Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Writer

Whether you thought yesterday’s post about #Queryfail Day was a fun idea for agents to do or not, I’ll take you today to an agent who’s decided not to participate. Nathan Bransford with Curtis Brown started what he calls Positivity Week. He did a post called “Ten Commandments for the Happy Writer.”

You can click the link to read what he says about each commandment, but here is the list:
1. Enjoy the present
2. Maintain your integrity
3. Recognize the forces that are outside of your control
4. Don’t neglect your friends and family
5. Don't Quit Your Day Job
6. Keep up with publishing industry news.
7. Reach out to fellow writers
8. Park your jealousy at the door
9. Be thankful for what you have
10. Keep writing
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  1. You just have to appreciate Nathan's supreme NICENESS. He oozes it. :)

  2. Those are excellent Commandments!

    L. Diane Wolfe

  3. I don't know Nathan personally, but from what I know of him, he does seem like a guy who know his business and is supportive of his writers.

  4. Diane, Congratulations on the release of your book. The blurbs look great!

  5. A list of very sensible suggestions! Now I'm headed over to see what he says about each one.

    Jane Kennedy Sutton

  6. Great constructive ideas to follow.

    Morgan Mandel

  7. Now that's a nice and encouraging list. I will have to pop over and visit Nathan's blog. Thanks for the links, Helen.

    Jenny Bean

  8. Jane, Morgan and Jenny -- I think you'll like what he says about each "commandment."

  9. Thanks for introducing me to another interesting blog to read - and I always enjoy a positive spin with positive criticism.

  10. Love the list and am going to pass it on. Thanks, Helen!


  11. Wonderful list. Applies to any life pursuit, really - just change a few words.

  12. That's true, Marvin. It could apply to a lot of situations.

  13. Nice list from a super blogging agent.

  14. All so true! And when this all went down on Twitter, I was one of the QueryFail accepters. I'm not about punishment, but see the practicality of how some (like me) learn best from having mistakes pointed out, not just being told how TO do something. Still, Nathan's response contained many truths that apply to the industry--and life. I don't think anyone can be that happy-go-lucky ALL the time, but it's certainly something to aspire to!

  15. I agree that the concept of QueryFail is a good one. It would certainly help to have expert advice on what you're doing wrong with your query letter. And there are some agents & editors out there who will occasionally do posts where they review query letters or first pages, etc. I don't know how helpful it is to just hear one sentences that an agent didn't like. Perhaps it teaches us to review our query letters not as a whole, but one sentence at a time, out of context and as something that an agent might zero in on and not like.

  16. I've visited Nathan's blog before. I'm sure he had lots of visitors after Queryfail. I like his advice about not quitting your day job. But oh how I want to.

  17. My husband would really like #4. LOL Ah, it's not so bad. Actually, I don't have a lot of writing time. Although, my husband does babysit for a few hour on the weekend when I need to get a few pages finished.

    Thanks for the link info. Can you tell me how to underline and change the color of the link so it's more obvious? Sanks.

    Lynnette Labelle

  18. Any writer who follows those ten commandments will do just fine in the long run.

    Good post, Hel.

    Bob Sanchez

  19. Helen, his list is sensible. for one it says you have a life outside of writing, don't neglect it. Good advice. I've read several blogs of his and I like his approach to the business.

    I especially like 6-8. I do feel writers need to reach out to others and when possible offer a hand. Jealousy is ugly. I belong to a very large writing social group, Writin' Wombats. Great support system, but various ones have gotten contracts, some of whom I've helped with critiques. You do admit to feeling a pang of envy when another comes back with a contract or publishes yet another book, I think that's normal, but I'm also genuinely excited when I see their successes. that plays into #3. You have to leave jealousy behind, it's destructive to you as a person and bears bitter fruit.

    A friend of mine, from the group says getting published is like a lightening strike. But you always have to be prepared, which plays into #10.


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