In honor of the final episodes of Game of Thrones, I thought I would do a Westeros themed post. Here are nine quotes to live by while trying to get your book published.
“What do we say to the God of death? Not Today.” — Syrio Forel
We all could learn a lot from Syrio and Arya. For the author struggling to get his or her book published, the death that haunts you is the death of your dream. The sickness which plagues our dreams is the the fear of rejection and all to often the recurrence of rejection letters. The battle we fight is standing out among the thousands of books submitted. It’s easy to say, “I will be strong.” It’s so much harder to be strong. I remind myself everyday to never give up on my dream. I urge all writers, including myself, to look to the God of Death and say, “Not today.”
Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.” — Tyrion Lanister
Never forget who you are. Never forget where you come from. Who you are makes your writing YOUR writing. Don’t shy away from being proud of your life and history. I was terrified to post a video of me talking on my author Facebook page. I have a strong southern accent. I was afraid of being labeled and judged by my accent and not my intelligence or ability. All too often we let stereotypes keep us from embracing ourselves. It was hard for me to open up about my south eastern Kentucky background, but eventually I learned to celebrate my heritage and not shy away from the way I talk or my humble upbringing. Be proud of you. All of YOU.
“I failed. Good. Now go fail again.”
— Ser Davos
Please forgive me. There is a lot of “don’t give up” rhetoric in this post. When I started out on this journey, I was full of hope and optimism. It’s easy to sit back without a rejection letter and embrace the world of publishing. But then, rejection came. It came again. And again. And again. It still comes. Hope withers, glasses turn from half full to empty. You fail. And then you fail again. And you fail again. How do you get back up and charge again? How do I stand and fight on? Honestly, it’s a daily struggle. Find someone to believe in you when you don’t ans can’t believe in yourself. This is not something you should do alone. Someone needs to be there to encourage you to charge, even as the flames of the dothraki blades go out one by one. Find someone to help you see through the night, the night that is dark and full of terrors.
— Peter Baelish
Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb, but they refuse. They cling to the realm or the gods or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.
How do you survive the climb? Organization. Organize the chaos. Be prepared. Know where you are going. Have a well thought plan and map. Anticipate where your climb will take you. Track your queries, there are plenty of programs to keep organized, but I prefer a calendar and highlighters. Set aside time in the week to write. Make your way, keep looking ahead, plan as much as possible! The more order you bring to your struggle to climb, the less likely chaos will drag you back down.
“Most men would rather deny a hard truth than face it.”
Real talk. Don’t die. Seriously, there are times when we need to re-evaluate our works based on feedback. Not all feedback is true or even relevant to your work. But, if you keep getting the same criticism. Look at it. I mean really look at it. Should you maybe apply that criticism. Will it make your manuscript better. Are they right? Don’t be so stubborn and ignore advice that could really take your manuscript to the next level. Sometimes, there are things we don’t want to acknowledge, hard truths, in our work. Don’t let it blind you. Look. Really look and decide if the feedback is something you should be acknowledging.
Laughter is poison to fear.
Don’t take yourself too serious. Remember to laugh. It’s good for the soul. Sometimes, you need a break from the writing world, a break from the spinning wheel you keep going with a delicate balance of perseverance and strength. We find ourselves in fear of failure. In fear of the next email rejecting our dreams. Laughter overcomes the dread and anxiety authors deal with on a regular basis.
Oh, my sweet summer child,” Old Nan said quietly, “what do you know of fear?”
Did you recently start writing the next great novel of our time. Have you sent out your first query? Oh, my sweet summer child. Prepare yourself. This path you’ve started is not a path but a war and you need to come ready with a full arsenal. Three dragons and Jon Snow’s looks won’t get you through the Winter. And it is coming. I am in a far different mind set now just months after starting to query. There are victory’s on the battlefield. But the war. The end goal. The war is brutal and holding on to your mind and determination is much easier in the summer than the winter. It’s a war worth fighting for, but come prepared to cry and cuss and bleed.
Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle
– Jon Snow
There is no right or wrong way to get to your goal. We all take different roads. Some of us choose to self publish and some of us choose to traditionally publish. Some chose to get an agent. Some don’t. Everyone has their own goals and definitions of success. Be respectful of each other and your fellow writers. This industry is too rough to be cruel to each other.
That’s it for today. Remember in the game of thrones you win or you die. Win. You can. It may take longer than it took HBO to get us season 8. But, it will be worth it when you there!