Read, discuss, promo all things YA

Make the Universe what you want it to be

Posted by on Oct 4, 2011 in Inspirational | Comments Off on Make the Universe what you want it to be

Although this comes from an actor about acting, I believe it directly applies to us and what we are trying to achieve as Young Adult Writers.

 

If you’re interested in The Alchemist, you can check it out here.

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Write!

Posted by on Sep 20, 2011 in Inspirational | Comments Off on Write!

“Start early and work hard. A writer’s apprenticeship usually involves writing a million words (which are then discarded) before he’s almost ready to begin. That takes a while.” – David Eddings 

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, he talks about the 10,000 hour rule. It states that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours. This does not mean you have to write for 10,000 hours before you can create a book worth publishing, but with every word you write, your experience and skill increase.

If you’re nowhere near the 10,000 hour mark and the book you’ve written isn’t getting the praise you expect, perhaps you should re-examine your ability to write. Every one of us can always improve. I recently looked at a novel I wrote ten years ago (which I thought was amazing at the time) with shock at the rookie mistakes, awful pacing, incredible wordiness, and countless clichés. That book is due for a complete rewrite.

Remember a five years ago when you thought you knew it all, and now looking back you realize just how much you’ve learned since then, how much wiser you’ve become? Do you think you’ll be thinking any differently about who you are now in another five years? True humility is not the downplaying of our skills, but the realization that we still have much to learn no matter what our skill level may be. True wisdom comes from learning this fact. You don’t know it all, not about writing, relationships, business, or life. You never will. But you will learn more. You’ll always learn more.

Write to improve your skill, write to learn how to write, write because you love to write. You’re a young adult writer. You want to produce amazing YA novels. Finish your novel, and as you start to shop it around, put it up online, or whatever you choose, write some more! It’s who we are. Embrace that. Write!

 

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Attitude of Gratitude

Posted by on Sep 6, 2011 in Inspirational | Comments Off on Attitude of Gratitude

This week we look at part three of When am I Going to Get Published? Last week I told you to Advance with Faith. This is one of the hardest things to do with any goal that is bigger than anything we’ve done before, and writing YA novels, especially your first, is huge for most people. Now let’s look at the next step…

4) Attitude of Gratitude

What is an attitude of gratitude? It’s simply being thankful for everything in your life. Sounds simple enough, but do you really do it? Are you thankful for the roof over your head? The meals you eat? The friends you have? The fact that you’re connected to the world through the internet? Are you thankful for the imagination you’ve been given that creates the stories your want to share with the world?
Our attitude is one of the primary factors that helps or hinders us in the world. Attitude determines behaviour. Behaviour determines action. Action determines results. Gratitude can change your attitude about your life and your goals.
As you improve your attitude everything changes. A lack of gratitude actually causes poverty, though not necessarily financially. We can be poor in many areas of our lives and if you have a bad attitude, you will be. If you are in the habit of pointing out why things can’t be done, if you get jealous of other people’s achievements, if you always find fault in others, chances are you are very happy in your own life.
Remember: it takes just as much energy to think a good thought as it does to think a bad one. It takes the same amount of energy to praise as it does to demean. And it takes the same amount of energy to set a high goal as it does to set a low one. However, one way of doing things gives you more energy. It makes you happier and, through you, it makes the people around you happier. It actually attracts more good things into your life. The other way causes just the opposite. It results in anger, resentment, jealousy, loneliness, and self-pity. Now ask yourself, which way are you living, and which way sounds better?
It may feel hard to change your attitude, but you can start by simply picking a different thing to be grateful for each day. As each new day arrives you’ll find yourself being for grateful for so many things, and you’ll notice how your mood shifts to a more pleasant one. Now, what has this got to do with getting your YA novels published? Good question!
First our attitude determines whether or not we’ll stick to our goals. You are sure to hit obstacles when trying to get published, but they are there for a reason. Every obstacle life throws at us is there to make us grow. This is a tough concept for many to grasp, but it’s true. If everything were easy, if there were no challenges, then we wouldn’t mature, become more confident, more responsible, wiser. If you have any doubt, look at anyone who hasn’t done much and find out what their biggest challenges were and how they overcame them. Chances are they haven’t overcome much because they shied away from the challenges.
So what do we do when an obstacle or challenges hits us? We express gratitude for it! This is an opportunity to grow and the bigger the challenge the bigger the growth and the bigger the reward! If you’ve got a huge obstacle in your way just think of what’s waiting on the other side of it. Now you just have to figure out if you need to go over, around, or through it.
It’s up to you if you want to be grateful for the things in your life, and knowing you should isn’t enough. You need to want to be grateful. It should be a chore, it should be part of who you are. Then you’ll find that more things to be grateful will come into your life. It could be a direct contact to publisher, a query letter that gets accepted, an independent publishing deal, an idea that could really improve your novel, or something else unexpected but just as welcome.
Be thankful in all aspect of your life, make gratitude a habit, and watch how life changes for the better.
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Advance with Faith

