Monday, December 25, 2006

The Gift of Encouragement:

Well, it's Christmas, and though I'm an Ebenezer Scrooge up until zero hour, I end up liking it just a little bit by the time everything gets under way. I just had an incredibly low-stress, non-insane Christmas dinner with my family. No arguing or fighting, just a lot of funny stories and sarcasm. It's been awhile since we've had a Christmas so nice and stress free.

Even my grandfather, who is now one of the most conservative people you'll ever meet, was telling stories about his navy days where he once crawled under some saloon-style doors in a bar to get away before the cops arrived and threw everybody in the pokey. It was a pretty surreal holiday all in all. But nice.

When I was a kid the best part about Christmas was receiving, now the best part is giving. I get a bit of a thrill playing secret agent and discovering that perfect thing someone on my list has been wanting. My biggest score this year was discovering a movie my brother has looked everywhere for.

Still, while giving is is getting gifts, and no one can give you a gift like the one you can give yourself. Mercenary I know. Hallmark probably doesn't make a card for that. But it is true. No one knows what you need and want quite as well as you do. So, why not give yourself a gift this year. Maybe it'll be a little late for Christmas by the time you get it put together, maybe it'll be a gift to start the new year with...but you should have it. After all, you have been good this year right? Or...evil...but whatever.

If you're trying to become happily published, (Or if you are happily published and you're trying to become MORE happily published or more widely distributed) you need a little bit of magic sometimes to help you along. Even Pollyanna wasn't optimistic every day. Sometimes you see someone playing the "Glad game" and you just want to punch them in the nose. For those days, you need the magic, so make it now to use later.

Get yourself a large 3-ring notebook and make a pretty cover. (You totally deserve a pretty cover, trust me.) Then write up or print off every extremely encouraging thing said to you about your writing or about writing in general, that you either can remember or have somewhere. (You might have to go digging through emails and livejournal comments.) And don't forget those "nice rejection notes," the ones with the bits of encouragement on them. Also include any writing accomplishments so far, awards, other publications etc. etc. Hell, if you've got a couple of great reviews, put them in the book. When the days come that you want to pull off Pollyanna's arms and beat her to death with'll need the book.

On those days, you can look back over the genuine and sincere compliments people have given you about your writing, encouragement you have gotten as well as just things that personally inspire you. Then, as more people you like and respect say more genuinely encouraging things to you, add them to the book. Some days will be long and hard after all and you might need an hour's worth of reading material to put you back on track.

As the Christmas season winds down to a close many are looking toward the new year and all the hope and promise that often brings. So make your book, and regroup and decide that you will move closer to your goals in 2007. And have some eggnog. Because it's a wonderfully disgusting beverage that everybody should drink at least once.

Happy Holidays!

No comments: