Failing to Grow

A few weeks ago, I had a wonderful conversation with my eldest son. 301

During the course of our discussion, he made two comments in relation to life and career:

If you are unwilling to experience discomfort, you will not experience success.


It’s okay if I keep failing as a result of trying to grow.

Since our chat, I’ve thought a lot about that conversation and the wisdom of those two statements. I think they apply to life in general, but I’ve specifically thought about them in regard to my writing career.

Sometimes, I must really push myself outside of my area of comfort in order to find get to the place I really want to be. With trepidation I pressed myself to:

  • write my first book
  • approach publishers
  • attend writer’s conferences
  • start a blog
  • join Twitter
  • write a second book
  • have my work critiqued (several times)
  • submit proposals
  • re-write both books numerous times
  • entered contests
  • learn, practice, learn more, practice again
  • write articles
  • seed out the advice of established authors
  • attend a mentoring class
  • read a lot (okay, so that part is fun)

For some people, those things may be easy. For others, the same activities may feel impossible. Looking back on the journey, I see that I am becoming more successful as I am willing to be uncomfortable. Because we’re only uncomfortable for a little while, until we try, learn and become comfortable again with our new knowledge or abilities.

And even though I’ve failed a lot doing the above things, I’ve been growing. So the failure is part of the process and actually something to be embraced, not avoided.

I want to see my life in the same light.

Pushing outside my comfort zone, trying, failing, learning, failing, and growing.

Thanks for sharing, Josh. I love you.


What makes you uncomfortable? Where have you found growth in failing?



Finding an Agent

After a few trusted author sources recommended I find an agent, I began the search last month.

I printed a list of recommended literary agencies DSC_0001off Michael Hyatt’s website, and proceeded to examine each agency website. Thoroughly. Even though I’m not exactly sure what I’m looking for. I pray as I search, so I guess I’m waiting for a sense of “rightness” that settles with me.  Something that makes me feel I’d like to work with these people, and hopefully, perhaps they’d feel the same about me.

I already “found” one such agency and sent a proposal according to their guidelines. Side note here: according to numerous sources, it appears that people actually disregard agent/publisher guidelines. Seriously? That seems to me to be the quickest way to rejection. Why go to so much work and then blow off the submission guidelines? I don’t get it. Ok, off my box.

So I submitted my query/proposal, but realistically the chance that said agency will want me seems pretty slim. Probability-wise. It could happen (oh God let it be so!), but I’m not holding my breath. Therefore, I’m on the hunt for back-ups. Following that advice from other professionals seemed like a good plan.

Unfortunately, I had never heard of most of the authors represented on every single site. 

At first that made me feel like some illiterate, ignorant dolt. Are you kidding me? I write (as an amateur yes, but still…), and I read extensively, so how is it I don’t have any idea who most of America’s current authors are? But then I found it strangely encouraging realizing how many published authors are out there. So many, in fact, that I, in no way, can keep up. Good for me in the sense that it’s okay if not everyone knows who I am or follows me on Twitter.

Some agencies represent vast numbers of authors, many whom I did recognize and have read. Famous people that I think everyone must have heard of. Authors whose books have consistently made bestseller lists. Other agencies have lists of authors who aren’t published yet, don’t have websites or seem (at least to me) to still be in the amateur writer category, if you get what I mean.

At the end of the day, my confusion (and confession) was this:

Do I want an agency like the first one I mentioned? Or a better question is would they want me? If they’ve managed to get all these great authors published, I want them on my side, right? But they’re a little intimidating with their bestseller author lists. Would I even stand a chance?

Or, do I want an agency like the second one described? If many of their authors are yet unpublished (exactly where I am) or mediocre writers (I hope I’m not), can I rely on them to represent me? Or am I simply delighted that there’s a chance for us amateur writers to find an agent?

There you have it.

Dilemma of the day. Anyone have any thoughts?

Are We There Yet?

