When I Can’t Becomes I Can

by Kariss Lynch, @karisslynch

In high school, my band director erased can’t from my vocabulary. We had been a championship band, a finalist in the state for 4A high schools. But after two years, of mediocre performances, we were left wondering if we were has-beens that had become wanna-bes.

But he never settled for defeat. He delighted in giving us the most challenging routines and music while watching us rise to the occasion. And he tolerated nothing less than our absolute best, knowing that our greatest potential often lay just below our valid but weak excuses. It took training. Sweltering hours on pavement in Texas weather, running the routine over and over again until our clothes clung to sweaty frames. Then we hit the classroom, fingers meticulously skipping over the keys until we knew every note by heart and could play it standing or running in rhythm.

I remember trying and trying to get a note set correct and failing miserably (in front of fifty of my peers, by the way) on more than one occasion. After the fifth time, I quit trying.

“I can’t do it.”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“I can’t do it, Mr. C.”

“I don’t understand that word. Try again.”

It’s amazing what I came up with in the absence of that word. I’m having trouble. This is hard. How in the world do I do this? I don’t know how. But not one of those gave me the option to stop trying. And every excuse carried with it the opportunity to discover a new journey in the struggle.

He never let me quit in the classroom or on the marching field. Slow down, sure. Take each note one finger at a time, yep. But NEVER quit. Because he knew I could conquer the struggle if I set my mind to it, no matter the challenge.

Success lay just below the I can’ts just waiting to come to fruition with the acknowledgment of “I can…somehow.” And that lesson has shaped my writing journey. Rejections became detours. Can’ts became other challenges to conquer.

There have been many moments that I have been tempted to say “I can’t” in the middle of writing or editing or even marketing. But somehow, I meet the deadline every time, proud of the finished product.

Much like with marching or learning music, I keep writing until the words become an extension and enhancement of the story instead of simply an exploration to jog my creativity. Every time I finish, I know I CAN. I just have to discover HOW. I determined that I wanted it much more than I feared it.

Talent and passion may come naturally. But success as a result of those attributes NEVER comes without hard work and a willingness to push past rejection, defeat, and redirection. As soon as you purge the excuses, the story blooms, and it’s only a matter of time before others outside your circle begin to notice the beauty of the finished product.

By the way, when we purged the excuses, our band went on to place first in every competition that season and ended the semester and my high school career as 4A Texas State Champions.

This thing you keep attempting that you think is impossible? That next step you aren’t sure about? They’re possible. It just takes placing one foot in front of the other until you see the results.

TWEETABLES:

Tweet: When I can’t becomes I can by @KarissLynch via @NovelAcademy #writing #encouragement https://ctt.ec/906Gs+

Tweet: “Every time I finish, I know I CAN. I just have to discover HOW.” by @KarissLynch via @NovelAcademy #writing https://ctt.ec/2d6XL+

~*~

Kariss Lynch writes contemporary romance about characters with big dreams, adventurous hearts, and enduring hope. She is the author of the Heart of a Warrior series and loves to encourage her readers to have courage. In her free time, she hangs out with her family and friends, explores the great outdoors, and tries not to plot five stories at once. Connect with her at karisslynch.com, or on Facebook, Instagram, or Goodreads.

 

5 Conference Tips & Tricks

by Kariss Lynch, @Kariss_Lynch

At my first conference, I was a ball of nerves. My hands shook as I passed my one-sheet across the table to the editor. My voice rattled as I flew through my pitch. And my adrenaline crashed as soon as I left the room.

The second year, I felt prepared. My nerves still sang, but my hands and voice stayed steady. I met my agent and editor that year and went on to push out three books under my contract.

That first conference was six years ago, and I’ve learned a lot about the industry since then. I’m met incredible people, mentors, friends, and creatives. I’m working toward a new contract now, but I no longer sit down across the table from an industry professional a ball of nerves. It’s not because I’m published now or because I know more than the next person.

I’ve simply learned more tips and tricks along the way.

  1. Be YOU: Your uniqueness will make you stand out when you sit across from agents and editors. Nerves come when you are trying to impress. Peace comes when you confidently and humbly claim who God has made you and walk into the room ready to mingle with others who may be nervous, too.
  1. Prepare content: A business card is a handy tool to have with you at the conference that will help you put faces to names when you get home. I also go prepared with a one-page to at least put on the table while I am talking with editors and agents. Some will look at it during our discussion, few end up taking it home, some ask for it before you even begin talking. Regardless, it is wise to have one handy.
  1. Engage with others: So many writers are introverted by nature, but even if that is the case, it doesn’t mean you are incapable of interacting with people. When you sit down at the table, engage with those around you. Connect with the intention of hopefully building relationships that will last as your journey progresses.
  1. Capitalize on the experience: Don’t sign up for so many editor and agent appointments that you miss the classes and workshops. The appointments are important. The classes will help you grow so that you have a greater chance of signing a contract. Find a balance, and don’t miss all the opportunities conference offers!
  2. Remember who is in control: At the end of the day, I had to learn that though I desperately wanted a contract to make all my writing dreams come true, the editor or agent sitting across from me did not hold the keys to that dream. The Lord does. I can freely sit down, have a conversation, share my heart and my story, and leave confident that God is in control.

Conferences are a beautiful way to grow, build relationships, and network. Don’t let nerves get in the way. Go prepared and then watch and see what the Lord does through your obedience to show up.

~*~

Kariss Lynch writes contemporary romance about characters with big dreams, adventurous hearts, and enduring hope. She is the author of the Heart of a Warrior series and loves to encourage her readers to have courage. In her free time, she hangs out with her family and friends, explores the great outdoors, and tries not to plot five stories at once. Connect with her at karisslynch.com, or on Facebook, Instagram, or Goodreads.