Friday, April 20, 2012

On aiming for the top and following your gut

Lately I've seen a number of situations where people have picked a low quality option, just because it was there--and sometimes they've regretted it. This is a writerly blog, so my focus is on the writing aspect, but it applies to anything important in life, too. So I just have to say it:


Aiming high is not the same as having an inflated ego. Accepting something less when you know you're worth more isn't humility. It's throwing away your opportunities to do something great with your talents.

Sometimes, making good choices can be obscured by someone who means well but doesn't have a full knowledge of the situation. Or who thinks you should be grateful for even HAVING an offer. agent offer. (No, I'm not thinking of any particular situation by this. Just something I've seen happen before.) Your friends have only ever gotten rejections--heck, maybe you have only ever gotten rejections--and now someone wants to sign you! How exciting!!! They're offering, so of COURSE you have to say yes. But. A small voice at the back of your head warns you that something is not quite right.

Yeah. Suck up your courage and listen to that voice.

You wouldn't marry someone because you felt sorry for them, would you? You can be nice to everybody, but being nice isn't the same thing as committing yourself to a lifetime and beyond together. Maybe business isn't quite the same thing as marriage, but--business decisions have a way of having long term consequences. It's the sort of thing to think through before you give a yes.

I've had various helpful suggestions regarding getting published, most of them good suggestions, a few not so good. Just yesterday I heard about someone's (negative) experience with a small publisher someone once urged me to try. I'm sure they're good at what they do, but the thing is--my book was not that thing. To settle for that when I know my book can be so much more would be wrong. Even if my book never gets picked up (and I have several like that)--I would rather write a new and better book than shoot too low.

You can't know the end from the beginning. Sometimes you might make what looks like the very best choice--and then circumstances or people change, and you're still left with a mess. When that happens, it isn't your fault. But for anyone who is currently weighing the flattery of being chosen against that little voice inside warning you against it, I say: listen.

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