Stay Tuned

Do you want to know the super secret handshake of publishing?

Well, I’m about to let you in on it.

No matter how complex the music, you’ve got to resonate to your own inner tuning fork, that sense that lets you know you’re being true to yourself.  That’s it.

Perhaps that made you groan or roll your eyes.  A lot of us have that reaction to the simple but hard stuff of life.

Because don’t kid yourself, this isn’t easy.  We are constantly bombarded with advice and dire warnings about how we will never succeed until we do things the “Right Way.” Added to that, we have the hellhounds of self-doubt and the bullwhips of envy at our backs each day when we open our WIP and compare our words to those of our favorite authors.

My personal bullwhip: writing speed.  From Nora Roberts to Nalini Singh, I’ve noticed that writing fast is the key component to a highly successful romance career.  I scour their interviews and blogs for clues to how these authors achieve and maintain this speed.  How are they able to write multiple series so well and so fast? What is their secret formula? How can I emulate them?

Studying the career paths of successful writers in your genre can be a useful exercise. But when an observation becomes a bullwhip, watch out.  You’ve lost touch with your own inner tuning fork and are vibrating to someone else’s song.

So what should you do about your perceived weaknesses?

Is it better to shore up them up or focus on your strengths?  Each point of view has its vocal proponents, but here’s the executive summary:

The weaknesses camp say you can never rise above your weakest link.  Weaknesses create a bottle neck that keep you from attaining your dreams.

The strength camp says don’t waste your time on becoming mediocre.  Put all your efforts into areas where you already excel and become great.

How do you know what you should do?  Listen to your inner tuning fork.  It’ll be vibrating like crazy when you’re working on the stuff you need and will be stubbornly silent when you’re not.  In this case, it is all about you–and if it isn’t you better find out why you’re singing someone else’s song.

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