From Thea: Jane and I initially connected through Brenda Novak’s annual diabetes fundraiser. I am very excited when she accepted my invitation to come visit this week. Be sure to pay attention to contest details at the end of the post. for Jane’s generous giveaway! Jane, take it away!
The Heroine’s Journey
My first sale, The Italian Groom, was to Harlequin Presents in 2000.
It only took me 13 rejected books, and 15 years to get that first sale.
That first sale was momentous, and life changing.
Since then I’ve written 43 books and novellas, for Harlequin, Grand Central and Berkley.
Forty-three books and thirteen years later, I’ve learned this about being a writer and the publishing industry: there is going to be a lot of criticism, a lot of industry change, and a lot of self-doubt.
But forty-three books and thirteen years later I’ve also learned that I don’t write for those who criticize me. I write for the readers. I write for my readers. I write for those who crave the stories I can tell.
It sounds basic, right? But it took a lot of hard hits, rough reviews, and ups and downs to get to be the woman I am today, which is strong. Hopeful. Resilient.
Here are 8 things being a romance writer has taught me:
#1 You Must Define Your Expectations
a) What are your goals for yourself, short term, and long term?
b) How do you define success?
I discovered early on that I couldn’t be content until I know what I was striving for.
I also think its important to not compare careers, other people’s lives, or your goals to others. That just creates angst and anxiety. Have your own goals, have your own definitions of happiness and success and focus on that.
#2 Take Risks in Life
Go for it. Whatever it is you want to do. Don’t be afraid to extend yourself. Don’t be afraid to dream big, work hard, or come up short. That’s part of life, so make your life as exciting and adventurous as you want.
#3 Anticipate Problems
We’re all going to fail at times, and we’re going to make mistakes. It’s impossible not to make mistakes, especially when trying something new, or pushing ourselves to the next level. Don’t beat yourself up for mistakes, and don’t let it take you out of the game. Anticipate that there will be road blocks and difficulties, and then work through them.
#4 Eliminate Negativity
I have amazing friends. They are smart and funny, tough, honest, and more than a little gritty. Many of them are fellow novelists, others have their own businesses, others are stay at home moms, but we all have one thing in common—we’re supportive of each other, and we focus on the positives. Surround yourself with positive people.
#5 Develop a Psychology of Power
Most of us weren’t raised to think of ourselves as warriors. Too many of us were raised to please others. And that’s a problem, because if we’re trying to please others, we’re vulnerable to the judgments of others. We tend to put others perceptions and judgments above our own. We literally give away our power, deferring to others, and yet deep down, we’re frustrated and angry that we’ve told ourselves what amounts to a lie. No one has a right, or better answer. No one knows that much more than you do. No one knows better than you what’s right for you.
So if you’re not mentally tough yet—make that one of your goals. Focus on becoming tenacious, or resilient.
#6 Take Action
Make you and your dreams a priority.
Want to be a writer? Write, rewrite, submit. Want to go back to college? Take the necessary tests, or fill out the necessary applications. Want to start your own business? Do the research and then act on it.
We have to take risks. We have to be willing to strike out on our own. We have to commit to creating the life we want. We can’t wait for it to happen. It won’t happen without us taking action…making hard decisions, tackling problems, and putting blood and sweat and tears into seeing out dreams become reality.
#7 Trust Yourself
So don’t give away your power. You must trust yourself to write. You must trust yourself to live.
One of my favorite authors is Ray Bradbury. For ten years Bradbury had a sign taped over his typewriter, and the sign read: Don’t Think!
Obviously Bradbury thought—he wrote incredible stories and essays and books—but he realized it was dangerous to get obsessive and to over-think things. Don’t let constant analysis or self-doubt paralyze you.
#8 Gird Yourself
I’m repeating myself, but surround yourself with positive friends. Turn a deaf ear to the doubters and naysayers. If you’re a writer, ignore dismal market statistics. Throw away painful rejection letters or contest critiques. Delete emails that hurt. Get off loops that undermine your confidence.
In short, be your own best friend. Protect your self, nurture your dream, focus your energy. Remember attitude in this business is everything. Hard work pays off. Positive thinking is essential, as is sheer grit. Don’t ever give up. Don’t quit. Don’t stop believing in yourself. Real heroes hang tough.
These eight tips, seem simple. But they were hard for me to internalize, and I only did so after much soul-searching and struggle.
I don’t regret the struggle, because I’m proud of who I am today, and my struggles have made me want to reach out to other women–readers, writers, moms, students–and encourage them. Support them. Because success isn’t about selling a book, or lots of books, its about owning your life, and loving your life, and most importantly, loving yourself.
Success isn’t a thing. It’s an attitude.
So take care of yourself, surround yourself with positive people, learn to weather storms, savor your successes, and enjoy every bit of your life. You’re worth it.
Let me say that again: You are worth it.
You are special.
You are a hero.
You deserve that happy ever after.
And don’t you ever forget it.
Bestselling author of the Jane Porter has been a finalist for the
prestigious RITA award four times and has over 12 million copies in print.
September 2012 brought the release of The Good Woman, the first of her
Brennan Sisters trilogy, followed in February 2013 with The Good Daughter
and book three is slated for release in September. Jane lives with her
surfer husband and three sons in sunny San Clemente, CA. To learn more about
Jane, please visit her website at www.janeporter.com
Jane has shared with us some great things she’s learned from writing romance, what have you learned from reading romance novels?
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