Sunday, July 12, 2009

Take a Leap of Faith

"If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you." ~~Arthur McAuliff

Ah yes, the thrill of beginning a new venture. Whether we're struggling with the beginning throes of an idea, approaching the second draft of our WIP with trepidation, or taking a deep breath and sending out those queries, there's nothing quite like the heart-pounding leap-of-faith every writer experiences.

We take chances. We take risks. We're pushing forward without a map or even a navigation system! We're off to discover new lands hoping we have the wit to dislodge our ship if we hit dry land. We push despite our sometimes overwhelming desire to set down anchor and avoid the uncertain seas.

"A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for." --William Shedd

We take chances. We take risks. As writers, we need to face those fears, not only for ourselves but also for our readers. Which is why we can't play it safe. Not with our selves, not even with our characters. We throw them in jail, threaten them with exposure, heartache, death, frame-ups, poverty, imprisonment, even… *gasp* Meddling In-laws!!

So why do we do it? Why do we push ourselves past all reason, past the fear, and past the obstacles?

"It is never too late to be what you might have been." --George Eliot


That one little word reverberates within our souls. It is our Destiny… We know it. We feel it. We Are WRITERS. This is what we are Meant to do. To create worlds. To populate them with people. To preside over their lives with a twisted kind of ruthless compassion forcing them into perilous circumstances designed to not only challenge their strength but to awaken within them a greater understanding. And through that process, within our own hearts, a seed of understanding blossoms as we grow and evolve with our characters.

"Eighty percent of success is showing up." --Woody Allen

One word at a time. One sentence. One draft. One book. One query at a time… There's only one way to succeed, and that is to show up and do the work.

One draft:

"If at first you don't succeed, you're running about average. " ~~M.H. Alderson

One query:

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. ~~Winston Churchill

As we approach yet another week, let's acknowledge the strength it takes to make that "Leap of Faith" with every word we type. It's easy to scold and chide ourselves for freaking out over the endless edits, the yet-to-be created plot-line, the wavering POV, not to mention the fear over facing rejection. Replace that chagrin with pride! We're facing a fear that few will manage to overcome. We're pushing past obstacles that many will embrace as an excuse to give up. Not us!

Why? We take chances. We take risks. We Are WRITERS...

Speaking of risks, agent Jessica Faust mentioned how summer is the perfect time to catch up on queries. Hmm... Maybe now's a good time to
hit 'Send'. *grin*

So tell me, what do you consider the biggest 'Leap of Faith'? Writing the first draft? The second draft? Sending it out to your crit partners? Sending the query? Or all of the above?

Here's to another wonderful week bursting with opportunity!

Chiron O'Keefe

Also featured at Pop Culture Divas and Between The Lines.


Rebecca Royce said...

Can I just say that reading your blog quotes made me feel fabulous today? Thanks for posting it.

Chiron said...

Aw, Rebecca!!

Thanks so much. You're such a dear.

Now YOU made Me feel fabulous too...

Big smiles,

Celia Yeary said...

Dearest Chiron--every one of those quotes in green were pure gems--and every one applied to me! And every one is so, so true. If we writers had an ounce of sense, we wouldn't throw ourselves under the bus every single day. It seems we set ourselves up for failure each time we do send out a query, a synopsis, a submission. Yet, we think, there's always the possiblity an editor will realize our brilliance! and our talent! and give us a contract. And so it goes. thanks for the boost--you're too good--Celia

Miss Mae said...

My biggest leap of faith? Writing that first sentence, that first paragraph on the first page of a new manuscript. Because then I'm hoping, believing (?) I WILL finish that brand new book despite the fact that I haven't the foggiest of all the crooks, twists, and bends I need to include in it.

It's either faith, or sheer stupidity. :)

Kathy said...

Chiron I just read your post a few days late. I took a big step the end of June and sent my partial off to the requesting editor. I've asked folks how long it will take them to let me know yes or no they told me 4-6 weeks minimum and up to a year. SO I am movingon finishing tying this story up into a nice tidy bundle just in case. Then last Sunday(12July) I thought of two new stories to write. I'm writing one of them mixed. I am pretty much a panster, but tossed together a rough synopsis, which I goofed up and didn't save,as a guidline. Now I will try again tomorrow see what I can do with a synopsis. Then if I can scrape the fee up enter the same contest I won with my historical last year. I'm trying my hand at a contemporary without it drifting to the paranormal range or worse lol. I enjoy reading your blog you always have encouragement for us slackers. :-)

Chiron said...

Hello Celia,

You are such a dear! Thanks so much. You're right. Our self-defeating tendencies can do us in and yet all it really takes sometimes is a little bit of faith.

Lovely of you to stop by!


Chiron said...

Oh, Miss Mae!

*chuckle* You always make me laugh. Yup, each page is a new adventure, minus the safety belts and crash helmets. *laughs* Yup. But we're writers so we go for it!

Thanks for jumping in, my dear.


Chiron said...

Wow, Kathy! *bows*

If you're a slacker... well... *cough*

Good for you in your productivity! Yup, keep writing and the submission wait is much more fun. *grin*

Let me know how it goes!

Thanks always for dropping by...