Once again, as I've done several times before, I'm enjoying Donald Maass' Writing the Breakout Novel. I have both the book and workbook, and they both continually open my eyes to the industry in amazing ways.
In his book, Mr. Maass stresses the point that it doesn't matter how good we are at self-promoting, or how many books we sign, or how big of an advance we may land, or how great an agent we may have. If we don't write the story well, we won't have longevity in our writing careers. It's as simple as that.
I know that I'm preaching to the choir, but it's good to hear again on occasion; we alone are the ones who control our writing destiny. We decide whether or not we're going to give it everything we've got, or allow things to slide a little (or a lot, as in my case as of late). We decide whether we will hold ourselves accountable, or, when things don't go exactly our way, blame others for their lack of excitement about our project. We alone must stir the reader's emotions with great passion and authenticity. We alone must decide if we're satisfied with just thinking about being a great writer, or in fact, actually becoming one.
If you're a writer, I know that I'm not telling you anything that you don't already know, especially if you're one of the fortunate ones that have found representation and publication. It's just that sometimes we "know" something without really "knowing" it. You know? (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) There's a big difference between "knowing" something in our head, and "knowing" it in our heart. Our head-knowledge doesn't lead us to action. It's the heart-knowledge that does. Passion comes from the heart, not from the head.
To really understand and "know" in my heart that I alone hold the power to break-out, is both exhilarating and terrifying to me. Exhilarating because I feel empowered; I'm not dependent on anyone else for my success or failure. Terrifying because, again, it all depends on me, not my agent, editor, or publisher. They will help me along the way, but they do not write my stories, and they do not birth my visions. The buck stops with me.
So, once again, it's time for me to buckle down, dig deeper, and give everything that I have. If we as writers REALLY want to, we CAN be break-out authors. We can excel, we can succeed. It will take some longer than others, as with any success, but it will happen eventually for all of us who are willing and disciplined enough to pay the price. Yay for us!!
"Golden" and feeling on top of things!