Thursday, March 10, 2011

Eat the Hard...

I know… it sounds totally pornographic… but it’s all I’ve been thinking about lately. For those of you who having been following us for a while you’ll remember Nora Roberts coined this phrase at last year’s National Conference in her keynote address. For those of you new to DWT – then yes… she did say “Eat the Hard” to a group of 2000 plus women.

Her point is that publishing ain’t easy. She can’t be bothered with excuses like the market is shrinking, there is no room for new authors, getting sold is MUCH harder today than it was 20 years ago and there is too much pressure to be a bestseller right out of the gate.

Instead embrace it. Eat it. Own it. Be better than everyone else. Be different. Make your book so good that no one can stand not to publish it. Because that’s what publishing is about and it doesn’t matter when you started. Forget what was the market, focus on what is the market and do your job better than everyone else.If you’re feeling sorry for yourself… stop it and go back to work.

Nora Roberts is the Jillian Michaels of writing. All genres too – not just romance. Because I can’t imagine it’s any easier to break through as a “Thriller” writer or a “Mystery” writer. Name your genre. I’m sure there are lots of mystery writers who believe they are the next James Patterson and don’t understand why they just can’t get their chance.

Nora got to the top by working hard. She expects that anyone wanting to reach that top needs to work just as hard if not harder. And there is no room for cry babies that’s for sure.

I respond to this type of kick-your-ass motivation and I need it because right now I’m feeling sorry for myself. My writing isn’t going well with the new book. I can’t seem to get a foothold in the story. I’m stressing about my current release, my book out on submission and the next proposal for my current publisher.

I feel like I need some validation from “the publishing world” that I can do this. Sure we take in the feedback from friends and critique partners. And we definitely need that. But in the end it’s so easy to dismiss it when you get a rejection. The only thing that matters is if NY likes it. Sort of like asking your friend how you look in the dress vs. asking your mother.

So here I am hanging over the pit of despair wondering again if I have a smidgen of the talent needed to write the books I have in my head… and the words come back to me… Eat the Hard.

Work harder. More often. Give your next idea everything. Stop whining and worrying and just sit your butt in the chair and figure out how to tell the story in your head. It’s good. It’s deep and intense and layered. Just get it out….

Yep - Nora’s husky voice is in my head and she’s really trying to drown out the sulky depressed whinny voice that’s saying… “You’re just not that good a writer.” I’m hoping she wins.

What about you? Who is in your head when you need someone to kick your butt?

6 comments:

Karen Whiddon said...

Steph, I have a Nora comment from another year posted above my computer. HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?
(note, I know it should be badly, but she *said* bad!)

Her point was the same. If you want it badly enough, you will work your a** off to get it. And on the days when I'd rather be doing almost anything else beside writing, that little sign helps me remember.

For me, just about everything in my life can be boiled down to that statement HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?

Weight loss - exercise.

Writing.

Sleep.

You get my drift. That's what motivates me - if I want something badly enough, it is attainable if I work really, really hard.

Molly O'Keefe said...

You know, I feel like I've hit a turning point and I realize that the bad stuff is temporary. This feeling that I have right this moment, with the word count growing and the story still not ending and every scene seems boring - it will pass, I just have to write through it. Because after this comes the end. And that feels good - and after that comes editing, which is the kind of pain that feels good to me.

So, yeah, we've got to eat the hard, because after that we get cupcakes and lemonade.

At least that's what I'm going with right now...

Eileen said...

I need a voice. I don't have one. Well, not a positive one. There's a whiny one. There's a totally panicked one. I need a drill sergeant.

I need to remember Nora and Eat the Hard (I think we were also to Ride the Hard).

Stephanie Doyle said...

It made me laugh... last night I was watching Top Chef Allstars. Richard Blaze this AMAZING chef puts this awesome meal together then turns around and shouts... "My food bleepin' sucks!"

Of course it doesn't but he just can't see that.

I tried to tell myself that's me... saying my writing sucks when it really doesn't.

Only I didn't believe it...

I'm never going to get my cupcakes at this rate.

Sinead M said...

There are cupcakes!!

I love that phrase, "eat the hard", that should be in my voice more often.

I do like her pragmatic approach to this business, and the sense that this is her job and come hell or high water, this is 8 hours a day, five days a week.

My phrase is "Suck it up" and just get it done.

Maureen McGowan said...

Great post, Steph and {{{hugs}}}. This business is masterful at feeding insecurities.

It so often seems impossible. I was walking around a bookstore last night and sometimes that depresses me, but last night it made me think about how badly I wanted this. How badly I wanted my books to be piled up on a table (or even just on a shelf).

I think the people in my head who jolt me out of the dark place are actually the negative people. The ones who say I can't do it, or it's not worth all I've gone through... becuase I'm stubborn like that.

And Molly and Sinead (and a few other good writer-friends) have pulled me in off so many ledges it's crazy. I rely on you guys so much.

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