The Secret Fears of Writers

Turn into a ButterflyFear finds us all. Even when we don’t realize it, all humans fear something. Whether it’s death, illness, betrayal, or something else, we all fear loss. Even the most hardened criminal, who would argue by saying, “I ain’t afraid of nothin’,” isn’t making an honest statement.

The fact is, facing an unknown future, losing control, or getting less than someone else can drive anyone to do things they might otherwise never consider. And acting out of our emotional fear can cost us dearly. It’s no less true for writers.

In order to overcome fear, we must first acknowledge it. Specifically, authentically, and thoroughly. So what are some common things we writer-types secretly fear?Try One More Time

  • The publishing market — Bankrupt publishing chains, doomsday prophets proclaiming that books are a dying breed, brick and mortar stores closing, dwindling advances from royalty publishing houses.
  • Less emphasis on reading and writing in public school systems, meaning we aren’t cultivating an interest in books for future generations.
  • Fear of the competition — with fewer contracts being offered from professional publishers, another writer’s success can feel like a choke hold around your neck. Is there any chance for me at all? What if my work doesn’t stack up when compared to theirs? I had an idea for a project like, ___________, but it’s too late now that ________’s book came out.
  • I’ve sent my project to twelve different publishers, and have gotten nothing but rejection — or even worse, no response at all. Maybe I’m fooling myself, and I’m no good.

Let’s analyze each secret fear and see if we can unearth a converse perspective.Do Ordinary Things Extraordinarily Well

  • There’s no question the publishing market is changing. Rapidly. However, if your goal is to see your name in print, there are truly more avenues available than at any other time in history. Blogs. Webzines. Print on demand. These are terms new to the twenty-first century, and they make it easier than ever to spread your message. According to Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outlier’s, it takes an average of 10,000 hours to master anything. These days, you have many options to hone your skills as you learn to master the art of writing. Patience, perseverance, practicing your craft — these form the key that opens the door to any writer’s success.
  • It’s true some schools are not promoting great literature as much as in the past, but it is not true of all schools. The fact that today’s reader wants smaller books, bullet points, and sound bites, only makes it easier for us to write faster. And there are two time-tested things that will never die. 1. A love of story designed into the human condition. 2. A need for mature generations to pass information onto new ones.
  • Comparisons never work. Two people can take the exact same subject, but will bring their own special nuances to the topic, making what they write unique, and offering insights someone else might miss. This explains why there are so many books on similar ideas. The world needs your distinctive stamp on the messages burning in your heart.
  • There’s not enough room or time to recount the many stories of huge successes that were paved on a trail of rejection slips. Stephen King, Michael Hyatt, John Grisham, Louisa May Alcott, J.K. Rowling, and Agatha Christie were all told, “No,” innumerable times. Here’s a link to an article with 50 Iconic Writers Who Were Repeatedly Rejected.

So the next time fear creeps up and tries to snatch your dreams away, remember — There is no other you that has ever existed, exists today, or will ever exist. If you have a message burning in your soul to write, then write it. Keep sharpening, polishing, and submitting it until the right publisher comes along. Or take advantage of the technologies today that allow you to publish in ways that weren’t available a decade ago.

You are meant to write if you can’t turn the desire off. So don’t try. Just do it — the writing thing. One thing we all have in common, there are secret fears writers share. The ones who succeed, put words on the page in spite of what they feel. They keep asking for and accepting wisdom from professionals who know the business. They do one thing every day that adds to their 10,000 hours of practice. And they remember what Thomas Edison said when asked about his failures. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

What fears do you face in your writing?

Anita Fresh Faith

Stories, Tips, Inspiration for Getting ThroughAnita Brooks motivates others to dynamic breakthroughs. Blending mind, heart, and spirit, as an Inspirational Business/Life Coach, International Speaker, and award-winning Author. Her latest book, released through Barbour Publishing, is Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over.

