Write Like an Olympian

by Kariss Lynch, @Kariss_Lynch

It’s time for the 2018 Olympics, and with the opening ceremonies, I will be retreating to my living room as I watch a few weeks of athletes chasing their dreams amidst massive adrenaline rushes. I literally count down to the Olympics every year. I’m drawn to the stories of these individuals, and I love watching our flag raised high and the national anthem play after each of their victories. But I think what I love most about the Olympics is that on some level I relate to these athletes, maybe not in skill set but I do in drive, and I think there is something we as writers can learn from them.

  1. Discipline

It is no small feat to stand on an international stage. Before these athletes get their one or two shots to compete, they are training tirelessly, often for years leading up to the big event. That training often entails injury, early mornings, long hours, lots of pain and sweat, and maybe even discouragement. But I imagine when they stand at the top of the mountain about to ski down or grip their partner’s hand before they glide onto the ice, all the time spent is worth it. We will never see our publishing dreams come to life without hours of discipline. These are the hours no one else will ever see, and these are the hours that will shape us the most.

  1. Dreaming

I am a dreamer by nature, and I imagine many of these athletes are, as well. Making our dreams a reality requires intentionality, something these athletes do not lack. It is clear to me that many of them don’t just show up to these games to compete. They show up because they love their sport. Likewise, I will need taste victory if I fail to dream with intention and get so caught up in the discipline and task that I forget why I started this journey in the first place – because I love story.

  1. Daring

It takes daring to lead in innovation, scores, and skill in a sport. It takes a willingness to try the things others won’t, to know your body and its possibilities and limitations and push until you see victory. It takes character that races forward in spite of fear, obstacles, and insecurity. Daring embraces the challenge and perseveres. I want to be like that with my writing. I want to be the innovator, the creator, the encourager, and the challenger of the status quo. I want to know the stories God has given me and write them without fear, and I want to encourage my readers to live boldly.

I am constantly inspired by these athletes, and I want to be that source of inspiration to readers. I want to watch these games, cheer for Team USA, and then grab my computer and write like an Olympian. Who’s with me? USA! USA!

Tweet: Write like an Olympian by @Kariss_Lynch via @NovelAcademy https://ctt.ec/6jaIH+ #writing

Tweet: 3 Tips For Writers to Write Like Olympians by @Kariss_Lynch via @NovelAcademy https://ctt.ec/P203z+ #writing

~*~

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 Tips for Keeping Your Dreams Alive After Disappointments

by Jeanne Takenaka, @jeannetakenaka

We all have friends who share their dreams coming true online. Whether they’ve been signed with an agent or gotten a book contract, these are joyful steps forward toward the fulfilling of a dream.

But what about when we take those steps and meet with . . . disappointment?

The first time I received a pass for a book I’d spent hours on, disappointment hit harder than I ever expected. I questioned if I was even meant to be a writer. And all those old lies screamed doubt across my heart. My mind went everywhere from giving up writing altogether to submitting to a different agent, to “Why in the world did I think I could write and publish a book?”

I needed to address a number of heart-issues before moving forward on this journey.

These are a few steps I’ve taken to walk through disappointments:

  • Take time to feel the disappointment . . . but don’t stay there.
  • Look at the validity of the feedback, and remember to see the positive. It’s easy to focus on the negative things that were said about these “babies’ in word form. If you’re like me, you only see the negative things that were shared, and your eyes skim past the positives that may have also been conveyed. Stop. Find the positives and remember we’re all works in progress.
  • Talk with a friend if you need to regain perspective. When I got my “‘pass” on that manuscript, I needed the encouraging words of a friend who is further along on this journey. She helped me see the big picture perspective I had been missing.
  • Take a little time and then get back at it. When we determine to keep working out our dreams, fear loses a battle.
  • Remember that God has given each of us a calling to write. He never asked us to do it alone. We need to trust Him and move forward in fulfilling it.

Achieving a dream is never as easy as we think it will be. Timing often looks different on God’s calendar than it does on ours. We will face times of disappointment and discouragement.

When we yield our dreams into His care, He will bring His vision of the dream to pass in our lives, in His way and His timing.

