Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Serious Editorial Advice: Be You!

I just wanted to send out a little encouragement today. I often get queries or requests from writers wanting to be published, and sometimes they don’t fit in with what we publish at the company I work for. And this post is not just for them, but it is for you as well. Regardless of being turned down by one or another publisher, agent, or editor, there is still room for you. Your story is your story. It is unique and was meant to touch someone—even if that someone is you. Don’t give up on your dreams of being published. Don’t be put off by rejections. Fine-tune your skills, hone your craft, learn the industry (should I repeat that?), and let your character speak louder than your words. This will quell many arguments and make it harder for the decision-makers to say no. But let me just say: don’t go in half-way. Always present your best self. Go big or go home.

There is one quote that encourages me all the time. With me being sort of an introvert, I can sometimes feel down about being “too different” from those around me. But these words always make me feel like I can still shine, that I am supposed to shine, and that I better shine in my own way or someone else is going to miss out!

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
—Marianne Williamson

Another one that makes me sit up a little taller in the midst of my uniqueness is this one from the Bible.

You are here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth….You are here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world….Keep open house; be generous with your [life].
—Matthew 5, The Message

We are a reflection of the beautiful diversity of creation. So what there are genres and rules and agents and editors and publishing houses with submission guidelines. You can still shine. You are supposed to be different. Your writing is not supposed to be like this one or that one. You have the power to take your uniqueness and master it so that it is impressed on the culture in such a way that makes an impact. Write that fiction in first person, present tense, but go all the way and make it exceptional.

Do you get it? If you don’t fit in “here,” find where you do fit. Get in where you fit in—you’ve heard that before, yes? Don’t squish yourself into a box that wasn’t made for you.

Oh, wow, this is all so very liberating, right? But it’s just the beginning. You have to kill it! You have to work it! There's no acting "brand new" when the curtain goes up. Once you hit the stage, you are on!

So here's the real question: Do you have the guts to go all the way in and really be you?
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