Friday, January 9, 2015

This Could be the Year

Do you know your Chinese horological sign? Why not look it up right now. This year is the Year of the Sheep. The Chinese are very superstitious people. Most won’t do anything important until they consult their daily horoscope. Your Chinese horological sign—Monkey, Pig, Tiger, Snake, Rooster, Rat, Rabbit, Horse, Dog, Ox, Dragon, or Sheep —comes around every 12 years from the year your were born. For some people, those years turn out to be the best in their lives. Is this your year? If so, it could also be the year you get published. There shouldn’t be anything holding you back, but for many beginning writers, the fear of getting published overwhelms them.

You’ve probably been writing for several years if not longer. During that time, you looked ahead to the day your dream of getting published will become a reality. So why haven’t you been published yet? You’ve slaved over what you consider your best work, but each time you send a piece out to a publication, it comes back with a vague rejection letter or Email, if the publication even returns it to you.

As the New Year moves forward, it’s time for you to take the bull by the horns, as the old saying goes, and make a concerted effort to get something—anything—published. Make that your primary goal for 2015. And if you’ve already been published, try to get more pieces published in better markets.

Fear can be a mind-numbing thing. It takes hold of every part of your body. It prevents you from thinking of new ideas. It stifles your creativity. It hinders you from acting logically when sending out your work to publications. Do you get shivers down your spine each time you hit the “Post” button on Facebook? Just imagine what it will be like when you finally publish a print book or ebook.

Writing for the public is like speaking in public. Either way, you bare your soul, then sit back and wait for all to judge you. So how can you take control of this gigantic fear and get something published?

Write with a single person or reader in mind. This could be a friend, a member of your family, or someone you know only slightly. Write to them and for them. Speak to them with your words. Talk directly to them.  Forget about the rest of society. If what you write is good, the rest will jump on board soon enough.

As far as publication goes, begin with a small audience. Small publications are far less restrictive and their readerships are far less demanding than those of the big markets. They’ll support you as you improve your writing skills. Too many aim for the best magazines or look up to bestselling authors. In writing, you have to start at the bottom and work your way up. Forget those dreams of sudden fame—they’re fleeting at best.

Get over the idea of perfection. Most beginning writers freeze up when they think that everything they write needs to be perfect. Perfection is a subjective thing. It’s all in the eye or mind of the reader. Let’s face it, not everyone will think your work is great. And that’s okay.

Every writer has something to say—even you. And what you say may just help someone. Always think of that when you’re writing. You learn by making mistakes and sharing those mistakes with your readers.

And just for one moment, forget what other people may think of your work. It’s what you think of it that matters most. Remember, there are other writers out there fighting off their fear as well. By attempting to overcome your fear of publication, you’ll become a better writer.

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