This morning I had a Mission Submission meeting. “Mission Submission” is the name of our group dedicated to marketing our work, fiction and non-fiction.
I always come away from writers’ group meetings pumped and enthusiastic. There are two reasons for this. One is that the exercise of writing down and reciting my accomplishments since the last meeting makes me realize that, yes, I am making progress. Two is that other people’s progress and ideas spur me on to set new goals, and give me practical ideas of how to achieve them.
It’s hard sometimes to see that I am making progress. When you work alone, and live alone- as I do for much of the week – writing can feel like a long slog on a straight road across a flat plain. You’re putting one foot in front of the other, but the landscape doesn’t seem to change, and you still have a helluva lot of road ahead. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Getting together with these other writers gives us reassurance that we’re not running on the spot.
One of the things I was able to report is that my original goal of six non-fiction articles has been two-thirds realized. I’ve pitched four non-fiction pieces and all four have been (provisionally) accepted. One is in rewrite, and the others are newly assigned.
“Up the goal!” my
soccer hooligan writer friends yell. Okay. I’m gonna start by doubling it. If I hit that one, I’ll up it again.
Those of you who read this blog regularly – and there are a flattering number of you, thank you! – may be saying “Wait a minute, Elizabeth! Aren’t you rigging yourself to fail again?”
Not if my Mission Submission buddies have anything to do with it! They’ve all pointed out to me that making a goal, raising it, making that one, raising it again, etc. doesn’t mean I’ve failed. It means I’ve succeeded multiple times. I gather if I don’t change my attitude, they’ll change it for me. I figure I know where the little dial is, as it’s in my own head, and I’ll just turn it a little….there. Attitude adjusted.
Now I have a new set of goals, some of them small things, some larger. I plan to have made at least two more non-fiction pitches by the next meeting, plus a couple of larger projects, like trying again to land a pet column somewhere, and keeping up my word allotment on Here be Dragons.
I can’t overstress the value of a writers’ group. Nobody should have to go it alone. Even the Mission Impossible team was – well, a team. And we have two advantages over Mission Impossible. One is, nobody’s trying to kill us.
Two is, nothing of ours is going to self-destruct in ten seconds.