I invited Sheridan Davis, author of Pretty for a Dark-Skin Girl, to write a guest post for my blog because her book and her passion to encourage and heal people in areas concerning race dovetails closely with what I'd like to see myself do in this next season of life.
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When one season ends and you are looking ahead to the next season, how do you prepare? What happens in the in-between? I don’t know if we spend enough time in that in-between space. Sometimes we were so ready for the last thing to end that we don’t pause to consider the implications and lessons that accompany both seasons.
There's something interesting that happens with transition: you literally have to leap to the next opportunity holding on to nothing of the past or you will not cross over into the next thing. I believe that to transition successfully you have to be willing to lose all that you gained in a previous season to seize what is ahead of you in the next season.
Gentle persistence helps decision makers understand the value you place on your dreams. Don't be annoying and don't give up.
Writers have a unique weapon at their disposal that can bring healing to the world. That weapon is the written word. Just like any weapon it can be wielded for good or evil. The right word at the right time can have a huge impact if only on one reader at first, transforming them into a force of change and compassion and producing a ripple effect that can ultimately impact entire cultures and societies.
One of my favorite things to do is encourage someone toward their dreams. In turn one of the most rewarding part of my job as an editor is to see that encouragement become a dream realized for the dreamer. Sometimes all you need is for someone to give your dreams real and grounded validation and approval. I believe that there is hardly anything impossible for someone who is believed in and believes in themselves.
Sometimes I wonder if our dejected reactions to the nos in our lives are too premature. Maybe if we hold on to hope just a little while longer that there's something better on the way, we might see that the no was a good thing.
When I write things down, they become part of my consciousness; and somehow my hope, actions, speech, and expectations align with what was written. How does it happen? I have no idea how this happens, but when I look back and see I "unconsciously" accomplished the goal, I am completely amazed.
December 1, 2013 marked for me a completion of ten years in book publishing. I have learned so much these last ten years. But it seems that most of the real, life-changing lessons have happened in the last three or four years. It hasn't not been easy at all (mostly personally), but it has been good.
In the past several years I've had the pleasure of attending a couple conferences more than once (others I've attended only once). What I like so much about going to the same conference year after year is that I get to build relationships and face-to-name recognition with some of the return conferees. I get to see their progress. I get to hear wonderful updates. I also get to hear the same stories I heard the year before...
Something I am learning: If you wait until you have no feelings of fear and everything is perfect before you do something your heart has been longing to do, you will never do it. Do not mistake faith for a feeling. Faith is about trusting in God's infinite ability to act on your behalf. His word over your life or the one thing you are aiming to do is sure. He does not fail.
Staying on the path to achieving your dreams is not easy. Quitting seems like a really good option on most days. Ignore those thoughts. Seriously. When you think of quitting, shun it like the dark evil it is. Recognize it. Call it out. Encourage yourself all over again with stories such as this from Christian fiction author Kariss Lynch. In this piece she shares her story of her journey to publication. I hope it inspires you to never, never, never give up on pursuing what you know you have been specially chosen for.
I ventured out and tried something different on my blog today and let you hear from one of my dearest friends Becky Van Volkinburg, who just became a published author. Becky and I have sang together, cried together, prayed to gather, dreamed together, vented about "stuff" together... I am so proud of her journey and I wanted to share it with you today.
My purpose for blogging is to share and learn ways to be successful in the publishing industry. In maintaining this goal, I like to share encouragement and tools that help me. These prayers came out of a day when I was facing an uphill climb of completing a massive edit in a short period of time and I thought, “I bet there are others out there who may be struggling with projects of their own. Maybe as I pray, I can share my prayers and maybe they will help them too.”
There is so much that goes into publishing a book, and the first phase involving editing and production carries some of the most challenging circumstances, obstacles, and distractions.
- Pray that your editor is able to focus.
- Pray that your editor will have positive interactions with their team members.
- Pray that your editor will have peaceful and quality interactions with their family and friends.
- Pray that your editor is inspired with the same passion you had as you wrote your piece.
- Pray that your editor will have limited distractions—both technological and mental.
- Pray that your editor’s financial needs are met.
- Pray that your editor will have success in other editorial or acquisition endeavors.
- Pray that your editor will have open doors and ears when they go to bat for you on key issues. They are your in-house advocates.
What are some other ways to circulate positive synergy in the author-editor relationship?
And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.
It is a great piece of skill to know how to guide your luck even while waiting for it.
- Find a place of internal quiet, where your thoughts are not racing with possibilities and solutions but it is open and ready to listen to divine direction.
- Pray for the right time and way to proceed to be revealed to you.
- Remember similar times in your life when you were faced with this type of waiting and how after waiting things worked out for the best. Focusing on a positive outcome is freeing and causes you to wait with expectation instead of nervous dread.
- Busy yourself with something unrelated to what you are waiting for. Continue to be productive in another areas of your life. It’s amazing how time flies when you’re busy doing something else and you’re mind is not on that ONE THING.
- Reach out and give encouragement to a friend or colleague who is going through a difficult time (oh and then take your own good advice).
- When you feel a release to act with regard to what you are waiting for, even if it is in a small way, do it.
- Rinse and repeat as many times as necessary until you see a break in the clouds. That break is guaranteed, because nothing ever stays the same. Seasons change, and even waiting comes to an end. Just be careful not to belabor waiting. Be very sensitive to when it’s time to act, make a move, or just move on.
You finally meet with the editor or agent, and to your surprise, after thinking their favorite word is no, they say they like your concept and would love to see more of it. “Here’s my card,” they say. “Please email me a full proposal.” The words you had practiced to combat any objections are caught in your throat and all you can say is, “Oh! Oh, that’s great. OK! Yes? Really? OK! Thank you!”
Yes, they want you to send them your manuscript (or proposal). But you know what some writers do? OK, wait. This requires a list.
A Few Focus Rituals
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.