love writing more than life itself?
(First published in
Hearts Talk magazine)
Ask yourself this:
why do you write?
Because English was
your favourite subject at school? Because you enjoy reading? Because
you once said you were writing a book and you have to finish the damn thing just
so all your friends and rellies can stop asking, ďSo how is your book coming
Or is it perhaps
because you love to write? Turning on your laptop gives you a buzz?
The blinking cursor on a fresh new Word file thrills you to bits? If so,
then, harness those feelings. Draw on that pleasure. Make use of
that joy. Be a writer and be enthusiastic about it!
surrounding yourself with
or, smile and the world smiles with you
Are your friends,
families and workmates your cheerleaders when it comes to your writing?
Are they ambivalent? Or are they just plain apathetic towards your efforts
to write a book. No matter which category they fall into - be
ďOh, so you write
are writing a book,Ē
ďYou betcha!Ē you
say. ďI love it! Itís such a thrill guiding the story rushing
through my head down onto the page.Ē
Then when you sell
you say, ďYou betcha! I make people smile for a living. Donít I just
have the best job in the whole world?Ē
Where can they go
from there without seeming a complete grouch? Not only will your
enthusiasm rub off on others, but this positive reinforcement will make you feel
fabulous as well.
And what if somebody has something nice to say? If a
reader loves your book, your website, or your heroís motherís maiden name and
tells you so Ė be enthusiastic!
This is not a job where praise often comes directly after effort.
Most of the time our books are not read until months after they have been
grappled onto the page. So when praise comes your way, be grateful, be
charming, and be thrilled. You moved somebody. You made them cry.
You put a smile on their face. For whatever reason, in whatever way, your
creation reached out and touched somebody. Lap it up. Soak it up.
Revel in it. Allow yourself to enjoy it!
or, donít worry, be happy
You entered a competition, and didnít make it past the first
round? Donít fret. That does not necessarily mean that your book
will not catch an editorís eye. My first book sold the same week that it
did not make it past the first round of a competition. So I am living
proof that it can and does happen. Donít be afraid to send that same book
to a publisher, an agent, another competition. If you love your
book, donít give up on it.
You sent away a partial, and didnít receive a request for the
full manuscript? Donít fret. Be proud of your enthusiasm.
Kudos to you! You have been brave enough and ready enough to put yourself
on the writing map. So go there again. Get your next partial ready
and send it off across the ocean. You have to be in it to win it right?
And don't forget, there's been no better time to think about
self-publishing! Start looking
at book marketing efforts such as cover design and
publishing now. Visit
www.lulu.com to read about their services.
working with professionals
youíre happy and you know it, clap your hands
We are always told,
be professional, donít use humour as it may not gel with the person you are
targeting. OK. But I would argue, donít be afraid to let some
enthusiasm shine through.
I have never shied
away from being enthusiastic in any correspondence, whether with publishers,
with the media, or with other industry peers. Here is a snippet from the
query letter I sent with the partial for my first book THE WEDDING WISH:
Please feel free to
destroy my manuscript after it has been assessed, as I have no need for it to be
returned. My good old laptop is happy to store the original so long it
gets to choose the music I play in its CD player for the duration. I believe
that is a fair deal!
Even with this splash of irreverence, I had a request for a full,
so it proves that a little fun wonít hurt. Remember, if you are aiming for
the UK office, the editors there are likely looking at dreary grey skies through
their cubicle windows. So why not send them some Aussie sunshine with
every piece of correspondence?
working with editors and agents
or, youíre never fully dressed without a smile
If an agent you are targeting has different style requirements
than everyone else, donít sigh and says ďIím not changing my font size just for
their benefit!Ē Why the heck not?
If an editor has suggested structural changes - a new ending, a
different career for the heroine, less hero POV - donít stamp your feet and say
ďbut I love my book just the way it is.Ē Be enthusiastic about the
positives. Jeepers, you may be close to selling your book! Revisions
are suggested to make the book you adore the best book that it can be. So
give it a go!
If an editor asks if you have anything else in the pipeline,
donít mumble and grumble that you have nothing yet worth looking at (even if it
may be true!). Pick a character you adore or a plot device that is keeping
you up night and wax lyrical about that. No matter how preliminary the
idea, if you are enthusiastic about it, there is a great chance that your editor
will pick up on that and encourage you to run with it.
So, the moral of this story is, let your enthusiasm shine
through. We are in the business of moving people with our words.
Stick to that maxim in your life as well as in your work and you can only
continue finding great joy in being a writer.
All articles copyright
Ally Blake, not to be
reproduced without permission.