feelings of wonder?

Imagine that you a successful executive.  You have all the power to make every decision and you are in total control.  You can make the employee schedule and you can decide how much marketing will be done.  Give yourself permission to take a day off and to be nice to your grandmother. 

I think we get off track when we are so bent on being published - right now....that we put our publisher's in the seat as an imaginary CEO that's always looking negatively at our work.  We let that image drive us to frustration trying to put everything in place all at once.  If we retain the right to make a writing plan and work hard to execute that plan....we will gain respect and one day we will be published.

God loves you and has called you to write,