Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Doing scary things

Risky business
We all know it is. If we’re honest. We spend hours, weeks, months, and even years on a manuscript and it may not be read by anyone else ever let alone earn us any money. In fact, it’s probably just as well that earlier works don’t.  
Yes, everything we do is a risk.

Do something proactive and scary everyday
That’s my new motto. We oh so often don’t do something because we’re afraid of getting knocked back. Yet the word “no” is actually quite harmless. It doesn’t actually hurt you if one particular person doesn’t want your manuscript, hasn’t got time to review your book or doesn’t want to come to your book launch. If one in twenty say yes, you’re doing well. And you can’t get to that one if you don’t ask the other nineteen.   
It takes some guts. But you get hardened to it and every so often something works.
My scary moments
Some of these things I have to do still scare me but others now make me laugh. Here they are in no particular order:
  • Dare to write
  • Call myself a writer
  • Join a critique group
  • Go to that critique group for the first time
  • Chair that critique group
  • Send off some manuscripts
  • Have a one-to-one with an editor or agent
  • Open the post / email when the rejections come back
  • Open the post / email when an acceptance comes in
  • Disagree with the editor but not be able to come up with a suitable alternative
  • See the manuscript when it comes back from being edited
  • Send out a copy for review
  • Read the review
  • Get a bad review
  • Organise a book launch
  • Speak to a bookstore manager about a reading / signing
  • Do a radio interview
  • Do a TV interview
  • Be interviewed as an expert on young adult literature
  • Be on a panel at a conference
  • Speak at a writers’ group meeting
  • Do a workshop in a school
  • Give a talk to the Women’s Institute  
  • Speak at a festival
  • Speak at a big festival   
And many more. And notice how “getting published” isn’t the only hurdle.
Scary times.  Exciting times.

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