Monday, April 13, 2009

Words and Actions

I recently read an opinion piece about words without action, or words that are used as euphemisms, cannot override the power of making decisions and following through on those decisions. This is true in a lot of ways. For instance, if I were to go to a doctor and get a dire diagnosis would I want the doctor to A) relate to my fears and tell me about her own grandmother having the same terrible illness and how awful that was only to send me off with no treatment plan? or would I want the doctor to B) clinically tell me how my disease would progress, my treatment options, and then proceed to set up my options without my input? or would I want the doctor to C) be empathetic and say this can be treated, we work as a team, and we will try all our options until we find a solution. We might not win, but we'll battle this together. 

I know what doctor I would choose. Do you? Dr. C reflects the type of people I'd want treating me or working with me in the editing process. But I wouldn't want a person to sugarcoat the truth just to help me feel better about my writing or my choices. Truth tellers are essential in my world. Are they in yours? 

Words without actions are useless to me. The wrong words are useless to me. Telling me I look thin won't help me fight to lose the extra ten pounds I'm carrying (or is it twenty?). And telling me, oh your writing is fabulous, when it in fact needs to be tightened or improved upon only sets me up for failure.

I'm glad I have a great CP/Reader in VA who can be honest about what she likes and doesn't like in my work. She's invaluable to me. I trust her to be real with me. And that is important in this business of writing.

But words without action mean something more to me in my writing now that I am a PRO. They mean I must do more than write my books, or revise the books I've written. They mean that I must stretch my neck out on the chopping board and send the work I've written out into the world as contest entries or as queries/partials.

Contests are easy. I can take the critiques with a grain of salt as long as there is something positive in the mix. But sending out queries and synopses? Now that is scary stuff to me. I'll admit it. If I don't submit and query, then it adds a level of comfort in that my work is not being rejected. Again. 

But what is the point of writing my stories if I don't act? Writing our books without following up and submitting them is pointless. Sure we might not get the results we want, but we must tuck our disappointment away and try again. There is only one way to get published. We must submit our work. Period. 

This year I am committed to broadening the scope of my PRO life. This means I must do the following on a very regular basis:

-write the dreaded synopsis (and if you were in the Heart of Dixie meeting this Saturday, Kira Sinclair's craft corner about conquering that demon was invaluable! Thanks Kira!)
-write a solid query letter for each novel I am currently trying to sell.
-tighten my first three chapters after a full revision (the millionth I think by now)
-prepare my pitches for two different novels

On a long term basis, I am creating a website on Mobile Me, and I am creating a PRO Facebook page. This means coming up with a great tag line for my writing style and target market. 

How are you putting actions behind your words? How are you promoting yourself? And when you get those rejections, how do you recuperate and forge ahead again into the great abyss?


Jason said...

Wow... you are looking thin, and the writing is as tight as a drum!!

Seriously though, interesting words about pursuing a dream, about committing to action rather than intentions.

Christine said...

Thanks Jason. It's an ongoing climb. Presently transferring my most recent MS into a new writing program on the Mac... makes me refocus on my revision, but the synopsis is next!

M.V.Freeman said...

Hi Christine,
It was lovely to meet you at the HOD meeting and I want to encourage and applaud your goals.

My goal, or action, is to finish my current WIP, and start revisions, while beginning another story.

I also want to work more on the synopsis and the query letter.

As for getting me out there, I've created a website, which I have to update and a myspace page, which I will happily re-do when I get further along.

As you can see, I have bits and pieces.

Sorry I blathered actually helped...I didn't realize I have been doing things....

Christine said...

Mary it was nice to meet you as well. I think even doing the little things are important building blocks toward reaching our goals. I will check out your web site!

Happy Writing! And remember--keep moving forward and don't look back! As a dear friend says to me, "It's all fixable."

M.V.Freeman said...

I like your friend! ;)