I’m still moving toward seeing my dreams become reality. I will face more disappointments, but I won’t walk through them alone. And this truth gives me the needed courage to keep moving forward.

What about you? What tips have helped you face disappointment and come out on the other side? What keeps you moving forward on this writing journey?

Tweetables:

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~*~

Jeanne Takenaka writes contemporary fiction that touches the heart. She won My Book Therapy’s Frasier award in 2014 after finaling in the contest in 2013. She was a Genesis 2015 finalist in the romance category, and she finaled in the Launching a Star Contest and the Phoenix Rattler in 2012. An active member of RWA, ACFW and My Book Therapy, Jeanne blogs about life and relationships at http://jeannetakenaka.wordpress.com. A graduate with an M.A. in education, she resides in Colorado with her husband and two exuberant teenage boys who hope to one day have a dog of their own.

Five Things I Wish I’d Known About Publishing

by Connilyn Cossette, @ConniCossette 

It’s been nearly six years since I began Googling things like “How to get published” and “How to get an agent” and pretty much freaking out over the sheer volume of information those searches provided. You too may be overwhelmed by all the (sometimes conflicting) advice out there and the myriad unknowns involved on the bumpy road known as publishing. Here are a few things I’ve learned over the past few years that may encourage you to keep moving forward!

  1. Rejection gets way easier over time

I learned that with every negative contest judge comment came ten positive ones, and with every scathing 1-star review came twenty glowing 5-star ones. Yes, there will those that do not like your work and those that feel it necessary to post unkind opinions, but those readers are not your target audience. Your skin will toughen and the right editor/agent/reader will connect with your work when the time is right. Take heart, remember every single author gets bad reviews, and press on.

  1. Everything is slooooooooowwwww 

In my Pollyanna outlook, I thought as soon as I received manuscript requests it would be just a few weeks before I received a response. Instead, it took months before I heard anything, months before I was signed with my agent, months before I received a contract, and then another year and a half before my first book was published. And honestly, my experience was inordinately swift. If you are heading the traditional route you must be prepared to wait! Use that time to hone your craft, dig into another story or two, and do not be discouraged. With timing and perseverance, great things can happen!

  1. Successful authors are super cool and encouraging

I went to my first conference completely in awe of “real” authors, knees knocking if I even happened to stand next to one of these “rare unicorns.” I had put successful authors on a pedestal instead of realizing that they were just like me—people who adore words, likely sitting around in their pajamas paralyzed by fears and doubts when faced with the blank page. Don’t be afraid to reach out to an author, ask for advice, or just let them know you enjoyed their work, it’ll bless both of you!

  1. Social media doesn’t have to be stressful

Social media does not have to take over your life. Pick a platform or two that you enjoy, don’t mess with the ones you don’t, and just have fun connecting with people instead of focusing on sales. Instead, spend your valuable time writing the very best book you can.

  1. It’s hard but so worth it

Sometimes this business is tough, sometimes it’s discouraging, sometimes you’ll feel like knocking your head against a wall—but if you’ve been called to it and you love writing for the sake of writing then it’s so worth the ups and downs. I can’t imagine my life any other way now. Enjoy the journey, with all its twists and turns!

Tweetables: 
Tweet: Five Things I Wish I’d Known About #Publishing by @ConniCossette via @NovelAcademy https://ctt.ec/ub39k+ #writing

Tweet: “It’s hard but so worth it.” 5 Things I wish I’d Known About #Publishing by @ConniCossette via @NovelAcademy #writing https://ctt.ec/B6zf9+

~*~

Connilyn Cossette is the CBA best-selling author of the Out from Egypt Series with Bethany House Publishing. Her debut novel, Counted with the Stars, was a finalist for both an INSPY Award and a Christian Retailing’s Best Award. There’s not much she likes better than digging into the rich ancient world of the Bible, uncovering buried gems of grace that point toward Jesus, and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Although a Pacific Northwest native, she now lives in a little town near Dallas, Texas with her husband of twenty years and two awesome kids, who fill her days with laughter, joy, and inspiration. Connect with her at www.connilyncossette.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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:

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~*~

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.