Writers: Do you count your failures, or your hits?

Ted Williams, seen on this 1948 Leaf card, set a batting average record in 1941. Nevertheless, he failed more than he succeeded.

Ted Williams, seen on this 1948 Leaf card, set a batting average record in 1941. Nevertheless, he failed more than he succeeded.

Ted Williams batted .406 in 1941, the last hitter to exceed the amazing .400 mark for an entire season.

No one tarnishes this bit of history by noting Williams made an out more than half the time. Translated: he failed more than he succeeded.

In your queries, proposals and submissions, which do you count?

Is writing a good occupation for people-haters?

Garbo did not say "I want to be alone." Maybe she really said, "I want to be a writer!"(Photo credit: UCLA Library/Wikimedia Commons)

Garbo did not say “I want to be alone.” Maybe she really said, “I want to be a writer!”(Photo credit: UCLA Library/Wikimedia Commons)

Barbra Streisand sang about people who LOVE people. However….

Rachel Gillett penned a fun “think” piece for Business Insider. What are good careers for people who aren’t “people persons?”

Creative writers. Hunters and trappers. Quarry rock splitters. Jobs like these were ranked for how much time a worker has to spend interacting with others. Also, how often do these jobs require you to be pleasant with others?

I thought everyone wanted to write for fame and fortune!

 

Rejection letters for J.K. Rowling?

(Photo credit: Sjhill, Wikimedia Commons)

(Photo credit: Sjhill, Wikimedia Commons)

Even __________ (insert name of mondo-famous author) gets rejections.

Did you know Dr. Seuss got rejected ___________ times? (Bigger the better!)

The numbers grew. The names changed. However, the talk remained the same in 1990s writing conferences. I wish such “chin up” assertions helped me. I was ready to hear the claim of “God’s Ten Commandments were rejected 101 times until he self-published and Moses distributed them.”

The news that J.K. Rowling would share any kind of rejection letter gave me that vintage flashback.

My advice today? Let that horse rest. Put the manuscript back in the stables. That as-is literary pony may win the next race, without a single tweak. Don’t over-analyze. Save your microscope for germs, not random rejection letters.

 

 

The ‘little’ adjective can cause BIG trouble

You really think someone's work is "little?" You might get a LULU of a reaction with your comment.

You really think someone’s work is “little?” You might get a LULU of a reaction with your comment.

Shake it off.

People will hedge their bets when giving praise. Word-loving writers may bristle at the “L” word.

“Nice little blog.”

Little?

As in, “little effort?”

I think “little” is just one step short of “cute.” The unknowing speaker may have no idea how prickly their words might seem. You feel the ambivalence in the qualifying adjective.

Like it. Or not. Don’t build walls between you and the work you might praise.

 

The Big Magic formula for overcoming criticism

BigMagicCritics. Reviews. Comments. Trolls.

How does a writer survive?

I believe in Elizabeth Gilbert. Her Big Magic book delivers true hope of creative living beyond fear. Best of all, she’s not done yet.

Guess who just wrote an additional chapter on criticism, sharing it with her Facebook community?

I’m amazed. I’m inspired. I’m having fun creating. I’m WRITING!

This book transforms readers. Big Magic is real. Get some today.

One overlooked writing secret: SHOW UP!

Here are 1946 coal miners. They didn't know what to expect, either. Nevertheless, they kept punching the time clock. Russell Lee [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Here are 1946 coal miners. They didn’t know what to expect, either. Nevertheless, they kept punching the time clock. Russell Lee [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Punch the time clock, every day.

Stop thinking about whether or not this will be a best-seller. Stop waiting for inspiration.

Build it. Make it happen. One word at a time.

If you don’t show up, no one’s going to do the work for you.

Write. Right now.