Lessons from the Gym

Lessons from the Gym If you know me at all, you probably know I have this annoying little habit of getting out for exercise everyday. Either the gym, or outside for a hike or bike ride. I admit I love my exercise. But not for the reasons you might think. I mean, physical health is important and all, but honestly, would that be enough to motivate me? No way.   The truth is, I go to the gym for YOU. When I’m at the gym, I have all kinds of insights about the writing life, then I come back and share them on my blog and you might think these things just sort of come to me, but they wouldn’t if I hadn’t been at the gym.   Case in point. I’ve been thinking lately about the fact that there are parts of a writing career that writers don’t enjoy. It’s different for each...
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Focus on Writing the Best Book You Can

http://www.rachellegardner.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/10227386_s-300x233.jpg It seems in the last few years, dialogue about all-things-publishing has been focused on platform, marketing, increasing output, distribution platforms, technology, and self-publishing.  But I think it’s important to call our attention back to the work.    Two years ago in January 2014, I posted a prediction for the coming year:   “I think authors will re-focus on the foundational importance of writing a good book. Conversations will be more about mastering the craft and less about the logistics of publishing. People are becoming aware that while options are expanding because of self-publishing, and it may be easier than ever to get your work out to readers, the process of writing a good book is the same as it’s ever been. It’s challenging, it’s grueling, it’s...
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The Introvert’s Guide to Conferences

The Introvert’s Guide to Conferences Okay, so you notice there’s no shortage of advice out there about how to make the most of a conference. But what about those of us who are introverts? It can be even more difficult for us to navigate these social situations. Oh, how we envy our extrovert friends! Are there any special tips for people like us? Well, yes, there are. Here are a few ideas to consider: 1. Change your mindset from “me” to “them.” You’re at the conference to learn and to network, but paradoxically, the best way to do that is to focus on the needs of others. Set your own discomfort aside, and look for others who may also be uncomfortable, and see how you can make things easier for them. Even if you’re talking with an agent or editor, focus on them instead of yourself....
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Thick Skin: The Key to a Writer’s Survival

http://www.rachellegardner.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/tortoise.jpg How many times have you heard the new-writer’s advice: Develop a thick skin. You’d think this would be even more of a requirement for an agent. It’s good advice for anyone who’s visible on the Internet, frequently giving their opinion on things. So all in all, you probably think I’d be a person with a thick skin. However, I have a confession: I don’t have a thick skin. Not at all. I have a fragile heart, I take things personally, and I don’t just bounce back right away when I receive criticism. Paradoxically, I truly appreciate helpful critiques of my work,or advice on how to improve any area of my life. I crave it. I value the input of others. Yet at the same time, if it’s not always positive, I have a hard time getting over the hurt...
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Nobody Writes Good First Drafts

Nobody Writes Good First Drafts I spend a lot of time working with my clients to edit and revise their proposals and manuscripts. I give notes and suggestions for improvements. Sometimes I take them through draft after draft, until everything seems just right.   I know it’s tiring for them, and sometimes frustrating to be pushed to go over it again and again, especially when they know they’ll go through more edits with their publisher. I admire every writer who does whatever is necessary, who keeps pushing through, who remains dedicated to making the work the best it can be.   This is what it takes to be good. When an editor pushes you to be your best, or when you push yourself, you’re doing exactly what’s necessary to rise above the hordes of regular writers to become a good writer....
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