Writing Is Not a Zero Sum Game
Written by
Lisa Rivero
July 2010
Written by
Lisa Rivero
July 2010
Everyone loves success stories, so here are a few to inspire you toward writing success—big or small—of your own.

Genre Jumping

Are you trying to switch genres? Or expand your writing to include more genres? Maybe you have always written fiction but are now beginning to write a non-fiction blog, or maybe you are a poet who is trying her hand at young adult fiction, or a non-fiction freelancer who is now writing children’s books as well.

girl jumping

If so, take some encouragement from April Lindner, whose debut novel, Jane, is due to be released in October of this year. Jane may be Lindner’s first novel, but it is not her first publication. Her collection of poetry, Skin, won the 2001 Walt McDonald First Book Poetry Prize. You can read some of Lindner’s poems here. Associate Literary Agent Bree Ogden (disclaimer: my agent!) is offering a contest to win an Advance Review Copy of Lindner’s Jane: “An irresistible romance interwoven with a darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers.” The contest ends June 11th, so be sure to visit Bree’s blog, This Literary Life, to learn the rules.

Going… Going… Gone: Auction Time!

Jodi Meadows shares on her blog how her first book deal (for a trilogy, nonetheless!) was the result of an auction. She writes, “Excited doesn’t begin to cover how I feel.” I was excited just reading about her journey! Be sure to notice how many months and years it took for her initial idea to come to fruition, and how she is organized enough to have a “new ideas” folder. Patience have, young padawans. Write, you must. Revise, you will. From Jodi:
“July 2006, I wrote a quick note in my ‘new ideas’ folder. Everyone is born a hundred times. Past lives, past loves–all are kept in boxes, safe where the souls can find them when they’re reborn. Everyone knows each other, whether they are enemies or friends. Everything is ordered. There are no new souls. Except Lana. Then I tucked it away and didn’t think about it until October 2009 when I renamed the main character, ditched the silly boxes thing, and started making notes so I could write ERIN INCARNATE. Several synopses later, I realized it was a trilogy.”

Outlining Turns Straw Words into Golden Prose

Finally, success doesn’t have to come in the form of publication or dollar signs to be big. Shannon Mayor recently wrote on her blog of the frustration that so many of us feel when we buy into the idea that writing should be easy (ah, yes, we have all been there!):
“I want to believe I can be like all those writers whose plot lines, character development, sub plots and nifty twists at the end of the story get spun out of thin air like Rumpelstiltskin spinning straw into gold. My straw doesn’t turn into gold, it’s still straw. Dang.”
The “magic” that Shannon discovered to turn her straw into gold was none other than outlining. Her post reminded me of the excellent chapter about outlining that Terry Brooks gives in his book Sometimes the Magic Works, and his “ten-word formula for success”:
“Read. Read. Read. Outline. Outline. Outline. Write. Write. Write. Repeat.”

Final Thoughts

success post-it

Writing is not a zero sum game! Regardless of where we are in the writing journey or what our specific goals are, we all can take joy in the success of other writers, learn from them, and draw inspiration and energy from their success. Congratulations, everyone! What success can you share?

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  • Lisa Rivero

    Angela, thank you! I know what it's like to find a little inspiration just when I need it, so I'm glad I could do that for someone else. :)

    Welcome to SheWrites!
    ~ Lisa

  • Thanks for this inspiring post! I needed a little inspiration this morning :)