Posted by on Aug 29, 2011 in Inspirational | Comments Off on Advance with Faith

This week we look at part three of When am I Going to Get Published? Last week I told you to be others focussed. It’s a practice most of us are into for some of the people around us, but not in a big way. Now let’s look at the next step…

3) Advance with Faith

I’m not trying to get religious on you, but you do need to have faith that you’re going to achieve the goal you’ve set. If you don’t then will you really keep at it? When trying to achieve something new, especially something big, there will be many challenges that come your way. Most authors will shrink from these challenges. Getting rejection letters is a normal part of the process. Don’t let them dishearten you. However, take note of the ones that aren’t form letters. Do they give any insights on problems with your book?

As I stated, ADVANCE with Faith. It’s not just a matter of believing you’ll get published, and it’s not just a matter of believing in your book. We all believe our books are great. That doesn’t make them great in everyone else’s eyes. I know an author out there with unwavering faith in his book, but the truth is that the book isn’t that good. It has potential. With a good developmental editor, he could produce a great novel. But, he believes he’s done. The book is perfection in his eyes. This is where humility would serve him well.

I should clarify what humility is. It is not the downplaying of yourself and your skills to other people. Humility is the acknowledgement that you don’t know everything there is to know even if you’re an expert on a subject. Humility means accepting that you are flawed and that your work may be in error, and doing this without throwing a hissy fit. You may have finished your book, but that doesn’t mean that your book is finished. Seek expert counsel, continue learning, improve your skills, and make changes as needed as long as it doesn’t compromise the story you want to tell.

There are other ways to advance as well. Lesley Livingston, a long time friend of mine, could not get her book Once Every Never published. After listening to her frustrated complaints about it too long, her boyfriend, Jon, to her to shut up and write something else. Being a wise woman, she took his advice and wrote Wondrous Strange which got picked up by Harper Collins and ended winning  the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book of the Year for 2010, the CBC Best Book award, was nominated for the 2011 Stellar Award and shortlisted for the Sunburst Award for excellence in Canadian Speculative Fiction. She followed it up with Darklight and Tempestuous, creating a trilogy I recommend reading. And now, Once Every Never has been picked up by Penguin Books. Lesley may have stopped work on her book, but she never lost faith and she continued to take action that moved her toward her goal.

The great thing about goals is that, even if you don’t know how you’ll get to your goal, that how will eventually show up if you keep advancing with faith.

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Being Others’ Focussed

Posted by on Aug 25, 2011 in Inspirational | Comments Off on Being Others’ Focussed

This week we look at part two of When am I Going to Get Published? Last week I told you to set a goal. That seems obvious, but if your read the article you would have seen that there’s more to it. Now let’s look at the next step…

2) Be others’ focussed.

Bob Proctor once told me that how much we receive is in direct proportion to how many we serve. There are many ways to serve. The first is just by getting a job and doing it. You can also create jobs thus giving people gainful employment. You can do charity work. You can volunteer. We, as YA writers, love to entertain. And entertainment is a kind of service; it brings people pleasure, and they’re willing to pay for that. The catch is that your story really has to be entertaining, not just something YOU think is cool, not a great idea that’s filled with bad grammar and plot holes and main characters you wouldn’t mind seeing die. This also doesn’t mean you should write a story that you think will sell based on current trends and analysis of compelling main characters from other works. That’s not serving people that pandering to them.

