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Take a Risk


Getting motivated to take a risk is intimidating at times. However, to reach your goals, you have to take a risk.  Especially, if the plan you’ve been using has not been successful. If what you’ve been doing isn’t getting you closer to your goal, then step back and take a look at other alternatives. You may have to go out of your comfort zone. You may have to do something new and different.  You may also have to insert a little bit of fun and reward.

Let’s say, “Hm. I want to get a book published.” That’s your goal. It has not happened yet. Let’s check and see what you have done and what you have not done.

  1. I have written a manuscript. I have checked guidelines for formatting.
  2. I have joined or formed a critique group of fellow writers whose aim is also to be published.
  3. I have searched for publishers of this kind of book.
  4. I have either submitted a full manuscript or a query to the publisher according to the publisher’s guidelines that are posted on their website.
  5. I have waited for a reply. Today no reply is a “No.”

Then what do you do? Aha. You say, “I dig a hole and put my head in it for 24 hours or longer.”

What? No, please don’t do that. You’ve got to keep going.  Find out what motivates you. Perhaps the following story will help you.  This  story is not about getting published, but it may help you find out what motivates you and use it to help you submit more times, write and submit more stories, and/or try other ways to reach your goals in life.

Here’s my story. I taught Elementary School for 35 years. I wanted to retire at 30 years. However, through life’s clitches, I didn’t have enough money in the retirement system. I would have to work 5 extra years. I was not in the least bit sure I could last 5 more years. I was tired of checking papers. I was tired of bringing home tons of papers to check. I told my principal that I needed a change. I asked for a transfer. I put in an application to teach in a different school system.  I even got a summer job working with Kelly Office Services. I just knew I wouldn’t have to check papers if I did that.

Now enters the subconscious mind to play tricks on me. My job was working for Piedmont Airlines when they  merged with US Air in 2004. Guess what? My job was to plan the parties to celebrate when the Stewards and Stewardesses passed their merger tests. Guess who had to check the tests? You’re right. It was me. I laughed and laughed. If you follow different animals and try to learn lessons from them as the American Indians do, it was Coyote that was trying to help me laugh at myself. That’s one thing that helped me check papers.

Another thing that helped me check papers was this. I thought to myself, “I can pay someone to check my papers for me. Some teachers in the primary grades had assistants to check papers for them. I could pay someone to check my papers. I decided that $3.00 an hour would be a good price to pay someone.  Who needed money? I said to myself, “It would be nice to help someone out that needed extra money.”  The neediest person I could think of, that needed more money was me.  Therefore, I started paying myself $3.00 an hour to check papers. I used the money to buy myself a new dress, go to a movie, or another fun activity.  It worked to lessen the stress of checking papers when I really didn’t want to do it any more.

The third thing that helped me was the principal offered me a chance to teach kindergarten. I didn’t have to take any papers home to check. Most of the papers were checked as the kinders worked. I made it my last five years teaching kindergarten. I earned the 5 years so I could retire. I reached my goal. Hurray for me.

My point is when you are floundering, try to have a sense of humor about it and look for a way to reward yourself for each step you take in persevering toward your goal.

Back to publishing.  Reward yourself for completing each step. You know what you like. Bubble baths, manicures and pedicures, getting your hair styled, buying a new outfit.  I found that rewarding myself and having a good sense of humor got me through. Having a sense of humor and rewarding yourself for completion of different steps to your goal is a great way to help you get what you want and deserve.  If you submit a manuscript, query, or proposal, this is good.

Keep improving your writing.  Take an online class, join Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators http://www.scbwi.org/  When you join the National Group, you also become a member of a local chapter. Subscribe to a writer’s magazine. Learn from others who are successful at doing what you want to accomplish.  Having a sense of humor and rewarding yourself will help motivate you to take a risk to get to your goal. Try it. You’ll like it.

Never Give Up

Joan Y. Edwards

Updated December 5, 2015 Copyright © 2009-2015 Joan Y. Edwards. All rights reserved.

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