The Value of Reflection
By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin
Some people attribute this quotation to Mark Twain, “Find a job that you love and you will never work a day in your life.” I have found the truth in this statement as a writer and editor. While there are certainly routine and boring aspects of my work (as in every job), overall I love my life in publishing and spend many hours at my keyboard or on the phone with authors and others. My work is something I love and do every day.
Almost like clockwork, my email and interaction with others drops off from Thanksgiving until after New Year's Day. I've called these days the silent days of publishing and written about them in the past. Instead of cutting back like some, I tend to lean into the work. For example, last week before Christmas, I processed a number of submissions to Morgan James Publishing. In this process, I've located some new authors who are passionate about their writing and want to get their book published. To me, this process of discovery is fun and exciting. Will these authors get book contracts from my colleagues? Until I try it, I never know so I'm pushing their material forward through the process. If they get a contract from my colleagues, will they sign the paperwork and move forward? I never know until it happens and I've learned that it is impossible to predict. I'm only responsible for my part of the process and have leave the rest of it up to others. As the book is produced and enters the market, will it catch the attention of readers and sell? I've learned making books is easy and something many companies can do for writers but selling books is another story. Like many aspects of publishing, the selling of books is outside of my control. I've learned to take my own responsibility for my books and leave the rest of it.
In the quiet of these days, I find value in taking a few moments for reflection on the past year and my plans for the future. I've written this article to encourage you to take some time for reflection and planning for your future.
As I think about the last year, what worked and what failed? As you consider the days ahead what changes will you make and do differently? For example, I've found I'm not reading some magazines as much as I did in the past. Recently I cancelled a weekly publication which I have been reading for decades. For my situation, it was a wise decision. What changes like those do you need to make for your writing life? Also consider your habits and routines. Which ones will you continue and which ones do you need to modify or eliminate? How can you foster your curiosity about the world around you? What do you want to learn and how can you take those courses and apply them to your writing life?
As you can tell from reading these article, I see the world as filled with opportunity. You need to seize the day and pitch to the right person and open those doors in your writing life. I have great expectations about the days ahead.
Do you take time for reflection then making some changes to your life? Let me know your process in the comments below.
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