When I was in my late twenties I heard a Chinese Proverb that crazy-glued itself into my brain the moment I heard it. I’ve thought about it hundreds of times throughout my life. This Proverb is so wise you’d almost think King Solomon wrote it. Here’s it is:
“He who deliberates fully before taking a step will spend his entire life standing on one leg.”
I kind of envision a flamingo standing on one scrawny pink leg, never moving and never getting a muscle cramp. Did you know they can stand that way for hours at a time? How (you may ask) does this apply to writing? Here’s the application—
No way do I want to be a “flamingo” writer and spend my writing life on one leg of procrastination! Do YOU?
As a writer have you ever felt as though you were standing on one leg in your career? You’ve got one leg stuck in the air and you’re too afraid to take a step forward. I have. As a Christian I first pray for God to open writing doors, then I try to move toward them. If I’m trusting God I’ll start walking even if the writing territory is new or extremely challenging. If I hit a closed door with my face (SMACK!) I’ll know God closed it (at least for a time). Then, I’ll turn around and look for another door. Sometimes in my weakness and fear I’m tempted to do the “flamingo” and not move forward—then I snap out of it! In the early years of my writing career I probably had any flamingo beat for the longest standing time. Thankfully, I rarely do the “flamingo” now.
Ask yourself these questions:
* Do I spend most of my time reading blog after blog after infinite blog about writing, but never write or submit something myself?
* Do I read every book that comes out on the how-to’s, but don’t put into practice what I’m learning?
* Am I afraid to show my work to a critique group?
* Does fear of rejection keep me from sending out a submission to that magazine or book publisher I’ve been studying?
* Do I give up after my third, fifth, tenth, twentieth rewrite? (I know a recognized, successful children’s author who says she does about 50 rewrites per picture book before it’s “just right”).
If you found yourself saying “yes” to some or most of these, then it’s time to put that leg down and move forward!
Don’t be afraid of trying new things like:
* Writing for another genre (I’m doing that)
* Rewriting your chapter book in a better point-of-view (I’m doing that, too. Wow! What a difference!)
* Speaking or teaching a class about what you know. (You DON’T have to know EVERYTHING!)
* Developing a writers blog and keeping it up.
* Networking with other writers (Blogging can help with this)
* Sending queries before you’ve written the whole book (Nancy Sanders’ idea works! Get her newest book!)
* Do work-for-hire assignments for magazines and/or book publishers while you continue to work on your book. It will tighten your writing, fatten your bio, and it’s fun!
Here’s the bottom line—
Don’t deliberate so long that writing opportunities God gives you are missed!
So, I say to myself, the writer, “Don’t just stand there with one leg in the air, Sherri! It looks ridiculous and you’re not a flamingo!”
Contributed by Sheryl Crawford