Anita is also author of First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market, released by Leafwood Publishing, Death Defied-Life Defined: A Miracle Man’s Memoir, and contributor to The Change Book Series. Her titles are available at all major bookstores, Amazon, plus other online retailers.

She is also host of the Fresh Faith Inspirations podcast. In all she does, Anita fulfills her mission to help 21st century women and men make fresh starts with fresh faith by sharing what she’s learned through experience, interviews, and research.

She’s energized by overcoming adversity, work with integrity, healthy relationships, identity issues, and abundant living. Anita inspires audiences all over the world to believe as she does — in business, as in life and love, it’s never too late!

Anita’s favorite pastime is watching sunsets with her husband of 30 years, while they laugh and dip their toes in the water. Her favorite passion is inspiring others to take life’s battles, and transform them into victories.

You can connect with Anita on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Keep up with Anita’s latest happenings at anitabrooks.com. Email anita@anitabrooks.com to request information on having Anita speak or train at your next event.

Writing Through the Storm

Karen Jordan:

The lessons we learn during our storms can change our perspective on life. I hope you enjoy this post from the WordServe Water Cooler, “Writing Through the Storm” by Anne Love.Photo/KarenJordan

Originally posted on WordServe Water Cooler:

No author in her right mind sets out to write a novel in the middle of the craziest year of her mid life. But every author knows that life happens regardless of deadlines, contracted or self-imposed. A year ago I hit the keyboard at the end of December with ACFW in September as my self-imposed deadline. Thankfully I didn’t know the hurdles I’d have to leap to arrive the the finish line, or I may not have tried. Thankfully, God knew better.

Little did I know my day job would test my new revelation that I am bi-vocational. Little did I know life would swirl around me like the outer bands of Hurricane Katrina, or I may not have tried. Thankfully, God knew better.

Every writer has a well-rehearsed list of real-life waves that sabotage word count, goals, edits, and plotting. I was well acquainted with the pitfalls of Twitter…

View original 545 more words

Should a Non-Fiction Author Write Fiction and Vice-Versa?

Shiny Objects

Are Shiny Objects Tempting You?

One of my coaching clients has to guard against his propensity to chase every shiny new object. I can identify with his temptations, as I struggle with similar ones in my writing. Can I author both fiction and non-fiction? Can you? Let’s explore the question, and see if we arrive at the same conclusions.

Recently, I had a conversation with my literary agent that went something like this:

Me, “I’m grateful my non-fiction books are selling, and my platform is building in the genre, but I have these two great novel ideas. What do you think? Would it be okay for me to pursue them?”

Alice, in a gentle tone after taking a deep breath, (I’m sure praying for patience with this crazy, bling-chasing author she has to deal with), “We normally recommend trying to stick with one genre. Otherwise it confuses your audience.”

“Could I do it using a pen name? I have one picked out.”

“Possibly. But then you’re using twice the energy to build two platforms simultaneously.”

That sounded like a whole lot of work to me.

Alice, “Can you turn your novel ideas into non-fiction?”

“Fiction is more fun to write.”

“I’m sure. But why don’t we focus on finishing your current book, then revisit this when you’re done?”

She’s a wise woman. I’m sure she believed the luster of authoring fiction would fade with time. And to a degree, she was right.

I’ve since researched the subject further, and found there are some common concerns and benefits listed from those with vast experience and knowledge. Publishers, agents, and even high-profile authors said much of the same. Here are the highlights of what I learned about the subject.

Cons:

1. Most readers will try a favorite author’s book in a new genre once, but if they don’t like it, may not buy any books written by them again. Including those they loved before.

2. Loyal readers often feel betrayed by the switch, and never regain trust. Genre confusion can cause authors to lose whole segments of audiences who now view them as promise-breakers.

3. If you switch genres, and the new book tanks, it can take years to rebuild publisher confidence and marketing momentum.

Pros:Do Ordinary Things Extraordinarily Well

1. Writing too much of a similar thing can cause an author to sound scripted, formulaic, and stale in later books. A change in the creative landscape can infuse fresh dimension into their craft.

