Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Monday, November 12, 2012

Every Kick is a Boost


Our guest post today is by Barbara DeLeo, and I love her topic. Anyone who's been kicked by life needs to read this!

Colour photo 4 Barbara DeLeo’s first book, co-written with her best friend, was a story about beauty queens in space. She was eleven, and the sole, handwritten copy was lost years ago, much to everyone’s relief. It’s some small miracle that she kept the faith and is now living her dream of writing sparkling contemporary romance with unforgettable characters.

After completing degrees in Psychology and English then travelling the world, Barbara married her winemaker hero and had two sets of twins. She still loves telling stories about finding love in all the wrong places, with not a beauty queen or spaceship in sight.

Hi Karen and thanks so much for having me at Coming Down the Mountain today. You have some great posts for writers. I’m still such a baby author, though. My debut book Contract for Marriage has only been out a month, but my “overnight success” at getting published took seven looooong years.

 I’ve blogged lately about some of the reasons why I think it took me so long to get published. One of my posts at Romance University, in particular, garnered a lot of interest, but today I wanted to talk about something that I think HELPED me finally get published.

I don’t know how many of you have taken courses by Margie Lawson (if you haven’t, you should!) but at the beginning of her sessions, Margie asks people to pull a couple of quotes from a basket that she passes around. She says to choose the quotes which “speak to you”.

When I took one of Margie’s courses a couple of years ago the two quotes I pulled out were “Every kick’s a boost” and “Even if you stay on the same track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” After the course, I took those two quotes home, taped them above my computer and they had more resonance for me than I could have imagined.

EVERY KICK’S A BOOST  reminded me daily that as writer’s we need to build a thick skin. But it’s OUR thick skin. Being kicked might not be something we signed up for when we imagined ourselves typing bestsellers while our readers clamored at the door for more of our literary brilliance. But it happens and it can lead to wonderful things. If I hadn’t had the “kicks”: the rejections after several revisions from different editors, the “it’s not working” from valued CPs, the “when are you going to write a “real” book” from  certain friends, I wouldn’t have developed such a clear sense of the direction I wanted to go in, the direction that would make a story a Barbara DeLeo story and no one else’s.

EVEN IF YOU STAY ON THE SAME TRACK, YOU’LL GET RUN OVER IF YOU JUST SIT THERE made me realize that I was the person who was going to make this dream happen, no one else. I needed to keep informed about the industry, look for new opportunities, and take risks to get where I wanted to go.

I looked at each of those quotes every day and they gave me a sense of determination, that grit that so many multi-published authors seem to speak of. And maybe they helped just a little, in the realization of my dream.

I’d love to hear of any affirmations or words of wisdom that you’ve picked up on your journey. I have an e-copy of Contract for Marriage to give away to one commenter!

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You can find Barbara at:



28 comments:

  1. Yeah, every blow needs to motivate us to try harder, or we're just not going to make it.

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    1. Isn't that the truth, Alex. I t would be so easy to see a kick as sending us lower but I like the visual of it sending me closer to my goal. Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  2. Barbara, I LOVE this post! Thanks so much for being my guest today! I like that phrase "Every kick is a boost."

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    1. Thanks so much, Karen, it's lovely to be here! That phrase certainly stuck with me, Karen. I like to think of a great big boot connecting with my rear end and sending me higher than I thought possible.

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  3. Nothing beats hard determined work to make dreams come true!!

    Take care
    x

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    1. Great to see you here, Old Kitty! I completely agree with you. The harder I work, the luckier I seem to get! {;o)

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  4. Hi Karen and Barbara .. so true - we just gotta keep on going .. we know where we're going .. keep on driving and moving and writing .. Something to prove - here I come...

    Cheers to you both .. Hilary

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Hilary. Writing with a view to publication is certainly "character building". I can't help but make my writing personal but I do need to recognize that I don't need to take the kicks personally. Every successful author I know has been through some kicking times - most of them even when they've "made it". They're also the people who have the most faith in themselves because they stuck with it in order to see success.

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  5. The quote I use in my author bio motivates me - "With a positive attitude, any goal can be achieved."

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  6. I love that quote, Dinae. The trick is staying positive, isn't it? Some people might call me a Pollyanna but I also believe that good things will come.

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  7. Loved this post and reading all these great comments are making my day!

    Thanks Karen and Barbara!

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  8. Thanks so much, Nas! Lovely to have you here. I'm loving these affirmations too.

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  9. I love it. And I agree completely! The people who succeed are the ones who keep going, no matter how hard it gets.

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    1. Great to see you here, Paul. I remember listening to a best selling author when I'd just started out and she said that the only difference between her and some of her friends who didn't get published was that they gave up. She believed they would have had great careers if they'd stuck to it. You can't go on learning and crafting and strengthening your skills if you toss it in.

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  10. Hi Barbara and Karen,

    I've heard of Margie Lawson, she's supposed to be very inspiring.

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    1. She has some fabulous courses, Maria, both online and in person.I've done a number of her craft courses as well as her "Writers LIfe" courses.Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  11. I love those quotes! So very true. In this business, attitude can make all the difference.

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    1. I'm so glad you do, Linda! It's great to be able to share them. That's so true about attitude and finding all the tools we can to maintain a positive attitude is so helpful.

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  12. Brilliant quotes! Both of them ring very true. I think for me, realising everyone gets rejected at some point or another, was quite valuable, as was knowing that each rejection is an opportunity to make things better.

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  13. I love that last part, Jayne! It really aligns with "Every Kick's a Boost". I remember being so surprised to hear that a friend of mine - a very successful author has had a number of proposals and whole books rejected. She's still writing and, she says, learning so much from her editors about what's selling and what's not.

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  14. I have a list of "18 Rules to Live By" on the wall above my computer. I actually got it off of someone's blog and it was so cool that I just had to print it out.

    Lee
    A Faraway View

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  15. Lee, are those the Dalai Lama's one's? I've seen those and number four says "Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck"!! Thanks so much for reminding me about them. Think I might put them above my computer too!

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  16. Yes, that's what my #4 rule says and as I recall I think these were the Dalai Lama's rules. It's great advice for anyone. That number 4 rule can also be stated to the effect of "Not getting what you pray for might be God's answer to your prayer".

    Lee
    A Faraway View

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  17. Somewhere, I have a box of rejections that I kept from my early days (Lol, that makes it sound like I don't get rejected anymore - I do!) I used to read them - it was in the days when some lovely editors would give small critiques as standard. They really made me want to work harder at the craft!

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    1. Good on you for keeping those rejections, Annalisa. I've got mine, too, and I've certainly had that feeling of determination to get things right kick in after I'd received them. I've often heard that getting and staying published takes GRIT and I like to think that my GRIT has come from my rejections.

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  18. There is an inspiring quote I read recently by George Eliot that says, "It is never too late to be what you might have been." We need to follow our intuition, our inner voice, without letting rejections silence it.

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  19. Oh, I studied George Eliot at college, Julia! She was certainly an inspiring woman and what a great quote. You've really hit the nail on the head with your comment about intuition, I think. I'm a big believer in the subconscious being a large part of what defines "voice" and when we lose our voice it's a long road back.

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  20. Greetings, earthling!! I shouldn’t be long, gotta run back to Heaven; however, in the meantime, take anything and everything you wanna from our wonderfull, plethora of thot to write the next great masterpiece -if- I can but kiss your gorgeous, adorable feets and cuddle withe greatest, human being ever to arrive in Seventh Heaven. Think about it. Get back to me Upstairs …thewarningsecondcoming.com

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