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Making the Commitment

It’s already November. Can you believe it, dear reader? The year is passing us by. Because of this realization, I began thinking about the beginning of the year and the commitments I’ve made. Since sharing the news that I am now with an agent, I would like to take Mondays as a chance to share with you a little about my journey up to this point in my writing career.



I discovered a knack for writing because of my second year high school English teacher. She had given us the assignment of writing a story. This was the first time I’d ever written anything. The only thing I remembered about that exercise was that I had written a love story. When my teacher read it, she said I had something. From then on, I started writing.

My life has taken many turns since then. I went to medical school in college. Then, having realized that curing the sick wasn’t really my thing, I walked into the Literature Department of the university and never looked back. This led me to become a teacher then a writing consultant. It’s just this year that I’d really decided to focus on my writing.



I believe you need to make a commitment when it comes to your passion. Don’t allow yourself to wake up one morning wondering what you did with your life. So many people realize this too late. And I don’t want that to happen to you, dear reader. I knew that to be a writer was what I really wanted. Nothing made me happier than to type out the stories of the characters in my head and sharing them with readers. So, come January of 2010, I committed myself to my writing.



First, I decided to write everyday, even if it was just a page or a chapter or a blog post. I committed to writing. Anything. I read in an essay once that to be successful at something, you need to put in your 10,000 hours. That’s what the Beatles and Bill Gates did. When I learned to play the piano, my teacher always told me to practice. I preferred pounding keys on a typewriter, and eventually, a computer rather than the black and white of a piano keyboard. Years later, I realized that practice is needed in everything that you do. If you want to be good at something, you have to do it everyday. And I haven’t looked back since. For the first time in years, I have written something everyday without missing a beat. No matter how stressed or exhausted my day had been. Even through the confinement of my mother in the hospital, I still wrote everyday. I’m not sure I’ve clocked in my full 10,000 hours yet, but I’m getting there, and I think, I won’t ever stop. It’s become a habit I’m thankful to have developed.



Second, setting goals. Not New Year’s resolutions, mind you. Actual goals that you want to single-mindedly achieve. When I was younger, I hated the question “What will you be in five years?” This is usually asked by guidance counselors or psychologists. I thought: how would I know what I’ll be in a week much less five years? It’s only since committing to my writing that I’ve realized how vital the answer to that question really is. So, I set goals. Attainable ones and sky’s the limit ones. The attainable ones: finish writing the novel, edit the novel, get an agent by the end of the year, and get a publisher by the end of the year, among other things. So far, I’m at the agent part and I’m working hard on editing to get to the publisher part. The sky’s the limit ones: become part of the New York Times Best Seller List, to see my characters on the silver screen, to be part of the Borders author interview series. There’s nothing wrong with reaching for the stars. It’s absolutely free and so much fun.



Once you have your goals, you have to set about fulfilling them. This is the hard part. It’s the actual work. It’s sitting in front of your computer and putting your novel together. It’s believing that you’ll make it even when the odds seem against you. When The Secret came out, it caused an international phenomenon. I haven’t read it, but I do know of it. And this is what I’ve learned: Think it. Say it. Do it. These three things actually comprise what The Secret is all about. Think of what you want: to be a writer. Say it: I am a writer. Do it: write everyday.



I’ll end my sharing there because I think there’s a lot to ruminate on already. Let the ideas settle in first. There will be more, dear reader, don’t worry. And please, don’t think I’m an expert. Far from it. I’m learning so many new things every day that I can’t call myself an expert on anything. I just want to share my experiences with you in the hopes of maybe, just maybe, being able to help out, even just a little. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them. I’ll answer them in a post. And if there’s anything about writing or the journey itself that you want me to post about, suggest it in the comments too, and I’ll get to it in the future.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this post and I hope it was helpful. Have a great rest of the week.

Sincerely,
Kate

5 comments:

  1. So many goals. So many dreams. And the wind blowing outside like it's trying to scramble them. I'm writing, but I'm no nano-ing. Too much to do in November.

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  2. I have the feeling it is not coincidence that NaNoWriMo starts today, yes? ^_^

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  3. Hi, Kate. Thanks for the excellent advice to authors -- I'm so happy to hear you got an agent. I tried to get one for years and never could. When I examined why I wanted to publish a novel (I was already writing for magazines) I discovered that the answer was because I wanted my work to be turned into an audio book. To achieve that goal, I formed an LLC called Straight to Audio Productions and turned my manuscript into an audio book. I would be happy to mail you a complimentary copy of Jitters-A Quirky Little Audio Book. To hear a sample, please visit my website at www.jittersaudiobook.com or check out my new YouTube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB4Z04k_7sY If you think this is something you'd like to hear, send me an address and I'll ship off a copy. Good luck with the agent. Let us know if you get published. BTW, I noticed that you had an icon for The Secret on your website -- I use what I've learned from that audiobook every day!

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  4. Actually, Lup, it's pure coincidence. I only realized that fact when I already posted the piece. :-P

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  5. Hi there. Thanks for the reminders to just do it. Yes Ma'am!
    Happy to hear from a fellow aspiring writer. Godspeed to us both :)

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