3 Literary Fails I've Come to Embrace

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By Imani Wisdom

Remember being that fresh, wet-behind-the-ears novice, beaming because you turned your grand idea into a manuscript?

You then tell your friends, family, and even will let a few read your unedited work, hoping they will agree of what you have been saying all along -- it's the best story ever. 

You can't contain yourself as your imagination runs wild of 50 Shades of Grey-type of success. Your book...your baby that no one has ever heard -- not along the author -- turns into an "overnight sensation". Everyone but everyone wants to know who you are -- media outlets, curious fans, and of course, seizing the interviews of all interviews, Oprah.

But, wait...let's not forget movie deals. You know in that beautiful mind of yours it has popped up. Alice Walker did it. Sapphire scored big with her jewel. Alex Haley's simple story of his family's lineage turned into a week long, television event; and Twelve Years of Slave is now cinematic gold. So why not, right? Hell, your first draft is proof enough. Besides, what author has not imagined their babies on the big or small screen. 

So now that I tapped into your "new author's" high, may I ask you a question? How do you get from the first draft to wherever you see your book taking you? I'm not stepping on your dreams -- trust me, I've been there. There is nothing wrong with visualizing the possibilities; it is a motivating factor. However, if you are new to the literary game, I have to share some wisdom with you (no pun intended). Hear me out. 

Your decision to write a book is more than staying up late at night. You, my friend, will become a business owner -- the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), President, the head-honcho, or whatever title you choose to call yourself, the fact remains the responsibility to see your vision come to pass falls on you. Since the theme of this post is honesty, let me share my three literary fails. They are embarrassing to say the least, but I've come to embrace each fall and wear them like a badge of honor. You know what they say: Experience is a good teacher. 

Listen And Learn 

I admit; I'm stubborn. I had the complex all of my life. My own momma couldn't teach me anything because I thought I knew better than she. And every mistake I made from my adolescence to adulthood, I could hear momma's voice echoing in my head, "I told you!" 

Well, this fail reminded me of that occasion. When I had the pleasure to meeting new and seasoned authors, I felt like I was a part of their club. We spoke the same language, talked about our goals, and discuss potential collaborations; but when they tried to school me about my writing and their other recommendations, I heard them but didn't skillfully listened. From time to time, I would hear an experience author venting in all of their honesty: "You asked my opinion of your writing, and when tell I you what you don't want to hear, you say I'm hating?"

You have to remember they were once you -- new with dreams of being an overnight sensation. Yet somewhere during their journey, they were schooled like you and me. The truth for them were probably hard to swallow. Still, their desire to succeed had never wavered. 

The advice that was given to me still loomed my heart. Sometimes I go back and read one of their blog posts or send them an email or a social media direct message and ask them a question. It is a shame I'm learning this now. So don't let it be you. 

Don't Blink. You May Lose Your Opportunity 

True story: A well-known, bestselling author sent me a personal message on Facebook, offering her guidance and wanting to include me in her writing group, which is not online by the way. She also included her phone number and told me to call her if I was interested. I remembered glowing with excitement because this established author wanted to put me her under wing. So you would think I would have grabbed my phone as soon as I read her message? 

Uh, no. 

Because of a life-long speech impediment, I put off from calling her for fear of a nervous stutter during our conversation. You are probably saying, everyone stutter when they get nervous. Mine could be debilitating when my nerves get riled-up. Who knows, she may had taken it as nerves, but subconsciously, I felt otherwise. 

Next time when someone offers you an opportunity to be under their wing, a collaboration, or an interview on a fellow author's blog, take advantage of it. You will never know what doors will open or people you will meet. Opportunities are golden, don't pass them up.

Be A Hustler, Think Like An Author 

I had that mentality backward and it cost me big time! All I cared was my craft and nothing else. So cramming Business 101 in an all ready filled cranium full of stories seemed too much -- or so I thought. 

Like any business startup, you need capitol. It does not take a "Donald Trump" to understand that you need money to make a quality product. Cutting corners for the sake of a buck will hurt "your baby", and potentially your reputation. Do yourself a favor and consider these factors: marketing, branding, graphic artists, and most importantly, a dern good editor. The first three are not hard on the pockets compared to editing. I could go on and on as to why Editors are essentially the glue that hold your story; just know if you settle for less, you're going to get what you pay for. 

My experience was opposite. I had a superb editor, but I didn't budget the expenses as I should, and I eventually fell short. And because of that blunder, my novel lay waiting until my debts are resolved. Lesson learned, for sure. But hey, I owned my wrongs, and I'm moving forward. The road as a successful author is by far not as smooth as some imagine -- actually, a rude awakening if your expectations are too high. 

So if you plan accordingly and research like you are on mission, you will do fine. And one last piece of advice I want to share -- and it is a must: If you are not having fun, the journey to your aspirations will be a bumpy ride. So puh-leeze, make it at least a memorable one.

(c) 2014, Imani Wisdom


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2 comments:

Priscilla Danita said...

This was was informational however it was your personal testimonies that made this inspirational. I know that if you keep doing what your doing and learning from the past you will go far in life Imani.

Imani Wisdom said...

My mistakes were a mean teacher. Yet I've taken each lesson and learned carefully, so I wouldn't make the same one again.

And thank you!

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