2. Opportunities to cultivate new audiences grow with change. For example, if you write murder mysteries, but switch to a practical how-to, you chance reaching people who won’t read the mystery.

3. Authors like C.S. Lewis successfully carried their voices into cross-over markets, reaching many more people. If you are careful to stay true to your writing self, you potentially could do the same.

After talking it over with my agent, researching, praying, and much pondering, I think I’ve had a change of heart. Turning my novel ideas into non-fiction is feasible. And I know successful writers are teachable and flexible. If I want to thrive in the writing world, I need to mirror those traits, and listen to those with voices of wisdom.

Down the writing road, I may change my mind or the market may shift, but at this point, why mess with success? I’d hate to have a shiny new object deflect me from the blessings I already have.

Do you think it’s wise to write fiction and non-fiction? Why or why not?

Stories, Tips, Inspiration for Getting ThroughAnita Brooks motivates others to dynamic break-throughs. Blending mind, heart, and spirit, as an Inspirational Business/Life Coach, International Speaker, and award-winning Author. Her latest book, released through Barbour Publishing, is Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over.

Anita is also author of First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market, released by Leafwood Publishing, Death Defied-Life Defined: A Miracle Man’s Memoir, and contributor to The Change Book Series. Her titles are available at all major bookstores, Amazon, plus other online retailers.

She is also host of the Fresh Faith Inspirations podcast. In all she does, Anita fulfills her mission to help 21st century women and men make fresh starts with fresh faith by sharing what she’s learned through experience, interviews, and research.

She’s energized by overcoming adversity, work with integrity, healthy relationships, identity issues, and abundant living. Anita inspires audiences all over the world to believe as she does — in business, as in life and love, it’s never too late!

Anita’s favorite pastime is watching sunsets with her husband of 30 years, while they laugh and dip their toes in the water. Her favorite passion is inspiring others to take life’s battles, and transform them into victories.

You can connect with Anita on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Keep up with Anita’s latest happenings at anitabrooks.com. Email anita@anitabrooks.com to request information on having Anita speak or train at your next event.

Marketing In and Out of the Box for Authors and Speakers

“It’s getting harder to find places to sell books.”

Cullen Auditorium Anita Brooks Speaker

Find an Audience and Speak to their Needs

Public speaking is still the most effective sales tool for book authors according to many professionals. But with conference attendances lowering, and some closing down, the opportunities are dwindling.

And without a strong marketing plan, you often can’t get a publisher to bite on a proposal anyway.

So what’s an author to do?

You’ve probably heard “think outside the box” when it comes to marketing, but what does that mean?

Don’t lose hope, there are still effective things you can do to strengthen your marketing strategy through speaking. For instance, re-slant your messages to fit groups you might not normally speak to, or have never thought of speaking to.

Keynote Speaker Anita Brooks

Organizations Need Speakers for Conferences

  • If you speak on marriage, have you targeted business groups and associations where couples may work together, or have employees who do?
  • If parenting is your theme, have you contacted day-care centers who often spend more waking hours with children than parents?
  • If grief or trauma is your message, what about speaking to Chambers of Commerce, or association conferences about how their members can help the hurting, promote good will, and further their mission as a result?
  • Is there an awards banquet you can connect a presentation to?

When contacting churches and ministry organizations, ask yourself questions like these:

  • What are the biggest problems I see in society today?
  • What are my greatest pet peeves?
  • What do I hear people complain about most often?
  • What do people say they are lacking?

Those are the areas you can target to reach audiences in a relevant way. Many ministries are looking for speakers who can address concerns of a younger crowd growing more jaded, more “accepting,” and more in need of spiritual wisdom than ever. But wrapped in practical twenty-first century applications.

People all over the World Need Hope

People All Over the World Need Hope

The fact is, human beings all over the planet are drawn to messages of hope and encouragement, and like-minded people flock together. The key is to develop a strategic marketing plan, do your homework, study potential audiences, make consistent contacts, and follow-up on a regular basis. Over time you will begin to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. Set goals and stick to them.

