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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's Always Darkest Before The Dawn: Insanity Defined *2 posts for the price of one*

Howdy Blogfans,

We've had some excellent news here at Hubris House. Yes, I finally finished that dreadful edit and mailed out the MS to the MWA contest. That's a big ol' w00t! The Hubris family is relieved since I have not been the easiest person to deal with lately.

NSSH gave up five hours of his Saturday just to help me burn  KMS to a CD (we had to make our last remaining CD read/write drive work.) Just to make things even more secure we bought a water resistant bubble mailer and a hefty binder clip (we also bought some size 3 knitting needles, a Christmas present, some shampoo, three $1 shirts for NSSH...) Yesterday morning I headed to the post office and mailed it off to Virginia.

I used media mail. The postal clerk wanted to know if I wanted to have delivery confirmation or insurance. I told her that it wasn't worth the extra money because the chances of winning were quite slim and, at this point, I have surrendered myself to fate. She thought I was kidding but I was serious.

It's a wonderful feeling to do every single thing you can and then hand whatever-it-is over to to the vagaries of chance. I don't know why I feel this way but the joy I get from doing this keeps me working hard for the improbable. I feel this way when I write a complicated term paper, when I apply for jobs above my skill level, when I send out query letters, come up with a crazy knitting pattern...

I also remembered something: when winning is your absolute goal guess what? You miss the joy of doing your best and giving the rest up to fate. When all you want to do is win all you have to win is that one thing. When doing your best is the main goal every single thing you do is a learning experience and winning is a happy consequence. For every success you're going to encounter many failures. That's some true shit right there. 

I fail all the time. I try all kinds of new things- and most of them don't work out- but every single thing I try helps me reach my goal. I get pretty damned upset about it sometimes too- all you have to do is read this blog to know that- but I stand up, dust myself off, and try something else. I also complain a lot (because that's what I enjoy) but stoic silence is much appreciated by those around you. It doesn't matter how you vocalize the process- don't let failure stop you from striving to succeed.

Do you hear me Katie? Adam? It's okay to put yourself out there and risk "failure." It's okay to feel really, really bad when you try and don't get what you want -to the degree you want it. But then you have to pick yourself up and try something else. It doesn't make you stupid, or a loser, or anything but a  person who is striving to make the most out of life. People will reinforce what you can't do so you need to be tough and understand that you absolutely CAN do what needs to be done. 

I will never be a WNBA basketball player. I have no athletic ability, I'm too old, and I'm five feet tall. If my goal in life is to become a WNBA basketball player I'm probably not going to meet it but think of the cool stuff I'll learn on my way!

Maybe I'll get in shape. Maybe I'll learn that what I'm really great at is writing about basketball. Would I have learned that if I didn't put myself out there to reach an (in my case) impossible goal? No, Sir or Madam, I would not. Will people make fun of me for trying- hell yeah. Will I get disappointed? Probably unless I'm totally clueless or more skilled than I thought. Will I occasionally feel all emo and like becoming a Beck fangirl? Absolutely. But I will have learned so much about myself and maybe I will have found a new and different  path in my life. And, maybe, I'll actually become a WNBA basketball player. How freaking cool would that be?

I have plenty of life goals. Some are more likely than others (I will probably never be a ninja) but I always have a reason to get up in the morning- even when I know I'm going to open my email and see "not for me thanks" in my inbox.

It's almost crippling sometimes- rejection. I've devoted  years to  KMS  and I have spent most of that time (after writing the book- that was 100% awesome) well outside my comfort zone. I've had to learn how to be objective about something that I'm deeply invested in- it's not easy. 

Oh, and here's something I want to make very clear. 

Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result is not the same as learning from your mistakes. That, friends, is the definition of insanity. Let's put it out there:

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.-Albert Einstein

So, let's apply this to my main obsession/goal in life.

I wrote a book. I edited the book. I gave it to friends to read but they couldn't get into it. I edited it again. I did a ton of research. I tried to sell it/ get an agent. It didn't work. I rewrote the query letter. I entered a contest. I lost. I did a ton more research. I reworked the book. I resubmitted it to different beta readers (and a couple of the same just for comparison.) I culled the feedback and made more changes (some extensive some very small.) I renamed the book since it was essentially a different book. I rewrote a detailed summary. I rewrote a query letter. I wrote a fresh list of agents (after yet more research). I entered a very big contest. I am going to start submitting the book soon (maybe tomorrow) and will work from there. Maybe this time I'll find an agent. If I don't, well, it's probably time to move on. Unless I sell this one, my next book will not be a mystery.

Doing the same thing looks like this: Write book. Edit book. Send to beta readers (or better yet send to people who are too scared of me to tell the truth). Ignore feedback I don't like. Write query letter. Send to 30 agents. Get rejected. Send same query letter to 30 more agents. Get more rejection. Get really bitter and rail against the publishing industry. Write next book in exactly the same way. Rinse and Repeat. 

So don't be a crazy person. Learn from your mistakes and try not to make the same mistake multiple times (a fundamentally similar mistake counts as the same mistake.) Don't be afraid to reach for the impossible and don't be cripplingly discouraged if your reach exceeds your grasp. 

You only have this one life and IMHO I think you should make the most of it. Be the very best Adam or Katie (or whoever) you can be and don't worry so much about looking stupid (or feeling stupid.) And make sure you have people in your life who love you anyway. Oh and don't keep doing the same damn thing over and over again while expecting a different result. Seriously. You'll wear a crazy groove and never get free.

Have a great week blogfans =(^_^)=


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