Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Always Know Yourself Before...

During my trip to New York, I saw a lot of interesting sites, and had a great conference experience at Book Expo America.

Before visiting the city, I had a chance to go to Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, where the likes of Bob Dylan and other folk musicians have performed. That night, it was a unique blend of blues--sliding guitar, tuba, and trombone. But most fascinating was what I encountered in the bathroom:

"Always know yourself before making a decision that may change your life"
While the walls were covered in inspirational quotes, I picked this one above the others because it's so deceptively simple: "Always know yourself before making a decision that may change your life." Because better decisions are made when you have your own best interests in mind. And knowing what those interests are is key in determining whether a decision is a good fit.

As with anything, this can be applied to writing at all levels:

Crafting stage: When you are still in the process of editing your work, and getting it critiqued by others, make sure feedback resonates with the story you want to write. Don't assume that someone knows more than you, or that negative feedback means you have to change the story entirely.

How to Know Yourself: Think, reflect, and figure out which feedback resonates with you most. Be with it for awhile to see what sticks and what doesn't. That way, you can save having to revert to a previous draft when someone else's recommendations aren't working (though this isn't unheard of--I've had to do it myself).

Agented/publishing/selling stage: From what I understand, this can be a perilous stage because it involves a lot of waiting. And waiting can inevitably morph into unnecessarily questioning yourself. Or settling for a deal that might not be right for you in the long run in order to relieve immediate stress.

How to Know Yourself: Be sure of the direction you want your career to go. Make the decisions that honor that, even if it means waiting to see yourself in print. Because settling for something lesser means possibly having to undo it later on--and that isn't always an option.

What about you? In what ways do you know yourself? And how do these inform your decisions going forward? 


  1. This was a great post. The quote you picked was a great motto for life in every aspect, not just the writing.

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth! I'd like to think so too, and I'm glad it resonated!


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