Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Lies We Tell Ourselves. AKA: Why you don't have a boyfriend... I mean, publisher.



I have a friend who desperately wants a boyfriend.

She goes to the gym, she wears nice clothes and gets her hair done professionally, her makeup is always flawless and she has fun hobbies and interests. She cooks and cleans, she’s sweet and caring, she has a good job and she’s hands down one of my most generous friends.

She doesn’t understand why she’s single. So I ask her:

“How often do you introduce yourself to men you don’t know?”
“Never.”
“When you see a guy watching you at the gym, what do you do?”
“Avoid eye contact.”
“How often do you ask male store clerks what they’re doing on the weekend or if they’ve seen the latest action movie?”
“Never.”
“How often do you go to classes or activities where you don’t know anyone and make new friends?”
“Never. But I’m fit and I buy nice clothes, I have a good job, I have mastered the smoky eye and my cleavage is amazing!”

And you know what? She is amazing. And she’d make an awesome girlfriend. However it’s probably not going to happen while she refuses to take those extra steps like actually meeting men.

Everyone reading this knows a guy or girl like that. Maybe you are that guy or girl. However most writers I meet do exactly the same thing—not with romance and dating, but with their writing career.

They work on the things that are easy for them and ignore the things they find hard or scary. Maybe they write every day, but refuse to learn how to draft a proper query or present an elevator pitch. Maybe they write awesome action, but their dialogue is terrible. However instead of fixing the areas they know they have deficiencies, they just keep plugging away like they always have.

The best cleavage in the world won’t get you a boyfriend if you won’t talk to men (or women). You’ll never get published if you keep wilfully ignoring your weaknesses. Chances are, if you’re serious about a career in writing you know what you should be doing but aren’t. It’s that guilty little twist in your gut you’re feeling as you read this.

In fact, that’s probably true of whatever your goal is. We both know you’re doing the fun, easy parts—maybe you’re even doing the hard, asses-and-elbows part, but you’re not doing the scary part. You’re not improving in the area you’re worst at, regardless of if that is financial, public relations, grammar or some other secret area known only to you.

So lets me honest: What are you not doing that you should? What’s really holding you back?

Let’s work on that today.

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