I'm watching my 10-year-old daughter draw in front of me at the dining room table while I'm writing on the laptop across from her. She is being critical of her flowers, but to me they are beautiful. They are nothing like anything I could ever do. I am no artist for sure. But she has talent and is so hard on herself. And I tell her, "I could never do that. You are so amazing. Don't stop because you will only get better and better with practice."
Sometimes in my Facebook writing group there will be someone who just isn't getting articles accepted. And I ask some questions like, "Are you sending to just a few at a time or doing a BLAST to like all 200 regional parenting magazines on the list? (it's a numbers game) Are you following the general submission guidelines? Don't stop because you will get better and you will get a piece accepted and then the snowball will start."
And I wondered ... how do you get someone to stop being self-critical? How do you convince them to keep going?
Then I realized that the same things I say to my kids and to my writing group members to be encouraging, I should also be saying to myself.
I have 175 publishing credits to my name over the last 12 years. I have clearly not given up, but I feel like I should have MORE publishing credits, and some of them should be national magazines. Then I attempt to go easy on myself. "Kerrie, you homeschool 5 kids and make that your priority. You are married. You have other family and friends you love spending time with. You have to keep up with This Is Us and blow through The Haunting of Hill House. Oh, and you proofread for income to help your family. Go easy on yourself. Slow and steady."
It's easy to get caught up in the things we ARE NOT DOING. I am not publishing a book a month. I am not writing an article a week. I am not writing features for Parents Magazine at $1,000 a pop.
Ah, but I am still making a small income from reprints that are 10 years old. I am enjoying life and writing when I can and putting love and spirit into it.
What one small thing can you do each day to keep your writing career moving forward? Can you write 100 words today? Then again tomorrow? You could have an article written by the end of the week and ready to submit. Then you can take a week off and do NOTHING. Or you can do another 100 words and keep up the momentum.
If magazines aren't picking up your work or paying what you think you are worth ... keep going anyway. You know in your heart that this is what you are supposed to be doing, so keep doing it no matter what.
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