If we reach inside we all have a great story to tell. Start by telling it. But while you’re getting it ready, any other ways you can be others’ focussed will only help to bring your goals to you. So do that charity work. Support a friend. Help a stranger. Do you job better. Go out and make a contribution. It doesn’t have to be a financial one. Leave everyone you meet feeling better after having been with you. It all adds up. And when we’re others’ focussed it actually makes achieving our goals a little easier. Helping others puts us (and them) in a better frame of mind. The trick here is to give unconditionally. Don’t give with the expectation to get, especially form the ones you’re giving to. Don’t even give with the expectation of gratitude. The best way to give is in a way that you don’t expect credit for it. The Universe always sends back what we give out only it’s multiplied. It’s called the law of compensation. Some call it Karma. Give unconditionally, knowing how the universe works. I know this isn’t what you were expecting to read on a young adult writing site, but it applies no matter what your passion. Sadly, not enough people know it.

Give and you will receive, though not necessarily in the form you gave or from the source you gave to. But watch as you experience less stress, more fulfilment, better health, greater joy, and more. Don’t believe me? Try it for one month. Just one month of your life. You WILL see results. Continual use of this principle also increases your confidence. It improves your relationships as your actions help you to understand and accept others. Something as simply as a hug can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

Go make that difference now.

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When am I going to get published?

Posted by on Aug 15, 2011 in Inspirational | Comments Off on When am I going to get published?

This week’s inspirational post is in response to Ryan’s comment on last week’s post. It’s something that is on the mind of every new author, especially those with more than one book.

What does it take to get published?

The answer is the same answer I’d give on how to get to any goal. It consists of 4 things and we’re going to examine them one at at time over the next four weeks.

1) Set a goal.

Yes, I know. Your goal is to get published. But now add a deadline to that goal. Many people would like to do something “someday.” The problem is that someday is always in flux. This is the different between dreaming about becoming a published author and becoming a published author. So, your next response is, “But it’s not up to me. It’s up to those damn publishers and agents that keep sending me rejection letters.” Sorry, but it’s entirely up to you.

The point of creating a deadline is that it forces you to act. It puts the pressure on for performance and improvement. Maybe you’re just sending out query letters now and being disappointed with the results, but you’re hoping eventually someone will say “yes.” If you’ve suddenly got a deadline, you’ll be forced to get creative to figure out better ways to make them say, “yes.” You may realize that your query letter can be improved. You may suddenly see flaws in your book that never stood out before. You notice a event that agents and publishers will be at that you can attend to pitch your book firsthand. Alternatively, that deadline may make you notice an e-book opportunity, a writing contest, a self-publishing seminar, or any number of ways to get the book published whether or not it’s through a traditional publisher.

See how it works? Work always expands to fill the time allowed. If you’ve allowed for “someday” then you may be working a long time. Now, what if your deadline comes and you’re not published? Well, then you chose the wrong date. It’s no big deal. I’ve done it myself sometimes. Just NEVER change the date before it passes. I’ve see miracles happen on that last day.

John Canary whose goal was to lead a specific motivation coaching course. He set his goal for five years from his decision to do it, and for five years he studied and went to hundreds of seminars, always sitting in the front seat, always being available to be called on and to help. The was no visible change in his life for the entire five years but, inside, a change was occurring. Then on the night before his deadline the coach of the seminar he was attending the next day (Bob Proctor) called him to tell him that the Chicago airport was closed because of a snowstorm and John would have to lead because he was there. After John told Bob about his goal and his deadline, Bob joked that John was responsible for the snowstorm.

If you haven’t started or finished your novel. Set a goal to complete it. If you’ve finished it, then set a goal to have it published by. This is used by successful people all over the world in every field. And it may be so different form what you’ve been brought up to believe that your mind is screaming, “That’s not right!” And you can probably come up with all sorts of reasons why this is so. But if you’ve got one or more books under your belt, and you’ve sent dozens or hundreds of letters out, and years have gone by without any luck, then realize your “right ” method isn’t working.

You need to ask yourself, “Do I want to be right or do I want to be successful?”

 

 

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