Monday, November 09, 2009

For Whom the Bells Toll

The Internet is the twenty-first century’s town crier. Sometimes the Word is good and all is right with the world. Sometimes the bell rings and the Word is downright scary. Lately, it’s been a lot scary. Midlist authors are being cut. Publishers are not taking on new books unless the author is a celebrity with a built-in platform. Agents aren’t even reading submissions. E-books will kill print books. The big box stores will undercut bookstores and soon the only books available will be those approved by the stock boy at Wal-Mart. Sometimes, it’s important to listen to the town crier. Always, it’s more important to remember that tomorrow the town crier will be ringing the bell and crying something different.

Tune out the criers and focus on yourself and your writing.

You must write the book, research agents and choose who to query, come up with a marketing plan, and promote your book. It’s work, but being in control of your future is better than being controlled.

As a writer, you hold your fate in your own hands. Ignore the talking heads who cry, The End is Near. Ignore the Pollyannas who gush, The Rainbow’s Pot of Gold is This Way.

Each day, before you begin your day, be silent. Quiet the voices. Listen. Hear the one voice that speaks the truth. That wise voice will tell you what and how to write. That gentle voice will tell you that you are worthy. That persistent voice will whisper encouragement. That loud voice will sing at your accomplishments and the goals met. That voice is…

Your voice.

Listen.
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37 comments:

  1. How true Helen. this is exactly the voice I am growing better at listening too. A powerful still voice deep within. Lovely post. Thanks.

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  2. This is a post written with poetic prose and elegant content. An example of finely tuned in muse, showing the meaning of the words by example. Nicely done, Helen.

    Marvin D Wilson

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  3. Thank you for this post! Today I awakened and HEARD that silly and taunting voice I thought I had silenced a while ago.

    The one that tells me I can't do it. I can't write. Too many obstacles, yada yada.

    Don't know why it's back, but your lovely post will help I'm sure.

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  4. This is a great post, Helen. Encouraging oneself is the most important thing anyone can do, regardless of subject. As for myself, I write simply because I must.

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  5. I think I'm going to blow up this post to poster size and frame it. Thanks!

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  6. Beautifully said, Helen. It's so easy to get lost in the voices of naysayers, and we need to hear a voice like yours here to remind us, inspire us, motivate us. Thanks much!

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  7. It is encouraging to know we all have that voice. We must learn to listen to it.

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  8. What a wonderful article Helen. :-)

    Despite the cry of woe, debut authors are still getting agents and contracts.

    I also think along with listening to the voice of encouragement, ask yourself, why do you write?

    If it gives you JOY, if you have a mind stuffed with characters and thoughts, then write. Do it the best you can. Life's too short for regrets and "I wish I hads..."

    With any creative artform, it's the flow of the creativity, the journey of getting it down. It makes you feel alive and happy. Do it.

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  9. This one gave me chills, Helen. I am battling the negative voice every day these days. Your words of encouragement was exactly what I needed this morning. Thanks.
    Karen

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  10. Sia, writers are a beautiful crazy lot, aren't we? We have all these characters talking to us and we often have to quiet them long enough to hear our own voice.

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  11. It is so easy to become discouraged with all the bad news out there. Thanks for the reminder of what's really important - writing. I printed and placed the paragraph "Each day, before you begin..." by my computer to glance at when I need that extra bit of encouragement.

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  12. Helen, this is a necessary post, thank you for posting it. And as my partner always says, "As long as anyone reads there'll be a need for writers."

    And he's right.

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  13. Ginger, this is one of the best blogs I have read in a long time for pure inspiration. Plus, you are a terrific writer. :-)

    I usually don't gush online, but I really had to gush about this one. Promoting it all over and I hope lots of writers find the same boost from your words as I did.

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  14. Excellent post, Helen. I just keep writing. One day something WILL sell.

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  15. So true! Why go into reactive panic mode for nothing?

    BTW - I read the title of your post and all I could think of was Metallica's "For Whom The Bell Tolls!" So that was playing my head as I read...

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  16. Congrats! on your 200th follower. What a milestone. I'm stuck on 99 on Facebook and 91 on my blog.

    Stephen Tremp

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  17. Helen,
    I just had to bop back over to tell you that your comment on my blog absolutely cracked me up. It's actually not such a bad idea!
    Karen

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  18. Thanks for your great post, Helen! It shows what a gifted writer you are while offering good advice and encouragement.

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  19. Good advice, Helen, thank you. I'd far rather be in control of my future than be controlled.

    Elspeth

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  20. Carol, when you make that sale, and Karen, when you write that mystery, let me know so you can tell us about the process and we can scream in the comment section here.

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  21. Thanks Helen. Wonderful advice.

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  22. Well said. Getting caught up in the hysteria will nobody any good at all. Publishing is undergoing changes, that's all. Unfortunately, it's the writer's that get shorted all too often.

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  23. Thank you. This is not only good advice, but beautifully written. The monkey-chatter has been very loud inside my head lately. This is exactly the kind of advice that gives me the encouragement to shush the monkeys and to do what I know I need to do.

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  24. Very encouraging post, Helen. Am learning to listen to that inner voice. ..thank you
    BM

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  25. So true, Helen. Time to re-center and just write.
    ~jon

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  26. If I don't write, my head will simply explode or you'll find me in the corner, eating flies and talking to Elvis.

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  27. Don't know about eating flies, but I'd like to talk to Elvis.

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