On Keeping On

One of the things I love about The Art of War for Writers is James Scott Bell’s approach. He starts with the mind “because what happens in the head affects everything else.”

So at first, looking at our chapter for the week, I thought it kind of interesting that we’d be thinking about the possible what-ifs. The bad what-ifs. What if we do get accepted and then tank? Our books don’t sell like the publisher would like and we get displaced and replaced. He addresses these concerns not because he wants us to hyperventilate from worry or give up, but to prepare us for the reality of it.

“So the question becomes what to do if it happens?”

If we are prepared, then , hopefully, we won’t get caught of guard. I thought that about motherhood. Yeah, didn’t work. πŸ™‚ But I will not give up on loving my kiddos because I mess up. I’m human but that doesn’t mean I will stop striving to be a good mom, because when I cease striving, I will truly fail. And I won’t give up on writing either. It comes down to our level of commitment. How much do you want to write? To succeed at writing and make a career out of it?

The purpose of this book is to help us prepare to become career authors, by helping us avoid mistakes, write stronger books and win the battle to get and stay published. My paraphrase.

That said, if we get published, Bell admonishes us to not to kick back and think we’ve made it to pub-land. Our journey doesn’t stop at our first book contract. We have to keep on keeping on! It’s developing the mental prowess to face whatever life throws are way and still keep going. To learn and not become stagnant. Adapt. Overcome. If the well dries up, dig another well.

So what say you? Have you thought about these what-ifs from a professional standpoint? How do you think we can prepare ourselves to face them?

Update: Check out what Rachelle Gardner says about Life as a Published Author.


2 thoughts on “On Keeping On

  1. Is it possible to prepare in advance? As much as I thought I could mentally prepare in advance for twins, there’s just no way to know until you’re living it day to day. I think the same will be for publication. There’s just no way to know what it will truly be like until I’m living it. What I can do before hand is prepare myself as best as possible and then give myself the grace to make mistakes and learn from them as I go. I think too often we set ourselves up with expectations and when we fail to meet them we’re devastated. Be flexible, teachable and hold on to the hope. Know that every day is a challenge that God will give you the strength and ability to meet (in publication and motherhood).

    • J. L. Mbewe says:

      I agree with you as nothing could have prepared me for parenting or giving birth, despite reading books and watching clips. πŸ™‚

      I think the preparation could come in the form as our responsibility to educating ourselves and making that commitment to our writing. When I first started out the whole focus had been just on getting the first book published, I didn’t think beyond it. I have read in so many places that’s one of the mistakes us newbies make. We finally get our book published, but we don’t have vision for our career, haven’t learned anything about the business side of the writing and then we crash and burn. But if we know we’ll crash and burn, we could take it in stride. πŸ™‚ Granted, there is a lot we can’t really know until we are there and experiencing it first hand. But just think, if you hadn’t tried to prepare in advance for the twins, do you think you’d be as equipped as you were? With my second one, I was scared out of my mind, but my commitment to an all natural birth was stronger (minded everything lined up) and it was the most amazing experience ever.

      I totally agree that our expectations mess us up and I think that is part of preparing. (knowing there will be LOTS of pain, but also knowing what your body is doing to bring forth the little life and thus be able to make educated decisions rather than relying on feelings or fears) (sorry, people, for all this talk about labor, I’m sure you really wanted to know this πŸ™‚ ) Being flexible, teachable, is part of preparing to meet the onslaught of obstacles. Perhaps, being prepared as more to do with our level of commitment, a state of mind? So no matter what the “what-ifs” are, I think being committed to our calling, heart’s desire, etc will carry us through the difficult times. It will act as our compass and how to keep on keeping on. Kind of like marriage, right?

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I really appreciate it! As iron sharpens iron! πŸ™‚

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