Archive for the ‘blogging’ Category

Value For Failure

May 3, 2007

Ever wonder what in the world you are supposed to be learning from this situation? It happens to me on a regular basis. I’ve been trying to add to these entries on The Writing Life but other events have crowded into my schedule. I’ve been on the road again and on a slammed schedule which hasn’t allowed any time for blogging. I continue to learn valuable lessons and insight through different experiences. It’s what I’ve tried to capture in many of these entries. I’m off on another trip today (the second one this week) but it’s a special one–our 12th anniversary. While I am not real crazy about Las Vegas, it’s where we’re headed later today. It’s the last year for Celine Dion and her show, A New Day. It should be fun and a quick trip–over today and back tomorrow. It’s a glimpse into my life but I hope it helps you understand why I haven’t been as consistent with my entries here.

One of the publications which I enjoy reading is Fast Company. This month includes a fascinating article called, “Failure Doesn’t Suck” about Sir James Dyson. I recommend the entire article but make sure you read this opening, “Today, Dyson makes the best-selling vacuum cleaner by revenue in the United States and is one of the richest blokes in Britain. But it took him 15 years and nearly his entire savings to develop his bagless, transparent creation. His latest innovation, a hand dryer that uses neither heat nor evaporation, took only three years, but Dyson says his grinding, error-filled approach hasn’t changed.

You once described the inventor’s life as “one of failure.” How so?

I made 5,127 prototypes of my vacuum before I got it right. There were 5,126 failures. But I learned from each one. That’s how I came up with a solution. So I don’t mind failure. I’ve always thought that schoolchildren should be marked by the number of failures they’ve had. The child who tries strange things and experiences lots of failures to get there is probably more creative.”

What an example of persistence! I’ve met many writers who have sent out their manuscript once or twice and been rejected, then they quit. They stick it back in their desk drawer and figure no one wanted to publish their work. In some cases, the proposal or manuscript wasn’t good and should have been rejected. The rejection isn’t always for that reason. There are many reasons for rejection and some of them are tied to the author’s work and some of them have nothing to do with the author. As I’ve written many times, it’s a matter of getting to the right publisher at the right time with the right manuscript. It’s like every detail has to line up right for it to happen and many authors are not willing to fail or persist to find that perfect spot. Are you learning from your failure and growing from them? I hope today each of us can follow the example of Sir James Dyson.

Relationship Building Is Important

March 14, 2007

Writing is one of those skills exercised in isolation. You curl up with your keyboard and crank some words on the page. You pour your stories and your characters or your research and experiences. It’s important to work hard at the craft of writing.

In addition to the writing, it is important to build new relationships and readers. It’s a question authors continue to ask about blogging. It’s time consuming and is it worth the time or not. I’ve decided it is worth it for me because of the relationship building part of it. In the March 5th issue of Publishers Weekly they tackle this question in the area of children’s books. Sue Corbett writes in part of this article, “Okay, so blogging is not exactly how all writers like to spend their time. But the big question, of course, is, do blogs sell books? On that, everyone agrees that the answer is yes, though no one can point to any numbers, at least not yet. “Saleswise, I’m not necessarily expecting to see a post-for-post, purchase-for-purchase correlation,” said Julie Strauss-Gabel, who edits Green at Dutton. “Blogging is a long-term endeavor, one that builds and sustains a loyal fan base over a career.”

Cabot says that after she started blogging, visits to her Web site soared. [Sarah] Dessen used her blog to count down the days to her pub date for Just Listen, and readers stormed bookstores looking for their copy. “I had a lot of girls go to stores on the first day and when the book wasn’t on display, they had someone go into the back and made them open a box,” she recalled. “I really liked hearing that.””

I’m certain this discussion will continue for the days ahead. As for me and my house, I’m going to continue with these entries about the Writing Life.