You Gotta Believe

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It’s All On You

Whether writing, art, music–extending a word or a hand–the world can knock us for a loop when we venture to put ourselves out there in the jumble. Not that we won’t get the occasional coddle, petting, or sweet whispers, but not in a way we might deem as dependable. The wind changes, a door closes, sand shifts…and you’re left standing on your own, conflicted, confused, uncertain where you go from here.

Who’s In Your Corner

For me, all things begin and end with God. I firmly believe He gives us our gifts, securely plants them in our hearts, waters and fertilizes, fills our tank with mojo, and sets us off and running…

WOAH! Not So Fast

Did you forget something? I’m referring to that essential ingredient which makes your bread rise. The one you need to fold into the dough yourself. Without it you’re at severe risk of injury, failure, or all out doom. Which is to say, You Gotta Believe. In yourself. In what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it. It’s not a maybe, or a someday, or an eventually. It’s a now and forever after.

High, Low–Maybe Higher

–or lower than low, in the tar pits low. And if your faith isn’t firmly held and deeply planted, it is this weak point in the dam where  angst and despair can most effectively seep in to crumble your foundation.

Not To Be Confused With the Bright Candy Coating That Melts In Your Mouth

You may be so blessed as to have a loyal entourage of enthusiastic and energetic cheerleaders who never fail to vie for a seat at your pep rally; who support your dreams, struggles, and successes. They boost you over the speed bumps, applaud and cajole with true admiration and dedication. But even then, these champions of your endeavors can’t be tuned into your channel 24/7. They too have dreams to feed and nurture. Sometimes it’s only you. Sometimes it’s been only you all along. In either case, how you push forward, stay afloat, or reach out to lasso the moon, has everything to do with how deeply you believe in what it is you’re doing. Want to do. Will do.

There Will Be Days,

when your heart will swell to bursting as you come across something wildly shining and beautiful with your name on it:

“…one of the best novels I have ever had the pleasure to read…her writing style brings to mind such authors as Harper Lee and John Steinbeck…”

Then just as quickly shrivel into raisins on the vine as you stumble blind and stupefied over this:

“This is really awful. Stupid story, stupid people. Couldn’t care less about any of the characters. I’m sorry I spent any of my hard earned money on this horrible book.”

Ouch!

But Whether Good, Bad, Or Hideously Ugly,

your belief in yourself and what it is you’ve set out to do, MUST run deeper than any pile of poo dropped onto the surface of your gleaming hopes and expectations. Because although your confidence can certainly be ruffled, trounced, bitch slapped, and bloodied, it can’t be hijacked without your consent.

Some assaults prove more of a challenge than others. Sometimes we’ve been pummeled so violently we temporarily lose all reason and sanity lock and load baby, mentally smacking ourselves repeatedly for ever thinking we’d be allowed to join THE CLUB.

And while there are times when weeping and wallowing feel necessary for releasing the buildup of toxins caused by critical assaults, it must only be temporary. Long enough for a cleansing wallow, but brief enough to recall that the opinions of others cannot injure your truths or shake loose your passionate belief in the gifts you’ve been given. They belong to you as long as you care to feed and nurture them.

And really, truly, it is my hope and prayer for you that you do.

 

What ya thinking? How difficult is it for you to maintain your armor when the going gets tough? Have there been times when you’ve been tempted to surrender, only to find your faith renewed in the eleventh hour? The floor is yours!

 

 

 

 

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50 Shades of Green

 

envy4

 

It seems unlikely that anyone–especially anyone who’s ever undertaken the head-scrambling angst of setting pen to paper with the intent of composing brillaint, unforgettable prose–could fail to notice  obsess over the boggle-the-mind, runaway-success stories that bolster certain books to the lofty heights of Mega Bestsellerdom .

Far from what would ordinarily be considered masterful or especially remarkable, they are oftentimes books more likely to furrow foreheads, clench lips, and inspire interior chants to boom–Why? How can this be? Where have all the grammar school English teachers gone?–if only in an effort to drown out the not so pretty sour grape spills of Not Fair! WTH Because, seriously, How is it even possible that such crappy, hackneyed, over-under written book sell beyond the bounds of a bazillion gigaton?

Deny it if you must.  Insist that you yourself harbor no writerly dreams or aspirations that such a phenomena would sweep in to propel the spine printed with your name.  (And as you continue with your vehement protests, how about we pause here a moment to step in and check your pulse. You know, just to be sure your heart is still beating.)

JUST THE FACTS MA’AM

Reasonable, impossible, or mind-boggling as it may be, the fact remains that someone out there is buying, reading, and talking-up those mega selling books. Many many someones.  Enough someones to dropkick records and propel certain books to the top of the lifetime achievement bazillionare club.

It’s enough to make a green-eyed monster swell to the proportions of Everest.

Envy1

 

 

 

 

AND THE WINNER IS…

It’s essential to keep in mind that, unlike contestants in the Miss Universe contest,  books are NOT in competition with each other.  Should “50 Shades of Anything” suddenly go spiraling off into oblivion never to be seen in print again, its disappearance would have no impact whatsoever on that truly awesome and magnificent book your book waiting behind curtain number two.  Because, once again, repeat after me: Books Are Not In Competition With Each Other.

ROCKETING BOOKS UP THE CHARTS AND INTO THE STRATOSPHERE

The numbers are about readers. The gazillion, bazillion readers who open their wallets, click the buy-it-now button, pluck down their Visa cards, and spread the word.  They hold the keys to the book lovers kingdom. Simple as that.

If there’s a formula for hitting the sweet spot, I don’t know it. As a writer, I simply aspire to find the words that feel closest to my truth.

Okay, I can hear you thinking… So, what’s up? It’s nice to share 😀

Linky Love Friday

I visited some great places this week of whirlwind blog hopping, and gathered some of my favorite links to pass on.

 

*The Value of Publicity : Terrific, straight-up, and spot-on post by  successful author and wildly popular (for good reason) J.A. Konrath,  whose blog A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing is always a worthwhile stop.

*When do You Need to Secure Permissions : Absolutely “good to know” information from Jane Friedman that should prove handy to all of us hoping to avoid future litigation.

*Author Amanda Hocking on Self-Publishing: Deliciously interesting article at the Huffington Post about Amanda Hocking and how she REALLY feels about her remarkable fame.

*I’ve been  editing, rewriting, and remuddling my Frankenstein of a WIP for so long, that I’ve had serious concerns of late that by the time it’s ready for the final spit and polish I won’t remember how the pages are REALLY supposed to look. So when this post What Writers Need To Know About Formatting (FAQS), popped up on the Writer’s Digest site this week , it definitely felt like a touch of Divine Intervention.

*10 Bestselling Books with More Than 80 One-Star Reviews: This is my feel good post of the week from GalleyCat. Fun reading and something we all might want to keep in mind on the chance any of our own reviews get a touch of Ugly Dust from the Meanie Fairy!

*And simply because it made its shiny debut this week, I present my new Author Page, Barbara Forte Abate on Facebook.  A milestone that has me borrowing Sally Fields infamous acceptance speech at the Oscar’s several years ago, “You like me! You really really like me!” and reversing the words to, “I hope they LIKE me!  I hope they really really LIKE me.” 🙂

It’s fun to share, so please do!  What are your own great “link” discoveries this week?

http://janefriedman.com/2012/01/23/permissions/

When do you need Permissions,