To help you get started, here’s a link that offers info on associations of all kinds.

Finally, I must mention the most important thing of all. Partnering with God through prayer, trust, AND practical action.

Here’s my real secret to any marketing success. Based on the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25, I ask God who the bankers are that He wants me to invest my talents with, and then I look and listen. I’m often surprised at the opportunities available; it simply takes looking at things through fresh eyes. Sometimes in the box, and sometimes by stepping out.

Have you discovered any unique ways to market books or sign more speaking events?

Anita Agers Brooks a/k/a Anita Fresh Faith

Stories, Tips, Inspiration for Getting ThroughAnita Brooks motivates others to dynamic break-throughs. Blending mind, heart, and spirit, as an Inspirational Business/Life Coach, International Speaker, and award-winning Author. Her latest book, released through Barbour Publishing, is Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over.

Anita is also author of First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market, released by Leafwood Publishing, Death Defied-Life Defined: A Miracle Man’s Memoir, and contributor to The Change Book Series. Her titles are available at all major bookstores, Amazon, plus other online retailers.

She is also host of the Fresh Faith Inspirations podcast. In all she does, Anita fulfills her mission to help 21st century women and men make fresh starts with fresh faith by sharing what she’s learned through experience, interviews, and research.

She’s energized by overcoming adversity, work with integrity, healthy relationships, identity issues, and abundant living. Anita inspires audiences all over the world to believe as she does — in business, as in life and love, it’s never too late!

Anita’s favorite pastime is watching sunsets with her husband of 30 years, while they laugh and dip their toes in the water. Her favorite passion is inspiring others to take life’s battles, and transform them into victories.

You can connect with Anita on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Keep up with Anita’s latest happenings at anitabrooks.com. Email anita@anitabrooks.com to request information on having Anita speak or train at your next event.

Merry Christmas!

image

The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

(Luke 2:1-20 NIV)

Four Ideas for Helping Children Learn How to Write Stories

- by Mary May Larmoyeux -

notebook and penSome of my grandkids live out of state, and we have great fun connecting each week for our online writing “class.”

Here are four ideas for helping children learn how to write stories:

1) Read the same book and then, via Skype, talk about the author’s ideas, writing style, etc.

2) If possible, watch the DVD “Writing Strategies” by Rock N Learn. (It features Marco the Pencil and covers things like how to brainstorm ideas, hook the readers, write effective dialogue, and much more.) Then help the kids put what Marco says into practice.

3) Ask the kids to write something every week in a journal.

4) Read author Tricia Goyer’s wonderful blog post  “6 Activities for Your Kids’ Writing Club/For Teens & Preteens.”

What suggestions do you have for teaching kids how to write stories … and how to help them love the written word?

Post © 2014 Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.

Photo © Photodiane | Dreamstime.com
The Grandparent Connection

Visit Mary at http://www.legacyconnection.org. She is the co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild’s Heart.

Thank You! Offering a Prayer of Thanksgiving

“What can I give back to God for the blessings he’s poured out on me? … I’m ready to offer the thanksgiving sacrifice and pray in the name of God” (Ps. 116: 12, 17).

Thanksgiving. Today, I’m making my lists and checking it twice, as I plan our traditional Thanksgiving meal—turkey, dressing, giblet gravy, cranberry sauce, all the sides, appetizers, and (of course) desserts.

Blessings. As I consider how I can express my thanksgiving to God for all His blessings, my family and friends come to mind. And I asked myself this question, What can I give back to God for the blessings He’s poured out on me?

Prayer. The psalmist expressed his gratitude by offering thanksgiving and prayers (Psalm 116:12). I agree–what a wonderful idea! So, in gratitude for God’s blessings in my life, I offer my thanksgiving and prayers for you—my family and friends.

I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I (ask) that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe … (Eph. 1:16-19).

Happy Thanksgiving!

How can I pray for you this Thanksgiving? 

Photo/KarenJordan
YouTube/KarenJordan

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