Friday, July 6, 2012

Keeping a Shiny File by Erica Vetsch


How do you handle them? Those days when you wonder if all the hard work is worth it? Author Erica Vetsch is here today with inspiring words!  ~ Dawn

Keeping a Shiny File
by Erica Vetsch

No, this isn’t about housekeeping, or organization. (Neither of which I excel at.) This is about how hard the writer’s life can be and where we can find some encouragement when we need it.

Face it, the road to publication and beyond is, to put it mildly, a bumpy road. There are all sorts of attacks on our creativity and self-esteem.

I read in a parenting book once that it takes TEN positive affirmations to equal the emotional impact of ONE negative statement you make to your child.

I somehow think the ratio is even higher for writers when it’s about our work.

Have you ever gotten a tough critique? A bad review? A poor contest score? Has your creativity ever dried up, your muse fled, your story gone on strike?

And don’t even get me started on query letter rejections, proposal rejections, full manuscript rejections, pub-board rejections…oh wait, I wasn’t going to start on those.

The publishing ocean is riddled with a network of minefields, all lying in wait to blow up our happy-boat.

So what can a writer do? To avoid these catastrophes is to stop writing altogether. And we don’t want that. We write because we must, and because we’re pursuing a dream.

I advocate keeping what I call a “Shiny File.” This is a central location, easily accessed, where you store all the affirming things you receive regarding your writing. This can be a scrapbook you can physically hold in your hands, a shelf or wall in your office or writing space that you can see from your computer, or a file on your computer that you can navigate to when you need a little boost.


What sorts of things can you include in the Shiny File?
  • Positive reviews
  • Nice words from an agent or editor
  • An email from a reader who liked your book
  • Milestones in your writing that show you’re making progress, like queries sent out, proposals prepared, manuscripts finished. Keep a list and remind yourself that you’re making progress toward your goal.
  • Positive critique comments
  • Good contest scores
  • Photos of you with writer friends who inspire you
  • Inspiring and motivating quotes
  • Anything else that fills your happy-boat

When things get tough, when you need some of those atta-girls to make up for a painful comment, dry writing season, or discouraging friend or family member, open up your Shiny File and remind yourself that you’re not so bad as that comment or review or critique made you feel. You are a writer, and writers are resilient. You have a Shiny File to prove it.




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Erica Vetsch is a transplanted Kansan now residing in Minnesota. She loves history and reading, and is blessed to be able to combine the two by writing historical fiction set in the American West. Whenever she’s not following flights of fancy in her fictional world, she’s the company bookkeeper for the family lumber business, mother of two terrific kids, wife to a man who is her total opposite and soul-mate, and avid museum patron.

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