Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Think About What You Want ...



I'm so excited to have Harlequin Special Edition author, Helen Lacey, on the blog today! Welcome, Helen!


I’ve been writing most of my life and penned my first book when I was seven years old. Finally, after twenty three years of submitting to Harlequin, I sold my first book to Harlequin Special Edition last year. During those years I purchased dozens of ‘How To’ books. I also attended many conferences and road shows, and participated in countless workshops, both online and in person - on subjects such as Creating Compelling Characters, Goal/Motivation/Conflict, Maintaining Sexual Tension, Writing The Breakout Novel, World Building etc. I listened to best selling authors, editors, agents and publishers offer advice on the craft of writing, on the world of publishing, and the commitment needed to have a successful writing career. I had a dream of being an author and did whatever I needed to so I could break into the ranks of the published.

But strangely, it wasn't at any of these events, or in any of these books where I learned what would become the most important piece of career advice I’d heard. And it’s something I remind myself of every morning when I fire up my computer and sit down to write. Like most writers, during my years trying to get published I had a ‘real’ job. I worked for a national department store as a sales manager. While I was there I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to participate in a half day session given by Australian motivational speaker Paul Hanna. Since every “How To’ book I read was about the craft of writing, I had limited knowledge of who Mr Hanna was. But along with a conference room full of my colleagues and staff, I listened to him speak for close to two hours. And mid way through this session he said something that resonated so strongly within me, I can barely remember anything else which was said. And this one statement changed the trajectory of my career and my belief that I could sell my books, and that I could fulfil my ambition to be a published author.

“Think about what you do want . . . . and not what you don’t want.”

Perhaps not exactly the most grammatically correct sentence ever written. But as I sat in that crowded room, the message was loud and clear. For all the years I’d been writing and submitting, I always had this impending sense of doom once the manuscript was posted off. I was, I realized, anticipating a rejection. Every time. I expected it because that’s what I’d always received. Never did I think, “What I want from this submission is the opportunity for revisions.” Or, “What I want is the editor to love this story.” Instead, I’d have this internal monologue going on, insisting, “What I don’t want is a rejection.” Or, “I don’t want to get that dreaded letter in the mail.” In a way, I was pre-empting my fate.

Then I deliberately changed how I approached submitting. I started entering contests and did it with a different mindset. Every time I sent off a contest entry I wrote down what I wanted - which was to place in that contest because the editor for the line I was targeting was the final judge. And it worked. I got the editorial request and a within two years had sold my first book.

I guess what it taught me is that I could learn all about the craft of writing, I could go to conferences and workshops, I could invest time and money in professional critique – but if didn’t know what I wanted, how could I possibly get it? Suddenly, I was no longer in the dark – I had a plan and a purpose. So definitely learn the craft, and attend conferences and network with other writers – but know what you want. And it’ll find you.


Thank you Lacey for having me visit today – I have a giveaway of my January release, Made For Marriage from Harlequin Special Edition. I also have giveaways right across my blog tour, and a grand prize of a $50.00 Amazon voucher and for those you like a little bling, a fabulous silver Pandora Bracelet. 


***




Equestrian Callie Jones was used to difficult parents at her riding school. But Noah Preston took the cake.

How dare he question her teaching abilities, after his headstrong daughter paid no heed to rules—her teacher's or her father's?

Single dad Noah was ready to apologize for overreacting. But he wasn't sorry for the way the stunning American riding instructor made him feel. And he soon learned that there was more to Callie than her smarts, sass and fire: a shattered heart that threatened to splinter even further. Could he make her see that he—and his family—were for keeps?


Buy Links:

Amazon        Amazon UK      Book Depository

Helen Lacey on the web:
Website     Facebook     Twitter     Blog           Helen's Page at RomanceWiki

For full itinerary on Helen's Celebration tour check out Helen Lacey- Author Page


Thanks so much for stopping by, Helen!

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19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great post ladies!
It is so easy to be in a negative midset. Seems to bring negative vibes back.
Off to try to think positive about what i want... except choc cos that happens too easy...
=)
Bec

Anne MacFarlane said...

Your book sounds fabulous. Romance and horses. What could be better.

Really enjoyed your post. I've been writing a Looong time but it wasn't until the past year that I believed I could do this.

Believing you can makes all the difference.

Olivia Miles said...

Oh my...23 years! Helen, this is so deserved! So many people would have given up along the way, and good for you for sticking to it as look where you ended up! I completely agree about doors opening when you adjust your mindset and have a clear plan of attack for focusing on the end goal. Congrats again, Helen, and much continued success:-)

Helen Lacey said...

Hi Bec - thanks for stopping by today. And you're right, it's easy to think the glass is half empty, because that can dull the pain of disappointment - but a positive outlook toward writing, and towards life, can truly open doors.

Helen Lacey said...

Hi Anne - lovely to see you here. It's great to see that you believe you can do it. That really is a big part of this job. :)

Helen Lacey said...

Hello Olivia - and thank you for your kind words. Focusing on your goal is vital - great comment. Lovely to see you here.

Rachael Johns said...

That's a VERY inspirational story Helen. Thanks for sharing :)

Helen Lacey said...

Hi Rach! Thanks for stopping by.

Teresa Ashby said...

Great post and very inspirational. Isn't it funny how just a few words can reach out and grab you like that!

JaneB said...

Hi Helen, profound words that motivate in a life changing way are awesome. Your journey also shows you have grit and determiantion! Go you.

Jane

Helen Lacey said...

Hi Theresa - you're right, sometimes it only takes a few words. Thanks for dropping by today.

Helen Lacey said...

Hi Jane - great to see you here.I think grit and determination are par for the course when you're a writer. :)

Natalie Charles said...

Fabulous advice, Helen! Know what you want and pursue it fearlessly - I love it. Congratulations on all of your success!

Helen Lacey said...

Hello Natalie - thank you so much for stopping by. Great to see you here - and yes, being fearless is the key.

Jackie Ashenden said...

Helen, I love your advice. LOVE! Because with every single sub I have that same sense of doom. For the last ten subs, it's all been NO, so every time I send something off I say, 'IT'll be a rejection so there's no point hoping'. Maybe I need to think about what I want more and what I don't want less. Thanks for this!

Helen Lacey said...

Hi Jackie - so glad that was helpful. Sometimes we just need a little reminder to stay positive and believe we can do it. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Romance Book Haven said...

Hi Helen,

A great post and very good advice! Your twenty plus years of writing before getting the 'Call' is an inspiration in itself!

Helen Lacey said...

HI Romance Book Haven - thanks for dropping by and for you kind words. Persistance is a big part of being a writer. :)

Maria from 'gaelikaa's diary' said...

Focussing on what you want not what you don't want has been coming through to me again and again lately. I love that message.

Nice to see you again, Helen and of course Lacey.