It’s been quite a wild year, to say the least. It’s hard to believe that so many things could happen in such a short time, yet here I am, at the threshold of a new year with so many changes and lessons under my belt. I’ve learned so much about the person I am, the person I want to be, and the kind of world I want to live in. I’ve taken on many new titles this year, as an employee, as an aunt, and of course, as a published author. I am not sure where the road will take me next, or what the future holds for me or my work. Wherever it’ll take me, I’m ready for the challenge. And so, to wrap up 2013, I’d like to share a few things I learned about the kind of person I’d like to be based on the experiences I’ve had as an author (adapted from an article I wrote about the Shidduch system):
1) Be courteous: The first thing most people ask me when I tell them that I’m in the ‘writing world’ is: ‘Wow, it’s such a cut throat business, how do you manage?’ It doesn’t have to be a cut throat business. Yes, writing and publishing is a very, very competitive and sometimes nasty field. One should approach this the same way they’d approach any business venture: With respect for other people and for themselves. There’s no reason to get nasty folks. Publishing can be enjoyable…
2) Respect other people’s time: There are many, many people involved in the publishing process, from editors to agents to the writer themselves. Respect other people’s time! If you are working with a team, make sure that you use the time you have with them wisely. When someone emails you a request, do your best to get the job done in as little time possible. Don’t ignore them. It’s like biting the hand that feeds you. If you want respect, learn to respect those around you. The includes learning when you can and cannot to commit to something. If you can’t commit to someone else’s timing, let them know. They’ll be much more thankful than if you simply ignore them and hope that they forget.
3) Be kind: Shattered Illusions has received some pretty nasty reviews. Even worse than that is when people, be it other authors or reviewers on Amazon, shame me as a person. When I was gathering reviews and blurbs for the book prior to the release, I emailed an author to request a review. That person was very kind during the first encounter, and was very honest, which I appreciated. However, six weeks later, I received an absolutely horrific email from them in which, using capital letters, they shamed and humiliated me, telling me that I should find something else to do with my life because I was an absolutely awful excuse for a writer. They begged me not to publish Shattered Illusions and told me to find a job at a fast food chain. Ouch. I cried for about a month. If you don’t like or appreciate something, that’s fine, but being nasty doesn’t help, it only hurts. Be kind. The same goes in regards to your work relationships. Be kind to your team, it’ll only help you in the long run.
4) Trust your own judgement: If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Be it signing with an agent or even with an independent publicist. It’s okay to say no to something that doesn’t work for you. Don’t agree to something simply because you’re worried about what they’ll think about you. I’ve done that, and I’ve regretted it. Do what feels right to you.
5) Learn to laugh at the madness: I’ve had so many wild experiences since I began the publishing process, and I have a feeling that I’m yet to see the wildest of them all. There have been some awkward and uncomfortable bends in the road, and more than a few disappointments as well. But, things have also been wonderful, and I’ve learned to see the best and enjoy every part of the process. That’s how life should be. You can scowl and cry when the road gets rough or you can dance in between the cracks.