In the past few months, I’ve been doing a lot of housekeeping on my site, blog, and email list. I’m using new vendors, and have been exploring different ways to present my blogs.
One new thing I’m trying is affiliate marketing, which means that if you buy (or sometimes even just click on) one of the products I’ve linked, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. I figured: Most of my posts have between 3 and 7 links to books and products I personally recommend. I might as well leverage a few of them to cover the not insignificant costs of maintaining my blog and website. This translates to more free, valuable posts for you!
And I can’t think of anything better than writing about how to get published…
Writing myself out of a rut
Like you, I have times when I simply don’t feel like writing – or even getting out of bed. How much more fun to curl up under the covers with a book and a cup of tea!
Speaking of reading in bed, I recently finished Kingdom of the Blind, part of the Inspector Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny. She is one of my very favorite contemporary authors. She is brilliant. I highly recommend her books.
During this same time period, I hadn’t felt like writing at all. In fact, I don’t feel like writing today, either. (Sound familiar?) However, Louise Penny has given me beautiful inspiration, and I thought I’d share it with you.
It starts with 2 words
A few years ago, Ms. Penny lost her husband. She didn’t feel like writing ever again. Yet after taking some time off, she continued writing her Armand Gamache series, to the delight (and relief) of her millions of fans. The following is what she wrote as an afterword to Kingdom of the Blind. I hope her exceptionally personal and inspirational words will help both me and you sit down and write every single day.
A funny thing happened on my way to not writing this book.
I started writing.
The truth is, I’ve known since I began writing [the first book in the series] that if [my husband] died, I couldn’t continue with the series….
How could I go on when half of me was missing? I could barely get out of bed.
I told my agent and publishers that I was taking a year off. That might have been a lie. In my heart I knew I could never write [the series] again….
But then, a few months later, I found myself sitting at the long pine dining table, where I always wrote. Laptop open.
And I wrote two words: Armand Gamache
Then the next day I wrote: slowed his car to a crawl
And the next day: then stopped on the snow-covered secondary road.
Kingdom of the Blind was begun…. I wrote…with relief. That I get to keep doing this.
Louise Penny on getting published
Here are some highlights from Ms. Penny’s fantastic piece on what to do once you finish your manuscript. (You can read the entire piece here.)
- [Get] a reference book called The Writer’s Guide to Editors and Agents. It…often has very helpful chapters on getting published, writing synopsis etc.
- Make sure your book isn’t just written, but polished. You won’t get a second chance with these people.
- Spend time trying to find an agent first – an agent will get you a better deal, find a good fit for your book with the right publisher, get foreign rights sold.
- Give yourself every chance to succeed. Edit, polish, do your homework, prepare – plan as though the rest of your life depend on it…. Now is a time to remember who you are, and this magnificent thing you’ve done for yourself. And not ever sell it short.
- Finish the book. Most people who start books never finish them. Don’t be one of those. You sure don’t want to be lying on your death bed regretting you didn’t finish the book.
- Read a lot.
- Read books on writing and getting published…. If this is your first time writing a book why would you assume you know what you’re doing?
- I suffered from writer’s block for many years…. What cured me was a sudden realization I was taking myself way too seriously. And that I was trying to write the best book ever published in the history of the world. And if I didn’t, I was a failure.
- I decided instead to…write what I loved to read. And to people the book with characters I’d want as friends…. They don’t have to be attractive, kind, thoughtful. But they do need to be compelling.
- Be true to yourself. Write what you want even if friends and relatives think you’re nuts.
- Be very careful who you show the first draft to…. You need supportive, encouraging, thoughtful readers. People who’ll offer critiques in a kind and constructive way and who understand the difference between truth and opinion.
My next post will be about writing general statements, such as “One should…” and “If one’s tie is caught in a vacuum cleaner….” Special thanks to my dear subscriber UC for the idea. If you’d like to suggest a topic for one of my posts, please do so! I’m all ears. Email me at Deena@BulletproofWriting.com.
Thanks for reading; it’s great to be back!! And in the meantime, remember what Louise Penny said, and…