Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pledge of No Grousing

I have been working with a book called “Get Known Before the Book Deal: Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform” (Christina Katz, Writer’s Digest Books, 2008).  While its primarily focused on non-fiction, I have still been finding it useful and I enjoy Katz’s breezy, no-nonsense style.  

I am nearly done with section one which has been focusing on helping an author figure out what her/his platform might be.  She also has a lot of common sense advice about behaving in a professional manner throughout the process and figuring out how to be your own producer and promoter without being obnoxious.  The section I just read was titled “Ditch Your Resistance” and she makes the point that you (the author) are 100% responsible for the success of your writing career.  All the time.  Then she goes on to ask that you (the author) make a promise that for one year you will never utter a word of reproach against anyone involved with getting you published – no whining, blaming, or other displays of poor attitude.

This promise is not hard for me to make because I had already decided to make it – and not just for a year.  At conventions and in writing groups one can almost immediately run into those people who are bitching and moaning and whose writing careers would be perfect if those other people weren’t idiots.  I had already made the decision that I wasn’t going to blame anyone else for my challenges – if they had really, truly “done me wrong” I’d deal with it in a professional, polite manner, but otherwise I would not rail bbout things.  So Katz’s pledge fits very well with this intention – and here it is (you can find it on pp. 68-9 of her book):

     I, Tannara Young, being of sound mind and body, do solemnly commit to keep my grousing to myself for the period of one year.  This stuffing of the sock in my mouth includes, but is not limited to, whining about all matters related to the publication of my work.  I will not grumble if I do not like an editor’s changes.  I will not moan if I do not like how long production of my work is taking.  I will not cry if I don’t get paid.
     Instead, when and if an injustice occurs, I will calmly take appropriate steps to alert my clients that I am a professional and that I expect professional treatment.  I will treat them in kind.  I will not even whimper when my pet projects get canned.  Regardless of how much I want to grouse, I will not so much as make a sarcastic remark.
     If I have a legitimate complaint and I can’t shake it on my own, or if one is eating at me to the point of distraction, I will discuss it with a good friend or trusted advisor until I find peace.  I won’t dwell on it or hang onto it unnecessarily.  I will do everything I can to avoid a victim stance.
Instead I commit to one year of channeling the energy I would otherwise spend grousing into becoming known.  Most importantly I will not contact Christian Katz with the intention of complaining in any way, shape or manner.  So help me Great Spirits of Publishing.
    Signed Tannara Young, May 16, 2012 

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