Control What You Can
After several days on the road at the Frontiers In Writing Conference in Amarillo, Texas, I'm home before I take off later in the week for another conference. I'm using a beautiful new coffee mug that I received from the Amarillo conference. It's one of those Barnes and Noble Cafe montage with illustrations of different famous writers. Fun.
Best-selling thriller writer Barry Eisler was the keynote speaker at the conference. I had never met Eisler but enjoyed his messages to writers and I purchased his first novel, Rainfall and enjoyed my conversation with him. Eisler was driving across country promoting his latest novel which landed one week on the New York Times bestseller list. He told about arranging to go to 200 bookstores in 15 days. It was an innovative way to tour the country and stir interest in a new title.
A former CIA agent turned lawyer turned novelist, Eisler gave writers some solid advice and I wanted to repeat part of it. He determined that he would not be at fault for not realizing his dream of publishing his novel. Yes, the fault would arrive with someone else--publishers who didn't see his vision or agents who turned him down or ______ (you can fill in the blank here). Eisler encouraged writers to control what they can control and that they can not control if they will get published. He said the journey is not all about luck and it’s not all about hard work. Yes, luck and hard work are involved. While you can influence luck through some decisions, you can't control luck. His message was for writers to write their book because if they don't write their book, then they will regret it. He said, "If you can to it, finish your novel then you will have nothing to regret. And your mission as much as possible is to get it published."
He encouraged writers to break down their writing goals into weekly and daily and even hourly chunks of writing and to approach their task one day at a time. Each of us make choices about how we will spend our time. For example, Eisler doesn’t watch much television or even have a television in his home. Instead, he's committed to the task of writing. It was a solid message that I appreciated.