I confess. I’m an amateur. Truly, and I can’t get it together enough to write my blog in a timely fashion. Sad face here. But I think I have a fairly good excuse as far as amateurs go. If I held a professional title, I don’t think it’d fly, but maybe as an amateur…

Here’s the deal. I’m getting ready to attend the Mt Hermon’s Christian Writers’ Conference next week, and the pressure is on to get together the two manuscripts I am entitled to submit. Which means editing ad infinitum because I’m terrified they won’t be good enough, until I’ve taken out whole sentences and then put them back again in a new order, then removed parts and reinserted until finally I’ve decided it was better the first time, or maybe not, but I’ve got to quit somewhere.  My actions replicate my favorite quote which I’ve placed strategically on my note board over my desk at eye level in an attempt to keep myself from doing exactly what I’ve been doing, or at least encouraging me that even professionals do the same.

“All morning I worked on the proof of one of my poems, and I took out a comma; in the afternoon I put it back.”  Oscar Wilde

Next I plow through an extensive Excel spreadsheet with numerous authors, agents and editors to decide who I’d like to torture with the honor of said submission, by having them read my amateur scribbles. The question arises(with a gulp), “Am I ready for an agent?” A new friend who IS a professional (read published) author suggested a few months back that I should pursue seriously the agent realm, but I confess that I just didn’t feel good enough yet. Now with the potential of submitting my work to a real professional agent as part of my conference tuition, I have decided to bite the bullet and go for it. Obviously, the worst that can happen is that they will kindly (everyone at this conference is extremely kind and encouraging)tell me that I need heaps more work before I can consider myself agent ready. Sigh…a writer’s life is not an easy one and fraught with rejection as I’ve experienced.

Back to my excuse…

The learning opportunities seem endless as I diligently read all the workshop descriptions and teachers’ profiles trying to get a sense of which will be the most helpful for me at this point in my amateur “career.” I can only take one out of the ten listed for each of the seven sessions and only a handful don’t really apply to my genre of writing. A plethora of rich instruction from amazing authors and editors! What’s an amateur to do??

Then someone mentioned packing. Packing???? Oh no, you’re right. I’d forgotten that for six days away from home (I’m participating in a Head Start program for new writers which adds two days to the actual conference), I need something to wear there. Oops. Last year, I drove back and forth for four days…no big deal, but really late nights, so this year my husband thought it would benefit me more to stay. What a darling man! Except for the part where I have to add packing to my to do list!! Oh, and then of course there’s the fact that the one who usually makes meals for the family, which consists of at least three children and sometimes the additional grown ones with granddaughter, will be gone for six days being fed for a change by others (bless you!). Meaning I need to plan for my family to eat while I am off being somewhat pampered (even though I will be slaving over words not a stove).

Now you begin to see how a blog with pretty meager readership gets pushed out of the way. Not very professional of me, is it? But that is why I am still an amateur writer I suppose.

Setting Up for Success

Here I am again on a Thursday realizing that I missed my self-imposed Wednesday posting deadline. What’s the deal?? Good thing this deadline isn’t a publisher deadline. Phew…but maybe if it was, I wouldn’t miss it. Ahh…there’s something to consider.

So, as I began to berate myself for my lack of consistency, I examined the reasons why I am so remiss at writing, when as we’ve already established, I love to write. It occurred to me, as I reviewed my day yesterday with it’s appointments, touch of illness, emergency trip to the dentist with my son and the completion of created Christmas gifts that needed to be shipped to Australia days ago, that I have actually been setting myself up for failure. Wednesday is my busiest day every week. It is the day that I end up at 11 p.m. longing to be in bed, but remembering that I’ve yet to produce my blog for the week. Ugh! Takes the joy right out of writing.

Changing my posting day seems like a simple enough answer. Especially since I’m the one who created the deadline in the first place! But, I find that a sense of failure looms over me. Isn’t that the way of it? I fail by not meeting a deadline, or I fail if I change the deadline to accommodate my schedule. The truth is that by doing the second, I set myself for success rather than for failure. Hmm…

In how many areas of my life do I set my self up for failure? Or do I set up for success? Do I do the same with others too? If I create positive, attainable boundaries that can be met, then success follows. Right? But if I expect myself to meet deadlines that can”t be obtained without great duress, I’m bound to fail. Goals=good; unrealistic expectations=not so good.

New posting day – Fridays. End of the week. Open day. Should be workable. What a set up for success!

A simple shift in perspective which means this post is actually early, not late.

Thank goodness.